We visit this historic place which has since become a National Park. We then leave civilisation behind us and head for the rugged wilderness of the interior, we stop at the Geysir hot spring area and to admire the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall.
Travel back in time and ride along the historic Kjölur trail as Icelanders did throughout the centuries whilst travelling to the big summer parliament at Thingvellir, first held in 930 AD.
Duration: 9 days
Departure time: 17:30
Available: Jun - Aug
Difficulty: Advanced riders
Note: Tours operate alternatively from North to South, the next tour being from South to North
Accommodation: Shared rooms in simple mountain cabins and sleeping bag accommodation during the ride.
Included: During the ride full board is provided. Our menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested in advance. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table. Rain wear, saddle bag, riding helmet and sleeping bag with a sheet.
Excluded: Individual travel insurance is not included in the tour price. We encourage clients to obtain relevant travel insurance before visiting Iceland. Flights to and from Iceland are not included.
Optional: Boat trip on Hvítárvatn glacier lagoon, fee to be paid locally.
Bring with you: Warm clothes, sturdy shoes, sleeping bag.
Travelling from south to north or vice versa right across the heart of Iceland we find ourselves riding in sand deserts close to the mighty Langjökull and Hofsjökull Glaciers. Sheltered green valleys come as a surprise in this rugged terrain.
At Hveravellir, a geothermal area in the highlands, we can relax in a long hot bath beneath the midnight sun! If you want to see as much of the highlands of Iceland as possible then this tour, which has been in operation since 1983, might be the perfect choice for you.
Kjölur - Facts and History
Kjölur is a plateau in the highlands of Iceland, roughly defined as the area between the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers. It lies at an altitude of about 600–700 metres.
At the northern end of the Kjölur road we find the hot springs of Hveravellir providing a warm and almost surreal oasis. The colorful mountain range Kerlingafjoll is situated not far from this geothermal oasis.
During the 18th century an outlaw named Fjalla Eyvindur stayed there warm and safe for 20 years with his wife. He was a sheep thief. The hot springs allowed for a somewhat comfortable life. Later, in the 20th century, many plays were made about him and his wife dwelling in Hveravellir.
Day by Day itinerary - North-South
Sunday: Vatnsdalur Valley – Afangi Mountain Cabin
You will be picked up from your Reykjavik accommodation between 07:00 - 08:00 in the morning. Please be dressed in your riding clothes. We drive from Reykjavik and to the North of Iceland where we meet up with the horses, a farmer, and the farmer's team. Today is our first riding day, and it is a long one as well. We will ride up a valley, close to Vatnsdalsa River. This area has many beautiful waterfalls. We ascend to the mountain plateau Audkuluheidi. We enjoy the magnificent view over the impressive highland mountains and the glaciers around us. We spend the night at the mountain cabin Afangi, beside the big man-made lake Blondulon. We can go hot-tubbing outside of the cabin where we spend the night. (35 km)
Monday: Afangi – Hveravellir Geothermal Area, Mountain Cabin
On today's ride, we will pass the mountains Sandkulufell and Saudafell. It's clear that we are following a historical route. During the early settlement of Iceland, people traveled on horseback on these exact trails. Our route leads us further to the south over the beautiful river Seydisa. The horses run happy with us on the soft paths of this free and mystical highland area. The destination of today's ride is Hveravellir, a unique geothermal area between Hofsjokull and Langjokull glaciers. Here in this rough, but extremely beautiful nature, the most famous outlaw in Iceland, Fjalla Eyvindur, survived for years. At the mountain cabin, a natural hot pool invites us to a deserved relaxing bath (35 km)
Tuesday: Hveravellir – Gislaskali Mountain Cabin
Today we cross Kjalhraun Lava Field, where we hear a tragic story about two brothers who froze to death in October 178, on their way to Skagafjordur Fjord, with a flock of sheep. During the ride we will enjoy the magical, unspoiled, and extreme nature. We pass the cave where the ancient superhero, Grettir 'the strong' Asmundarson lived. Grettir spent most of his life as an outlaw, roaming the mountains. The destination of today ride is Gislaskali, which is situated at one of the most beautiful locations of the legendary Kjolur route. (30 km)
Wednesday: Gislaskali – Arbudir Mountain Cabin
Today we ride on soft and sandy riding paths, beside the rough lava field Kjalhraun. The special highland vegetation in this area, with its vulnerable flowers, catches our attention. We continue riding along Svarta River. Here we are riding on historical grounds, with a spectacular view of to impressive glaciers, Langjokull and Hofsjokull. We spend the night in Arbudir, situated right at the banks of river Svarta. (25 km)
Thursday: Arbúdir – Fremstaver Mountain Cabin
Today we follow the river Svarta for a while before crossing the river Hvita. Our ride continues along the slopes of Mt. Blafell. During the last centuries, travelling through the remote highland was a dangerous trip due to outlaws waiting to rob the riders. We spend the night at Fremstaver Mountain Cabin. (35 km)
Friday: Fremstaver – Gullfoss – Geysir – Myrkholt Farm
We saddle up again and ride by the canyon of Hvita River. We will explore the world famous natural wonders Geysir Geothermal Area, and the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall. Here we say goodbye to our horses, as they get their rest on some of the farms fertile fields. We celebrate a successful tour with a great farewell dinner, storytelling and singing. (25 km)
Saturday: Myrkholt – Reykjavik
We say good-bye to our guides and farmer, and return to the Capital area. On our drive back to Reykjavik for the last overnight stay we visit the historical site Thingvellir, Iceland’s first National Park. Approx. arrival at 13:00.
