Iceland – Arctic Desert

IMG_1303 (Medium)Iceland is an otherworldly place of fire and ice, marooned near the top of the globe, where the mighty forces of nature have created a volatile playground, perfect for a unique adventure riding experience.

Glaciers, lava fields, volcanoes, tundra, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls and fjords form our pristine wilderness landscape, as we explore this island on isolated roadways and remote gravel tracks. This Iceland Motorcycle Tour features a mix of paved and unpaved roads.

For our tour of Iceland on primarily paved roads only, please see Iceland – Beyond the Wall.

At a glance

12

Duration (days)

1 7 0 0

Miles Covered

Moderate

Riding difficulty

30%

Unpaved Roads

Small

Culture Shock

At a glance

Duration (days): 12
Miles Covered: 1700
Riding difficulty: Moderate
Unpaved Roads: 30%
Culture Shock: Small

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are based on a rider using their own motorcycle. If you need to rent a motorcycle, there is an additional charge shown.

Date Rider
Shared Room
Single Supplement Passenger
Shared Room
Bike Rental
Aug 23 – Sep 3, 2017 £3,695 £600 £2,495 BMW R 1200 GS: £1,200
BMW F 800 GS: £1,000
BMW F 700 GS: £800

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are based on a rider using their own motorcycle. If you need to rent a motorcycle, there is an additional charge shown.
Date: Aug 23 – Sep 3, 2017
Rider Shared Room: £3,695
Single Supplement: £600
Passenger Shared Room: £2,495
Bike Rental: BMW R 1200 GS: £1,200
BMW F 800 GS: £1,000
BMW F 700 GS: £800
    • Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik – see the settler building architecture and experience the vibrant downtown bars and restaurants.
    • The road to “Hell”, the name given to the volcanic crater near crater Askja, viewing the newly formed lava field of the 2014-2015 eruption
    • Riding by Iceland’s geothermal pipeline, an amazing achievement with over 85% percent of houses in Iceland being heated with geothermal energy.
    • This motorcycle tours of Iceland ventures past the largest glacier in Europe, anyone? Ride past Vatnajokull, familiar to Game of Thrones fans as “Beyond the Wall”!
    • Cross the spot where the Eurasian and North American Tectonic plates meet in Iceland, literally tearing the island in half at the rate of one centimetre per year
    • Westfjords, the most remote and isolated part of Iceland, where we ride deserted and twisty roads along the fjords. Visit the witchcraft museum and learn about some of the magic of the Westfjords
    • Reach the westernmost point in Iceland, and also Europe. The nearest landmass due south is the Antarctic!
    • Ride up to the Snaefellsjokull glacier, made famous by Jules Verne in the Journey to the Center of the Earth and Ride through the national park.
    • Go native with Icelandic cuisine – if fermented shark sounds too extreme, sample smoked puffin, with a shot of Brennivin, an Icelandic Schnapps!
    • Try a dip in geothermally heated pools, as great way to relax after a days ride!

    ROUTE MAP

  • Day 1: Arrive Reykjavik
    We collect you from Keflavik Airport and transport you to the Fosshotel in Reykjavik. Your bike will be waiting at the hotel. There is a Tour Briefing and then we go out for a group Welcome Dinner

    Day 2: Reykjavik to Kirkjubæjarklaustur
    Ride by Iceland’s geothermal pipeline and visit waterfalls, geysers and glaciers along the way. You will see the original “geysir”, after which all are named and wonder at the mighty Gullfoss, followed by Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. All spectacular, thundering cascades of water. You’ll also visit the most southern point of Iceland and the Dyrholaey Reserve.

    Day 3: Kirkjubæjarklaustur to Djúpivogur
    Amazing views as you ride towards the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull and the Skaftafell National Park. Get up close to Svinafellsjokull and hear it cracking and grinding as it moves and melts. Cross vast glacial plains and head to Glacier Lagoon and Iceberg Beach, where chucks of the glacier break off and float down to the ocean.

    Day 4: Djupivogur to Adalbol
    A great section of gravel road as we head to Egilsstadir, and then another lovely dirt road through a beautiful valley before we take the Ring Road again.  But only for a short while as we take F-907 south to Adalbol and stop overnight in a remote basic guesthouse in the interior.

