Iceland: Fertile South Bike Tour
Seven nights; eight days. A bike tour on paved and smooth gravel or lava roads in South Iceland, with options to hike, ride horses, explore Thorsmork by foot, and visit the beautiful Westman Islands.
“Pleasantly surprised by the high quality of this first international bicycle tour for me…” – William H
WHY THIS TRIP?
- Some of the best biking in the world along Þingvallvatn.
- Easy access from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city.
- Other-worldly landscapes: geysers, volcanoes, waterfalls, glaciers, green hills, and black sand beaches.
- Scenery is almost always superb and unobstructed by forests.
- Unique wildlife such as puffins and Icelandic horses.
- Midnight sun in late June and early July. Long days all summer.
- Fascinating and magnificent Westman Islands.
- Frequent hotpot soaks.
- World’s first parliament at Þingvellir.
- DAY 1: Introductions
- DAY 2: ~43 km
- DAY 3: ~77 km
- DAY 4: ~50 km or ~70km
- DAY 5: ~70km
- DAY 6: ~54 km
- DAY 7: ~65 km
- DAY 8: Variable
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Reykjavik, BSI Bus Terminal, 13:00, day one.
Finish: Reykjavik, 17:00, day eight.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Early afternoon pickup in Reykjavik for transfer to your guesthouse in Hveragerdi. Outdoors, you will enjoy numerous hiking trails along geothermal hillsides, the hot swimming pool and “hotpot” beside the river. Indoors, you will enjoy a geothermal sauna. You will test your bikes and explore the greenhouse community, where tropical plants grow at the Arctic Circle, thanks to the unlimited hot water just beneath the earth’s surface here. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Hveragerdi to Lake Pingvallavatn ~43km
Today you are on your way to Nesbud, located on the shores of Lake Þingvallvatn. You will cycle alongside the lake toward the Trans-Atlantic Rift and one of the most geologically active areas in Iceland. The roads become quieter as the day progresses and there are a series of hills to climb as you ascend above the headland to the edge of the lake. Once you arrive at your inn, you can spend the afternoon exploring the hiking trails around the geothermal hot water plant or tackling a steep 17% climb to a stunning viewpoint. BLD
Hotel Ion, Nesjavollum
Lake Pingvallavatn to Geysir ~77km
Ride on a quiet paved road around the shore of Þingvallvatn, to the site of the world’s oldest surviving parliament at Þingvellir. There you can stand on the edge of the Mid-Atlantic rift, and enjoy gazing into the depths of the clear glacial water of the lake, at the divergence zone of tectonic plates. From here, you’ll bike to the namesake of all geysers, at Geysir. Stop for lunch options overlooking Laugarvatn, then ride the rolling road along its shore toward Geysir. You will spend the night in private cottages near the geyser, which will allow you to visit it after the crowds from Reykjavik have left for the day. Watch the late-night sunset as you sit beside this magnificent natural wonder. BD
Geysir to Flúðir ~50km or Brjánstaðir ~70km, via Gullfoss
Visit the magnificent waterfall of Gullfoss, then enjoy a downstream ride along the banks of the Hvita River. Afternoon optional stop at Skalholt, a modern church with stained glass mosaics on the ancient site of the first Christian bishopric in Iceland. This spiritual centre has been a theological powerhouse since 1000A.D. In 1953 foundations were laid for the new church. During excavation, the remains of a 1309 cathedral were found, including the carved coffin of Pall Jonsson, a hard-as-nails bishop whose death in 1211, according to Pals Saga, was greeted with an earth tremor and deluge. When excavators opened the coffin in ’53, there was a downpour again – the biggest in many years. BD
Flúðir or Brjánstaðir to Leirubakki ~70km
Today’s long ride takes you up the banks of the Pjorsa River, by the newly constructed hydroelectric facility at Stöng, and downstream to a uniquely Scandinavian retreat in the middle of the volcano Mt. Hekla’s lava fields. Along the way, you will visit the reconstruction of a traditional Icelandic homestead which was abandoned in 1104, during an eruption of Hekla. You may even be able to take a short hike to a beautiful waterfall nearby. The most intrepid cyclists can ride the rest of the way to the hotel, across a hydroelectric dam and endless fields of lava and pumice. The hotpot at your hotel will be a welcome site if you decide to do this afternoon ride! BLD
Leirubakki Guest House, Landsvei
Leirubakki to Sudurlandsvegur ~52km on lava roads. Alternative paved route ~64km
Start the day biking on quiet roads through farmlands and around the volcano range of Hraun, near the valley of Þórsmörk. Today’s feature ride is on a lava road through fantastic open Icelandic landscape. There is a paved road alternative if you find it too challenging riding on the lava. Your last stop of the day is Keldur, a prime example of later homesteading featured in Njal’s Sagas. BLD
Sudurlandsvegur to Skógafoss 85km, or take a 4WD bus to explore the hidden valley of Thorsmork on foot (+$100pp).
