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Thanks. That's what I thought about doing the Faroe after 2 weeks and half in Iceland: it may be boring. And concerning the interior roads, that's also my intention to use them as much as I can. By the way, if you have roads, places, routes, must see's... I'm always interested!
I would try to get my hands on some Icelandic currency now if you have the means.
The Krona has been in a freefall over the last two weeks so you get a lot for you money.
By what I hear in the news the Krona is in a all time low and can only get stronger from here so go to the bank and get cheap money for next year.
thanks Joiben, but it seems you can't get any Icelandic currencies outside Iceland. Too bad for the cheap money
Jupiter, I've also read that the route Aberdeen/Lerwik was no longer in use since 2007. From Scotland, it's only via Scrabster. Good to know.
Sorry for dropping off for ages - in answer to your question from a while back - i ride an old '86 Yamaha XT600 tenere - but may trade her in for something a little younger at some point - depending on the money situation and whether I actually find a buyer for her given the current economic climate :-(
Good to know about the route - thanks - that will explain why it was a nightmare getting info on it, don't know why they still have the websites advertising it.
Well - still interested, and will keep an eye on this thread.
Just checking in to see how your planning was going and saw the last thread about the ferry - bummer!! So, basically no ferries from scotland to torshavn anymore? So this would mean a ferry to Denmark first, and then from Denmark to Torshavn and onto Iceland?
I'm working my way through Lonely Planet for Iceland, also decided to take a look on their website for any updated information on travel, but looks like they have not updated yet, they still list the smyril line from aberdeen. There is an interesting route from Amsterdam on a cargo ship, but limited space and very expensive.
What have you decided to do?
Merry Christmas by the way! Nothing like surfing the hub on a full stomach of christmas dinner
Maybe you can get passage on a cargo vessel. Look at the extract below from this website...
Ferry services: Direct sea journeys to Reykjavik can be made with the cargo shipping company Eimskip (tel: 525 7000; website: Eimskip - ForsÃ*Ã°a). Ships sail weekly between the harbour in Reykjavik and Eskifjordur (Iceland), Torshavn (Faroe Islands), Rotterdam and Hamburg (Germany), Aarhus (Denmark) and Fredrikstad (Norway).
To add my comments to the thread;
I spent the summers of 1987 and 1988 there on my own and with an (old) range rover.
The highlands are the place to be, but water crossings are essential for all the cross country routes, so watch out. You can camp/hut in the interior. But if its busy, the Iceland touring club gets priority on hut places. You can join the club though, may save you money.
Accommodation is VERY expensive. Plan to use mostly camping unless you have a big budget. Even back in the 80's you could pay £100 for a single hotel room without breakfast....and not in the best hotels. Watch that, often rooms do not include breakfast.
There are areas of Iceland (north west) that can only be reached by boat or on foot...unless more roads have been built into this area.
Make sure you go to the Volcano show, either in Reykjavik or in Myvatn and say hello to Willy for me. He's the guy that does all the filming....having taken over from his father. Tell him 'hero' sends his regards. (Thats the Icelandic translation of my surname). Other people there knew me as the 'crazy Englishman' after I took a bath in a geothermal icecave (the source of the Jokulsalon river) while it was collapsing.
Don't miss Myvatn. The camp site is good and its next to a volcano and volcanic 'crack' thats 10km long (If I remember correctly) When I was there last, the ground was moving up and down by a metre and near the crack, the ground was hot enough to feel through boots! There is a hut behind the hotel at Myvatn that is full of sensing equipment. They may let you look around as it is (was) manned all the time.
Also, a not obvious place to visit is Asbyrgi (or something like that, its been too long). Its a horseshoe shaped crater that in mythology, a horse hoof belonging to one of the gods (Thor?) touched the ground. There is/was a campsite in the crater.
Then there is the usual tourst places. If you're interested, let me know and I'll dig out my maps. It looks like Google maps does not have much info on Iceland.
There is/was an Iceland travel club in the UK where you may get more info. Was based out of Harrow school when it started in 87/88.
Enjoy the trip and the people....its a fantastic place.
Many thanks for the info. I had seen info about cargo ships on the lonley planet guide, but they were very expensive. I note the company you supply the link to go from Immingham (lived in this country 15 years and never heard of it!?) to the West side, Reykjavik, most ferries seem to go to the east side - thanks, I'll check out the costs!!
All the other info is fantastic as well, I'll definitely look into what I can cover on my trip. By the way I will probably only be able to eek out 2 weeks of leave to do the trip - with your experience of the terrain - how much can I hope to see? I'm thinking at this stage that late August would be good to celebrate the old 40th over there, and as the boats arrive on the East side in Seydisfjordur (if it turns out too expensive with the cargo ships) - it makes sense to stick with the East side which does also happen to have both the national parks. If travelling goes well, it would be good to visit Reykjavik too.
Everyone and everything I've read notes how expensive it is, so yes, I was planning on camping - good tip about joining the club, I'll do that, could save some aggro.