    Day 5: Adalbol to Akureyri
    This is an great days ride to the Askja Volcano on some of Iceland’s famous F-roads.  Be prepared for river crossings!  Then we head out to take the gravel road to Dettifoss and the Asbyrgi Cliffs.  We overnight in a country lodge just outside of Akureyrie.

    Day 6: Akureyri to Laugarbakki
    We start the day on Ring Road 1, before reaching a perfectly preserved turf farmhouse, Glaumbaer. Then we take gravel roads around the Watnsnes Peninsula.  You can divert to see the Seal Centre in Hvammstangi, before reaching our riverside hotel.

    Day 7: Laugarbakki to Heydalur
    Now we head to the Westfjords, the most remote and isolated part of Iceland. There are some small sections of good graded unpaved road on this section. In Holmavik, you can visit the small witchcraft & sourcery museum and learn about some of the magic of the Westfjords. We stay overnight on a traditional farm, that has some wonderful “hotpots” to soak in. You can try horse riding and kayaking here too.

    Day 8: Heydalur to Breidavik
    We wind in and out of the fjords and the possibility of spotting whales along the coast. This is simply stunning coastal riding and we can stop off in Isafjordur for a fish lunch before reaching the tiny town of Pingeyrie. This is where the paved road stops and more gravel roads start to take us to Brediavik, the most western point of Iceland.  Our simple accommodation has great beach views – this is claimed to be the most beautiful in Iceland.  You can also ride out to the Latrabjarg Cliffs and spot puffins.

    Day 9: Breidavik to Vogur Country Lodge
    We retrace our tracks before reaching the mainly paved road that will take us along the coast (new paved roads have just been built across the fjords), but there are still some delightful twisty gravel sections taking us over the mountains, before taking a coastal dirt road to our lodge tonight.

    Day 10: Vogur Country Lodge to Langaholt Snaefellsnes
    Heading south, past Budardalur, we then out out to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.  This section can be very windy!  There is a small gravel road that take us up to the Snaefellsjokul glacier, but we need to check conditions and that it’s open.  We rest overnight at a family run guesthouse right on the beach (and with a golf course!)

    Day 11: Langaholt Snaefellsnes to Reykjavik
    We continue to Borganes (where you can see the Settlement Centre), then to Reykholt, where you can visit the Snorrastofa Museum. From here it is a great final gravel road from Husafell to Pingvellir – see the continental drift and the ancient place where Iceland’s chieftains first met to create what is now the oldest existing parliament. Then we head into Reykjavik for our group Farewell Meal.

    Day 12: Depart Reykjavik
    Transfer to airport for flight home.

  • It is important to understand that other than Akureyri (18,000 popn) and Greater Reykjavik (200,000 popn), all other settlements in Iceland are very small. Places marked in large, bold writing may be villages of 200 – 1,500 people. Places marked on a map can look as if they will be towns, but they are only a family homestead or a ranch. Some hotels are on the map in their own right as they consist of a hotel, a restaurant (maybe a petrol pump) and that’s it. Outside the greater Reykjavik area in the South West and Akureryi, everywhere is Iceland is remote and quiet, dominated by farms and fishing activities.

    International hotel chains only exist in Reykavik; outside of this area there are some small Iceland hotel chains such as Fosshotel and IcelandAir (with 8-10 hotels), but after that, pretty much all accommodation is family run and do not have an official star ratings.

    In Reykjavik, we stay at an excellent 4* hotel. However, once we leave Reykjavik, the accommodation varies, but we always aim for it to be an equivalent 3* standard. It has been chosen to reflect the area we are in; sometimes it is the only accommodation available in the area that can accommodate a group of our size. On other occasions the location of the accommodation is stunning and the local food served is excellent, whilst the rooms may be more basic, but clean and tidy. Sometimes rooms do not have televisions. Wifi is available at all hotels, but in remote locations, you need to expect it to be slow and not consistent.  We have one night in the interior where the accommodation has shared bathroom facilities.

