Audi A1 Quattro Iceland Tour
Written by Tim Winters, Founder of Viamontis
Our mission of Viamontis is to take unique & limited cars to places they shouldn’t be or have never been so far. Doing things no-one else would do or even try to is what the majority calls „CRAZY“ - a few call it „brilliant“. We at Viamontis believe that cars shouldn’t be stored away in garages. They should be enjoyed and be taken to the most breathtaking and unbelievable places this planet has to offer. By passionate people who appreciate these cars like no others. Tim Winters, the founder of Viamontis bought an Audi A1 quattro, 1 of 333 worldwide, put some winter tires on it and drove the car he is now giving away, all the way up to Iceland. Enjoy our behind the scenes story and find out what makes the A1 quattro so special, but most importantly why Iceland was the best place to start VIAMONTIS with. Plenty more adventures & giveaway cars to come for sure!
Our first Adventure feat.
I started the Iceland tour with the A1 Quattro by driving to a beach close to Hirtshals, Denmark. The year before, when I drove to the North Cape in Norway, I have been to the same beach and took a ferry from the same port so I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It is so much fun to drive on a beach. I know it’s not the best for the car because of all the salt, but it’s not too bad when you give the car a proper wash just after you had your fun. And with proper I also mean the engine bay and the bottom of the car! Really everything has to be cleaned as good as possible. For me, all of the stress afterwards is definitely worth the fun of driving around on the beach and even a bit through the shallow parts of the water.
After having the fun of my life on the beach I drove to the ferry and started the journey on over the ocean. It was a smooth ride and we passed Britain’s most northern point. The light and the general mood has been amazing and I used the opportunity to take some nice landscape photos of a part of Britain, where not many landscape photographers have got the chance to take nice photos of.
Just after we passed Britain, the sea started to get really rough stayed that way the entire night until we reached our first and only stop, the Faroe Islands. I didn’t get much sleep because the constant up and down movement of the ship really got me. Then we got the news that due to a really bad storm in Iceland, we have to stay on the Faroe Islands for 40 Hours. At first it was a big shock but shortly after we found out that we werde allowed to take the cars out and explore the Islands. At that point I the whole trip became even better because I had the chance to drive a road I’ve known about for years and that was the first thing I did. Driving the first meters on the Faroe Islands felt absolutely surreal. I really couldn’t believe it and had the biggest smile possible on my face.
The road was just outside of Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. I’ve seen quite a few photos of it over the past years and always dreamed of driving it. I had a blast racing the Audi A1 Quattro up and down several times. The road actually is quite narrow and therefor the short wheelbase of the Audi A1 Quattro suited it perfectly. After having fun I took the photos I have been wanting to take for a long time. I was so happy that I jumped around like a little kid in search of the nicest angles. The weather changed quickly and all of a sudden you couldn’t see anything. So I decided to explore the Island a bit because that road was the only thing I knew about the Faroe Islands. What a stunning place. Beautiful landscapes and perfect, empty roads for the A1 Quattro. I had a blast. Soon I ran out of petrol and had to fill up. At the next gas station I discovered how cheap fuel is on the Faroe Islands. That made the driving even more fun. The Audi A1 Quattro uses a lot of fuel when you start pushing.
The Faroe Islands really aren’t big and in one day you can see everything when you don’t spend too much time at a place. The weather didn’t get any better so I memorized locations where I want to take photos of the car, drove back to the boat and took some well needed and most importantly calm sleep. The next day, I drove back to all the locations to take the photos. The wind was so incredibly strong that day, that some waterfalls weren’t able to pour down anymore. The wind pushed the water upwards, back to where it came from. As I’ve heard strong winds like those occur on a regular basis. That is why there are no trees on the Islands. Therefor the entire islands are covered in grass which makes it the perfect feeding ground for sheep. Which there are a lot from. Hence the Faroe means Islands of sheep. And there truly are a lot of sheep. We even had one encounter where a sheep grazed on a roundabout. Altogether The Faroe Islands are breathtakingly beautiful.
