Iceland is a Nordic island nation that embraces breath-taking natural surroundings with mesmerizing mother nature. You can explore ice-covered mountains, rhythmic rivers, adventurous hiking trails, thrilling campsites, and warm geothermal spas all around Iceland. The pleasant and unpredictable weather is one of the most exciting things about this northern country that attracts many tourists, travelers, trekkers, hikers, campers, explorers, and adventure fanatics. Along with sightseeing and northern lights hunting, you can enjoy various sports and activities in Iceland, which includes fishing, snowmobiling, glacier hiking, dog sledding, whale watching, and cycling.
Cycling through luscious green trails or snow-blanket covered roads is a once in a lifetime experience, that you can have while in Iceland. The greenery, eye-captivating natural lives, cozy weather, and welcoming natives, make your experience cherishable and special. Imagine, cycling through great woodworks across various towns and villages in Iceland with your family and friends. Isn’t this a surreal experience you want to live in? But before you hit the grounds, keep in mind some tips and things to have a pleasant stay in the arms of this beautiful Vikings’ land.
Let’s Begin with the Popular Route- The Ring Road
Cycling around Iceland means traveling across the super stunning and well-connected ring road or Route 1. The road connects with the wonders of north, south, east, and west from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. While many tourists explore the route by renting a car or booking a self-drive tour, the others, especially the adventurous ones, prefer hitting the ground and exploring the magical site on a bicycle.
The road that goes all the way around the country is over 1,332 kilometers long which covers the Ring Road along with Westfjords and Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west. You can catch the glimpse of the beautiful locations on the South cost before reaching the remote and untouched region of the Eastfjords. Talking about the attractions, the ring road crosses major towns of the country, these include Egilsstaðir in the east, Borgarnes in the west, Kirkjubaejarklaustur, and Vik in the south, and Akureyri and Myvatn in the north.
The route is well-maintained and safe for you to travel. Remember to carry along a road map and keep an eye on the weather reports, as some of the roads may get closed due to extreme weather conditions. This only happens during the high winter season in Iceland. The journey is quite tiring on this route and you would require at least two weeks to cover all the directions. At least if you want to make any memorable stops at all the beautiful attractions that will be on your way. You need to be fit and in the practice of riding a bicycle before traveling through the ring road as it requires you to paddle through different terrains and regions.
Why You Should Cycle in Iceland?
There are plenty of reasons to convince you to take a cycling or biking tour in Iceland, as this place is so enchanting and beautiful. Iceland is a small island located in the northern European region but it embraces an unbelievable diversity and number of landscapes. From the weather to surroundings to the landscapes, every inch you travel down this place you explore an all-new aspect of this country. The long stretches feature interesting trails, valleys, rivers, lakes, natural parks, and mountains, nothing is redundant in Iceland except for its breath-taking natural beauty. If you’re looking for some more solid reasons to plan a cycling tour across Iceland, here is a list of things that you should take a look at!
If you’re traveling to Iceland in summer then you can cycle around all day as there is plenty of sunlight available throughout the day, sometimes for more than 20 hours. You can travel through thrilling and exciting hiking trails or take the popular ring road or Route 1 as it encircles the whole country, taking you to the wonders of all four directions from the capital city of Reykjavik.
Safety on Roads
With a welcoming natural habitat, the roads and nearby locations are safe to travel in Iceland. Iceland has a very low crime rate which means you can cycle to different locations and any time without worrying about your safety. Also, the roads are well-maintained throughout the year, eliminating the chances of major bumps and fall accidents. The people around different towns, villages, and cities are welcoming and hospitable, you can reach out to them if you need any help with the road map, accommodation, and food.
Safe from Various Animals, And Even Mosquitos
If you’re skeptical about cycling in the remotest areas because of the presence of wild animals in the valley, then don’t worry you will not come across any life-threatening animal while cycling around the country. You can find friendly horses, puffins, and sheep while crossing some of the towns on your way to cycling through different routes. Due to unpredictable weather, which is normally cold, you won’t come across any irritating and annoying mosquitoes.
Finding other Cycling Tourists
Traveling across Iceland with a cycle is a popular practice among many tourists from across the globe. As mentioned earlier, the ring road or route 1 is a popular road that most tourists take to travel throughout the country. You can find various other cyclists circling the country which brings in a great opportunity to meet new people, talk to them, share various experiences, and enjoying a great cycling session in the wonderland.
Let’s You Save Money
Admiring the natural sites is free, so is the fresh water in Iceland. You can get some cheap groceries for your cycling tour, which makes this experience a lot cheaper than renting a car of self-driving tour. You don’t have to worry about the gas, parking, or traveling through the small roads. Riding a bicycle is both advantageous for your fitness and pocket while in Iceland.
