Although I have now been living in Greece for 9 months, my cycling and travel ambitions have not changed. I have a huge list of travel adventures I want to pursue. One of those, is to cycle around Iceland. Will 2016 be the year I visit the “Land of Fire and Ice”?
Cycle Around Iceland
There are many countries I would still like to explore by bicycle. Japan, for example sounds a fascinating place to cycle around. As does Sumatra. One country which has fascinated me for a long time however, is Iceland. Many people choose to spend 2 days in Reykjevik for city breaks, or a week or two to tour the island. I imagine cycling around Iceland would take the best part of a month.
For me, this comes down to the varied landscape, and remote, rugged nature of the terrain. In short, it looks challenging to cycle around Iceland! It's not just about the challenge though. I really want to experience everything that it has to offer. I would love to see the glaciers, volcanoes, and caves such as Skaftafell ice cave. I have still never seen the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), so that would be high on my list as well.
It also looks like a reasonably compact country to cycle around. It is fairly easy to put together tours of two, four, six, or eight weeks, depending on how much time I have.
Best Time To Cycle Around Iceland
The one obvious fact to take into consideration, is that Iceland can be quite cold at times. The clue is probably in the name! So, picking the right time of year to cycle around Iceland is essential. In terms of temperature, the best time of year to visit Iceland for a cycling tour, would be May through to September. Icelandic weather is notoriously changeable though, so this doesn't mean I would get a bright, sunny day every day! Hey, it's all part of the challenge.
The only problem with going at this time, is that there is a much reduced chance of seeing the Northern Lights. This is something I would need to consider. The Northern Lights mainly occur during the winter months. Cycling then would need more specialist equipment than I currently have.
What To Take to Cycle Around Iceland
My current cycling gear list describes pretty much the gear I would take. There would be a few alterations here and there. I also have a youtube video which describes the gear I would take for a one week cycle tour. This set-up is not massively different than the cycling gear I would take on a longer cycling trip around the world.
Where to Stay in Iceland
I am a wild camper at heart, and so would probably wild camp for most of the time. There are also over 150 campgrounds throughout Iceland, and of course hundreds of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other accommodation.
Possible Logistical Difficulties in Cycling Around Iceland
The main problem that I foresee if I cycle around Iceland, is access to food and water. Because of the distances between some places, I may need to carry several days food at a time. This would just need a bit of forethought, and is something I had to do when cycling from Alaska to Argentina.
Costs Involved in Cycling Around Iceland
The massive benefit of travelling by bicycle, is that it is very cheap! That said, a trip to Iceland would involve two major expenses for me.
1. Flying to Iceland from Greece – (I haven't researched too much into this, but I am assuming I would need to fly to the UK first).
2. Food and accommodation – Accommodation costs in Iceland would be kept down by wild camping, or using official camp-sites for the majority of the time. Food would be my next biggest expense if I cycle around Iceland. It would be very expensive when compared to food here in Greece, and so I would need to allow a higher daily budget.
I would estimate that to cycle around Iceland for a 1 month cycle tour may cost me £1000. A 2 month cycle tour, approximately £1500. However, I would look to offset that by working with some local businesses as I cycled.
Route for Cycling Around Iceland
For some countries, it is possible to route plan on the ground. To cycle around Iceland though, I think planning in advance would be needed. This would enable me to not only plan a route which would pass key points of interest, but also work out distances and availability of food.
Iceland does in fact have a ring road which goes all around the country. So if I had the time, this would be one option. There are also a great many points of interest in just the south of the country. One bicycle touring blog which I read, showed that he covered the south of Iceland in 1 month. Clearly, I need to sit down, and look at some maps in order to work out a route which is challenging, but not overly ambitious.
And there we have it. My first steps towards planning a cycling adventure in Iceland! To cycle around Iceland is something I really want to achieve next year, and so you will see updates pop up on the blog over the next few months.
Have you cycled around Iceland, or would like to? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.