Saturday, 13 February 2016

Camper Rental in Iceland - Motorhome, caravan, campervan Rental Iceland

If you’re planning to tour Iceland by car, then Icelandic camper van rentals provide the cheapest and best way to explore the vast island. It is increasingly popular to travel trough the Icelandic nature in the comfort of a camper van or a luxurious caravan. It gives tourists the opportunity to experience Iceland freely without involving too much planning.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland
Even though Iceland has a small population, the island itself is three times bigger than Scotland. Motorhome travel in Iceland is the ideal way to get around, because along the way there are so many well hidden natural gems that just demand a stop off.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Here you can find the youngest and the oldest camper rentals in Iceland and campers of all sizes and prices. Whether you need a ordinary family camper, caravan or a RV you can find it on this page. Below you'll find a list of the top camper rentals in Iceland.

CAMPER VAN PRICE COMPARISON
May 7th to 14th (7 days) - Prices with GPS, CDW Insurance, unlimited km & pick up / drop off

Option A - New Campers:

CAMPERVAN ICELAND * Recommended 
www.campervaniceland.com
Camper Renault Kangoo (2 persons)           701 EUR / 875 USD
Camper Renault Trafic (4 persons)              1.330 EUR / 1.660 USD

EUROPCAR
http://www.holdur.is/en
Camper Toyota Hilux (2 persons)               1.834 EUR / 2.519 USD
Camper Motorhome (3-4 persons)              2.343 EUR / 3.218 USD

CAMPER RENTAL ICELAND * Recommended
www.camperrentaliceland.com/
Camper 2 DIESEL  (2 persons)                    715 EUR / 892 USD
Camper 4 DIESEL (4 persons)                     1.360 EUR / 1.696 USD

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Option B - Old camper vans:

MOTORHOME ICELAND
www.motorhomeiceland.com
Camper Nissan Diesel   (2 persons)               881 EUR / 1.075 USD
Camper Renault Trafic  (4 persons                1.468 EUR / 1.825 USD

CARAVAN.IS
www.caravan.is
Camper VW Caddy (2 persons)                   1.040 EUR / 1.297 USD
Camper Renault Trafic (4-5 persons)           1.442 EUR / 1.798 USD

LAVA CAMPERS
www.lavacampers.is
Camper Mercedes (2 persons)                      1.201 EUR / 1.649 USD
Camper Ford Transit (4 persons)                  1.540 EUR / 2.115 USD

CAMPERVAN ICELAND 
www.campervaniceland.com
Camper Renault Kangoo (2 persons)            701 EUR / 875 USD
Camper Renault Trafic (4 persons)               1.330 EUR / 1.660 USD

SNAIL
www.snail.is
Camper VW Transporter (2 persons)              1.150 EUR / 1.434 USD
Camper VW Transporter (4 persons)              1.720 EUR / 2.145 USD

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Why choose a camper van in Iceland:
  1. It's really cheap. Why spend your money on a expensive hotel and a car when you can use a Camper van or a Motorhome for both?
  2. The weather in Iceland is as predictable as roulette table and therefore you will want to be mobile and ready to move at any given time. We don't recommend you to have to pack your tent in the rain, and then sit wet in your car for the rest of your day.
  3. In Iceland there is a law that allows you park your motor home or camper van anywhere for one night. It´s called the law of survival and it also allows you to eat whatever you can put in your mouth (do not forget). 
  4. In a camper van you can go anywhere, sleep anywhere and do anything you want to do.
  5. There are 3 persons per square kilometer in Iceland. This allows you to basically disappear into the nature in a motor-home, caravan or camper van. 
  6. In Iceland you won't need to reserve a spot at a camp site . You need simply to show up and enjoy it. Camp sites are very modern and have good facilities.
  7. All of Iceland's ring road (road no.1) is asphalt which allows you to drive safely around Iceland in any type of camper van. 
  8. In a camper van in Iceland you won't need to plan your trip. You just follow the good weather and enjoy where it takes you. 
  9. In Iceland there are hardly any trees. Therefore you always have an amazing 360° view from a camper at all times. 
  10. With a Camper van you have a kitchen wher-ever you go. This will save you lot´s of cash. Fast food in Iceland is expensive. 
Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

DRIVING IN ICELAND

Driving Conditions in Iceland are in many ways unusual and often quite unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore very important to find out how to drive in this country. We know that the landscapes are beautiful, which naturally draws the driver’s attention away from the road. But in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention on driving.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

-The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/hr.
-The speed limit is often 60 km/hr on thruways, but in residential areas it is usually only 30 km/hr.
-The main rule in rural areas is that gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, and paved roads 90 km/hr.
-Signs indicate if other speed limits apply.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Camper rentals in Iceland are a popular choice for travelers looking for the "road trip" experience in Iceland. Renting a camper in Iceland is a great option in Iceland because the country offers unique sites to see in all of its forur corners. 

