The Best Motorcycle Routes in Iceland

Iceland is packed with out of this world roads and routes and is an adventure rider’s playground. This detailed guide lists the very best routes and tours for motorcycle riders as well as a list of top destinations. 

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

Contents

Picture of By Jimmy and Naz

By Jimmy and Naz

Jimmy and Naz run Freedom Moto Adventures and are experts motorcycle travel in Iceland.

The Best Motorcycle Routes in Iceland

Welcome to Iceland! This guide is an add-on to our comprehensive travel guide for Iceland. Here you’ll find a selection of five incredible routes and a top list of 15 don’t miss destinations. We recommend having a read of the travel guide once you’ve finished here. 

READ MORE: Motorcycle Travel Guide: Iceland

F210 and F232

F210 is one of two roads that cut through the Fjallabak National Park. F210 covers the southern side of the area and offers a compact version of Iceland. As you ride from the west, you will experience hills and canyons and multiple water crossings, including one that is a few hundred meters long ride in the river bed.

As you get closer to the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, the land gets more barren, and the temperature drops until you reach the point when you’re riding on a black sand desert with white glacier in the short distance and cold mist rolling over the black sand. Occasionally, you will see black hills partially covered in slime green moss.  I have never experienced such a place.  For a moment, you feel like you are on an alien planet.  It’s the kind of place where you find yourself stopping every couple of miles to try and process what you’re seeing. 

As you progress east, you will again enter the canyons and solid lava area until you reach a fork where F232 starts. Follow it and cross the river just meters to the edge of Bláfjallafoss waterfall if you dare. Before you do, check how deep it is. The last thing you want is your beloved machine rolling down the waterfall.

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

F206 and F207

From the ring road, you can turn north into F206, which will take you to the heart of the Laki area (or Lakagígar), a testament to how violent Iceland can be. The area formed by the 1783 eruption, known as Skaftáreldar, when over 130 volcanoes opened, spraying this vast area with magma. Today you can ride between lava fields covered in bright green moss and black sand roads.

The area has some of the roughest F-roads in Iceland, and if you like water, there are many water crossings to conquer. Once you reach the end of F206, you can follow F207 and circle the national park. There is also a very convenient camping place beside the park ranger’s hut. Regardless of whether you stay there overnight, which we recommend (advance booking is needed if you want a solid roof over your head), the only way from there is to ride back the same road you came. So, yet again, you will travel through the lava fields and water crossings, mostly probably marvelling at how different one place can look few hours apart thanks to Mother Nature’s sheer power.

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

Road 61 from Ísafjörður to Hólmavík

Most Icelandic roads follow the coastline, but road 61 is the most spectacular of them all. If you start your ride from Ísafjörður, you will travel through a series of fjords, some as long as 16km. You will have mountains with countless waterfalls on your right hand and the sea to the left.

You will be constantly torn between looking for seals that often inhabit fjords and marvelling at water cascading right next to the road. After the first two, you may have an overbearing sense of deja vu. With mostly empty roads and seemingly repeating views, it’s very easy to lose all sense of time and progress. The perceived monotony is only rarely disturbed by a passing car or a tiny settlement. Roughly halfway through, you will see Litlibær, a small café in an old farm building. It’s the perfect place to stop for coffee and waffles.

Finally, after 200km, the road will rapidly turn right and climb. The road will slowly gain altitude in what feels like a never-ending mountain pass. For the next 30 or so kilometres, you will slowly reach the top of the pass that looks more like a vast plateau than a mountain pass. From there, a rapid descent will start, and soon you will reach the town of Holmavik. Stop there for a night and get a space on the whale-watching boat. The area is a very popular feeding ground for humpbacks.

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

F88 and Odadahraun lava field

The whole area north of Vatnajökull is yet another testament to the power of nature. While a series of fissures have formed the Lakagígar, the Odadahraun was created by a single massive explosion in 1875. The whole area looks like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Cracked earth, solidified lava and bus-sized rocks that look like they were thrown by a giant’s hand.

The Road F88 will lead you from the ring road all the way to Askja, through the barren desert, through many deep water crossings and lava fields. This road can’t be more different than the F206 we described before. Instead of black sand and green moss, you will see a grey and barren moon-like landscape that feels cold and hostile. For a while, you will be travelling in the shadow of Herðubreið, a massive solitary mountain with the top often hidden in the clouds. When you finally reach Dreki campsite and the ranger’s hut, you will know you are there. Ask the ranger about conditions on Askja and head on to the top. 

