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Iceland Route 1

TusherTusher Posts: 2,762
edited September 2013 in Tour & expedition
So I've had to stay at home waiting for an electrician, and thought I would start planning An Adventure.

Has anyone here cycled in Iceland? Route 1 around the island is 1,333 km, so roughly LEJOG. People have done it, but I'm looking for as much information as possible. I've searched for a thread on Iceland, but can't find it.

Fly from Glasgow, or take a boat via the Faroes? (I've never taken a bike on a plane, and really don't fancy it).

Camp or credit card?

Thinking of going next May/June.

We've been to Iceland several times before, and I speak enough Icelandic to get by (although English is widely spoken).


  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 4,836
    I've not done any touring so I'll leave the general tips to everyone else.

    I looked at taking the boat via the Faroes for a return trip and it was slow, but you'd get to see somewhere else on the way if you've got the time to spare.

    A friend 'liked' a bike expedition company on Facebook a while back but I can't find the link now, however when I searched these guys came up:
    and they have a photo of someone posing outside their shop after they fixed his bike while he was touring. If you get in touch with them they might be able to offer some tips.

    Were you planning on riding the whole way on route 1? I imagine it's pretty quiet outside Reykjavik but are there any tarmac alternative routes you can use if necessary?
  • mea00csfmea00csf Posts: 558
    I've just come back from touring the southwest of Iceland. Personally i think cycling route 1 would be missing the point of going to Iceland, this was the only bit of our trip we didn't enjoy which was using R1 to blitz the distance back to Reykjavik. Admittedly this is the busiest part so other sections might be better.

    If you've been to Iceland a number of times, you probably know where you want to go, but I'd personally want to concentrate on an area and cycle the smaller roads (we toured with mountain bikes with semi slicks which was fine for everything except the really small roads, eg thorsmork.) The Ferdakort 1:250,000 maps show which roads are sealed, so if you must stick to sealed roads, i'd use those to plan and try to avoid R1 at all costs!

    The long distances between accommodation meant that i was glad we had the tent, plus my understanding was that accommodation tends to get booked up well in advance and is quite pricey. We camped every night for 2 weeks, the biggest problem being keeping things dry. We found that generally planning around the weather day to day meant that we could avoid the worst of it, such as staying an extra day and doing a day ride, or using the tumble dryers or drying rooms at campsites.

    We're planning at some point heading back to Iceland and doing some really remote stuff, like crossing Sprengisandur interior crossing, or Llandmannalauger back roads. For this we'd probably go really minimal by taking an emergency Bivvy bag, sleeping bag, food, and clothes and booking up mountain huts in advance. We had intended on doing remote routes this time but quickly realised for the true back roads we were packed too heavy and had the wrong tyres on (knobblies were a must for the small backroads), so just did the tourist trail stuff by the small roads instead.

    While a little out of date, this is the best resource we found for cycle touring Iceland . Can be a bit hard to read the route information, but extremely well informed.
  • TusherTusher Posts: 2,762
    Thank you both so much for your thoughtful replies.

    After mulling it over and chatting it through with Hubby, we have concocted a plan which involves saving for months, driving ancient but much loved LandRover Defender to Denmark, taking the ferry to Iceland, and taking time off to cycle and ride horses. We're planning on taking at least 3-4 weeks mid summer 2015. He has always wanted to take it on a lengthy road trip, but neither of us fancied Africa much (which is where Defenders go for their holidays apparently).

    As a confirmed minimalist, chucking everything in a car is emphatically what I do not want to do for a holiday, but when I thought about it, I couldn't go to Iceland and not ride Icelandic horses. I know there are stables which cater for tourists, but trotting in a line with 25 others isn't much fun. Our favourite non-cycling holiday was farm based and (horse) riding huge distances every day. And carrying jodhpurs etc in a cycle pannier was becoming ridiculous whereas we can always chuck the bikes, cycling kit, horsey gear and tent in the Lannie.


    Which isn't part of a cycling forum at all, so I'l leave it there, but if I find anything else on purely cycling, I'll post the link here.

    I'm still drawn to the idea though.

    PS Em, reading that over, we sound a bit middle class with a Land Rover and all the horsey talk. We're most definitely not! We're just poor and rural country bumpkins. Flying to Iceland is cheaper than taking the train and ferry to the continent for us.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 4,836
    Tusher wrote:
    Flying to Iceland is cheaper than taking the train and ferry to the continent for us.
    People always told me Iceland was really expensive but we had a week there in October flights+decent hotel for £550 which was a bargain IMO for what we got.
  • Just back from Iceland too - ditto re Route 1 - avoid. Western Fijords are simply amazing. Also check out Northern Walkers blog for some useful info. Oh and the soft icecreams that they dip in hot chocolate found at garages!
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