German solo cyclist Heike Pirngruber tells us why Europe’s final frontier, Iceland, is one of her favorite bicycle touring destinations.
Reason 1: The scenery is fantastic–this it is nature at its finest.
If you like untouched scenery, glaciers, volcanoes, desert, fjords, rough coastline, ice cold streams and rich birdlife than this is the place to go. Iceland has it all.
Reason 2: If you like it the hard way, you can get it here.
If you are adventurous, then Iceland has a lot to offer you.
You can get lost on extremely rough tracks and won’ t see a soul for days.
Sometimes you have to wade through ice cold streams–watch out for the strong current.
You could be confronted with deep sand and extremely challenging tracks. The surface can be full of sharp volcanic rocks that can easily damage your tires.
It is tough going and you might be satisfied if you manage a measly 50 kilometers a day.
But I assure you that all the effort is well worth it. The tracks are a lot of fun and surprisingly well signposted.
And keep in mind you have them all to yourself.
The good news is that if you are tired of sand and rocks you can easily escape to the 1,300 km long ring road which runs around the entire Island. It’s paved all the way and you can enjoy great scenery right from the road.
Reason 3: Iceland’s weather is better than you might imagine.
Even if it is quite often cold and wet and the strong wind might blow you off the road or damage your tent, there are also warm and sunny days in Iceland.
In summer it’s light 24 hours a day, so you can easily sleep when it rains and start pedaling again when it’s dry.
The sunsets can be awesome and the storm clouds are absolutely magnificent.
In spring and autumn, you can watch the northern lights, one of the most dramatic nature spectacles on our planet.
The weather is part of the fun, just accept the conditions and you will have a great time.
Reason 4: Wild camping spots are everywhere.
If you like wild camping you will find stunning spots all over the island. There are no fences, neighbors or a single soul of whom you need to ask permission.
Just pitch your tent where ever you want and enjoy the scenery.
Come prepared with a sturdy tent and good pegs for stormy and rainy days. Be sure to pack lots of food in your panniers because the next supermarket is far away. Also, keep in mind that your Hobo stove will be useless because there won’t be a single tree in sight.
Reason 5: Iceland is 100% safe.
- Traffic on the island is next to nil–even Reykjavik is fairly easy to get around in.
- You won’t get any tropical diseases.
- The water is safe to drink out of every stream.
- You won’t get sick from any insect bites.
- Rabies is not an issue.
- There are no dangerous mammals which might cause you harm.
- Pollution is almost non-existent.
- People are very friendly and I am pretty sure you will never get in any trouble with anyone.
About the Author:
Heike Pirngruber is a professional photographer and camera woman. She has visited more than 70 countries, many of them by bicycle. In May 2013 she began her big solo cycling trip from Germany to Australia.You can follow her adventures at www.pushbikegirl.com