But I didn’t go on the trip to see the Faroe Islands. I wanted to go to Iceland. So back on the boat and another 24 hours of bad weather at sea. And then finally, I have landed in Seydisfjördur, Iceland. Spending so much time at sea, you somehow get used to the waves. A few hours after we arrived I still felt like going up and down, even though I was on land. Very awkward feeling. But I didn’t care. I was in Iceland with the Audi A1 Quattro. There is one main road going all around Iceland and I chose to start by driving north, to safe the best for the end.
So I headed for lake Mytvatn. It was the end of February and everything was white. I specifically wanted to go in February because of one thing, and one thing only - Northern lights. I’ve seen them the year before in Norway and completely fell in love with this magical play of colored lights in the night sky. The best times to see the Aurora Borealis is during February and March or during September and October. I stopped several times on the way to lake Mytvatn because there were was so much to see and so many special landscapes to take photos of the car. Probably the most exciting stop was at the smoking mudpools Hverarönd. And yes it was extremely muddy. Just a few steps in and my shoes were already stuck in the mud. It was difficult to walk and nearly impossible to stay clean. It also was the first time I smelled sulfur, which smells like rotten eggs, during the trip.
The next day I explored the volcanic area of lake Mytvatn and was absolutely amazed by the rocky landscape. I still couldn’t believe where I was and I regularly had to check my live position on google maps. It was just so special to me. I also checked the Aurora forecast and the chances to see it were that night were high. So I prepared everything and got ready for the sun to set. It didn’t take long and there they were again. At first it was just a long and thin cloud which was barely illuminated. I took out the camera and just took a random long exposure photo out of my hand just to check if that cloud gets green. And it was. It was a very soft Aurora, but soon got bigger and bigger. And then all of a sudden the entire sky was lit up in green, moving lights. I stood there, looked in the sky and couldn’t move for a while because I was mesmerized by the beauty. Then it came to my mind that they disappear as fast as they appear, took my camera and started to take some photos.
Shortly after they were gone and went to sleep. The next morning I left lake Mytvatn and headed west. The landscape started to change. It got more mountainous and after driving out of a tunnel, all of a sudden everything was brown/green and barely any snow. Fascinating. But it didn’t stay like that for long. The further I drove, the more snow came again. At that point I haven’t been alone anymore. I met an Austrian couple who told me about a seal population where you were able to get really close. I didn’t have to think twice and joined them to the seals. At first I regretted it because the road was horrendous. 100 km and approximately 100 billion potholes. Some parts were covered in snow which filled out the potholes but most of it was just constant shaking. But it wasn’t the worst road I’ve driven on the tour through Iceland. The moment I spotted the seals, everything was forgotten. They were so close and I felt like they were checking me out more then I was them. I’ve spend about an hour with them until I noticed that the tide cleared up a path so I could get even closer. In the end they were just 3 meters away. I took some photos, enjoyed their company and took off because I noticed that my presence scared them a bit.
After letting the seals live their seal life, I continued my journey to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers a great variety of landscapes and I’ve been very excited to visit that part of Iceland. This was also the first part of the journey where there was actual tourism in winter. Just because of the Kirkjufell mountain and the waterfall. It is a very beautiful location but the tourism and the way everything is prepared for the tourism made it a bit disappointing. I spend the next day at the Snæfellsjökull glacier and I really enjoyed it a lot. The volcanic landscape and driving on volcanic rock was again a very special moment to me. It’s just a place nobody would ever take their car and seeing the Audi A1 Quattro in that landscape is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.
It’s been over a week already and after leaving the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, I drove straight to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. My first stop was at the first car wash I have found because the only places to wash a car in Iceland in winter are in Reykjavik. With a clean car I wanted to drive to the Audi dealer because I had a question I needed an answer for. On the way I passed the local Porsche dealership and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the GT Silver 991.2 GT3 RS with Weissach Package in the showroom. I had to go in and had a lovely conversation with the salesman. Shortly after at Audi I finally got the answer to my question. I have brought the first Audi A1 Quattro to Iceland. The Audi A1 Quattro which you can win, has been the first to be in Iceland and probably still is the only A1 Quattro which has ever been to Iceland. With a satisfied feeling I drove into the city center to take a look around.