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

112 Iceland App

The 112 Iceland app can be used for two things, both for added safety on your Iceland trip.

First of all you can call for help by pressing the red Emergency button. Your location will be sent by text message to the 112 response center. Remember that even though your phone shows no signal there is a possibilite that you can send text message.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

The green Check In button is for you to leave your location with us so if something happens we have more information to work with. Only the 5 last locations are stored and we recommend you use this – don’t worry – you are not disturbing anyone – except for our big computer who wants to be disturbed.

Here you can download the app for Android phones, Windows phones and iPhone.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland


Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

We recommend you read:


Peter, Iceland24

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

Route 1, also known as the Ring Road, is the major highway in Iceland connecting most of the towns, including Reykjavík, the capital and only city. It is 830 miles long (1330 km) and goes through the fjords, mountains, plateaus and flat land. Because Route 1 is the only road connecting east to west in Iceland, travelers should take precautions when crossing the country.

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

Marketers in Reykjanes, Snæfellsnes, the Westfjords and the far northeast of Iceland often complain that sticking to the ring road means you miss some of the country’s greatest pearls – and that is undeniably true. On the other hand, you also drive right through some of the country’s greatest pearls and it is an excellent first-time introduction to Iceland before you return to the country again, and again (hopefully).

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

The many amazing highlights of the ring road experience include some of the biggest towns in the country, some of the most sought-after waterfalls in Europe, the Eyjafjallajökull and Vatnajökull glaciers, the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon…and that’s just on the south coast alone!

There are already articles about the major attractions in South Iceland, East Iceland, North Iceland and West Iceland on this site, so we won’t dwell on them too much here. Suffice is to say simply that you won’t run short of things to see and do.

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

The Route 1 ring road around Iceland is 1,339 kilometres long, which makes it ideal for exploring slowly over the course of a week – or even longer. But the relaxed driving schedule also makes it easy to add in one or all of the missing areas mentioned above (like the Westfjords or Snæfellsnes) to increase the length of your journey and see more, erm, sights along the way.

The same is very much true if you want to roam off Route 1 and explore the East Fjords, and if you want to save a thousand krónur by taking the beautiful old Hvalfjörður road instead of the much shorter tunnel.

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

Route 1 is considered the national highway and it is used by lorries carrying freight almost every day of the year. This means snow ploughing is top priority in the winter and the road will be open when others may be closed. Of course extreme weather can shut even Route 1 for short periods, so it is always best to check the road conditions before you set off. There are no such concerns in the summer though (stated with at least 90% certainty).

The road was finally completed in 1976 and these days most, although not all, of it is paved. The small remaining sections in the East are gravel. The speed limit is 90 km/h (80 on gravel) and the police are extremely hot on dishing out speeding tickets. Apparently about half of tickets issued are to foreign tourists, and they even chase speeders by helicopter, believe it or not...

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

Example: 8/9/10 Days Round Trip in Iceland

Day 1: Reykjavík - Hvalfjördur - Borgarnes - Hraunfossar - Bifröst - Hvammstangi (sleep around this city)
(+1/2/3/4 days Westfjords)
Day 2: Blönduós - Glaumbaer - Hófsos - Öxnadalur - Akureyri - Godafoss - Mývatn (sleep around the lake)
Day 3: Mývatn - Detifoss - Egilsstadir (sleep at Egilsstadir)
(+1/2 days Mývatn + Askja)
Day 4: Egilsstadir - Hengifoss - East fiords - Fáskrúdsfjördur - Hvalnes - Stafafell - Stokksnes - Höfn (sleep at Höfn)
Day 5: Höfn - Jökursárlon - Skaftafell (Sjónarnipa, Svartifoss) - Vík - Reynisfjara - Dyrhólaey - (sleep around Vík)
Day 6: Vík - Skogafoss - Seljalansfoss - Golden Circle (sleep around Fluðir)
(+1/2/3 days at Landmannalaugar)
Day 7: Fluðir - Krýsuvík - Blue Lagoon - Reykjavík (sleep at Reykjavík)
Day 8: at Reykjavík, shopping etc...

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

This classic 10 days round trip brings you along the Ring Road as well as other roads looping out from the Ring Road. You will see the City of Reykjavik, do the Golden Circle, see hot springs, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Skaftafell nature resort in Vatnajokull National Park, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, the East Fjords, impressive Dettifoss Waterfall, the towns of Husavik and Akureyri, and much more.

