Cycling Through The Vestfirðir Tunnel, Westfjords of Iceland

Here’s what you need to know about cycling through the tunnel between Pingeryi and Isafjordur in Iceland.

Vestfirdir Tunnel in Iceland

Cycling Vestfirdir Tunnel (Vestfjarðagöng)

When I was in the planning stages of my bicycle trip around Iceland, one of the unknown factors that got me thinking were the tunnels. What were the tunnels in Iceland like for cycling through, would I be allowed to cycle through the tunnels, and would they be dangerous?

One of the tunnels I encountered on my bicycle tour in Iceland was the one between Þingeyri to Ísafjörður (Pingeyri and Isafjordur), and I had heard mixed reviews as to what riding through it on a bicycle was like.

In 2023, I cycled through this tunnel and lived to tell the tale – obviously! So, I thought I’d write this little blog post to put your mind at ease should you be planning on cycling this part of the Iceland Westfjords yourself.

What you need to know about the Vestfirdir Tunnel

First of all, I’m not even sure that’s its name! It might actually be called Vestfjarðagöng – perhaps someone from Iceland can chip in and help me out on that one!

In any case, it’s the tunnel between Pingeyri and Isafjordur located in the north-west of Iceland in an area known as the Westfjords. This tunnel is also known as ‘the tunnel in Iceland with a junction in it’, and it is the longest tunnel in Iceland.

If you want to cycle between these two towns in either direction you can either take the tunnel (recommended), or push your bike over a mountain for a few hours (doesn’t sound much fun).

Bicycles are allowed in this tunnel, although there is no dedicated bicycle lane or path on which to cycle.

All the research I had done about this tunnel in the Icelandic Westfjords led me to believe it was 9kms long. While strictly speaking there is 9kms of tunnel, some of that is the junction I didn’t need to go down. So, the cycling distance of the tunnel was 6 kms and the road was sealed all the way.

Cycling in the Vestfirdir Tunnel

Overall, the cycling experience was not too bad. As that’s not very descriptive though, I’d better give you more details of this ride!

First off, you’ll need good lights. And, even with good lights, if there are any bulbs out inside the tunnel you are going to feel like you are in the pitch black.

I cycled from the direction of Pingeyri to Isafjordur, and that meant for me, the first 4kms were more challenging. The tunnel has a one-way system, and the direction I was cycling in had right of way. Vehicles coming in the other direction had to pull over into lay-by's. It sounds complicated but in practice works out great.

Of course, being on a bicycle, you can more or less guarantee the oncoming traffic isn’t going to give way to you! Also, the traffic coming from behind can’t give you much room.

I suggest just listening out for other vehicles, and pulling over before they reach you. The buses in particular aren’t going to slow down for anyone!

After 4kms the road goes back to two lanes, and the cycling is easier. There is no particularly difficult incline when cycling through this tunnel.

Key observation- Try to get a feel for traffic leading up to riding through the tunnel, and avoid busier parts of the day. Be as visible as possible, and ride safely!

Also read:

Vestfjarðagöng in Iceland

Adventure cyclist Dave Briggs bike touring the PanAmerican HighwayDave Briggs
Dave Briggs is a travel writer from the UK. He's biked around much of the world on different long distance cycling trips, including from Alaska to Argentina, and England to South Africa. In addition to this guide on cycling through the longest tunnel in Iceland, he's written many other guides to bike touring.

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