I still go there next august. But I'll ride from Belgium to Denmark first, instead of Scotland (too bad, I really wanted to cross Scotland on my way). The ship leaves from Hanstholm, to Torshavn, and then to Seydisfjordur. I'll also come back via Denmark. No choice. I'll certainly leave the 4th of august from Denmark, and be back the 22th (the crossing takes 2 full days!).
This makes 14 days in Iceland. I think it's enough.
Mike, thanks a lot for your precious info. If you have some more, don't hesitate. By the way, what do you think of 14 days on the island: is it enough to enjoy most of the country?
I'll dig out my maps and make a few suggestions. There are some 'must see' places on the island and I think 14 days should be enough...provided that you don't stay in 1 place too long. It is only a small island and its possible to get from the north east to the south west in 1 day.
I found some of my maps/guides. Can't find the detail maps that have 'unnoficial routes' on them that I marked myself during the 8 weeks I was there in '87. Will keep looking.
However, I recommend you get the 'Insight' guide book for Iceland.
ISBN is - 981-234-895-6 Insight Guides
When I bought it, it was 16.99 and worth every penny.
First, when I was there in the 80's, the only places that you found any tarmac was in the capital and a couple of the major towns. The island ring road (route 1) was all 'offroad' and had to be graded each spring and not always wide enough to allow the passage of 2 vehicles. This definitely applied to the myriad of small bridges.
However, I am now told route 1 is all tarmac, though I do not know for sure. I sincerely hope that they have NOT laid tarmac into the highlands and into the side roads.
You will need off road tyres in any case.
Get a map before you go, of course, but one of the first things to do when you get off the boat is to go to a tourist office and get an up-to-date 'road book', enquire on highland route conditions, and also to make enquiries about the touring club. If you go via Seydisfjordur, then you will probably find one there (if not on the ferry itself !) or certainly in Egilsstadir... the first 'big' settlement. If memory serves me, this information may be available at a gas station in Egilsstadir....or near the one I used anyway. Sorry, its been too long.
You could explore Laugarfell/Snaefell (east highlands) first, but its probably better to do that at the end of your 2 weeks, time permitting.
Warning, don't remember the date, but I think sometime in August pretty much the whole of Iceland go 'tent-city' over a weekend at the highland campsites and get very very noisy and drunk...no sleeping at all. This weekend, if you are there then, would be a good time to use your hotel budget. I was told once that most Icelanders were born 9 months after this weekend. Possibly a joke.....?
I started to write this and then realised that I was planning out your whole trip for you! That's wrong in so many ways so I deleted much of what I put. This is, however, in some sort of order.
I have grouped some places together and you will see from maps that they need to be done at the same time. I have also given a rough idea of time for these 'groups' and suggestions on where to overnight.
When going into the interior, THERE IS NO FUEL OR SHOPS. Make sure you have your tanks full, with spare(depending on ur bike) and enough food to last you. Water can be drunk unless its directly from a glacier (moving river should be ok). Glacier water can contain microbes so use puritabs, or something like, in this instance. Ask at the Tourist office on this subject.
Kverkfjoll /Herdubreid/Askja - 3 days in the North Central Highlands.
These are offroad tracks, much of which is in volcanic 'sand' and across lava fields.
Possibly the best route in is: F907 or F905 to F910 then F903 to F902. Spend night at Kverkfjoll. If you can, spend a whole day here exploring. The hut/camp has wardens who will advise you. There is a hotspring area at the top of the glacier that you should see.....plus the views !!! Walking boots needed at least. Wouldn't hurt to have walking crampons too though maybe overkill. Routes up the glacier change regularly. As stated, talk to the hut wardens. You may be able to piggy back an organised tour.
I spent several weeks in this highland area alone. Its fantastic. Please find out if the geothermal ice cave at the source of the Jokulsalon river has reformed. There was a glacier burst while I was there and it collapsed completely. If it has returned, there is an opportunity (maybe) to take a warm(geothermal) bath UNDER the ice!
Route out to Askja/Herdubreid is F902, F910, F88. Maybe spend night at the hut there. The tabletop volcano can be climbed but is dangerous. Don't miss the 'viti' lake by Askja.
The F910 south from Askja used to involve crossing snow fields and high rivers (no bridges). Treat with care if you opt to go that way onto the Sprengisandur cross country route. I would advise following the F88 north back to route 1. My knowledge is old though so the rivers may have been bridged now but don't see what they can do about the snow fields !
Dettifoss - huge waterfall in the north, between routes 864 and F862. Visiting from one of the routes is better than the other...can't remember which one though. Its possible to get right to the edge of the water and slightly below the lip. The 'F' route is probably not tarmac. Not sure about the 864.
Asbyrgi - mentioned already in original post. This place is found at the top of the 2 previous routes and it is possible to camp there. Worth a visit and read up on it in the Insight guide.
Husavik (coastal fishing port) - worth a visit if on route.