The Ring Road in Iceland (Route 1)

Berglind Rós, Iceland24
January 2015

Monday, 8 February 2016

The budget needed for two people travelling in Iceland for a week.

Since the arrival of low-cost airlines, you can fly to Iceland relatively cheap, but once there, the cost of living is quite high.

Here’s a rough idea of what a trip to Iceland will cost you.

The budget needed for two people travelling in Iceland for a week.

If booked well in advance, flight tickets from Europe to Reykjavík, cost about 300 euro return. It’s good to be aware of the price ranges; flights can cost as low as 150euros with low-cost companies or on special offer with Icelandair, and can reach as high as 600-800 euros if booked at the last minute.

When flying inland with Icelandair from Reykjavík to another town in Iceland, prices can range from 50euros, when booked in advance (check the internet for special prices) and up to 140 euros if you book the day before your departure. A bus from Reykjavík to the second largest city in Iceland, Akureyri costs 62 euros. Carpooling to Akureyri is the cheapest way to travel there and costs around 20euros per person sharing.

If travelling in the summer time, you can choose from many of the ‘passport’ buses available by Reykjavík Excursions and Sterna. To travel around the ring road (route one) by bus, tickets costs 240 euros and if you wish to go through the highlands it can cost from 70 euros up to 140 euros added to the original cost.

You could also consider renting a car or a camper van to go around Iceland; prices vary depending on the season and the rental companies. To give an idea of prices: you can rent a small city car for 370 euros a week at Cars Iceland or a 4X4 for 490euros.

A camper van for two costs about 700 euros per week at Campervan Iceland, and a motorhome for four people costs 1330 euros per week.  Petrol in Iceland costs around 1.40 or 1.60 euros per litre - diesel and unleaded petrol costs around the same price.
The budget needed for two people travelling in Iceland for a week.
Accommodation is a big part the budget, especially if you are travelling in peak summer season. A night of camping on a site costs around 10 euros per person, or a night in a hotel or guesthouse (in a double room) is usually around 150 euros. For more information on the cost of accommodation in Iceland, see our article.

As for supermarket shopping, you can easily get by on 250 euros for food per week, for two people. If hanging out in a coffee house or bakery, you could easily spend 20 euros for two people. A cup of coffee costs on average 2.80 euros and a pastry will cost on average 4 euros. A complete dinner with three courses in a good restaurant can cost between 150 euro to 200 euros depending on whether you had alcoholic beverages or not. A beer (50cl) in a bar costs 6 to 7 euros.  In the local Icelandic off-license, a very nice bottle of alcohol can cost around 50 euros and the lowest price for a bottle of wine is around 9 euros.

The budget needed for two people travelling in Iceland for a week.

It’s wise to include cash in your travel budget for some day trips; a return bus trip to the Blue Lagoon including entrance fee, costs 70 euros and a bus trip to the Golden Circle costs the same (70 euros). A bus tour at Landmannaglaugur with guide costs 140 euros. There is a wide range of wonderful excursions and activities available in Iceland and the prices for each vary.

The budget needed for two people travelling in Iceland for a week.

A week’s trip for two around Iceland, with city car rental, accommodation in guesthouses, a tour and alternating meals between picnics and small restaurants, and a few extras (entry to the pool, souvenirs), your travel will cost at least 3,000 euros. We strongly recommend you allow yourself a generous travel budget so you are guaranteed to have a wonderful trip.

Joanne, Iceland24
February 2016

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Rent a car in Iceland: Car Comparison by price in Iceland + Tips for Renting a Car in Iceland

If you’re planning to tour Iceland by car, then Iceland car rentals provide the cheapest and best way to explore the vast island. With public transportation being scarce outside major cities like Reykjavík, renting a car becomes the cheaper and most viable option for tourists to explore the island fully. Though it may seem expensive initially, it is much cheaper and less strenuous than having to purchase a car or travel by bus. With plenty of car rental companies in Iceland at your disposal, you will never fail to get a deal that suits your budget. 

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

The wide array of vehicles available for hire also makes it possible for you to get a car that can take you almost anywhere on the island from SUVs, four wheel cars, luxury cars, 4×4 rental cars and jeeps just to mention a few. In this article, we give you some tips on picking an Iceland car rental provider as well as taking a look at some of the best car rental companies on the island. 

