Arrival to Faroes
We started planning trip to Iceland in March 2014. We planned to get to Iceland by Smyril line ferry from Denmark with a 3 day stop at Faroe Islands. Two of us had no offroad experience before, anyway we wanted to travel some interior roads, cross a river and experience emptiness of the highlands. So we planned a route around Iceland with 2 crossings of interior with only 2 fords (it turned out to be much more) and solid gravel roads to build our offroad experience gradually. Motorbikes were prepared. One Honda XL650V, one BMW 1200GS and one 1200GSA fitted with not very off road tyres and were ready to hit the road!
The trip started on 7th of August. We set off from Olsztyn and traveled across Poland, Germany and Denmark to meet the ferry at 12:00 on 9.08 in Hirtshals. This part of the journey was rather boring so let me skip it.
We arrived in Hirtshals as first motorcyclists. We expected a lot of other bikes there, but only several others appeared. In the photo you can see we wore high visibility vests. Funny story is connected with this, because lot of people thought we were guys in charge of smyril line, as we were waiting in front of the main gate and kept coming and asking questions about the ferry. In the queue to the ferry people started to stare at our tyres too
The gate was open on time, we boarded the ferry. Things seemed to be wonderful. There was a swimming pool, hot tubes, gym, cinema, bars, shops, casino. Just everything.
Only two thing were bad on the ferry. First one: why everything was so damn expensive there? And second: the wind was so strong it was even hard to stay on an open deck! Because of the wind the sea became more and more rough. It all finished with this
Next morning, we had another 15 hours of sail to Faroe Islands. Fortunately, weather got better, sea was smooth and things were wonderful again!
In the late evening we arrived to Torshavn, the capitol city of Faroe Islands. It was 23.00 when we arrived at the port.
It was late when we left the ferry, so we could only find a place to put the tents and go to sleep. Unfortunately, it is only allowed to put tents up on a campsites in Faroe Islands. We went to the campsite (probably only one in Torshavn) and found there a huge line to the reception. It turned out that most of the ferry passengers went to the campsite as well. Late in the night we put tent up, eat some supper and went sleep with high hopes for good weather and great adventure next morning.
Our plan was to visit the south island of Faroes: Vagar, but while we looked at the south the weather wasn't encouraging...
Completely different looked the noth:
The choice was obvious. We headed to Eysturoy (eng. East Island) and then to Viðoy, which is the northen-most island in Faroe Island. These two islands are connected together by undersea tunnel.
The landscapes where the same all the time. There were cliffs, covered with grass. Plenty of small waterfalls were visible and some sheep along the road. In Polish Faroe Islands means Islands of sheep, therefore we expected to see lots of huge herds, but we didn't see any. There are sheep and probably every sheep in Faroes is private, the fields are enormous, but pretty empty.
After couple of hours we reached the northern-most point of the road and decided to go to village called Gjogv. Gjogv is a small village, where the annual music festival takes place in harbor shaped by nature, so we hoped to find a campsite there and some restaurants.
When we arrived in Gjogv, the weather turned bad and we found out, that there was a campsite only for campers. The lady from the campsite office showed us on map the nearest campsite, where tents were allowed and we set off there.
In recommended village we found only an information board with marked campsites in Faroes Islands. We set off again to the nearest camping. It was pretty big town (in faroese condition) and again only the information board was found. These time the nearest campsite was marked only 4km from the city, but- try to guess- there was no campsite, even no information. Eventually, I asked a local man where is the nearest campsite. He didn't know, but claimed it is possible to camp anywhere around the city. He stopped a car and ask the driver to showed us a place where it was possible to use electricity outside the building. We followed him to the building, which appeared to be a gym. The gym was opened all night long. The local told us it would be ok to use the toilets and showers there. My friends were pretty worried about police there, but finally we spent there a night.
During the night the weather changed completely. It was very windy and rain was strong. The tents were soaked and no one was keen on riding further.
I went inside the gym to warm myself and a boss of the place came out and invited us inside to dry our stuff. He allowed us to put tent up in the locker room. Where I was able to pimp up my tent with trash bags
In thanks for this we offered him polish coffee and sausage! After all, he opened for us a room, which is closed for other people, where we could spend the next night.
Trace form described days:
Next day, we were going to ride to the south, visit Torshavn and get ferry to the Iceland...
And the third day, we rode south to see the rest part of the Faroe Islands. The most south-western island, which can be reached by road is Vágar. The island is connected with Streymoy (island where Torshavn is located) by another undersea tunnel. The tunnel was paid, but probably free for motorcycles...
It was sunny that day, so the landscapes were beautiful. It was very windy though.
After Vagar we headed to Torshavn to eat a dinner and get the ferry. Torschav is a small, but very charming place, filled with wooden houses with grass covered roofs.
