wonders of the highland
kjölur - laxárgljúfur canyon
July 15. - 22.
July 29. - August 5.
Sunday – Sunday
July 15. - 22.
July 29. - August 5.
Sunday – Sunday
Join us on a truly adventurous ride across the fascinating highland of Iceland on the historical Kjölur route along huge glaciers and through lava fields! We travel with a small group in the traditional style with a large herd of free running horses and stay overnight in rustic mountain huts. Visit the Golden Waterfull Gullfoss, the breathtaking Brúarhlöð canyon and the hot springs of the Geysir and Hveravellir area. Enjoy fine views of the terrific Kerlingarfjöll mountain range, ride along the majestic Laxárgljúfur Canyon, follow the footsteps of the ancient Icelanders at Thingvellir Parliament place and relax in the geothermal natural bath of the Secret Lagoon. During this circle tour you will cross several glacial rivers on horseback, ride along narrow trails through vast lava fields only accessible to horses and will feel the indescribable freedom of the highlands!
On this tour we will travel with our wonderful warmhearted hosts Hjalti and Ása from Kjóastaðir farm who know this part of the highland better than anybody else. Look forward to home- made food with love and wonderful singing in the evening! The food provenance is mainly sourced from local family farms and the ultra fresh vegetables come from nearby Flúðir area where the greenhouses are heated with geothermal energy. This tour is only recommended for experienced riders that are capable and happy to ride for up to 6-7 hours/50 km a day. You should feel comfortable riding in all gaits over rough terrain and be willing to follow the speed of the free running herd.
Type: Multi days tour with spare horses running along in a herd
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights/ 8 riding days
Level of expertise required: Only experienced riders in good physical shape.
Area: Across Iceland between the huge glaciers Langjökull and Hofsjökull.
Accommodation: Mainly in sleeping bag accommodation in rustic mountain huts. Accommodation in Reykjavik not included but can be arranged.
Meals: Full board during the ride
Included: Geothermal Natural baths Secret Lagoon & Hveravellir hot pool.
Max: 14 guests Min: 6 guests
Guide: English speaking
Maximum Weight: 110 kg
Price 2018: ISK 469.900.-
Bookings via booking engine below or send request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Printable versions - English / German
Day by day itinerary
Day 1: Reykjavík - Thingvellir – Geysir - Gullfoss – Tungufell – Secret Lagoon - Kjóastaðir
Pick up at BSÍ bus terminal in Reykjavík or your accommodation at 8 am. If preferred we can arrange a pick up at your accommodation in the capital area between 7 and 8 am. We drive to Thingvellir Nationalpark, situated right on top of the midatlantic ridge and a heaven for everybody interested in geology
and history. We can clearly see the landrop caused by the plates drifting apart. At Thingvellir, the ancient parliament, was founded and our guide will take you to all the major points of interest and tell you about the amazing judical system of the past. We continue by bus to the magical geothermal Haukadalur area with its hots springs and erupting geysirs and to the Golden Waterfall Gullfoss. At Kjóastaðir farm we enjoy a light lunch and introduction to the Icelandic horse, its tack and the special gait tölt before heading off to our first ride to Brúarhlöð canyon and the beautiful valley Tungufellsdalur. After the ride we enjoy a bath in the Secret Lagoon, a natural bathing hot spring before returning to Kjóastaðir farm for a wonderful home made meal in the cozy dining room. Riding distance: ca. 15 km.
Accommodation Kjóastaðir: made up beds in 2-4 bed rooms w/shared facilities.
Day 2: Tungufell – Svínárnes
After a plentiful breakfast we fix our lunch from the buffet and head towards the horses. Today we leave the farming countryside and head up to the highlands. Now we leave civilization behind and ride only through uninhabited areas for the next days. Only sheep and polar foxes will greet us during the day. During the ride we enjoy views of the huge Bláfell mountain (1204m), a distinctive, flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a glacier or ice sheet. These types of volcanoes are very rare, being confined to regions which were covered by glaciers and had active volcanism during the same period. The giant Bergþór used to live in Bláfell mountain, look forward to his lovely tale!
Riding distance: ca. 35 km.
Accommodation Svínárnes: Simple and basic hut used by the farmers when they gather the sheep in autumn. Water flushing toilets outside in separate building. 4x2 bunkbeds downstairs and sleeping attic for 15 people upstairs.
Day 3; Svínárnes – Árbúðir
We continue our ride with beautiful views of Kerlingarfjöll mountain range to the east and Langjökull glacier to the west before crossing the river Jökulfall. Whereas the first part of the ride will be through a fascinating desert like area we enjoy soft trails through green meadows along the river Svartá during the afternoon towards Árbúðir hut. Truly a day of variations in landscape and topography! From Árbúðir hut we have a perfect view towards the surging icefields of Langjökull glacier and can feel the cold breeze coming from the huge ice cap.
Riding distance: ca. 22 km.
