Flatey - this Icelandic island has only 2 inhabitants!
(birds cawing) - A place with only two permanent inhabitants, a small piece of land in the sea on the west of Iceland where no cars or motorcycles are allowed. Visit Flatey island with me and join the kickoff episode of our Iceland Unlimited adventure and the begin of an epic motorcycle road trip. How I traveled to Iceland, how I brought my own motorcycle, and the first dreamy stop of the journey. Are you ready? (tranquil music) (upbeat music) Hello, everyone. Welcome to the journey and the journey actually doesn't just start in Iceland, it starts here in Switzerland. Me and my travel partner are driving our motorcycles to the German border from where they will be picked up and then we will see them again in Iceland, hopefully.
And we, as I already said, is me and my travel partner. So it's not gonna be a solo journey like the East Coast trip in the USA. We will be two people for the whole Iceland trip.
Actually, we didn't prepare the trip too much at all because I had still two other travel destinations that I had in mind about maybe going to. And then in the end, it didn't work out because all the restrictions of COVID and transport was still so expensive. So these two unfortunately have to wait for another time. But then I realized I've never been in Iceland and I've heard so much good things about it, especially about the off-road riding, about the nature and I thought maybe that could be a great trip. Our decision to head to Iceland was a pretty spontaneous one.
Three weeks before our own departure, we decided to go. Unfortunately, all passenger ferries were booked out. So two weeks before our departure, we drove our motorcycles to the border of Switzerland and Germany where it was picked up by the company Moto Gorilla, and brought to Cuxhaven in Germany from where the agency MOTOURISMO and the freight company in time had organized the shipping to Iceland, which took approximately a week. Two people, small luggage. (tranquil music) On our arrival in Iceland's capital Reykjavik by plane, our motorcycles were supposed to be ready for pickup.
So the first thing we did was hopping into a cab to the cargo area. - Everywhere where I put with a pen, you have to go there. - Okay. - Have to go, have to go. - We will do that. That's nice. Thank you so much. And we already realized how extraordinary friendly the Icelandic people are with the cab driver giving us plenty of suggestions for things to see on our route.
We are now at Samskip, which is the place where our bikes should be, so that's very exciting. Picking up the bikes, fingers crossed that they're here. So we at the wrong place and now we are riding this, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, now we're riding this one scooter together because there was only one available. I guess that's a good start to a motorcycle adventure. (lively music) - By the way, it'd be good if you bring us the paper back because then you can reverse the booking when you send them back, so we know the booking number.
- [Lea] But basically, we don't need to make an appointment with you now for bringing, we just bring them back like if it's a Friday, that's fine too. - Just bring us back like (indistinct) like we want them. - [Lea] It's so easy. Iceland is the best country. - [Officer] Wait until you see the weather.
(all laughing) (lively music) - Here we go. Munich, Peter. Yeah, there they are. Hello, hello. Off to our new adventure in Iceland. That was the easiest custom appointment ever I think.
(lively music) So whoever's Tenere this is, it's for sure better equipped than mine. If you see this, person you belong to, the mirrors are very nice here. Proper hand guards and everything.
Yeah, I have to do that too at one point. Of course, I didn't steal this lovely equipped Tenere, but soon I was riding my beloved Fox that traveled to West Africa and so many other destinations with me. And on the next day, we were ready to hit the roads of Iceland. I think we only decided maybe three weeks before we came here.
So I contacted a shipping office and a motorcycle company who does the shipping and they put the bikes, they actually collected our bikes at the border from Switzerland to Germany, and they put it on a trailer there and brought it to Cuxhaven and from where they put it on a ship to Iceland and everything went very smoothly to that point. So until that, I could recommend. We were not so sure that the bikes will arrive on time.
And so that was like a little adventure because we were hoping we were arriving in Reykjavik and we still didn't really know if it's there. But yeah, that's basically where the journey begins. And I guess as well where the adventure begins.
(lively music) Ready to go, the two beauties and the two not so beautiful riders. First day of riding in Iceland. We're taking off from Reykjavik now and we're going in direction of the clock.
I don't even know how to say it, but we're going to the west first and to the north, and then we will go clockwise around the island. (bike revving) (lively music) Guys, welcome to this new adventure. This trip is a very special one for me and I think Iceland will be a very special country. So welcome to the adventure. ♪ This is fatal attraction ♪ ♪ These are times of crimes of passion ♪ ♪ One of us, one of us, one of us ♪ ♪ Gonna get it ♪ - We are departing from Iceland's capital Reykjavik now. So this all around me is Reykjavik and I will show you Reykjavik at a later point of this season when I have more time to explore it.