Renting a Cycle in Iceland
For a great cycling tour, you need to have a cycle that works on different roads in Iceland. The best way to have access to some of the best cycles for an Iceland tour is by renting one in the capital city, Reykjavik. You can explore various options of bicycles while finding the one that suits you best for your tour. The renting services offer these cycles for different routes and areas, like for city, mountains, touring and roads. It is important to pick the one that fits your requirement as is comfortable for your session. You can rent the bicycle using various online local websites, offering these cycles at cheap rental prices.
If you have your own bike, you can of course take it with you on your cycling trip to Iceland.
Take a Look at The Cycling Rules
As a tourist, always go through the rules and regulations you’re supposed to follow when in a foreign land. Similarly, no matter how thrilling and exciting cycling in Iceland may sound, you have to follow some rules set by the officials. These road rules apply for everyone, including cyclists as they ensure your safety:
- When you’re traveling in a group, always ride in a single lane to avoid being an obstacle for other drivers on the road.
- As per the rule, every vehicle drives on the right side of the road in Iceland, which eventually remains the same for cycling. So, always stay on the right side of the road!
- One of the important rules to remember while cycling is that off-road traveling is illegal in Iceland as it can harm the delicate mother nature. You can detour onto some other routes but do not try off-road traveling. Cycling in open terrains can risk your life and cause damage to your cycling equipment, so be respectful of both the rules and landscapes.
- Iceland embraces unpredictable weather even on sunny days you can experience dense rains and heavy mists. To protect yourself from any injuries and unprecedented events, always have a tail and headlight. This will indicate to the other drivers on the road about your presence.
- It is not a rule but an important step that you can follow before arriving to Iceland, which is to register yourself on Safetravel.is. This will help the Icelandic authorities to keep a track of your itinerary and presence in the country. If anything happens to you during your expedition, they can send a rescue team for your help.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Hitting the Road
Cycling across Iceland is the most fun and exhilarating thing you could enjoy, alone or with a group. Traveling through roads covered with luscious green landscapes, rhythmic rivers, beautiful towns, and aesthetically appealing valleys is an experience that you would carry along with yourself throughout life. But you need to be very responsible while cycling in Iceland by keeping others and yourself safe, following all the rules, and taking into consideration the tips given below:
- The best time for cycling in Iceland is in summer and autumn, avoid cycling in winter as the roads are sloppy with less or zero daylight. The roads mostly get covered in the snow blanket which makes cycling difficult for you.
- Cycling requires good fitness levels which means do not hit the grounds when you’re not in the practice of riding a bicycle as this may cause serious harm to your body. You need to travel across a long distance to reach a specific location or destination, so ensure you are capable enough to ride through a longer distance.
- When taking Route 1, remember that the road is only covered with great landscapes and natural surroundings, which means access to food stalls and grocery stores will be limited. So, pack along with some easy-to-carry food items that help you keep going. You can purchase the food items from various supermarkets available in the city and carry them along with you. Pro Tip: Always carry something sweet with you, it could be chocolate or candy as these items will boosts energy in your body.
- Always carry a route map along with you; the roads are long and cover a major distance which means you need to get hold of the routes to avoid getting lost in the winter wonderland.
- Iceland is popular across the globe for its unforeseeable weather, which means you need to pack for literally every season and weather condition. From comfortable and weatherproof shoes to compact backpack to various cycling equipment, come prepared to witness something new and unpredictable in this country.
- The accommodations in Iceland are pretty expensive and when cycling through different routes and terrains you have no choice but to stay in limited options available, so come prepared. If need be camp in the wilderness, the country is safe and houses no harmful animals which make staying at a campsite a more reasonable option. To save your pocket from last-minute bookings, try to book accommodation in advance.
- The country witnessed a large number of tourists every year which somehow hinders the sustainability of the natural surroundings. So, try to contribute to its cause for sustainable tourism, do not try to go off-track as it can harm nature and disturb the vegetation. Also, be responsible while cycling on the road by limiting the waste. Also, do not unnecessarily exploit the natural resources.
- The other important thing to know about cycling in Iceland is the limited number of public washrooms and urinals at some routes. You have to be careful in such situations and plan your ride accordingly. Cover the distance smartly with accurate speed to help yourself in emergencies.
Iceland is a beautiful and enchanting northern country that brings everyone close to mother nature. Be it through hiking, trekking, or cycling, exploring the country is a surreal experience that helps you look at life from a whole new perspective. The natural and unique phenomenon like the hot spring tubs and northern lights make this country heaven on earth. You would enjoy every bit of your stay in Iceland as you’ll get an experience to uncover many beautiful things nature has to offer. While cycling in Iceland, keep your focus on enjoying the scenic beauty while being attentive and careful on the road. Look for eye-captivating birds, tall mountains, friendly horses, unique flowers, and awe-inspiring waterfalls. Cycling through this wonderland brings you close to your inner self as well as to mother nature. Each moment you spend in the lap of beautiful nature reminds you of the things you are deprived of in the urban areas. Absorb everything and bring back the best of memories from Iceland to cherish them throughout your lifetime!