Day by Day Itinerary: South-North
Sunday: Reykjavik – Thingvellir – Geysir – Myrkholt Farm – Gullfoss – Fremstaver Mountain Cabin
You will be picked up from your Reykjavik accommodation between 07:00 - 08:00 in the morning. Please show up dressed in your riding clothes. On our way to the farm, we will visit the historical site Thingvellir National Park, and the well-known Geysir Hot Spring Area. After meeting up with our horses, we start our ride towards the majestic glacier Langjokull onto Haukadalsheidi heath. Our first stop is at the beautiful waterfall Gullfoss. Our ride then leads us to a mountain called Blafell. We will spend the night and rest the horses at Fremstaver Mountain Cabin. (25 km)
Monday: Fremstaver – Arbudir Mountain Cabin
We continue our ride along the slopes of Mt. Blafell. This area was roamed by outlaws in the old days. We cross River Hvita and enjoy the view to the glacier fed lake Hvitarvatn with its floating icebergs. Tonight we stay at Arbudir, situated right at the banks of river Svarta. (35 km)
Tuesday: Arbudir – Gislaskali Mountain Cabin
We ride along the river Svarta on historical grounds. The view in this area is spectacular, as we can see two impressive glaciers, Langjokull and Hofsjokull. We continue riding beside the rough lava field Kjallhraun, where the special highland vegetation should catch your attention. Today we will ride on soft and sandy riding paths, until we get to Gislaskali Mountain Cabin. This cabin is situated at one of the most beautiful locations of the legendary Kjolur Route. (25 km)
Wednesday: Gislaskali – Hveravellir Geothermal Area, Mountain Cabin
Today we cross Kjalhraun Lava Field. During the ride we will enjoy the magical, unspoiled, and extreme Icelandic nature. We will pass a cave where a famous Icelandic outlaw spent the majority of his life. We then get to Hveravellir, a very unique geothermal area between the glaciers Hofsjokull and Langjokull. Here in this rough but beautiful nature, we will spend the night in a mountain cabin. Outiside the cabin, a natural hot pool invites us to a deserved relaxing bath. (30 km)
Thursday: Hveravellir – Afangi Mountain Cabin
Today's route leads us further north, over the beautiful river Seydisa. Our horses run free with us on the soft paths of this mystical highland area. We will pass the mountains Sandkulufell and Saudafell, before reaching our destination. During the early settlement of Iceland, people used to travel on horses on these exact trails. Our well-equipped cabin for the night has a hot tub next to it waiting for us. (35 km)
Friday: Afangi – Vatnsdalur Valley – Hvammur Farm
We continue riding over the Audkuluheidi Moor. The valleys with the farms in the north are getting closer as our horses ruin freely over the soft riding paths of the north. The fertile valley Vatnsdalur is very impressive with all of its fields and vegetation. We ride down to the valley, and get a better view of the Vatnsdalsa River. Our horses stay at Forsaeludalur Farm. We say goodbye to our horses (as they get rest in the green fields of the valley). We then celebrate a successful tour with a great farewell dinner, storytelling, and singing. We stay overnight at Hvammur Guesthouse. (35 km)
Saturday: Hvammur – Reykjavik
Transfer back to the Capital area. Approx. return at 14:00.