But we are now heading direction to the Westfjords, but actually, we're not staying on the mainland of Iceland today because we will take a little ferry and go to a tiny, tiny island. So stay tuned. It will be a little adventure. (lively music) One way to get around Iceland is traveling the popular Ring Road that is a 1,322-kilometer or 820-mile loop around the island, connecting most bigger towns and also some of the most popular sites.
Even though the climate in Iceland can be harsh year round, the Ring Road is always kept clear to travel and is the most important infrastructure of the country. We started our ride from Reykjavik on the famous Ring Road, but had planned to leave it very soon and actually ride as little on the Ring Road as possible during the whole journey because the small routes off the beaten track seemed much more spectacular to us. It's August, but it's definitely much more cold than on the last two journeys that I went on. It's average, I think like 13 degrees so far, and quite a stingy wind. Hope you can hear me with the wind. Now we're taking off from the number one from the Ring Road and going to a place where we'll actually take a ferry today.
So this will be nice now. So we left the big Ring Road now. That was quite busy and even though this road here is still a main connection route to several towns, it immediately feels super empty. No comparison to the Ring Road. ♪ Just drive ♪ ♪ All the way to the rainbow's end ♪ ♪ Just drive ♪ ♪ And we'll never turn our backs again ♪ - You see this ahead of me? If you ask me, it looks like a big rain cloud. Not good.
Three attributes when thinking about Iceland are beautiful nature, cold and rainy. And I don't know, that was like kind of like two negative things and one positive thing, but I think that's what I'm more scared of, that we will be in rain for basically three weeks. (rain pouring) So this is our first little rain here in Iceland.
We're not putting on rain gear because we're both wearing GORE‑TEX wear, but we're getting more tied up and putting the pants over our shoes. With the first rain, we also hit the first gravel road of this trip and the first close-up views on Iceland's famous volcanoes. (dramatic music) (tranquil music) Wow, isn't this absolutely beautiful? Wow, these colors with the nearly black rocks and the green moss on it, it's really spectacular. So that's it. Hello, Iceland's beauty. (upbeat music) We took a little detour on a gravel road right along the coast that brought us closer to our next destination, the town Stykkisholmur, where we were supposed to catch the ferry to the small island we wanted to stay overnight.
(upbeat music) So this is the start of the town that our ferry is supposed to depart from but first things first, we want to get some gas and we also want to visit some sites here in town. So we arrived in Stykkisholmur and tried to fill up our bikes because we don't know how the situation is tomorrow on the Westfjords, but we can't get any gas because the electricity is down and they don't know when it will be back. So all gas stations are dead, so no petrol. And to make the day of my travel partner even worse, who hates sightseeing, I force him now to drive to a church that is supposed to be quite interesting because we still are having some time until the ferry departs. (bell ringing) Stykkisholmur Church was drawn by architect Jon Haraldsson and built from 1972 to 1989.
It was the last work by the architect who died just before it was consecrated in 1990. Architectural enthusiasts are traveling to Stykkisholmur just to see this church. Architectural Digest magazine ranked it as one of the 10 most beautiful churches in the world. The magazine reasoned that the sophisticated lines of Stykkisholmur Church are easily visible from a distance as they stretch to meet the heavens and are anomalous visions. I have to tell you guys a secret. The church didn't make an everlasting impression on my travel partner.
So choose wisely who you will listen to. A.D., Architectural Digest, or my travel partner's opinion. (upbeat music) This here is Stykkisholmur downtown.
There are some nice little historic buildings here and I think I saw one or two restaurants and of course, it has the harbor, so actually, I guess it's a good place to stay also. (birds cawing) Indeed, Stykkisholmur is an eco-conscious fishing village. After tourism, fishing is still the second biggest source of income.
Stykkisholmur is such a quaint little town that it was featured in the Hollywood movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Plastic bags are banned all over town to keep it green and clean. Instead of plastic bags, the whole town offers free Wi-Fi though. We are pulling up to the ferry now, that will bring us to the tiny island of Flatey.
And when we just got our tickets at the ferry office here and we pre-booked the tickets of the ferry yesterday, but now we found out something interesting and unexpected regarding our motorcycles and I will tell you about it in a few minutes on the ferry. It's very, very interesting. (upbeat music) And yes, my travel partner is mechanically not very skilled, so I even had to secure his bike being six months' pregnant. (upbeat music) ♪ I'm not that girl ♪ ♪ No one does it better ♪ ♪ No, I'm not that girl ♪ (ferry horn blasting) (water lapping) The Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay between Stykkisholmur and Brjanslaekur in the north of Iceland twice daily in the summer months. And right before entering the ferry, we found out that Flatey is a current motorcycle-free island and that we can't bring our bikes. So this little excursion that we are doing turned out to be a bit more adventurous than we thought.