Accommodation Árbúðir: Cozy mountain hut with beautiful views towards Langjökull glacier. Shower and water flushing toilets on site. Bunkbeds in one big room.
Day 4; Árbúðir – Hveravellir
Today is going to be a long riding day with breathtaking scenery when we ride from Árbúðir hut to Hveravellir geothermal area situated right in between the glaciers Langjökull and Hofsjökull. We start along the river Fúlákvísl towards Hrútsfell mountain where the glacier tongues of its beautiful Regnbúðajökull ice cap flow down the mountain slopes. During the later part of the summer this area is covered in purple River Beauty willowherb. Carefully our horses will step through the huge lavafield of Kjalhraun before we ride through the narrow Þjófadalir valley – the most imageable romantic hide away in between steep mountains. At Hveravellir we have the opportunity to bath in the natural geothermal hot pool right next to our hut. After dinner we take a step back in time when we follow the footsteps of Eyvindur the Outlaw who used to have his favorite hide out in this area. We go for a little walk to his cave and over the geothermal field with its little geysers and bubbling hot springs.
Riding distance: ca. 50 km
Accommodation Hveravellir: Cozy mountain hut right beside a natural geothermal bathing pool! Inside toilet. Bunk beds in two rooms.
Day 5: Hveravellir – Fosslækur
Riding underneath Rjúpnafell through the huge lava field we will pass Grettishellir, the cave of the famous outlow Gréttir and Beinhóll, the place where the Reynisstaðir brothers found their final resting place at the end of the 18th century. Their wretched expedition across the highlands in 1780 has fascinated Icelanders for many centuries and many mystical stories have sprung from their ill fated travel. Tonight we stay in the most authentic mountain hut found in the area! Listen to folk stories and ghost stories like you have never heard them before!
Riding distance: ca. 40 km.
Accommodation Fosslækur: Original turfhouse hut used by the farmers when they gather the sheep in the autumn. Very basic but beautiful and authentic!
Day 6: Fosslækur – Leppistungur
Today is going to be a short riding day to give the horses a well deserved rest. After a late and sumptious breakfast we start for our scenic ride south of the majestic Kerlingarfjöll Mountains. The 1,477 m tall mountain range is part of a large tuya volcano system of 100 km2. The colourful volcanic rhyolite stone and minerals paint the surroundings in yellow, red and green. Named after a troll women the „Old women´s mountains“ have been a popular set for movies!
Riding distance: ca. 20 km.
Accommodation Leppistungur: Simple and basic hut used by the farmers when they gather the sheep in autumn. Inside toilets.Bunk beds for up to 24 people.
Day 7: Leppistungur – Helgaskáli
Today is going to be another long riding day when we ride over the plains of Mikluöldubotnar and underneath Geldingafjall mountain to our next mountain hut accommodation. During the ride we will enjoy terrific views of the high mountains around us! This area is pure uninhabited wilderness. In late summer large flocks of wild geese choose this area to prepare for the autumn departure to warmer climates. A wonderful sight to behold!
Riding distance: ca. 40 km.
Accommodation Helgaskáli: Simple and basic hut used by the farmers when they gather the sheep in autumn. Inside toilets. 3 rooms with a total of 24 bunkbeds.
Day 8: Helgaskáli – Laxárgljúfur Canyon - Kjóastaðir - back to Reykjavík
Today is going to be our last day of riding and it is going to be a day with breathtaking scenery! Today´s ride will take us along the magnificent canyon Laxárgljúfur. We ride along the river Laxá, the „Salmon river“ and enjoy amazing views over the almost 200 m deep canyon. We stop and rest the horses at the abandoned farm of Hrunakrókur, while our guide tells you about the harsh and remote life of the ancient Icelanders that used to live here. The farm was abandoned many times due to volcanic eruptions but the people tried to come back again and again until the farm was finally given up in 1902. We understand perfectly well why people tried to come back again and again...you will not find many more romantic settings for your home... Crossing River Hvíta at Brúarhlöð canyon takes us home to Kjóastaðir farm for a lovely coffee and cake treat! Transfer back to Reykjavík and drop off at your accommodation or at BSÍ Busterminal. Please note that the accommodation in Reykjavík is not included but we are more than happy to arrange it for you!
Riding distance: ca. 40 km
Please make sure you also read our Useful Information about Riding Tours
Exploring Iceland reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or timetables should the necessity arise. The estimated duration of tours as indicated by km or timing can change according to road or weather conditions.
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- Transfer from Reykjavík to farm on first day and transfer back to Reykjavík on 8th day
- 1 night in Kjóastaðir guesthouse in 2-4 bed rooms w/shared facilities in made up beds
- 6 nights in sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts during the tour
- Full pension during the tour starting with lunch on the first day and ending with coffee and cake on the 8th day
- 8x riding days according to program
- 1x visit to Secret Lagoon & Hveravellir Pool
- English speaking guide