This is not the original article. The original was once on the web, but for some reason taken off. Because I believe that any article about cycling in Iceland is worthwhile, I saved a copy and publish a slightly edited version here. If you are the owner and don't want this, then please contact me. I will remove it right away.
  • Author : Günter Hull
  • Original URL : http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a8925514/island.htm
  • Available at www.archive.org : Yes


island
In july 1997 I traveled around Iceland together with three friends on bycicle. Within four weeks we did 1600 km by bike and 300 km by bus completing a roundtrip along the mainroad (A1). We mainly camped somewhere away from the (rare) villages. But now have a look at the most interesting spots of our trip and get some tips about biking there.
 

Reykjanes Peninsula

We arrived in Keflavik on July, 3rd. Our first destination was Bláa Lónið, the "Blue Lagoon", which is a tiny lake of warm and intense blue excess water from a thermic power plant. The solved salts make it a good medicine for psoriasis and eczema and the steam of the power plant gives the lagoon a mystical touch. Besides that (and more important for us) you can have lots of fun (we re-visited it four weeks later before leaving Iceland) by relaxing or swimming closer to the plant, where the water gets hotter and hotter....
We also cycled around the Reykjanes peninsula (lovely villages, seabirds, impressing landscape) and visited the lake Kleifarvatn , situated 25 km southwest of Reykjavik (mostly new, consolidated roads). There in the loneliness you can feel totally free and far away from the hectic civilization (one of the reasons for spending our holidays in Iceland).

Reykjavik

Reykjavik, which is the only real town in Iceland, was to be visited again at the end of our tour. So we didn't stay there too long. We only bought a new tent (because we believed our tent to be good - it is, but not for the icelandic rain) and a gas cooker (the old one was left at Vienna Airport because of danger of explosion in the plane). If you want to know more about shopping, sights, museums, restaurants,  etc., go down on this page or visit the Homepage of the City of Reykjavik.

Thingvellir / Geysir / Gullfoss

Outside Reykjavik we always tried to camp for free. This is allowed as long as you don't leave any rubbish. Mostly we left a village in the evening after an (extensive) use of the gas station's cafeteria, cycled some kilometers and looked for a fine place (flat, dry, soft, protected against wind, running water nearby) with as many positive criterions fullfilled as possible. 
We left the A1 and the road conditions became worse but hardly any cars interrupted the loneliness. We visited Thingvellir (romantic canyon, where the ancient lords held their "althing") at the Thingvallavatn and the Laugarvatn with warm springs (but we didn't take a bath). 
Other impressing spots you shouldn't miss are Geysir, an area of geothermal activities with natural hot fountains (with Strokkur, erupting ~10 m high every 5 minutes, the famous, name-giving Geysir, which isn't active yet, and many other tiny hot springs), and last not least, Gullfoss, the "golden waterfall", whose spray shines in rainbow's colours when the sun is shining. 

Landmannalaugar

After we had passed the Hjalparfoss, we took a highland route to Landmannalaugar. On this roads (??) there are no bridges, so you have to cross the glacier-rivers (ice-cold, brrr!) by packing your bike and bags on your shoulders. Because of heavy rains we soon were completely wet and did no longer take our shoes off to walk through, which was much faster and the peaking stones did not hurt anymore. Besides that, strong headwinds, extremly steep hills and a broken gearshift also slowed our run so that it took three days to do 130 km. We hadn't thought of buying enough food in stock and because of the complete lack of shops we soon were in real trouble. At last we were saved by icelandic and belgian people, who took us to a shelter in their cars, while our bikes were left back. There we got food and spent a dry night. Our bikes were fetched by the hut-keeper. 
THANX to all the kind people!

 Jökulsarlon

One of the most impressing sights is this lake, where big blocks of ice brake from the Vatnajökull-glacier into the lagoon and swim slowly to the sea. The whole lake is full of these huge icebergs, glimmering in the sun (fortunately sun was shining there). There is a little shop/snack bar, where camping is tolerated on the lawn behind it (small space - be fast!). There we experienced one of the most wonderful sunsets (which is directly changing into sunrise - this lasts for hours!)

Myvatn Area

After cycling along the east-coast we took the bus (at least going once a day on the A1) to cross the desert between Egilsstaðir and the Myvatn Area. 20 km to Reykahlið we left the bus and the A1 turning right to visit 3 huge waterfalls (Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss and Dettifoss - supposed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe) - worth seeing, but be warned of worst road conditions!
  In the Myvatn area there are many interesting locations. We smelled the sulfur odor at the hot springs of Namafjall, climbed Hverfjall (a huge volcanic ash cone), visited Dimmuborgir (weird lava formations along an old lava fissure - said to be a door to hell) and saw  Herðubreið (the "Queen of Icelandic Mountains"), the pseudocraters of Myvatn (which means "lake of gnats" but we didn't see any!) and the majestic "Fall of the Gods", the Goðafoss.  
In the North we had warm (about 20° Celsius) and (mostly) fine weather for two weeks, which compensated the bad luck in the south (7-10° Celsius and long raining periods) .With gained sunburns we visited Akureyri and after 8 days of cycling in beautiful landscape with some widely scattered farms we finally closed the circle . . . 
and returned to . . . 

 Reykjavik

There we had a day off, walked through the city and bought some souvenirs (e.g. Icelandic National Soccer Team shirt and short  and a sheep-woolen cap). At last we re-visited the Blue Lagoon too, and after spending one night at the Keflavik camping site (watching TV for the first time since weeks!) we cycled to the airport to go back to Vienna via Copenhagen 
 
 
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Last modified on 14-04-1998