To my surprise all restaurants in the capitol were open from 5.00pm. We were there much earlier, so had to spend a lot of time wandering around the city center and looking for any open place. The only one opened was an expensive hotel restaurant.
After dinner we rode straight to the ferry. On the way to Iceland the ferry sailed between Faroese islands, so watching islands from different point was possible and amazing.
Notice where the house is located, it's a very common view there.
And here are the roads covered the 3rd day:
This day route was planned to be the most challenging during the whole trip. We planned to get to Egilsstaðir, to fuel and to buy food there. Then, via road 931 ride to Hengifoss, take road 910 to Kárahnjúkar Dam, then road F923 through Adalbol, where fuel was supposed to be, and continue to F910 to Askja, where we planned to camp.
We stuck to the plan, stopped in Egilsstaðir to make some shopping, to refuel and then rode further to Hengifoss.
Hengifoss is the third highest waterfall in Iceland (128m). It takes around 45 min to walk there from the road 931 (2,5km). On the way there is a smaller waterfall called Litlanesfoss with amazing columnar jointed volcanic .
Road 910 to Kárahnjúkar Dam is asphalted. The biggest glacier: Vatnajökull is visible all the time.
The dam didnt impressed us, we expected bigger construction and more spectacular views.
Then we rode back to get to road F923, where gravel road began. We expected 120km of gravel, one river crossing and fuel station in 20km. But we were wrong ...
The beginning of road F923 was pretty rocky, but it was still easy to ride on it.
First water crossing was after few hundred meters. It was short, calm and not so deep.
Guys were happy after successful crossing and they thought this was the last one for that day.
We were heading for Adalbol farm to refuel. The landscape changed, lots of grass and fields appeared.
Suddenly we faced next more serious water crossing. It looked wide and dangerous, but turned out to be pretty easy one. There was only a problem when the rear wheel dropped into a hole in the bottom, which was covered with small stones, then it took a while to get out of it, because the wheel was spinning in place.
After the ford we reached Adalbol farm. Instead of fuel station we saw nothing but the foundation of it. We had problem, because next fuel was available after 180km of gravel and another 40km of pavement road and we had already done 160km. Anyway, we decided to continue and worry when we would be run out of fuel.
We entered road number 910. The vegetation started to disappearing. The landscape was changing in every kilometer. The ground changed colors from black to grey and brown. We were riding on rocks, stones and sand. We stand on a crossroads with confusing sign (F910 in 3 directions):
Fortunately we managed to chose the right turn. After a while we stopped next to a small water crossing and talked with another driver there. He warned us about 4 next fords and one of it supposed to be deep.
The one, deep river crossing appeared to be a serious one.
An audience gathered up to watch how we crossed it. The current was strong, it was hard to keep motorbike straight and the rocks on the bottom were big. Few Defenders crossed the river before us, so the water was turbid and it was hard to chose a way across it.
Then the road changed into desert like one. Many times it was covered with deep and soft sand and it stretched for hundreds of meters. This was the hardest part of F910 for me. This desert was 30-40km long. There was no vegetation, no buildings, no people, just the drivers of 4x4 cars.
It took us around 5 hours to ride 110km of F910. When we reached the crossroads with F88, which was our planned route for the next day, we saw a sign that the F88 is closed due to the high water level
My tired friends decided to go to sleep, when we got to the camp. I rode further to see a geothermal lake Viti. I was the only person on the trail to the lake and I need to be in hurry, because the sun was setting down, when I got there.
Camping in Askja was an unusual experience. The ground was hard, covered with sharp rocks. The nigh was warm, but windy. However, trash bags improved wind resistance of my tent and it was comfortable to sleep there
Iceland Day 2
In the morning we went to rangers hut in Askja to ask about conditions on road F88, which we wanted to ride. The ranger was a young woman. She called another one, who drove his jeep to the biggest water crossing and checked the water level for us! The guys were really amazing and helpful there.
The river wasnt deep, but a part of F88 was flooded on pretty long distance, so we decided to change our plans, go back on road F910 to the road F905. After few days we met a motorcyclist from Germany, who had talked with jeep driver about F88. He said the flooded part of F88 was muddy, the water there was dirty and it wasnt possible to see what you were riding.on. It would be a torture to go there on our tyres.
As the plan for upcoming day was ready, we tanked motorbikes and set off.
During the night the wind carried a lot of sand on the road. It became deeper and harder to cross it, than the day before.
Next obstacle was the hardest water crossing (described in previous post). But this time, we were smarter, knew the bottom of the river and the deepest parts. To avoid deep water, we threw away stones from the steep bank to make it more flat. We rode the river bank down with help of each other and the ford turned out to be pretty easy
Road F905 was quite smooth with several streams to cross, but very shallow in contrast to F910.