Leave your bike at the car park and hike to the caldera. If you are lucky and conditions are favourable, you may jump in the caldera lake’s luke warm waters. Be careful, though, and do not disturb the ghosts of two scientists who disappeared there without a trace in 1907. Refreshed, head back to Dreki for a night.

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

Road 54 from Borgarnes to Stykkishólmur

Visitors often overlook West Fjords and follow the famous Ring Road (road number 1) that follows north from Borgarnes. It’s worth adding a few days to your stay and exploring the area. On the last roundabout in Borgarnes, turn left and follow Road 54. While it may not be Iceland’s most thrilling and spectacular road, it’s an entrance to another experience and adventure. The road will take you across flat pains towards a glistering white peak of Snæfellsjökull at the tip of Snæfellsnes peninsula. As you get closer to the mountains, things will become more interesting. Starting from Gerðuberg Cliffs looming in the distance, the surroundings will become more spectacular with every passing kilometre.

Resist the urge to turn right into very inviting Road 56 and keep straight (there is a nice stop for coffee and soup at the crossroad). You will be rewarded with breathtaking views around you. Stop at Ytri Tunga, a famous beach where you will see seals playing and resting on the rocks and follow towards the mountain growing in front of you. The coastline will grow into tall cliffs, mountains will get closer to the road, and you will want to follow this road forever. Finally, you will reach Bjarnarfoss cascading from the mountain, where the road will leave the coast and start climbing. Here you will be presented with the choice. You can follow and climb the pass or take a left turn and follow road 574 around the white-capped mountain. The choice is yours.

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

Must visit places in Iceland for motorcycle travellers

Listing places to visit in Iceland is nearly impossible. Countless guides cover the Golden Circle and the main tourist attractions. Here is a list of less known places that should not be missed.

Nauthúsagil – a narrow gorge with a beautiful waterfall at the end.

The Commonwealth farm – a less-known replica of a Viking-era farm and stave church with a turf roof.

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon – beautiful canyon worth the hike.

Lakagígar (or Laki) area – accessible by F206 area covered by black sand and moss covered lava fields.

Landmannalaugar – an area in Fjallabak Nature Reserve with colourful mountains

Stuðlagil canyon – deep river canyon with hexagonal basalt columns

Fjalladýrð – a small village with breathtaking views of Herðubreið mountain and turf-covered houses

Kolugljúfur Canyon – deep canyon with a raging river

Laugarvatn Fontana – a relatively unknown hot springs where you can bathe, and experience traditional bread cooked in hot springs.

Svarta Kaffið – a small place in Reykjavik that serves only one dish, soup in bread. Remember to ask for more butter and lap up the yummy bread bowl to save on washing!

Hellnar – a small town in Snæfellsnes peninsula with a nice hotel and small café between cliffs.

Kaffi Kyrrð – quirky café in Borgarnes

Reykjanes Geothermal Beach – a small beach hidden minutes from Road 61 with thermal vents

Troll Garden – Trolls are a big part of Icelandic folklore so this is a must see for all ages. 

Krauma Natural Geothermal Baths – water originates from Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver.  Follow a soak in the hot springs with a coffee in the nearby café inside a greenhouse.    

Motorcycle Travel Guide Iceland

Iceland motorcycle tours

We run motorcycle tours in Iceland as Freedom Moto Adventures. If you’d like to join us, then here are the two Iceland tours we offer that cover these awesome routes: 

Icelandic Explorer is a 14-day road tour that circles Iceland. The route is 3200km long and will take you through the most amazing places, from the must-see tourist attractions to more unknown places. You will enjoy empty roads and breathtaking views. The trip is suitable for all bikes and you will enjoy the comfort of hotels and guest houses.

Iceland Unleashed is a 15-day long adventure that will take you on a 2300km route through Icelandic highlands. We will take you to the most remote parts of Iceland, travel rough F-roads and give you a proper adventure. We will stay in rangers’ huts and mountain shelters.

All our trips include accommodation, support 4×4 to carry luggage and shipping your own bike from the UK and Europe: freedom-adventures.com

About the authors

Jimmy Skowronski and Naz Keceli

You can usually find Jimmy on local lanes in Kent and Surrey in the UK where he leads group rides with Adventure Bros. If not there, he is training in Wales, preparing for a trial or planning his next adventure. Naz jumped on her first bike straight after Covid and is now riding a KTM 890 Adventure R and exploring Iceland. 

The duo run a motorcycle tour company and take adventure riders to Iceland for incredible rides. Check out their awesome tours here:

Read more on motorcycle travel in Iceland and Europe

Thanks for checking out the Motorcycle Travel Guide: Iceland. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel in Iceland and Europe that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle tour in Iceland? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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