CAR COMPARISON BY PRICE
July 11th to July 19th - 2016 (8 days)

Option A - New cars:

CARS ICELAND                      BEST COMPANY NOVEMBER 2015 (1st place)
Kia Rio Diesel:                            652€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                       999€
*prices with all insurances included

HERTZ
Toyota Aygo:                                956€
Toyota Rav4:                               1.903€

REYKJAVÍK AUTO                     BEST COMPANY NOVEMBER 2015 (3rd place)
Renault Clio:                                539€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                        917€

EUROPCAR
Hyundai i10:                                 962€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:             1.671€

REYKJAVÍK CARS *                  BEST COMPANY NOVEMBER 2015 (2nd place)
Hyundai i10:                                  528€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:              1.008€ 

AVIS
Hyundai i10:                                  719€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:              1.206€


Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Option B - Old cars:

REYKJAVÍK CARS (they also rent old models)
Hyundai i10:                                490€
Suzuki Jimny 4x4:                      990€

SS CAR RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                                  650€
Toyota Rav4 4x4:                         1.143€

SADCARS
Toyota Yaris                                 750€
Toyota Rav4 4x4                          1.323€

ICELAND CAR RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                                871€
Toyota Rav4                               1.658€

GEYSIR
Hyundai i20:                                854€
Hyundai Tucson:                        1.430€

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Renting a car is really the best and only way to see the country so be sure to factor it into your budget. We went there thinking we would just take a bus to other areas -wrong. The only buses that exists outside the capital city of Reykjavik are tour buses. So technically you can take a bus but you will pay for it because it will be part of an organized tours and it will add up fast. If you are traveling with another person a car is the cheapest way to see the country. Plus, driving in Iceland is very easy and there isn’t much traffic.

7 TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN ICELAND

Renting a car in Iceland may not be the cheapest way to explore Iceland (it’s tough to beat hitch hiking) but it doesn’t have to blow your budget. With public transportation being non-existent outside of the larger cities, like Reykjavik, renting a car gives you the freedom at a fraction of the cost when compared to the sightseeing tours sold at tourist information centers.

Below are seven ways to save money on your Iceland car rental:

Don’t buy it: You don’t need theft insurance for the vehicle. According to our agent, car thefts in Iceland are rare and he actually told us not to bother with any of the additional insurance (yes, they have insurance for ash from the volcano) either, so we didn’t. 

Go online: The best deals can be found online for Iceland car rentals. By booking online, you will find a better deal than renting directly from a tourist center in Iceland. Some online companies even offer discounts if you book online therefore you will be able to save a lot by booking online. There are a variety of car rental companies on the island so take your time and visit their websites, compare prices, and look at their packages and whether or not they offer discounts for booking online. By doing this, you will be able to get a good deal at a pocket friendly price. 

Pick up at Keflavik International Airport: Because the airport is located about an hour from Reykjavik, you will have to spend €15 – €20 each way to get to and from the airport. So, you might as well just rent your car from the airport and roll your shuttle bus fees into the car rental. 


Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Get to know your vehicle: The longer you keep the rental car the cheaper it becomes.

Petrol Blues: When considering renting a car be sure to factor in the cost of gas. In Europe, petrol is sold by the liter not the gallon; therefore, expect to pay about $5 per gallon. 

Choose Your Rental Dates Wisely: Sept. 1 in Iceland signals the beginning of the low season, which runs until May 31. Renting a car in Iceland becomes even cheaper during that time. And by cheaper I mean €35/day vs. €85/day – it’s a HUGE price difference. 

Consider your budget: Look for a car rental company that falls within your budget. Remember you do not have to spend a fortune on car rental therefore try to get a car rental service that will leave you with some cash to spend on the road.


Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

DRIVING IN ICELAND

Driving Conditions in Iceland are in many ways unusual and often quite unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore very important to find out how to drive in this country. We know that the landscapes are beautiful, which naturally draws the driver’s attention away from the road. But in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention on driving.

-The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/hr.
-The speed limit is often 60 km/hr on thruways, but in residential areas it is usually only 30 km/hr.
-The main rule in rural areas is that gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, and paved roads 90 km/hr.
-Signs indicate if other speed limits apply.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

HIGHLAND DRIVING

Driving in the Icelandic highland is quite different from driving in the lowland. The conditions can change fast due to weather, rain and even sometimes snow. Therefore roads can be closed and rivers can be too big to cross. Before you start your travel you should get information about the area as well as leave your travel plan with someone who can check up on you if needed.