Follow the coast under the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. The wind blows here, and we adjust the days plan to take advantage of a tailwind. The ride is flat except for a couple of good climbs near Vik. You will gather for a picnic lunch beneath the waterfall Skogafoss, where distractions include a very interesting folk museum. Additional options if you end up going to Vík include visiting the wool shop and the puffin colony at Dyrholaey.
The optional alternative today is an independent day exploring Thorsmork on foot. Transport leaves at 09:00, and returns at about 20:00, just in time for dinner. We send you with lunch, but your guides only accompany you if the entire group opts in. BLD
A short ferry between cliff-dwelling seabird colonies will take you today to the Westman Islands, where a recent eruption created Surtsey – one of the world’s newest islands. It also forced a night-time evacuation of 5300 residents, and buried 400 homes under a new 600ft mountain of fresh lava. You can climb this still-warm lava mountain. The story is fascinating and the location provides a particularly beautiful setting for the last day of this adventure. Return to Reykjavik by 17:00. BL
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
“Top notch” – Stuart B
- Jun 16-23
- Jul 21-28
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 6795 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners, van and guide support, maps and route instructions, taxes
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Self-Guided: C 6255 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, essential transfers, maps and route instructions, taxes
Semi-supported, independent tours including welcome briefing, lodging, luggage transfers and necessary vehicle transfers. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 1365
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, this usually comes at a surcharge depending on the details, please get in touch for more information. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
Iceland is awe-inspiring. The landscape, so newly formed, refreshingly pristine, and geologically active, defies portrayal with words and pictures, although it will inspire you to try! Steam rises from hot pools on volcanic mountainsides, and glacier-fed waterfalls tumble down to the lush lands below. We have combined the best scenery with the least used roads, and the most comfortable hotels, to create a bicycle tour you’ll never forget. We provide abundant vehicle support, while you ride the wide open spaces, breathing clear air warmed by the Gulf Stream, and bathing in water heated by the earth. When the road beckons in front of you, and the sun illuminates the rivers, pastures, and icecaps all around, you will be moved by the sheer magnificence of your surroundings. You may ponder, as you gaze into the Mid-Atlantic Rift, or soak in your hotpot beneath the midnight sun, the humbling power of the dynamic earth.
The cycling begins in Hveragerði, not far from Reykjavik. You will ride your bike around the lake of Þingvallvatn to the ancient parliament at Þingvellir, then to Geysir and the impressive waterfall at Gullfoss. Skirting the mountains on fairly level roads at their base, you will cross the fertile Biskupstungur (“Fields between Rivers”) to the lava fields below Mount Hekla, and riding under the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier between Hvollsvollur and Vik before taking a ferry to the spectacular Westman Islands for a final afternoon of exploration on foot. You will rest in a charming combination of small inns, Scandinavian-style guesthouses, and comfortable hotels. You will be able to bicycle until your heart’s content.
Bring your sense of wonder and adventure!