Bicycle Touring in Iceland Frequently Asked Questions

So how was Iceland?

Where are you going next?
Somewhere warm. Or back to Iceland.

What are the people like in Finland?
This is a true question, and we've been asked it more than once! Australians don't know much about Scandinavia and they can't remember where we go on holiday.

Is Iceland Expensive?
Yes, but not as expensive as it used to be, because of the Global Financial Crisis. This is a good time to visit and you will be helping the local economy.

How cold is Iceland?
Do not underestimate the weather of Iceland! Iceland may not be covered in glaciers like its neighbour Greenland but it isn't exactly warm. You must be prepared for cold, windy conditions, even in summer. We found the north cooler than the south.

The prevailing wind in Iceland is from the east. You will find weather forecasts and climate information on the excellent Iceland Meteorological Organisation website

The weather in Iceland (in English)

When is the best time to go cycling in Iceland?
July and August are the warmest months and they are the most popular for cycling. We have only been in June, which is cooler but drier.

Are the roads open all year?
No. Roads through the interior do not open until late June or July. Check the Vegardin website for current information.

Vegardin Road conditions, including closed roads (in English)

Are the roads busy?
The roads around ReykjavÝk can be very busy but elsewhere they are not so bad. In most places there is almost no traffic.

Do I need a mountain bike?
No, but you need big tyres and low gears. We used mountain bike wheels and tyres (26 * 1.5). It is hard to avoid gravel roads and even on a sealed road there may be times when you are forced to ride on the unsealed shoulder.

Where can I buy food?
Outside the Greater ReykjavÝk area there are not many shops! Using the Iceland Yellow Pages we compiled a list of towns and villages with grocery shops. We recommend that you print this list and take it with you, or mark the locations on your map. Shop opening hours vary widely, but in general they are 10:00am - 6:00pm Monday to Friday, shorter hours on Saturday and usually closed on Sunday. Most places with a grocery shop will also have an ATM.

Out in the countryside the petrol stations often sell basic groceries and hot food. They are usually (but not always!) open in the evenings and on Sundays. The maps that mark petrol stations donĺt distinguish between the ones that sell food and the ones that donĺt.

Wheelbuddies List of Grocery shops in Iceland
Wheelbuddies Map of Grocery shops in Iceland

When does the ferry go from Stykkishˇlmur to BrjßnslŠkur?
The ferry Baldur runs daily for most of the year. There is a second daily sailing between mid June and mid August. Ferry timetable

Is it true that swimming pools in Iceland have communal showers?
Yes. Icelandic pools are not chlorinated and visitors must shower and wash properly (with soap, without swimsuits) before bathing. Don't panic, males and females are segregated.

I've never been bicycle touring before. Is Iceland for me?
Iceland is not the easiest place to start. We did meet people on their first bicycle tour and they were coping. We get the impression that people often take the bus when conditions become too difficult, but you should not assume that the bus will always have room for you and your bike.

Where can I get more information?
Make sure that you read the information on other cyclist's websites - see the links below. Most of these cyclists have been to Iceland more often than we have and most have been through the interior.

ME Iceland Pages very useful information about bicycle touring in Iceland.
Ivan Viehoff Iceland Touring Notes very useful information about bicycle touring in Iceland.
Cycle Tourer Good practical information about bicycle touring in Iceland. Also has information about other countries in Northern Europe.
The Icelandic Mountain Bike Club Information about bicycle touring in Iceland, written by locals
Trento Bike Cycle touring accounts - there is a list by country

Wiki Travel - Iceland General travel information about Iceland