You can make your travel plan here:

-Start by checking if the area you are going to visit is open
-Get as much information about the area as you can
-Information centers, rangers and hut wardens can help you get the information needed
-Are you sure that you have the experience and knowledge needed to go the highland?
-If you are driving be on a 4x4 jeep, other cars will only get you into trouble
-If you are no sure how to cross a river skip it or wait for the next car to assist you over

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

ILLEGAL OFF-ROAD DRIVING

When the fact that the country lies right below the Arctic Circle is taken into consideration, along with the fact that the growing season is short, it is apparent that the environment can take many years, decades or even centuries to recover. For example, many people don't realise that by uprooting or driving on moss, damage is caused that can take at least a decade or, more likely, some hundreds of years to mend – and we're not even talking about the highlands where the summer is much shorter.

Whilst travelling around the country, the highest respect for the Icelandic environment must be shown. It's good to remember to take nothing besides photographs and leave nothing behind except footprints.

-Check out the road map and see where the roads and trails are.
-Get information about the appropriate routes at visitor centres, and from rangers or staff.
-Find out in advance when mountain roads are likely to be open, along with other related information, at visitor centres or here.

While on your trip around the country you’ll quickly see that in many places, road ruts and paths have formed from other people. Often they are closed off with nothing more than a row of small rocks. Don’t be caught in the pitfall of following those paths; only stay on roads and marked trails. Instead, think about the damage off-road driving has caused, take photos and educate friends and acquaintances. See how long such damage takes to heal. Notice that ruts don’t just look ugly; they draw in water and thereby cause even further damage, leading to erosion of soil and vegetation. Walk around a short distance or turn around if you can’t go any farther by driving. That’s the only right thing do. Besides, you can easily expect a sky-high fine or prison term for offences.

We should all set a good example. Together we share the responsibility of ensuring that everyone gets the chance of enjoying a pristine natural environment for years to come.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

CROSSING A RIVER

One thing is for sure when you go hiking in Iceland and that’s that you’ll not get far without coming to the first stream. Usually they’re little brooks, which are good to get a fresh drink from. On the other hand, they can be large rivers and you will need to wade them, in which case you should bear some things in mind:

-Rivers often have less volume earlier in the day, so organising hiking trips accordingly is not a bad idea.
-Look around for suitable locations to ford. Be aware that places that are good for crossing with jeeps are seldom good for crossing on foot.
-Look for meanders in the river which are places where there is loose gravel and sand and the current dies down as the river expands.
-Meanders are usually the best location you’ll find for fording a river though the river may be wider there.
-Preferably wade the river with two or three other people at a time by clasping arms together at the elbows.
-Loosen any straps on backpacks and be sure not to have anything tied tight that could complicate things if you or someone else might fall.
-It’s best to have special wading shoes as it is not wise to cross barefoot - this can increase the likelihood of a fall.
-Before fording, it’s smart to decide on a spot farther down the river where everyone will go to if someone might unfortunately fall.
-If you fall, roll onto your back, keep your feet in front of you and trudge to the place - or near to it - that was previously decided upon.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

When planning your hiking trip get information about rivers, if they are possible to cross on foot and then what time is best and etc. Never cross a river unless you are 100% sure of how to do it and feel safe doing it.

Helpful Tips on 4x4 Driving in Iceland

If you have plans to visit Iceland's country side then you should also pick a 4x4 vehicle since you will most likely be driving on some gravel roads. And should you go off the beaten path to visit the Iceland highland then you are sure to encounter some F-roads that are only driveble by larger 4x4.

Iceland gravel roadsAll major roads in Iceland are paved. But keep in mind that of 13.000 km total roads in Iceland only about 5.000 is paved with asfalt.

Most gravel roads are not difficult to drive on or dangerous, you just need to keep special attention while driving and make sure you are not going to fast. These roads are often narrow and many bridges only have one lane. You are also likely to meet some sheeps and Icelandic horses so make sure you are paying attention.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

List of the most popular F-roads

Here is a list of the most popular F-roads in Iceland and average opening times:
F-RoadNameAvg. opening date
F206 Lakagígar June 12th
F208 Fjallabaksleið nyrðri
(Landmannalaugar and Eldgjá)
June 12th
F225 Landmannaleið, Landmannalaugar June 15th
F35 Kjölur (Hveravellir) June 11th
F26 Sprengisandur June 27th
F88 Askja June 20th
F902 Kverkfjöll June 19th
F52 Uxahryggir June 5th
F550 Kaldidalur June 13th

Driving in snow and difficult weather conditions

Make sure you are always driving according to road and weather conditions. If there is snow and the roads are slippery make sure to take it slow and drive safe. If you are driving outsite of populated areas make sure to find out the conditions of the roads on your route. You should also check out the weather forecast.

