Explore some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet

Just once a year we run an expedition style cycle tour to Iceland. This nine day North Iceland Cycling Adventure brings you invigorating cycling and some hiking through some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery. Few areas in the world offer such exhilarating natural beauty and awe-inspiring scenery as Northern Iceland.

The diversity of the mountain landscape with its volcanoes and steaming lava fields, vast black deserts and contrasting lush oases, hot springs, fumeroles and powerful geysers are rarely encountered together anywhere else on earth. This is the stunning and varied terrain that our week long cycling adventure will explore in some depth.

Essential Information

Date: 28th June - 7th July 2020
Price: £2975
Duration: 10 Days
Hotel: 3*/4* plus one night in each mountain huts; school and luxury cabins

The Route

Our journey commences in Reykjavik from where we take a 4 wheel drive through the centre of Iceland, with a short but spectacular walking tour in the rhyolite mountains. On the 3rd day, fabulous straight forward cycling commences in the wild remote interior followed on the next 5 core days with cycling around several massive fjords to Akureyri; followed by the waterfall Godafoss; the wild north coast with whale watching opportunities at Husavik; the great canyon at Asberygi and the River Jokulsa which has created a gorge known as Iceland’s Grand Canyon and features Dettifoss, Europe’s highest and most powerful waterfall; and finally after riding through the cold desert with amazing far reaching vistas we arrive in region around Lake Myvatn where volcanoes abound with active areas of fumeroles and boiling mud pools, the 1984 lavafields (still warm), and the lake scenes which are spectacular. Several short walks including volcano treks. 

All cycling and hiking is non-technical with only a few steep climbs – well within the capabilities of any reasonably fit person who has undertaken some regular cycling training in the two months preceding the ride. Previous experience of off-road cycling is unnecessary.

This adventure is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed. We restrict the number of participants to 12 on this trip, so book early to avoid disappointment on this one!· We are one of the few tour companies operating in this area and we have over 40 years’ experience in Iceland.

The Itinerary

 
 

Day One

A Night in Reykyavik

On this first day you can arrive whenever your flight allows in Keflavik and then transfer to our hotel in Reykjavik. Keflavik International Airport is 50 kilometres outside Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik. The earlier you arrive the more time for sightseeing in Reykjavik – a fascinating city with active shopping and nightlife. We also recommend the music and there are some fascinating places to visit. If you bring your own bike there is plenty of time to get it assembled and ready for transfer. We stay in a quality B&B in a suburb of Reykjavik just 10 minutes drive from the Centre.

 

Day Three

Kerlingarfjöll - Hveravellir - Saudarkrokur - Siglufjordur

In the morning we will travel further inland to Hveravellir. This stunning geothermal nature reserve is dotted with bubbling hot springs, and for those who want another chance, the option to bathe in one of its colourful pools.

Hveravellir

Your final destination today is the pretty fishing town of Siglufjordur, once famed for its herring industry. We’ll stay the night in the town’s only hotel which has great hot showers and an evening meal is provided at the nearby dockside restaurant, full of character and good food!

Siglufjordur

Now, it’s onto the bikes and a stunning downhill ride to Saudarkrokur, one of the largest towns on the north coast of Iceland and the cultural and commercial centre for the Skagafjörður district. Saudarkrokur is set at the foot of rolling hills and looks out over the dramatic snow-capped fjords that surround the town.

Saudarkrokur

Day Four

Siglufjordur - Stiflan Valley- Olafsfjordur- Eyjafjordur- Dalvik

Cycling Distance: 50 Miles

We have a gentle climb through a pastoral scene and eventually reach a grand viewpoint of the mountains we are leaving and the coast. Lunch is at the pretty Balagne village of Belgodere.

Ólafsfjörður

Set among deep green valleys, Dalvík is a lively coastal town with a healthy fishing industry. It’s also one of Iceland’s best-known Alpine ski areas and has an outdoor geothermal swimming pool.

Dalvik

Fosshotel

We’ll set off from Siglufjordur, passing underneath the Strákar mountain via the 800 metre-long Strákagöng tunnel. We’ll continue along the coastline to the Máná weather station, which gives panoramic views to other side of the fjord. Our route then turns inwards from the coast. We’ll cycle uphill through the stunning Stíflan Valley, vibrant with lush vegetation, and over the Lágheiði mountain road.

Coast and the Stíflan Valley

As we emerge from the tunnel, breathtaking views open up before us. Here, moss-coloured mountains capped with snow meet the cool blue waters of the fjord. This stunning seascape also offers panoramic views to Grímsey Island, set directly on the Arctic Circle and Iceland’s northernmost inhabited territory. Our journey now takes us along the Eyjafjörður coastline. Eyjafjörður is northern Iceland’s longest fjord, a long, narrow strip of water, surrounded by hills and mountains. We’ll be able to see across the fjord to Dalvík, our final destination for the day.

