After reading the many of the blogs and stories off those who have biked Iceland as well as my lack of experience in bike touring I have come to understand that precise planning may be near impossible. The unpredictability of the weather, recovery from fatigue, bike issues etc. complicate any hopes of having a perfect 21 day plan.
Nonetheless to give myself a benchmark towards the ultimate goal of completing the overall objective I have put together a series of daily targets. In an attempt to account for the unexpected I have also included 1 buffer day over the 21 day biking schedule.
The journey begins Friday, June 9th where I am scheduled to arrive in Iceland at 15:50 on a direct flight originating from Zurich. Hopefully my bike will also arrive but, for those who know me and my luggage history understand, this is not a given.
Hazards avoided, I will be headed into Reykjavik for the last comfortable night over the next 21 days ,at a central hotel to assemble my bike and ready myself for the road ahead.
An early wakeup and hopefully a hearty breakfast awaits. I will check out of the hotel, storing my baggage for my return and head to the local bike shop. I have arranged to have my bike inspected and serviced if required figuring it is a good idea to atleat begin the trip with all in order. Then LET THE BIKING BEGIN!!!
Start: Reykjavik End: KM: 126
The view of the Day: Hraunfossar Falls
The second day on the bike and the second longest planned ride of the trip. An ambitious trek to put myself in position to take the morning ferry the following day.
Start: Hraunfossar End: Stykkisholmur KM: 163
The view of the Day: Town & Church
Pack up and get to Ferry Baldur for a 09:00 departure. The 2.5hr voyage across the Greenland Sea will get me to Brjanslaekur on the West fjords where the biking will begin. The late biking part will most likely push my arrival time in Ísafjörður into the evening leaving for a short recovery time before the next days ride.
Start: Stykkisholmur End: Ísafjörður KM: 119
The view of the Day: Coastline & Fishing Village
Being the largest town in the northern penninsula (c. 2600 inhabitants) and with the expected late arrival of the day before I hope to spend a little time looking around the area before heading onward to the next stop, Heydalur, where it is said that lying in the hot spring gives one strength.
Start: Ísafjörður End: Heydalur KM: 130
The view of the Day: Heydalur hot natural pool
The shortest ride of the first week and beginning to leave the West fjords. Can only hope to catch a sunset similar to the one below.
Start: Heydalur End: Hólmavík KM: 110
The view of the Day: Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft
The last day of week one and hopefully by days end 762 km covered. Strategic stop to position myself for week two.
Start: Hólmavík End: Staðurskáli KM: 114
The view of the Day: Coastline & last view of West fjords
The journey east begins… a couple of lengthy rides over the next couple of days ahead…
Start: Staðurskáli End: Varmahlíð KM: 134
The view of the Day: Glaumbaer Museum
One of the highly anticipated stops on the tour…. will let the picture justify the rest.
Start: Varmahlíð End: Godafoss KM: 145
The view of the Day: Godafoss Waterfall
The first day of less than 100km arrives. Much needed given the demands of day 11. Also hopefully leaving a little extra time to take in some of the surrounding sites.
Start: Godafoss End: Reykjahlíð KM: 80
The view of the Day: Víti Crater
Hopefully I have enjoyed a good night sleep since the second half of the trip starts with the longest ride of the tour. It will be the final leg of travelling East as I reach the coast. One of the largest towns in Iceland also neighbours the third largest Waterfall.
Start: Reykjahlíð End: Egilsstaðir KM: 165
The view of the Day: Hengifoss Waterfall
A short ride to the southern most district of the east. A coastal village is home to the pyramid-shaped 1069 meter Búlandstindur fjord.
Start: Egilsstaðir End: Djúpivogur KM: 86
The view of the Day: Village and Berufjörður fjord.
Biking south along the coast line should provide some great views and hopefully not so great wind. The end point of day thirteen is Hofn which is home to Europe’s biggest glacier, Vatnajökull.
Start: Djúpivogur End: Hofn KM: 104
The view of the Day: Vatnajökull and Hofn town
Traveling south west across the coast with the last scheduled ride of more than 100 km of the tour. Another one of the most impressive waterfalls of Iceland is todays destination standing at 12 meters tall.
Start: Hofn End: Svartifoss KM: 135
The view of the Day: Svartifoss Waterfall
One of the shortest rides of the trip will end in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Hopefully it will leave me more of the day to explore the area since there are to see many points of interest such as Skaftafell, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Langisjór lake, Eldgjá fissure, the Laki craters and Reynisfjara black beach.
Start: Svartifoss End: Kirkjubæjarklaustur KM: 71
The view of the Day: Pick any of the above
Sweet sixteen sees me arrive in Vik which is the southern most point in my travels and on the island. The beach has been rated as one of the top beaches in the world on some list so it is worth taking a peak.
Start: Kirkjubæjarklaustur End: Vik KM: 81
The view of the Day: Vik beach and Coastline
My journey northwest, direction Reykjavik begins. Hella is todays destination a strategic stop for the next days ride as well next to Icelands most famous volcano.
Start: Vik End: Hella KM: 94
The view of the Day: Hekla Volcano
Riding inland to see one of Iceland’s most famous attractions, the Gullfoss Waterfall. Will try to not get to close to the edge 🙂
Start: Hella End: Gullfoss KM: 83
The view of the Day:
Another short ride in KM’s leads me to Þingvellir. The national park is another one of Icelands most popular tourist destinations and a UNESCO world heritage site. The Almannagjá canyon is the product of the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates.
Start: Gullfoss End: Þingvellir KM: 70
The view of the Day: Þingvellir National Park
The last milestone to be reached on the tour and perhaps the most iconic destination in Iceland awaits. If I make it a deserved cocktail (or two) awaits.
Start: Þingvellir End: Grindavik KM: 88
The view of the Day: Blue Lagoon
As they say…. All good things must come to an end… I guess really all good, bad and all things in general come to an end but no need to worry about that…. If all goes well I would have come full circle and back to Reykavik after 20 Days of biking.
It will be time to maybe grab the odd souvenir and gift for the deserving. To pack down my bike or what is left of it and say Goodbye to a place have long wished to visit. It will be interesting to see how things worked out as compared to this plan but regardless I am sure that it will be three weeks I will remember.
Start: Grindavik End: Reykavik KM: 49
The view of the Day: Warm shower and hotel bed
DAY 22 – THE BUFFER
Maybe the most important day of the trip to account for the unaccountable. Usable for broken bikes, broken weather or broken me. But as the old guy in the Indiana Jones movie says “Choose WISELY”
DAY 23 – THE FLIGHT HOME
An VERY early flight back to Zurich and the real world awaits…. time to plan the next adventure…..