Helicopter and Superjeep for a week in West Iceland

90° EST has just concluded one of its "special trips" in Iceland, designed to meet the client’s special requirements along an unusual route. Eight days to explore one of the most fascinating regions of Iceland using a combination of Superjeeps*, walking and helicopter for transport. Western Iceland offers magnificent scenery, a jagged coastline embellished with wide, gold sandy beaches, majestic waterfalls and a giant volcano - Snæfellsjökull, taken by Jules Verne as the starting point for his "Journey to the Centre of the Earth". In addition there are deep fjords dotted with hot springs, bird colonies and small coastal villages. The Client wanted to visit Iceland for 8 days with a number of helicopter flights to be included. The uncertainty of Iceland's weather was the main obstacle meaning that it was not possible to organise the journey by planning the flights in advance. The trip had to be designed in the knowledge that we would only be able to confirm the availability of a helicopter at any time a few hours before it was needed. There were two alternatives, either to set up base in Reykjavík and fly from there whenever the weather was favourable or plan the best possible “land-based" itinerary over the 8 days, using the good weather "windows" that arose as opportunities for helicopter flights. We chose the second strategy, proposing a Superjeep route that was readily achievable and would be enjoyable even in the extreme case that the helicopter could never be used at all. Every useful opportunity to fly would be exploited by customers taking the helicopter with our guide, while one of us drove the four-wheel drive travelling from one stop-over to the next. The helicopter take-off and landing points were chosen to coincide with the route taken by the jeep. As is often the case, we like to think that the Icelandic gods were prepared once again to smile on such a bold idea. In the event they granted us three full days to fly and just a few harmless rain drops over the stretches we travelled by car.
Why West Iceland? Three reasons.
1) In eight days, it is best to focus on a particular region rather than travelling thousands of miles by car in an attempt to see as much as possible. West Iceland from Reykjavík to Ísafjörður, back to Reykjavik by plane or helicopter, allows a fantastic one-week trip with enough time to appreciate each and every stop along the way including opportunities for walks while avoiding over-long car journeys.
2) Since the idea was to use the helicopter as much as possible, the itinerary had to avoid crossing different weather areas in one flight, minimising the risk that at some stage the helicopter would be unable to complete the route due to bad weather at the take-off or landing points.
3) The dramatic morphology of the West Iceland landscape is ideal and of high interest in the spectacular aerial views it offers.
Result. The itinerary was successfully completed with three full days in which to fly not only across West Iceland, but also across some of the rest of the country thanks to the skill and helpfulness of the pilot. We were able to fly over part of Southern Iceland, all of the Highlands and Northern Iceland; The weather and a little bit of flexibility on our part meant we were able to fly over different weather zones in the same trip, fulfilling our most optimistic expectations. Each flight was punctuated by stop-offs in places we could not otherwise have reached, especially during the thaw season. Extreme care was placed on the choice of accommodation, all these being sought-after facilities, characterised by their special position, comfort and the story each place had to tell. At a time when the tourism pressure has become increasingly higher, Iceland offers the traveller large regions which are very interesting and spectacular, and completely ignored by the main waves of visitors. It is to the merit of our travel companions that we had carte blanche in the drafting of the itinerary, and were able to leave out, without much regret, both some well-known and some disappointing places.

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