Eyjafjörður

Day Two

Reykjavik - Thingvellir - Gullfoss

- Geysir - Kerlingarfjöll

We’ll continue on to Geysir, the first geyser ever recorded by Europeans. Geysir is mostly dormant, but its sister Strokkir creates eruptions about every 20 minutes, hurling boiling water up to 70 metres in the air. Just a few minutes up the road is Gullfoss, a powerful waterfall with a 105-foot double cascade plunging into a narrow canyon down to the River Hvítá. We’ll have something to eat at Gullfoss and then continue on into Iceland’s remote interior, heading for the Kerlingarfjöll mountains.

Geysir and Gulfoss

Cosy Mountain Huts

From Reykjavik we’ll travel by 4WD to the North of Iceland. Our journey north takes in the three principal markers on Iceland’s ‘Golden Circle’ tourist trail. First we’ll make a brief stop at breathtaking Thingvellir, the original home of the Icelandic parliament, which was the first of its kind in the world. Thingvellir and the surrounding National Park have a unique geological history, centred around an enormous rift created by shifting tectonic plates. The scenery is spectacular, with imposing craggy cliffs and meandering rivers running into a vast lake. Also visible are the remains of the ancient parliament itself: fragments of around 50 booths built from turf and stone.

Thingvelir

We will have a fabulous evening walk through these extraordinary mountains composed of rhyolite, a rare multi-coloured rock formation, which makes the terrain shimmer in reds, greens and yellows. There is also a natural thermal pool for an open air dip – well recommended!

Kerlingarfjöll Mountains

 
 
 

After breakfast we transfer from Dalvik (45 mins) by Land Rovers to Akureyri. In Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland, surrounded by 1000-1500 metre mountains which sweep down to the sea, we will explore the town with an opportunity to shop for souvenirs.

Akureyri

t Godafoss we will have a break with time to explore this magnificent waterfall at close hand by foot. The final 25km ride is through lush farmland and with the wonderful early evening light enhances the vast vistas. We will arrive at our accommodation for the night, luxury Icelandic style cabins set in an amazingly remote rural landscape where we will have a superb home-made dinner and once again hopefully witness the midnight sun.

Laxa Valley via Godafoss

Day Five

Dalvik - Akureyri - Mount Vaolaheidi - Laxa Valley via Godafoss Waterfall

Cycling Distance: 46 Miles

During the morning we shall cycle towards Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) along a beautifully scenic route, crossing the Ejafjardará River before cycling on a rough road track across the wonderful mountain pass, Vaðlaheidi (520m).

Mount Vaolaheidi

Stadarholl

Hotel Skúlagarður

 

Hotel Siglunes

Day Six

Laxa Valley to Lundur via Husavik - Tjornes Peninsular - Asbyrgi

Cycling Distance: 55 Miles

There are two options this morning. For those who are keen there is an early morning cycle into Husavik to catch the mid-morning whale watching trip. For others it is a vehicle transfer into town. The journey is through the lush valley of Adaldalur, covered with crater-filled lava fields. Husavik is a picturesque fishing port, home to a striking timber church and also renown as a centre for whale watching. Over ten species have been spotted off Husavik’s coastline, including minke whales, white beaked dolphins, porpoises, and enormous blue whales.

Husavik

Our destination at Asbyrgi,within the Jokulsargljufur National Park is a giant natural amphitheatre, flanked by 100 metre high cliffs. Icelandic folklore tells that the depression of a mythical giant’s foot created the massive land rift. According to scientists , however, a catastrophic flood pouring from the great Vatnajolull icecap formed the fissure. We’ll embark on a short trek through the canyon, wooded with birch, willow and mountain ash, and take in the stunning views. We will then have a short transfer by landrovers to our accommodation at the Hotel Skúlagarður.

Asbyrgi

Lake Myvatn - Reykjahlíð - Leirhnjúkur - Lake Viti - Námaskarð - Hverfjall - Dimmuborgir - Hofdi - Myvatn

Cycling Distance: 18 Miles

 

After lunch at the dock, cycling continues around the dramatic Tjörnes peninsula (our most northerly point) to Ásbyrgi. Tjörnes is a very beautiful mountainous peninsula with interesting and unique fossils embedded in its cliffs. We should be able to reach the seashore and have a look for fossils. You should also see colonies of puffins. We will stop for a picnic lunch at our most northerly point looking out to sea with another closer view of Grimsey Island. There is also a small museum which is worth a visit.

Tjörnes Peninsula

Today we’ll embark on some off-road cycling through exhilarating landscapes. Our journey will follow the River Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which runs through the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park. The park is known as Iceland’s Grand Canyon due to its deep gorges, unusual rock formations, caves and waterfalls. Its unique terrain was created by a volcanic eruption beneath the Jökulsá riverbed 8,000 years ago.

Jökulsárgljúfur

This final stretch of cycling takes us off road, through an awe-inspiring frozen wilderness. Our destination for the evening is the small town of Reykjahlíð, set on the northeastern shores of Lake Mývatn. This stunning lake, dotted with lava islands, is fed by nutrient-rich spring-water and is populated by a variety of sea birds.