On road F905 in Möðrudalur theres the smallest fuel station in Iceland:
Then we headed for Dettifoss waterfall. Dettifoss is the most powerfull waterfall in Iceland. Average water flow is 193m3/s! It is easy reachable from the road, it takes about 15min to get there.
On the way to Dettifoss, there is another visible waterfall up the river. It is called Selfoss.
We rode ring road to lake Mývatn and saw tourist attraction around.
First was a geothermal area Hverarönd.
There was a lot of holes with boiling mud and small hills with steam blowing out of them. The horrible smell of sulfur was everywhere. It is worth to mention that even hot, running water in Iceland smells like rotten egg, because it is usually geothermal water.
Next place was a huge volcanic crater Hverfjall. We hoped to see lava inside it, but this one was extinct.
After hiking on crater we rode around lake Myvatn and continued to Husavik.
Husavik is known because of the whale museum and whale-watching trips. We bought one of the trips. We sail a small ship to the north atlantic and were trying to find a whale in the water. We werent lucky. No whale appeared, only dolphins.
Because the whale-watching took about 3,5h and it became late, we had to camp in Husavik. One of us was really upset and insisted to sleep in a hotel. Our clothes were wet, because from Myvathn it had been raining, and he wanted to dry all the things. No room was available, so sleeping in tents was the only option. He got offended and argued with one of us. They hid in tents and didnt even check the camping site facilities. I discovered the drying room. I put my things there for the night and had everything dry and warm next morning and they didnt
2nd day trac (blue):
Iceland Day 3
It was raining outside, so it was hard to get up. The weather was awful. It was windy, foggy and only around 5 Celsius degrees.
We rode back to the ring road to see Goðafoss waterfall. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.
Then we rode to Akureyri, the biggest city in northern Iceland. We refueled and bought some food there. I got a 6 pack of eggs and I was happy to finally eat something different from instant soups and bread.
We continued along the coast line by roads 82 and 76. Unfortunately, the weather didnt improve , so we saw nothing spectacular there
When we reached to road number 1, the weather got better. We refueled again and rode off the paved road.
The road F35 (some sources says it is not F road anymore), called Kjalvegur is the second longest road in highlands.
At the beginning it was smooth, so it was possible to ride quite fast. We road next to an artificial lake Blöndulón, which is one of Icelands largest lakes.
The road goes between two glaciers. The closer you get to glaciers the rougher the road gets.
We turned on road 735 which led to a geothermal area called Hveravellir.
It is possible to take a bath in hot stream there.
We had planned to camp there, but the temperature was supposed to drop to 0 Celsius degree and strong wind was coming. Therefore we decided to go to the south, where the weather forecasts were better for the following night.
When we got closer to the end of road 35, it became smoother and after a while asphalted.
At the end of the road is located an amazing waterfall called Gullfoss (Golden Falls).
Then we road toward Geysir, where we found a cheap cottage for a night to dry our stuff after rainy morning.
Unfortunetely my supper unexpectedly left me. 3 out of 6 eggs decided to quit the journey and flowed over the bike
3rd day track:
Iceland Day 4
In the morning, we walked to geysers area , because our cottage was very close to it.
Geysir is the biggest geyser there. Unfortunately, it blows once in few years, so we saw only this:
There is another one, smaller geyser, called Strokku, which erupts every 10 minutes.
Then, we rode to the next tourist attraction of Golden Circle, which is Þingvellir. It is possible to actually see the border between two tectonic plates: Eurasian and North Amercian plates.
There is a crack between the paltes. It is filled up with crystal clear water. It is possible to dive or snorkel there, but it is very expensive.
After "visiting America" we rode to road 550, which is known to be the highland's road for beginners. It is really easy to ride. The views are great. In my opinion it is much better road than f35. You can taste emptiness there, see the glacier and it is short.
Then we turned on road 551 and rode to Langjokull glacier. It is even possible to ride on the glacier!
Next, we rode to road 518 to the ring road. On the way we stopped to see an amazing waterfall: Hraunfossar.
We turned on road 60 and headed for Westfjords.
We reached the crossing of roads 60 and 62. There was a campsite, where we spent the night. The landscape was amazing there.
4th day track:
Iceland Day 5
The next morning (my birthday), my friends woke me up and gave me a gift:
After celebrating we made a decision to skip the rest part of Westfjords and ride towards Reykjavik. We had 3 days to get to the ferry (1200km). We rode the same route as the day before. There was no wind, the sea was smooth and the views were amazing.
On the way to Reykjavik, we rode around fjord called Hvalfjörður. This is the place, where American warships were kept during the second world war.
Then, we rode to the center of Reykjavik.
The town hall:
Prime ministers office:
After a short walk and dinner and Reykjavik we rode to swim in Blue Lagoon. The place is pretty unusual and very expensive (42/person).