    Just a note about the sleeping arrangements and what is the norm in Iceland. Beds are often single beds which are pushed together (for a double bed) or pulled “apart” (for two single beds), depending on the type of bed you have requested. Two single beds for people who are sharing, can still often be pushed close together. Please feel free to pull the beds away from each other! You should also note that it is normal to have two separate sleeping duvets for a couple using one large bed (one large duvet is just not the way it is done in Iceland).

    Rooms will be on a double occupancy shared basis, unless you have booked for a Single Room. Peak season in Iceland means a single room needs to have been requested at the time of making your booking to ensure availability.

  • Before you go

    • Access to GlobeBusters Team pre-departure to request individual meeting about preparing for the trip
    • Departure Handbook, with maps, daily route notes and GPS information where available

    En Route

    • Airport Transfers at the start and end of the Tour.
    • Hotel bed and breakfast accommodation on a shared basis (unless Single Room booked).
    • Standard of accommodation is a mix of equivalent 3* hotels and a 4* hotel in Reykjavik.
    • 2 evening meals, including your Welcome & Farewell Meal and 1 evening meal in a location which is remote and you have no other choice of restaurants.
    • Local overnight hotel parking charges.
    • National Park Entrances is free.

    Support Crew

    • GlobeBusters Tour Leader on a motorcycle, to accompany the group
    • Specialist Icelandic guide as Support Driver
    • Local support vehicle, with mobile phone, medical kit, water, tools and some spares.

     Motorcycle Freight

    • Sea freight of your motorcycle from UK to Iceland Return, with all Customs formalities.
    • In transit insurance for your motorcycle during freight, subject to £500 excess
  • What riding experience do I need?
    This is a 70% paved road tour, with sections of around 30% unpaved roads to access remote locations of interest. There are also some river crossings. Traffic levels are extremely low with good driving standards. Iceland can have changeable weather conditions all year; however July and August are the best times for motorcycle touring.  We recommend this Tour for riders who have some experience of riding on unpaved surfaces, such as gravel or dirt.  All roads used are public highways and shown on maps.  Gravel roads are normally well maintained, but you do need to be aware of deeper gravel or ruts on bends and river crossings.

    How does the motorcycle freight work?
    Your tour price includes the freight of your motorcycle from the UK to Rekyjavik.  You must bring your bike to our shipping depot (close to Grimsby, UK) for sea freight out to Iceland.  The drop off for you motorcycle is normally around 10-12 days prior to the start date.  We will load the container and once it arrives in Iceland we do the Customs procedures and take you bike to the hotel so it is waiting for you.  At the end, we take your bike back to the shipping depot in Iceland for sea freight back to the UK.

    Can I hire a bike?
    If you are not based in the UK and want to take part in this tour, you can hire a BMW GS motorcycle from our local Travel Partner in Rekyjavik.  Just book this option.

    What about flights?
    We do not include flights in your tour price.  You must book your own passenger flights to arrive / depart Rekyjavik.  From the UK, there are direct flights from London, Aberdeen, Belfast, Manchester with a combination of Iceland Air, British Airways, Easyjet, WOW.  Book your flight to arrive no later than 2pm then send us your flight details and, provided you are arriving on the official start date, we will collect you from the airport and transfer you to the hotel.  We also take you back to the airport at the end, provided you are departing on the official end date.

    Do I have to ride in a group?
    No!  We do not make you ride in convoy.  We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride.  We give you a road book, GPS co-ordinates and hotel information.  You can use this to self-navigate.  If you prefer to ride with our Motorcycle Leader, then you can do this.

    What is the average group size?
    Our groups are normally 10 – 12 riders (some riders will have passengers).

    Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
    Your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer. If they do not like dirt / gravel roads, we recommend you consider our paved road tour of Iceland.

    Is there a support vehicle?
    Yes, this tour operates with a local support vehicle and driver.

    What documents do I need?
    You will need your original documents as follows:  Passport, Driving Licence, Motorcycle Registration / Title Document (in the UK, V5, log book), Motorcycle Insurance.  We will need you to upload copies of these documents to our secure website so that we can make the necessary freight arrangements.  In addition you must have travel/medical insurance. Visas are not required for UK/EU citizens.  For other nationalities, please check with our preferred visa agency www.thevisamachine.com.