Reykjahlid (Lake Myvatn). This is the geothermal area I mentioned in my original post and it is volcanically active under the Krafla mountain. There is/was a campsite behind the hotel and there is a local store. The hotel has a BAR !!!! Often, during the summer, there is a volcano show in this town too. However, if Willy Knudsen is not there....wait till you get to Reykjavik to see the show and go talk to him.... really good guy and good English. However, its been 20 years so maybe his son has taken over now !?
There is a road (863) that takes you up to the mountain which is NE of the town. Go there as its right by the 10km volcanic crack that runs north-south and that you have to cross getting into the town. Walk over the lava and let me know if its still hot.
btw, they hire bicycles to ride round the lake. You probably won't have time but its a very pleasant way to spend a day.
Sprengisandur Cross Country Route (F26). Do it in 1 go or stop half way. You can camp anywhere....but better away from the road as this is a main route across Iceland that is used day/night. The route takes you from Route 1 in the north, between the Vatnajokull and Hofsjokull glaciers. Stunning scenery !
Kjolur Cross Country Route (35). Do it in 1 go or stop half way. You can camp anywhere. The route takes you from Route 1 in the north, between the Langjokull and Hofsjokull glaciers. Stunning scenery again...like the other route!
Gulfoss Waterfall at south end of Kjolur route
Geysir (the original) also near end Kjolur route and Detifoss. Geysir itself does not erupt anymore (without help) but the smaller Strokur does....about every 10 mins.
Porsmork/Landmannalaugar area west and north of Myrdalsjokull in the south. F210, F261, F210, F249, F225 etc. Take 2/3 days over this area. camping/huts at both places. No Fuel/food so take with you. However, not as far from the main road as the central north highlands.
Reykjavik: 2 days at least. There is/was a campsite by the swimming pool. Its a bit out of town but I've walked it. Cant remember the Volcano show address but you will find it. Spend a Saturday night here if you can and enjoy the nightlife. In the 80's, it used to be full of people showing off their vehicles on Sat evening...cruising round the centre constantly. If its the same, it worth seeing.
Pingvellir (northeast of Reykjavik. This is the site of the first recorded parliament. The Ping's (pronounced Thing's) were the local 'councils' that used to meet at the 'All Thing' at this place.
The Island of Heimaey off south coast. Visit if you can....but may take too much time. If funds allow, you can do a flying tour from Reykjavik airport (not Keflavik international airport) in a few hours that takes you over the Island group and you get to see the Island of Surtsey too. I won't explain anymore, but see the Volcano show before you rule this out and do some reading.
South coast. Good riding and plenty of scenery.
Jokulsarlon - South Central of Vatnajokull Icecap. A lake of icebergs. You can go out on the lake by boat too. Worth the detour.
F985 - SE Vatnajokull. An exciting ride up to the edge of the Glacier. Take care, it can be steep.
I think that lot should take care of your 14 days.....especially if you visit Snaefell and the east central highlands on your way back to Seydisfjordur.
I'll post some photos if I find time to sort them out, I've got nearly 2000 but they were before digital cameras so I would need to scan any I post first. If you feel like popping over to The Hague, you are welcome to see them all.
Please let me know what its like in the country now and post some photos on your return.
Final Tip. Take swimming trunks and use the outdoor swimming pools to relax and wash. You are expected to wash (soap provided) BEFORE entering the pool. Each pool has 'hot pots' around it...like jacuzi's. You'll find them in many settlements as its a national passtime...even in mid winter !
Final observation. A traffic jam in Iceland is more that 4 cars in a row.....even if they are moving, its still considered a jam !
Hi Mike. Many thanks for your time and all that useful info. I'll try to find these places on my detailed map. Sounds great.
If you have pictures, I'm always interested, of course (even if I don't want to see too much pictures before seeing it with my eyes). Anyway, since Brussels is only 2 hours away from Den Haag, maybe I'll comme to visit you in spring with my map to check things and ask questions, if you're ok. I'll contact you then.
In the meantime, I thank you again.
By they way guys, I believe there is a time in Iceland when the place is overrun with midges/flies - and apparently it horrendous - either of you heard about this?
Correct....sort of, though I forgot about it. It concerts black flies If I remember correctly and its only true around certain watery places.....and Lake Myvatn is one of them. You will be able to get repellent at the local shop...no need to take any as the local stuff will invariably work. For comfort, take a bush hat that you can put a mossy net over.
Don't focus on this too much....just take basic precautions. The volcanic area around the Lake is a MUST visit !! I camped there many times in the July and August I was there and was so bothered by the flies that I forgot all about them...if you get my drift.
Don't know if there are still people possibly interested. If so, I now have booked the ferry Here are the dates:
21/07/09: Hanstholm (Denmark) – Seydisfjordur (Iceland)
06/08/09: Seydisfjordur – Hanstholm
Contact me if you want to join for my "around Iceland in 14 days" trip.
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