However, one of us said it was the best place in Iceland, because it was the only place, where a lot of chicks in bikinis were
In Blue Lagoon we met a polish people, who said that there was a huge possibility of volcan eruption and a part of north Iceland was evacuated. They informed us that some roadrs there were closed, including F910 had ridden few days before!
Then we rode to Grindavik, where we camped.
5th day track:
Iceland Day 6
We started our return trip to the ferry that day. Fortunately, our planned route was full of tourist attractions.
The first stop was a cliff called Krisuvikurberg. In our toursit guide was said that you could meet a lot of puffins there. However, there wasnt any Maybe it was wrong season to meet them.
A little disappointed we rode to geothermal area Seltun. The ingrediens of gunpowder hed been mined there, mainly sulfur. Nowadays it is a place with a lot of steamy holes and hills, which horribly stinks.
The next stop was an amazing waterfall Seljalandsfoss. It is possibile to walk around the waterfall.
On the way to another waterfall we passed Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted in 2010 and paralised flights over Europe. One of picks is the volcano:
And after a while we reached Skogarfoss with a wonderfull rainbow in front of it.
Then, we stopped a few kilometers before Vik, had a walk on a black beach and watched incredible rocks there.
When we were riding towards the biggest glacier Vatnajökull, we saw a scary landscape. The glacier covers a volcano Bardarbunga, which was active that time and very close to blowing up. In front of us was a huge cloud of sometimes grey, other times brown dust. A thought about volcanic ashes crossed my mind. I was afraid of continuing the ride but other cars was going from opposite direction, so we went on.
The scary cloud turned out to be a small sandstorm. The area around the road was covered with a sand. It was windy, so the sand was carried by the wind into air.
Our final stop was in national park near Svartifoss. There is a campsite, which is located very close to the Vatnajökull. All tours to the glacier starts there. So the camping was full of people and very expensive. It was the most expensive camp site we had visited.
There was a moderate camper:
We walked from camping to Svartifoss waterfall. It got dark pretty quickly, we had to return and didn't reached Svartifoss, only a small waterfall on the way.
The trail to the waterfall led through the oldest forest in Iceland.
Sunset over the glacier:
6th day track:
Iceland Day 7
We continued our return to the ferry by ring road.
On the way was a famous ice lagoon Jökulsárlón. The place is astonishing. It was a scenery for plenty of movies (Tomb Rider, Batman, one of James Bond).
The icebergs flow from the lake to Atlantic Ocean under a bridge:
Then we decided to ride the easiest way to the ferry to avoid any damages and problems, because the next morning we would have to board the ferry, so we chose the ring road again.
The end of the road number 1 was gravel road, but the surface was smooth and fast ride was possible and safe. The road went around few small fjords and then across mountains to Egilsstaðir.
Then we rode on road 93 to Seydisfjordur, which was our final destination in Iceland. We camped there and in the morning we were going to get on ferry back home.
7th day track:
Iceland Day 8
We woke up early in the morning (it was only 2C during the night), packed things up and rode trough Seydisfjordur. The ride supposed to be really hard and demanding.
We rode out of the campsite. We turned left and immediately turned right. The average speed was 13km/h. Can you imagine how hard it was?! It lasted long 117 seconds and that was it. End of riding. Just waiting.
We left motorbikes in the line to the ferry, which was late a little, and made a picnic on a lawn. After few hours of waiting our ferry arrived.
We boarded it, secured our bikes, checked-in, had a shower (everyone separately) and the ferry was still in the port.
We went out on the open deck and noticed a huge line to it and cars were still coming. It was because of closed roads, because of Bardabungas activity. After couple of hours delay, we set off to Denmark.
Some statistics from our trip and some comment:
Distance: 372 km
All roads were asphalted. We crossed there only one bridge and two under ocean tunnels.
Days: 3 - it was enough to ride Faroes around (we did it in 2 days, no speeding)
don't remember exact value, but it was cheaper than average price in Europe
Distance: 2731km (500+ on gravel roads)
Average speed on gravel roads (including stops for taking photos, etc):
F910 (lots of water crossings and sandy parts) 25km/h,
550 and 35: 45km/h
On gravel parts of ring road: 80-90 km/h
Between 1200ISK and 1900ISK/person (sometimes we had to pay extra for showers)
the temperature was from 4-18'C
during the night it dropped once to 2'C
We were lucky and had wonderful sunny weather most of the time.
8 days (7 days of riding)
it was NOT enough. 2-3days more would be perfect for me.
no police at all and we heard that police was very tolerant there
In total we rode more than 6000km from Poland to Iceland and back. The whole trip took us 19 days (15days of riding). The weather in late August was perfect. During 19 days it rained only for 3 days. It was even possible to watch northen lights in the last night (we missed it...). If I go there again, I will choose August again.
Thank you for reading my story!
Iceland VideosWatch a movies form Iceland: Iceland and Faroes: Crossing Iceland highlands: Road 35:
Road conditions, weather and cameras: