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Overland trip to Iceland


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OK so here goes, work has settled down and it looks like I will be in the UK for most of this year so going to plan a trip for the summer I fancied Iceland. I want to do it on my own/small group and not on a 10 car tour.

  • Has anyone on here done it?
  • Best way of getting there from the UK?
  • Anyone know any good routes/tours?
  • Anything I need to do to the Landy?
  • Any good tips?
  • Any good books?
  • Anyone fancy it?

Cheers, Jason.

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Only way now is via denmark, so it makes it quite expensive i'm afraid. To be honest you'd probably be cheaper getting a hire car for 2 weeks.

You don't really need any special preparation, unless you're going in winter. Driving off road is illegal (in summer) so you're not going to encounter anything a standard land rover (or any other 4x4) can't handle. There are very big fines for straying off the trail, so its quite funny to be in the middle of a desert with nothing for miles and miles in any direction and two cars will be edging slowly by each other so they don't stray off the track.

Hopefully i've not put you off though, because a 'road' varies somewhat. the picture at the bottom shows a road on the gps. i don't have a photo, unfortunately, of the road that the gps took us up when we headed to hengifoss. I've seen more defined tracks in a farmer's field. we eventually stopped half way up a hillside when we did in fact reach a gate.

You could do route 1 in just over a week, which would let you see much of the country and there are good off road routes which leave and join route 1 and are good fun.

not sure i can actually add photos in this quick post box, so i'll try and add some in a minute.

post-865-040625000 1294012890_thumb.jpgpost-865-051425100 1294012797_thumb.jpg

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Just spoke to the missus minutes before logging on and saw your post, really fancy it though Id rather hire a icelandic truck properly prepared than a nasty cold landrover Ill be keeping a eye on this thread :D

Considered hiring something but would rather prep the Landy if I need to add a Eberspacher heater that will be part of the prep. I don't think it is that cold in June anyway, midnight sun and all that sure it's not the Sahara but last year the low at night that time of year was 6 degrees at night.

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Only way now is via denmark, so it makes it quite expensive i'm afraid. To be honest you'd probably be cheaper getting a hire car for 2 weeks.

You don't really need any special preparation, unless you're going in winter. Driving off road is illegal (in summer) so you're not going to encounter anything a standard land rover (or any other 4x4) can't handle. There are very big fines for straying off the trail, so its quite funny to be in the middle of a desert with nothing for miles and miles in any direction and two cars will be edging slowly by each other so they don't stray off the track.

Hopefully i've not put you off though, because a 'road' varies somewhat. the picture at the bottom shows a road on the gps. i don't have a photo, unfortunately, of the road that the gps took us up when we headed to hengifoss. I've seen more defined tracks in a farmer's field. we eventually stopped half way up a hillside when we did in fact reach a gate.

You could do route 1 in just over a week, which would let you see much of the country and there are good off road routes which leave and join route 1 and are good fun.

not sure i can actually add photos in this quick post box, so i'll try and add some in a minute.

post-865-040625000 1294012890_thumb.jpgpost-865-051425100 1294012797_thumb.jpg

Cheers Calum, I think that's the sort of thing I am looking for, I take it it's a ferry to Denmark and then road from there to next Ferry? or is it the same port?

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Cheers Calum, I think that's the sort of thing I am looking for, I take it it's a ferry to Denmark and then road from there?

um, i don't know what your closest ferry port is, but you have to travel from wherever you are to hanstholm, actually looking at the smyril-line page its now somewhere in the north of denmark. from there the ferry goes to the faroes and then on to the port of seyðisfjörður on the east of iceland.

You used to be able to get the ferry from scrabster, but now its only from denmark so you have the cost of getting there first, then the cost of taking the ferry to iceland. my memory is a bit hazy, but i think hiring a 4x4 would be about £800 for 2 weeks. that was just from reading a sign outside a hire place in reykjavik thought, maybe you could find it cheaper.

If you can stomach that, then once you get there, costs are not too bad. we just camped as hotels and guest houses can be a bit pricey. In hindsight, as it was pissing down on quite a few occasions, we should have split up the trip and stayed in a hotel at our half way point in akureyri. Camp sites were i think about £12 a night for 2 tents and stuff in the supermarket is not especially more expensive than here. Exchange rate was 200kr at the time and is 180kr now. a pint is about 700kr and as long as you didn't go anywhere too fancy, or get anything too fancy at a restaurant, they were ok too. Food was generally of a pretty good standard.

I woudn't worry about the weather in june, at worst you'll get a bit of frost on the tent in the morning, although its a bit colder in the highlands.

some more random photos not really in any order, but on a sort of driving theme to encourage you

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I'd love to do Iceland, it looks great. Take a couple of spares though, the volcanic rock is sharp!

I was looking at ferries to Norway today and shocked to find that there are no direct ferries to Norway or Iceland now. You used to be able to go from Newcastle to Norway but now it's Harwich to Esbjerg, drive to Hirtshals and get another ferry from there. TychoS's method is probably the best, put the landy in a container and fly to Iceland yourself.

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Been to Iceland as well, and planning on going again next year, so hopefully

the children can enjoy it. The only special preperation you need to do to the

vehicle (apart from a full service) is to make sure it is capable of wading.

There are very few bridges.

We stayed at campsites the whole time we were there, even in Rekjarvik.

You won't regret going, but it isn't a cheap place to go to anymore if you

are taking your own vehicle.

And yes it is a pain there are no direct ferries to the UK anymore.

Harwich > Esbjerg is the most usefull alternative to getting to Denmark.

You could drive from Dunkirk, but it isn't fun.

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I have considered a shipping container, I am going to look at the costs for a 40ft and a 20ft container, as I want to take the trailer depending on costs, As the Landy is no longer my daily drive I can do without it for a couple of weeks whilst shipping so it can go on the slow boat. I guess I need to consider specialist insurance for shipping in the costs. How many Land Rovers can you get into a container???

Flights to Iceland can be fairly reasonable and don't mind not going directly, i.e. via Norway etc.

Either way it will not be "cheap" If I took a container I could take lots of supplies to see me through a couple of weeks.

Anyone know where I start with a shipping container?

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I need to add a Eberspacher heater that will be part of the prep. I don't think it is that cold in June anyway,

When i went in 2008 we had far better weather there than was in the uk at the time, even t-shirt weather for a couple of days and never got cold in the tent at night.

Any routes through the interior are well worth doing, and can be done in a standard truck, just prep for water crossings. Make sure all your suspension and bushes are up to scratch as they will take some abuse on the gravel roads.

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Those photos are simply stunning, I have made my mind up today that I am going just need to make it happen now, biggest problem is the travelling time it will take about 4 days to get there and 4 days back which adds to the time massively.

Using provisional costs from previous expeditions and using Ferry costs etc Four adults travelling in June to take the Landy and Trailer would be £3,579.00 or £894 per person for around 16 days including the travelling, I need to work out the costs of just one person in the Landy and the rest flying etc to cut down on the need for extra holiday.

after seeing the photos Mrs S is now expressing an interest although that will be a first, so it may also be the family holiday!!!

Got a message from TJ today so will give him a call for over the next couple of days to get some more tips and info, but on the face of it £894.00 each is not that bad, is it? one life, live it and all that good stuff!!

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Thanks to everyone out-there for your help and recommendations so far especially TJ who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Iceland, however keep them coming, I will consolidate and post up the whole prep and notes is anyone else fancies it.

I have based my cost on taking four adults in the 110 with roof tent on, and the overland trailer. Ferry costs are by far the highest the ferry from UK to Denmark takes around 17 hours but is overnight so not too bad and is about the cheapest way of getting to Denmark, the ferry from Denmark to Iceland takes 3 days and is by far the biggest cost of the whole deal although altering the passenger count does not really make that much difference to the cost and the trailer is again not really a huge cost on top of taking the 110 which is already over-height etc.

The trip will start on June 3rd returning to the UK on the 15th, spending just under 6 days in Iceland, the plan would be to cover around 200 miles per day splitting the driving 1/2 a day each in rotation, which has worked well in previous trips and gives everyone a break/go the plan would also be to look at leaving the trailer at camp sites and exploring from there although I have not sorted that bit out yet.

Posted are provisional costs which include almost everything based on previous experience.

Again let me know if you are interested in either bringing your Landy (other 4x4's will be considered!!) or fancy a place, I have had a few people interested in coming but need to ensure that everyone will get on before anyone is selected.

Jason.

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You will be left very wanting if you only spend 6 days in Iceland.

And don't forget that driving in the interior there are no asphalt roads.

Then there are river crossings, stops, lunch, tea, coffee, get the camera out,

etc, etc.

You want a holiday. We were there for 2.5 weeks and still didn't see everything.

Total holiday was just over 3 weeks.

What I am trying to say, is don't set yourself too many targets. If you only have

6 days, buy some books and read up to find the best spots and see if you can get round

to see them in the time you have. 1 rivercrossing we had took us about 4 hours, it was

a very wide river with good flow, so rather than turn round we took our time. We met a

Danish couple, with an 8 month old baby that had been stuck/ self recovering for 26hrs,

because although the road was closed, it had only been closed at one end. :rolleyes:

Going to the interior of Iceland is full on, on your own for 4 days without seeing

anyone else type of offroading. :D

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You will be left very wanting if you only spend 6 days in Iceland.

And don't forget that driving in the interior there are no asphalt roads.

Then there are river crossings, stops, lunch, tea, coffee, get the camera out,

etc, etc.

You want a holiday. We were there for 2.5 weeks and still didn't see everything.

Total holiday was just over 3 weeks.

What I am trying to say, is don't set yourself too many targets. If you only have

6 days, buy some books and read up to find the best spots and see if you can get round

to see them in the time you have. 1 rivercrossing we had took us about 4 hours, it was

a very wide river with good flow, so rather than turn round we took our time. We met a

Danish couple, with an 8 month old baby that had been stuck/ self recovering for 26hrs,

because although the road was closed, it had only been closed at one end. :rolleyes:

Going to the interior of Iceland is full on, on your own for 4 days without seeing

anyone else type of offroading. :D

I know and would love to spend some more time there but work and family would not allow for that so unfortunately that would have to do for now, TJ has been there and is sharing maps etc and has given me some cost saving ideas.

Have done many trips so understand that things can take longer having taken trips where I have not seen others for days is something I am used to, and as I tend to over prepare (if there is such a thing) my trips don't tend to be a big slog but paced giving time for lunch and stopping when we feel like it and not sticking to tight time scales but having the maps GPS etc which will allow plans to be changed without affecting risk or overall plans.

Jason.

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Hi Jason,

I did this with friends 19 years ago, just before uni. We had a Range Rover, but were unable to cover anything like 200 miles a day. I don't know if things have changed since then, however, we spent a month there, and didn't see half of everything we had planned to see. We had planned on covering very modest distances, and failed miserably, however, we had a wonderful time. 6 days seems a very short time to see anything....indeed, you may not see very much if you get stuck somewhere....and we had a very experienced Icelandic hunter (who was also an off-road tour guide.......a friend of my sister's) with us.

Callum - just a quick question: when you say off-road driving is not permitted in the summer, does this mean you are no longer able to visit the craters which are inaccessible by road? That would be a real shame! I had wanted to go back there sometime with my son.

Shant

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wow, the ferries are stupid money. Might be best just to rent a 4x4, you'll be cheaper and have more time in iceland. a kia sorento or pajero would be fine for most stuff.

only difficulty is bringing camping equipment by plane and you might have to look into renting that in iceland too. we would have probably been overweight if we'd had to take tents with us and cooking stuff, or at least would have had to pack more efficiently.

Sounds like your heart is pretty set on doing this in your own vehicle though. You could save money by ditching the trailer. we were fine for space 4 up in a friend's old pajero. Have you got a roof rack? pull that off and see if you can reduce your height.

In all seriousness, iceland is not the sahara, so don't over prepare. you'll get mobile reception in the most remote places and the off road routes all featured on the maps on a garmin nuvi. You won't be tackling anything too tough as there are big fines for straying off the marked routes.

i also think 6 days is a bit tight, we just managed our way roughly round route 1, taking in some off road routes in 7 days, followed by a few on the lash in reykjavik.

hope you enjoy yourself.

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Hi Jason,

I did this with friends 19 years ago, just before uni. We had a Range Rover, but were unable to cover anything like 200 miles a day. I don't know if things have changed since then, however, we spent a month there, and didn't see half of everything we had planned to see. We had planned on covering very modest distances, and failed miserably, however, we had a wonderful time. 6 days seems a very short time to see anything....indeed, you may not see very much if you get stuck somewhere....and we had a very experienced Icelandic hunter (who was also an off-road tour guide.......a friend of my sister's) with us.

Callum - just a quick question: when you say off-road driving is not permitted in the summer, does this mean you are no longer able to visit the craters which are inaccessible by road? That would be a real shame! I had wanted to go back there sometime with my son.

Shant

um, i'm not 100% sure to be honest. when we went to askja we had to walk a bit from a car park. i'm led to believe that straying off the roads marked on the map is not permitted, e.g hooning about in the sand, and some french guys got a big fine for doing so whilst we were there. i'm afraid i don't know the ins and outs of it and it could well be as complicated as green laning laws in england. Best bet would probably be to try an icelandic forum. When the ground has a good cover of snow, i think you can drive where you want and thats when the super jeeps are necessary.

and now for a appropriate picture...

post-865-050247400 1294417020_thumb.jpg

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um, i'm not 100% sure to be honest. when we went to askja we had to walk a bit from a car park. i'm led to believe that straying off the roads marked on the map is not permitted, e.g hooning about in the sand, and some french guys got a big fine for doing so whilst we were there. i'm afraid i don't know the ins and outs of it and it could well be as complicated as green laning laws in england. Best bet would probably be to try an icelandic forum. When the ground has a good cover of snow, i think you can drive where you want and thats when the super jeeps are necessary.

and now for a appropriate picture...

Thanks for that! After reading your reply, I called my friend in Iceland.....you are absolutely correct! The way they get around this is by naming many of the tracks as roads, and, as you said before, you have to stick to them....and they have tracks to almost everywhere you would like to go to. I just didn't realise that those gravel tracks counted as mapped roads.....to me, much of that counted as driving off-road!

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wow, the ferries are stupid money. Might be best just to rent a 4x4, you'll be cheaper and have more time in iceland. a kia sorento or pajero would be fine for most stuff.

only difficulty is bringing camping equipment by plane and you might have to look into renting that in iceland too. we would have probably been overweight if we'd had to take tents with us and cooking stuff, or at least would have had to pack more efficiently.

Sounds like your heart is pretty set on doing this in your own vehicle though. You could save money by ditching the trailer. we were fine for space 4 up in a friend's old pajero. Have you got a roof rack? pull that off and see if you can reduce your height.

In all seriousness, iceland is not the sahara, so don't over prepare. you'll get mobile reception in the most remote places and the off road routes all featured on the maps on a garmin nuvi. You won't be tackling anything too tough as there are big fines for straying off the marked routes.

i also think 6 days is a bit tight, we just managed our way roughly round route 1, taking in some off road routes in 7 days, followed by a few on the lash in reykjavik.

hope you enjoy yourself.

Thanks Calum,

I know that 6 days is tight but unfortunately I can't spare more time off work, I don't intend for this to be my last trip just an exploitative one!! I have looked at not taking the trailer but to be honest it really does not effect the price that much and the benefits outweigh the costs as far as I am concerned. My Landy is lifted so taking the rack off does not make that much difference and I would need it for the roof tent anyway.

Not really looking at this as a holiday more as further adventures in my Landy hence not wanting to hire something, and whilst not wanting to push things to much I think the longer days will allow us to push the distance a little, normal plan would be to break camp by 10:00 drive until 13:00 and then have an hour lunch then going from 14:00 until 18:00 although given the longer days we would look to push this to 20:00 giving us 9 hours "driving" per day split between for that will not be to bad, at an average of 25mph will give us around 200 miles a day. Again whilst I know that this will not allow us to see everything I am hoping it will allow us to get a very good feel for the place with the intent of returning when we have more time or maybe with the kids when they are older.

Jason.

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