Check road conditions in Iceland here:
http://www.vegagerdin.is/english/road-conditions-and-weather/the-entire-country/island1e.html

Check weather forecast here:
http://en.vedur.is

Carpooling in Iceland:
http://samferda.is

Map of Iceland:
http://atlas.lmi.is/kortasja_en/

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Kolla, Iceland24
© 2016 Iceland24

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

When you think about how the immense Ásbyrgi canyon was probably made, it surely ranks among Iceland’s most remarkable natural features. But if you don’t think about how it was made and just take it on face value, then it cannot be described as ‘breath-taking’ like many other Icelandic attractions – it is just an extremely pleasant place to be.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Ásbyrgi is one of the wonders of nature, a wide, horseshoe-shaped canyon with sheer cliff faces up to 100 m high. It is 3.5 km long and over 1 km wide. At its innermost end lies Botnstjörn, a small pond surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. A distinctive rock formation rises up from the centre of Ásbyrgi, up to 250 m wide, known as Eyjan.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

The area is covered in woodland consisting mainly of birch, willow and mountain ash. Several thousand recently planted pines also prosper. Arctic fulmar nest on the steep cliffs, while many other birds prefer the woods and meadows.

Ásbyrgi was formed by two or more catastrophic floods caused by glacial bursts from the northern part of the Vatnajökull ice cap, one between eight and ten thousand years ago and a second approximately three thousand years ago. Since then the bed of the river has moved eastwards.

The original explanation for Ásbyrgi’s existence is that Sleipnir put a hoof down there and left a giant footprint (Sleipnir was the god Óðinn’s giant eight-legged horse). However, at about three-by-one kilometres in size, that would be a pretty big foot. So we’re going to assume that’s quite unlikely.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Although Ásbyrgi is part of the National Park, it is run by the Iceland Forest Service. The canyon has a shop and a restaurant.

Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi

Á-1 Botnstjörn pond
Distance: 1 km (circle) with other possibilities. 
Walking time: ½ -1 hr 
Starting point: At the innermost car park in Ásbyrgi canyon. 
Path difficulty: Easy route (blue)

From the car park to the upper platform, under the west wall of the canyoun - Green route. Other routes in the area are mostly easy - Blue route.

There are several easy and interesting routes in the bottom of Ásbyrgi, starting at the car park. A walk down stone steps leads to a platform at the small pond, Botnstjörn. There is also a nice view over the pond from a platform located underneath the west wall of the canyon. The route to this platform, from the parking lot, is suitable for people with restricted mobility. A few steps from the platform are stone steps that lead up to a small hill with a nice view over the Ásbyrgi canyon.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Á-2 Eyjan hill in Ásbyrgi 
Distance: 4,5 km (back and forth) 
Walking time: 1,5-2 hrs 
Starting point: Car park in front of the service house at the campsite 
Path difficulty: Easy route (blue)  

The trail upon Eyjan (“the island”) in Ásbyrgi starts at the parking lot at the campsite. The trail heads first north and then it goes up the cliff where it is suitable for ascent. Wood steps have been put up for easier access. When up at the Eyjan the path goes soon past an old pile of stone. If you turn around there, the route is 2 km long, but if the path is followed further south, it goes all the way to the edge of the cliff. From there is a beautiful view over Ásbyrgi. This route is an enjoyable evening stroll.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Á-3 Through the woods
Distance: 4 km (one way) 
Walking time: 1,5 hr 
Starting point: Visitor Centre 
Path difficulty: Easy route (blue). 

Biking is allowed on this route. This route starts at the Visitor Centre in Ásbyrgi and goes follows a path that lies below the eastern wall of Ásbyrgi all the way south to the pond Botnstjörn in the bottom of the canyon. The route goes through various forestry plots as during the years 1947-1977 foreign conifers were planted in Ásbyrgi. Various bird species nest in the diverse forest groves.  Prior to more modern lifestyles the birch wood was used for building houses, as firewood and for the grazing of livestock. It is possible to combine this route with route Á-4 and make a ring route.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Á-4 Below Eyjan hill 
Distance: 3,5 km (one way) 
Walking time: 1 hr 
Starting point: Ásbyrgi Campsite 
Path difficulty: Challenging route (red)  

This route starts in the southwest corner of the campsite. First the route goes beneath the cliff wall where you can see the different forms of honey comb weathering. It is also possible to see the nest of the black raven (Corvus corax) which the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) is fond of using for its own chicks. When at the south cliff of Eyjan the path goes west,you will notice big tussocks which are characteristical of the shrub heats of north east Iceland. The path ends at the old playing field in Ásbyrgi. It is possible to combine this route with route Á-3 and make a circular route.

