Reykjavik on Two Wheels
While biking culture in Reykjavík isn’t as prevalent as its continental counterparts like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, it’s still a great place to bike because of how much green space the city occupies and how close you are to the great wide open just beyond the city limits.
HEAVEN ON WHEELS
Most cyclists are drawn to the less busy paths outside of Reykjavík’s center. There are a number of glorious paths along the coast that will take you around the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, such as Sæbraut to the north and Ægissíða to the south.
Another popular area is Elliðaárdalur valley, a lush, green nature preserve centered around the Elliðavatn lake and the streams that run out of it along the valley. Or if you’re really looking to get lost in the great outdoors then hit the much larger Heiðmörk wilderness preserve next to Elliðarárdalur. The cycling path brings you all sorts of landscapes from evergreen forests (a rarity in Iceland, you might have noticed) to scrub and lava fields.
IN THE CITY…
Legally bikes are considered vehicles in Iceland and are meant to be ridden on the right side of the road along with motorists. Be aware that many drivers are not used to sharing the road with cyclists, so take care. The city has made enormous strides in introducing bike lanes, and you can legally bike on sidewalks and walking paths, as long as you don’t interfere with pedestrian traffic.
Biking is also a great way to get to know Reykjavík. Bike tours are organized year round (bikes and helmets provided) where you’ll get beyond the city center to discover some of the city’s extensive green spaces. Or if you’re up for a real adventure then rent a scooter to zoom along the coast and the wilderness on the outskirts of town.
bicycling tour across the capital
Start out by the charming old harbour of Reykjavík and head toward City Hall to look at the huge topographical map of Iceland. Next, ride along the coast to Nauthólsvík bay, the only artificially heated beach in the world. Then pedal up Öskjuhlíð hill, a great lookout spot to see the city in panorama. There’s also a replica of the Geysir hot spring on the way. Next, stop for some refreshments at a café near Reykjavík’s iconic Hallgrímskirkja church, and then circle back to end up at the harbour where you started. Altogether this trip should take about 3-4 hours and is also available as a guided tour.