Reykjahlíð

Day Seven

Lundur- Joulsargljufur - Hljodaklettar - Holmatungur - Dettifoss - Rekkjahlid

Cycling Distance: 55 Miles

As we continue along the river, we’ll stop on the way for three short treks. First at Hljóðaklettar, nicknamed ‘Whispering Cliffs’. These basaltic rocks form unique swirling and spiralling patterns and create an unusual echo. This first trek ends with a short climb up a rhyolite volcano. On our second trek we’ll visit an immense fresh water spring surrounded by lush vegetation called Hólmatungur, in an area of rich greenery studded with more beautiful basaltic rock formations.. Finally we’ll walk to a vantage point, which gives panoramic views of Dettifloss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. This majestic waterfall drops 44 metres into the canyon below with shattering force, and is often framed by spray-filled rainbows.

Three Treks

Reykjahlíð

Reykjahlíð

Day Nine

Return towards Reykjavik

Cycling Distance: 55 Miles

 

Day Eight

We’ll then ride back downhill to Námaskarð, one of Iceland’s most active volcanic regions. An area of outstanding natural beauty, Námaskarð is renowned for its sulphurous mud springs and steaming fumaroles. This geothermal site is barren of vegetation, but is rich in colour from its vibrant mineral deposits. We’ll climb up to the top of Námaskarð and take in stunning 360-degree views of the surroundings.

Námaskarð

We’ll start the day with a brief transfer to Leirhnjúkur. This geothermal field was created by lava flow from the nearby Mount Krafla, and is characterised by boiling mud-bogs, sulphurous gases, and brightly coloured mineral deposits. We’ll trek across the lava field’s lunar-style landscape, towards Lake Viti, a mineral-rich lake of opaque blue water, which sits on top of a volcanic crater.

Leirhnjúkur

Then it’s back on the bikes for a ride to the base of the cone-shaped Mount Hverfjall, an enormous volcano with a gigantic tephra crater. We’ll scale Mount Hverfjall’s summit and walk around its narrow rim with its magnificent views over Lake Myvatn and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Mount Hverfjall

Then it’s back on the bikes for a ride to the base of the cone-shaped Mount Hverfjall, an enormous volcano with a gigantic tephra crater. We’ll scale Mount Hverfjall’s summit and walk around its narrow rim with its magnificent views over Lake Myvatn and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Mount Hverfjall

It’s then back on the bikes, transferred for us to Dimmuborgir, and we’ll cycle alongside Lake Mývatn to Hofdi. Hofdi is particularly unusual: a headland populated with birch and spruce trees and wild flowers, it’s shores are lined with caves and lava pillars that seem to rise out of the crystal-clear waters.

Hofdi

We’ll then walk down the volcano and trek our way to Dimmuborgir. Dimmuborgir is a surreal lava park towering with unique rock formations and dotted below with pretty flowers. These crenellated rocks were formed by hot lava flowing over pools of water, from which steam escaped and hardened.

Dimmuborgir

For the final 12 kilometres of today’s itinerary, we’ll cycle along the south side of Lake Mývatn. We’ll get a different perspective of the lake from here and hopefully see the sun setting behind the volcanoes in a blaze of yellow and crimson. Once back at the hotel, we’ll have a celebratory dinner, marking the end of our cycling and trekking expedition.

Lake Mývatn

 

We drive along Route 1 anticlockwise back towards Reykjavik and stop en route at a fascinating port of Borganes some 6o miles north of Reykjavik. We stay at the delightful Borganes guest house with views of the sea and mountains

Return towards Reykjavik

Borganes Guest House

 

Day Ten

An Opportunity to Explore Reykjavik

There will be an opportunity to visit Rekyjavik. We will drive the final 60 miles to Reykjavik where there should be time to see more city sights.

City Sights

 

Questions

Who is this ride suited to?

The Ride is likely to appeal to both the leisure and more advanced cyclists. With a mix of on and off road,  this ride is ideal for all those with a fair cycling knowledge. Suitable for both couples and singles. Open for all ages.

What's the terrain like?

Good quality quiet roads along coast and volcanic interior plus several off-road sections across mountain passes on tracks capable of 4 wheel drive. Several moderate hills each day but not too steep or sustained. Open sweeping views all the way create great distractions from the effort of climbing.

What's included in the price?

All accommodation, meals (including picnic lunches) , vehicle support, bike hire, maintenance and first aid.

What's not included?

Flights to and from Iceland, Insurance, Drinks except water and juices whilst cycling, tips.

Is there a support team?

Yes. This tour is fully escorted with Tour manager, Lead cyclist, cycle maintenance and first aid, provision of picnic lunches.

What's the weather like?

Temperate – temps 10 – 20degC – need warm clothing for evenings - waterproofs essential – bring strong walking shoes for short hike.

What about flights?

Riders are to arrange their own flights to Reykjavik.

Are there non-cycling activities?

Hiking in areas inaccessible for bikes but essential to visit; hot spring bathing; whale watching.