Á-5 Áshöfði circle (around Áshöfði hill) 
Distance: 7,5 km (circle) 
Walking time: 2-3 hrs 
Starting point: Visitor Centre 
Path difficulty: Challenging route (red)  

The route starts at the Visitor Centre. The path takes you first along the golf course to the east, towards lake Ástjörn where there is abundant birdlife. The path goes past the summer camp and east around the hill, were it starts to head south, past small ravines, a moorland and small ponds. Where the path turns west there is a beautiful view of the Jökuslá river. The path then goes north, along Gilsbakki. To go back to the Visitor Centre there are two routes to choose from: The easterly route goes along Ásgil and Ás. The westerly route goes to the rim of Ásbyrgi, Tófugjá and then you follow the route north, along the rim, towards the intersections at the east side of the golf course where there are a few hundred meters back to the Visitor Centre.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Á-6 Áshöfði circle (across Áshöfði hill) 
Distance: 7 km (circle) 
Walking time: 2-3 hrs 
Starting point: Visitor Centre 
Path difficulty: Challenging route (red)  

This route is mostly equivalent to route Á-5. The route starts at the same site, at the Visitor Centre, and goes along the south end of lake Ástjörn, past the summer camp and east around the hill. But shortly before the view point over the Jökulsá River the route turns west at crossroads and follows a path over the Áshöfði hill. From the west side of the hill is a beautiful view over the old farm Ás, Ásbyrgi canyon and north over the sand which the Jökulsá River has formed, unimpeded for centuries but harnessed with levees today. When across the hill the route follows the same way back; across the summer camp and the south end of the lake Ástjörn.

Á-7 Klappir 
Distance: 9 km (back and forth) 
Walking time: 2,5-3 hrs 
Starting point: Visitor Centre 
Path difficulty: Challenging route (red)  

This route starts at the same place as route Á-8. Please look at that route description. This route turns around at Klappir and goes the same way back. The route offers an excellent view over Ásbyrgi and you can see unique pot holes at Klappir, formed by catastrophic floods in the Jökulsá River.

Á-8 Kúahvammur circle 
Distance: 12 km (circle) 
Walking time: 4-5 hrs 
Starting point: Visitor Centre 
Path difficulty: Challenging route (red)  

This route offers an excellent view over Ásbyrgi and the Jökulsá river canyon. The route starts at the Visitor Centre where there are two ways to choose from to get up the cliff. It is easier to go east along the golf course and turn south at the intersections. From there the route follows the rim of the canyon. The more difficult route is to go ~ 0,7 km south from the Visitor Centre, turn left at the intersection and climb up the cliff from there. There is a rope for support. From there the trail takes you along the eastern rim of Ásbyrgi as far south as Klappir where catastrophic floods in Jökulsá River have carved some amazing shapes into the rock. The view over Ásbyrgi is simply breathtaking. From Klappir your head east over the moor to Jökulsá and then along the gorge, passing Gilsbakki and Ás until you return to the starting point. It is also possible to go the same way back from Klappir (Á-7). Then the route is ~ 9 km long.
Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Á-9 Kvíar circle 
Distance: 17 km (circle) 
Walking time: 6-7 hrs 
Starting point: Visitor Centre 
Path difficulty: Challenging route (red)  

This route gives an opportunity for a whole day walk throughthe diverse landscape of Ásbyrgi and its surroundings. The view on the route is spectacular and one can see unique remains of catastrophic floods in the Jökulsá River. The starting point of the route is the same as in Á-8. When at Klappir, instead of going east as in Á-8, the path is followed south to Kvíar. In Kvíar the various cataracts or enclosed hollows (named „byrgi“ in Icelandic) are clear remains of catastrophic floods. From the crossroads at Kvíar the route turns north and the easterly path along the Jökulsá River is followed. At crossroads in Kúahvammur the route is followed further north, along the same path is in Á-8.


Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

SPECIAL 2 day trip HIKE 
A hike from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss  

Hiking up along the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, from the luxuriant Ásbyrgi to the barren but magnificent environment around Dettifoss, is a unique experience for every hiker. The diversity of the landscape is unique and captures the eye at every footprint: tremendous gorges, quiet ponds, clear springs, rough river, luxuriant forests and bare gravel plains.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Distances:
  • Ásbyrgi - Dettifoss, total: 32 km (shortest way) 
  • Ásbyrgi - Vesturdalur: 12 km or 13.6 km (see route description) 
  • Vesturdalur - Hólmatungur: 8 km 
  • Hólmatungur - Dettifoss (along Hafragil): 11.5 km 
Hiking map 

Here is a hiking map of Jökulsárgljúfur: [pdf 1.8 MB]

Route description 

It takes two days to hike between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss and normally lodged in Vesturdalur (Hljóðaklettar). The route can be walked in both directions (start ingeither in Ásbyrgi or Dettifoss). In Jökulsárgljúfur it is only allowed to camp at the official campsites in Ásbyrgi, Vesturdalur and at Dettifoss (a small campsite with few facilities).