- [Travel Partner] Complicated. - Complicated because we are going to this little island called Flatey and there is one hotel, not so much else. And it turned out that cars or slash vehicles are forbidden.
So we can't take our motorcycles. And now we have to really trust the Icelandic people because we have to put the keys of our motorcycles in here, leave it here at the ferry. They're gonna drive the motorcycles off at the other side of the fjord, and we will see if it's there when we come there tomorrow with the other ferry that we're gonna take then. Fingers crossed. (pensive music) I don't know if you can see that behind me, but there's quite some swell and the boat is going up and down and I don't know that is for my seasickness. Many visitors choose to visit the island of Flatey that we were heading to, but most take the morning ferry from Stykkisholmur and return in the evening.
It's only a few minutes left and I survived it. I'm not sick yet, and the sun is shining. So many good things happening for our Flatey visit.
(lively music) (ramp whirring) (lively music) (tranquil music) (birds cawing) Yes, you can't bring your vehicles to Flatey, but there is a car that delivers the luggage to the hotel and guest houses. And of course, vehicles like tractors used for farming. And Flatey surprised us with something else: the first Icelandic sunshine of this trip.
Hello from Flatey from this beautiful little island. It's really, really nice. Located in Breidafjordur Bay on the northwestern part of Iceland, Flatey is about two kilometers long and one kilometer wide and is quite flat, almost without any hills.
So therefore the name Flatey, meaning Flat Island in Icelandic. Flatey is the largest island among a cluster of about 40 other small islands in the area. Only two permanent residents live on the island. The other homes are only for summer stays.
Flatey still has a very local and authentic flair because it literally is far off from all other kind of civilization. It is also famous among Birdwatchers because Flatey is a nesting ground of the arctic terns. (inspirational music) Today was actually probably a bit worse than we thought because the weather forecast was supposed to be very good, but I think that's already the first thing we learned. Never trust an Icelandic weather forecast. No matter if it say sun all day, it might change completely and it as well might change several times during the day.
There is only one hotel on Flatey island that is called surprise, Hotel Flatey. Hotel Flatey is situated in the center of the old village on Flatey. The houses in the old center are timber structure dating from the island's former times of prosperity, and most of them have been restored in their original style.
There is a total of 14 rooms with 28 beds, and all rooms are with shared facilities. Oh my God, I love this island. I think it's so beautiful. So in the beginning, because we had to leave the motorcycles, we were both a bit like, I don't know if that's so great, but then we came here and it's so idyllic. It's just a few houses. People have a few summer houses and the hotel is super nice. It's shared bathroom, so if you're not up for that, it's not gonna work for you.
But it's just such an idyllic place and I could really imagine even to stay a few days here. It's not a big island, but it's a very beautiful island. (lively music) The hotel's dining room and guest rooms are in converted warehouses, flanking the old market square. The hotel's restaurant comes with a delicious choice of homemade local dishes and a breathtaking view over the village and the coastline. Indeed, we couldn't believe how lucky we had been with getting a room at the hotel spontaneously and finding this cozy place for our first night on the roads of Iceland. So this is the signature drink of Flatey, which is called Flatey instead of Flajito.
- [Travel Partner] Instead of mojito. - Instead of mojito. (lively music) The next day, we unfortunately already had to leave Flatey, the quaint little paradise we had found on the fjords of Iceland's coast, but our departure was also accompanied by excitement. Today we will continue and we will land at the Westfjords, which I'm looking super forward to. Here from Flatey, you can actually already see the Westfjords. I will show you this view now because it's absolutely stunning and that's where we will basically land and where we will ride today all day.
And I think if you see it from far away and see how absolutely beautiful it looks, that makes you even more excited. So yeah, Westfjords, here we come. Time to pack and time to go. We were ready for our next adventure. We were ready to explore Iceland's remote Westfjords. So yesterday, we exited from up here and today because of the different height, you go in here.
Isn't that cool? Such a big difference. (inspirational music) Welcome to the first detailed episode of the Iceland Unlimited Adventure. If you liked the ride, leave a comment and give this video a thumbs up.
There are still a lot of open questions that I will answer in the next episode. Did we get back the keys to our bikes and find them at the other side of the fjord? And are the Westfjords as amazing as everyone states? Tune in next Thursday to visit beautiful roads along cliffs, famous waterfalls and old shipwrecks. (lively music) (bike roaring)