This weekend, on a sunny and unusually calm day, the boyfriend and I woke up really early and drove like the wind (all within speed limits of course) from our house to Sólheimasandur in South Iceland. We were there to go on an ATV tour we had been invited on this winter, during my birthday weekend away, but regretfully had to cancel due to really bad weather. We finally found time where we were both available (our lives sometimes reminds me of one of those really hard Sudoku puzzles) and the weather forecast was incredible Or you know, by Icelandic standards at least. I was so exited about this that I didn’t even moan once that we had to leave the house before 7:30 on a Saturday to be able to make it in time for their 10 am tour.
We arrived at Ytri-Sólheimar 1, Arcanum’s base camp for many of their tours, just in time and were greeted by two friendly guys who helped gear us up. Our guide Björn showed us how to work the ATVs and even though I’ve done this a few times before, and his instructions were easy enough to follow, I of course managed to look like an idiot trying to drive away in neutral. I try to tell myself that my uncoolness is charming -that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Even though I’m not some thrill seeking adrenaline junkie I really like ATVs. I think they offer a great way to explore the country and often they get you to places that are either difficult or time consuming to get to on foot. I know it sounds like a cliche but I also just kind of like that feeling of jetting through this beautiful landscape that surrounds us everywhere with wind and all the elements in my face.
We were lucky because we were the only ones booked on the tour that morning so we got the guide all to ourselves. I don’t hate that, which is probably why I am so focused on only doing small groups on my own tour, although I’m not sure the guides always love all of my questions. In all honesty though, if you don’t like answering questions guiding is probably not for you. Björn did a great job though and tackled my curiosity with patience and ease.
The boyfriend and I both really enjoyed this tour. We drove through rivers, black sand beaches, lupine fields and we even went past a forested area which is unusual for this part of the country. We made plenty of stops for photos and we even visited the holy grail of #Iceland hash-tagged Instagram photos: The plane wreck in Sólheimasandur. On the way we saw daisies peeking through the sand, sheep running around with their lambs and even a couple of horses lazing around. There really wasn’t anything else I would rather have been dong the two hours or so we were out exploring that morning.
If you are looking for a neat way to experience this area while being outside I would definitely recommend booking this tour. I was looking forward to doing it but I was pleasantly surprised just how much I enjoyed it. If you pair this tour with a Glacier Walk in Sólheimajökull, for example, you’ve got a recipe for a great action packed day out in the beautiful Icelandic outdoors.