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

From Ásbyrgi to Vesturdalur there are two paths to choose from: One is to follow the rim of Ásbyrgi, and go south along Klappir and Kvíar, just over 12 km. The other route is to go the easterly path, closer to the river, but that route is 13,6 km long. Both routes start at the Visitor Centre in Ásbyrgi.

From the Visitor Centre, there are two ways to access the rim of Ásbyrgi. An easier way is to go east over the golf course and turn south at the intersection east of the golf course. From there the path goes up the lowest part of the cliff. A more difficult way is to go directly south from the Visitor Centre, towards the intersection at Tófugjá. There, turn east and go up the cliff, where there is a rope for support. It is not recommended to go this way if people have a heavy burden. Up at Tófugjá it is possible to choose which way to go to Vesturdalur (along the rim of Ásbyrgi or along the Jökulsá river).
Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

The route between Vesturdalur and Hólmatungur is about 8 km. The only river that has to be waded during the hike, Stallá, is at this section. Stallá is a spring river that flows into the Jökulsá river. The river is shallow and cold, but wading restores tired legs and makes the trip more memorable.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

From Hólmatungur there is roughly a 10 km hike south to Dettifoss, if you go into the Hafragil lowland (black route).  If you go along the Hafragil ravine the route is 11,5 km. It is not recommended for people with a heavy burden to go down to the lowland. In that case, hikers are advised to go to the campsite at Dettifoss, ease the burden and then explore the lowland.

Accommodation 

On the route there are no cabins and it is only allowed to camp on the park campsites. In Vesturdalur there is a beautiful camp site. There are toilets and running, cold water, but no shower facilities. Please contact the rangers before camping. At Dettifoss there is a small camping area, only intended for hikers. The area is just north of the parking lot. There is no running water at the campsite, but rangers bring fresh water to the site every day. Please use the water spaerly.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Drinking water 
  • Between Ásbyrgi and Vesturdalur there are no streams or springs to take water from. Hikers have to carry all fluids with them. 
  • In Vestudalur there is running water in the toilet buildings. It is not recommended to drink water from the spring river due to high traffic of people in the area during the summer. 
  • In Hólmatungur there ​​are a lot of streams from which is safe to drink water. 
  • Between Hólmatungur and Dettifoss the only spring river is down in Hafragil.   
  • At Dettifoss there is no running water. Park rangers carry water in tanks to the campground. Hikers are kindly requested to moderate the use of that water.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Obstacles on the route 

The trail is mostly easy. The main obstacles on the route are:  
  • Tófugjá in Ásbyrgi is the way that goes up the rock wall of Ásbyrgi canyon. There is a ladder and rope for support. You can choose another way to get up to the rim. See route description. 
  • Stallá is the only river that has to be waded. It is shallow and cold but not a major obstacle for hikers. 
  • Hafragil lowland is the most difficult trail in Jökulsárgljúfur but also the most magnificent. People who carry heavy burdens, are advised not to go down to the lowland, as the path is really narrow in some areas. In Sanddalur the trail is really steep and there is a rope for support to go up/down. Furthermore, the trail goes along large boulders and there is a danger of falling rocks. For those who carry heavy burdens and want to explore the lowland it is better to go all the way to the campsite at Dettifoss, leave the luggage there and then walk back down to the lowland. Those who are afraid of heights are also not advised to go this route.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Travel opportunities 

The trail from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss is a one-way route. Hikers need to have plans to get back from the endpoint. There are two companies that offer regular transport between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss, SBA and Fjallasýn. SBA offers daily tours between Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi from the 18th of June to the end of August. For more information, visit the SBA website. On reauest, the company Fjallasýn offers transport and/or guided tours between Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss. For more information visit the Fjallasýn website. The school-bus driver Guðmundur Þórarinsson also offers service to hikers and tourist,tel: 892-8928.

Ásbyrgi canyon travel guide: 9 Hiking trails at Ásbyrgi + Route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss

Travel Information

The National Park's Visitors Centre, called "Gljufrastofa", is situated in Ásbyrgi.  It is open during summer  Tel.:  470 7100, e-mail: asbyrgi@vjp.is

We want to finish with Sigur Ros performing Hoppípolla at Ásbyrgi :)


Peter, Iceland24
January 2015