ATV Riding in Iceland

While I was in Iceland, we decided to go ATV riding with Eskimos. When I imagined the best places in the World to ride ATV’s, Iceland was always number one in my mind. I was not disappointed.

I did a little research to find the best ATV tours in the Reykjavik area, and came across Eskimos. It would be a two hour tour, just outside of Reykjavik. It promised various terrains suitable for beginners, with a combination of hillside trails and amazing mountaintop views.

The Eskimos van picked us up from the HI Hostel downtown Reykjavik, and we were soon on our way out of town.

After we dressed in our protective gear and received a quick presentation on safety we were on our way out of the base camp.

The first ten minutes of driving involved paved and residential roads, as we made our way to the countryside. At first I wondered what was going on—it felt like I was tamely driving a beastly four-wheeler around the suburbs. I was wrong.

Soon we reached a dirt road that swayed around a series of summer cottages and fields. That dirt road then turned into a gravely path, and we started to bounce around a little.

We pulled off the gravely path onto what looked more like a lunar surface. Large round rocks resembling small boulders made up the laneway that we were driving on, and each rock bounced the ATV in an entirely different direction. Rock after rock we flung around like little ragdolls, holding on for dear life, but laughing at every jerking movement.

The terrain worsened as we neared a curve on a steep cliff, and the road literally slanted toward the drop. My eyes widened in a mixture of fear and excitement as our ATV launched head first into the terrifying scene.

It felt like slow motion. The ATV swooped along the curve as I felt like I was looking directly down at the mountain deep below. I held onto the bars as my camera bounced around on my neck. I wished dearly that I could record everything that was happening in that moment, or at least get one good photo.

Then we were done. A few more hills, bumps and outcrops, and we were away from the plunging cliffs.

Just as I thought that my hands couldn’t grip on any longer, we took our last bump off the large rocks. We all curved up the mountain top one by one, parking our ATV’s in a neat line at the peak.

As the engines went silent, everyone kind of looked around at each other as if to say “wow—we all survived”.

Hopping of the quad I crunched through the stones of the last few steps to the very peak. A small marker flag flapped in the wind and a cool breeze blew behind us. It was really quiet up there and actually quite peaceful after everything that we had just been through.

Everyone spilt up on their own, or in pairs to explore the mountain top. In the end—we were all looking at the same thing. The panoramic view of Reykjavik, the Atlantic Ocean, and everything else within reach. Everyone was taking photos, or simply admiring the gorgeous view.

Once we had all gotten our fill of the picturesque point, we got back on our ATV’s and started to descend the mountain. Strangely enough, it was actually quite a bit easier going down, than coming up. I thought that it would be more frightening to see the distance and drops below us, but it was somehow better to see them coming.

As we passed what had been the worst part going up, we both breathed a sigh of relief, speeding up in excitement.

Knowing that our tour was almost over, we ventured onto the rougher sides of the trails and sped up, feeling more comfortable and at ease.

Now–I have to admit, I can be a bit of a coward every once in awhile. This was one of those times. I really enjoyed the trip, but I was scared silly on that one part near the edge. I probably made it sound much scarier than it actually was, but I think given the chance–you have it try it for yourself!

I would definitely recommend the trip to anyone visiting the country. ATVing is always a fun activity while traveling, and Iceland is the ultimate place to do it. With rough terrains, beautiful scenery and endless rocky trails—you won’t find anything like this anywhere else in the World.


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