I have to admit that I enjoyed the conveniences of a city but I got bored quite quickly and had to get back into the wild icelandic nature. So I headed south to the blue lagoon. The traffic was completely different to the week before. There was actual traffic. And again the landscape changed completely. Everywhere you look, you see volcanic rock covered in moss. In the middle of Black and Green landscape appears the blue lagoon. It is a wellness center where you bath in naturally heated blue water which apparently is good for your skin. But you had to book a slot in advance and I didnt know that. So I took the A1 Quattro to take some photos in that unique landscape. The blue of the water really is something special and in combination with the volcanic rock you feel like you are on another planet. From the parking lot of the blue lagoon I turned left and oh my god. That road. I had one of the best drives with the Audi A1 Quattro on that Road. It was so good that I had to drive it four times before I could continue the journey to the golden circle.
The golden circle is made up of three special landmarks you can see on a one day tour from and back to Reykjavik. The Geysir, Gulfoss Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. Even though the Gulfoss waterfall is huge and insane, the Thingvellir National Park impressed me more because you can walk or even swim between the North American and the Eurasian plate. But the most fun was definitely at the Geysir. It is amazing to stand next to the beautiful waterhole when it erupts every few minutes. Especially when it’s cold every few minutes you get a natural heater because the water is extremely hot. Sadly I couldn’t park the car next to it so I had to block the rod and wait for an eruption.
I have now reached the south of Iceland which is the most distinguishable part of the Iceland. It is also the part where the most tourism is. After driving for weeks and barely seeing other cars or people, the stresslevel increased. The amount of people made it nearly impossible to take photos of the car next to certain landmarks and waterfalls. That meant I had to rethink a bit. So I waited until the sun set and all the people to leave. All of a sudden I was the only one at the waterfall. So I drove the A1 Quattro on the riverbank and set up the camera for a long exposure shot. While taking the photo a car appeared and for a moment I was a bit scared that some officials saw what I did and came to tell me wrong. It’s not really allowed to take a car off-road in Iceland. Fortunately it was just some tourists who immediately drove away again. Fortunately the light of their car gave the photo a really nice yellow light below the Skógafoss waterfall.
After exploring the plain wreck on the beach, I continued eastwards. After a drive through one of the craziest, out of this world landscapes I’ve ever been in and many stops, I stumbled upon Svínafellsjökull Glacier - probably the most painful part of the journey. I really wanted a photo of the A1 Quattro next to a glacier and saw my chances. Driving eastwards on the ring road I turned left onto the about 1 km road to the glacier. That road was the worst road I have driven in my life. Even worse than some of the off-road stuff I did a couple of days before. There was one huge pothole after the other and it was extremely difficult to navigate the car through this hell. Even the SUV drivers had to go extremely slow and careful. I still can’t believe that the A1 Quattro made it.
At this part of the tour I started to tire out a bit. It’s been two and a half weeks of stress to get all the photos I needed for the Giveaway. I went through all the photos and was quite pleased which calmed me down so much that I actually spend a day to find reindeer. The year before in Norway I didn’t see any reindeer or elk which saddened me a lot. Before going on the trip I found out that most of the reindeer population on Iceland is in the southeast part of the island. Soon I found my first group. I parked the car and got out to get closer. They definitely had a comfort zone out of which they kept me quite good. They let me get to a certain distance and moved back after I crossed their line. I respected that but also used that to my advantage because I could push them around so that I had the background I wanted which was the ocean. I’ve never seen it heard anything about reindeer close to the ocean and couldn’t really believe it.
Then the Iceland Adventure came to an end and my last drive was back to the ferry. It was one of the most enjoyable drives I’ve had in Iceland. There is not much population in the southeast part of Iceland and the ring road is at its best. Meaning no traffic and a lot of fun! The scenery with the ocean to the right and the rocky, mountainous landscape on the left was really special while driving beautiful winding roads. In between there are a couple of straights with black sand which is everywhere in Iceland. There is not one white beach on the island. Every single beach is black. Then it got dark and I arrived at the ferry and spend the three days on the rough ocean thinking about which car I should bring to Iceland next time.