Kjölur

Between the glaciers! If you want to see as much as possible of our beautiful country then you should ride across the heart of Iceland on the ancient trail Kjölur.

Dates 2024

  • June: 19 - 26 & 26 - 3rd july
  • July: 5 – 12 & 12 – 19
  • August: 7 - 14 & 14 - 21

Dates 2025

  • June: 19 - 26 & 26 - july 3rd
  • July: 5 -12 & 12 - 19
  • August: 8 - 15 & 15 - 22

Riding across the Heart of Iceland

Step back in time and ride along the ancient Kjölur trail as Icelanders did over the centuries when traveling to the annual summer parliament at Thingvellir, first held in 930 AD. We visit this historic site where the heart of the nation beats and which became Iceland´s first National Park in 1930. When we arrive at the south we will visit and enjoy the Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss Waterfall.

Traveling from south to north or vice versa right across the heart of Iceland we find ourselves traversing sandy deserts close to the mighty Langjökull and Hofsjökull Glaciers. Sheltered green valleys come as a surprise in this rugged terrain. Hveravellir is a geothermal area in the highlands where we can soak in a long hot bath under the Midnight Sun.

If you want to see as much as possible of the unspoiled Icelandic highlands, this tour, which has been in operation since 1983, is a perfect choice.

For the horses protection, please do not bring used riding boots or other gear, that can not be disinfected to Iceland.

Attention

  • Individual travel insurance is not included in the tour price. We encourage clients to obtain relevant travel insurance before visiting Iceland.
  • Flight to and from Iceland is not included
  • Please bring your own sleeping bag with you on the tour
  • Bring bags rather than hardcover suitcases.
  • Pack light because transport space is limited.

Tour Highlights

Langjökull

the second largest ice cap of Iceland after Vatnajökull located in the highland. Two volcanic systems, whose calderas are obvious from air, rest underneath it

Gullfoss

Golden Waterfall is where Hvítá falls 32 meters in two stages before entering the canyon Gullfossgljúfur. Gullfoss is one of three main attraction of the colden circle, the most popular sightseeing route in Iceland

The powerful and beautiful Gullfoss

Geysir area

a famous geothermal area where Geysir, the first documented hot spring in Europe is located. Geysir itself is rarely active lately but its smaller neighbours are highly active. Strokkur erupts every few minutes 20 – 40 meters high and Litli- Strokkur and Smiður are highly active as well

Eruption of Strokkur by Geysir

Mt. Bláfell

a beautiful mountain that offers a good view near the glacier Langjökull. The area around Mt. Bláfell was roamed by outlaws in the old days

Hvítá River

 its source is in lake Hvítárvatn in the glacier Langjökull. It is the river of the famous Gullfoss waterfall and popular for salmon fishing and river rafting

Hvítárvatn

 A source to the river Hvítá, situated in the highlands near the glacier Langjökull

Árbúðir

a mountain cabin right beside the Kjölur route on the banks of the river Svartá. The cabin has sleeping-bag accommodation for 30 overnight guests

Fúlakvísl

glacier-fed river that runs from Langjökull to Hvítárvatn lake

Kjalhraun

 huge rugged lava fields in the center of road Kjölur

Þjófadalir

Valley of Thieves is a grassy but deep and rather closed valley surrounded by high mountains. It is located east of Langjökull and a true oasis in the wilderness

Hveravellir

a very unique geothermal area between Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers. Rough but extremely beautiful nature where the most famous outlaw Fjalla Eyvindur survived for years

Seyðisá

is a clear river in the highland og West Icealnd. It is one out of many rivers that runs towards Blöndulón. The area is known for salmon and trout fishing

Auðkúluheiði

Heath in the highlands around the route Kjölur. It is around 500m above sea level and named after the farm Auðkúla in the valley Svínadalur

Vatnsdalur

This beautiful grown valley is named from the lake close by. The salmon and trout river, Vatnsdalsá, enters the valley and turns to numerous waterfalls and a canyon. The uncountable hills, Vatnsdalshólar, are well known feature in Icelandic landscape. The area is also a setting in the Icelandic Saga, Vatnsdæla-Saga

Forsæludalur Farm

the first farm to reach in the area coming from the highland

Day-by-day itinerary South-North:

  1. Day 1. Reykjavik – Hvammur
    Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik at 18:00. Our bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Hvammur farm in North Iceland where horses and staff are waiting for us. After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other, we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us.
  2. Day 2.   Hvammur – Vatnsdalur Valley – Forsæludalur – Hvammur
    Today is our first riding day. Great riding tracks along the banks of Vatnsdalsá river give us the opportunity to enjoy a fast ride in the soft tölt! Vatnsdalur is one of the most beautiful valleys in Iceland and the setting of one of the ancient sagas, Vatnsdælasaga. On our ride to Hvammur we hear tales from Iceland´s heroic past of bloody conflict, revenge and love. The horses stay at Forsæludalur farm which is the last farm in the valley before we enter the highland. We stay overnight at Hvammur Guesthouse. The hot tub offers a nice relaxation after today’s ride (Approx. 20 km)
  3. Day 3. Hvammur – Forsæludalur – Öndvegi Mountain Cabin
    As we ride up the valley the canyon of the Vatnsdalsá river appears with some its many waterfalls. Today we ascend up to the mountain plateau Grímstunguheiði. The fertile valley with its farms is left behind as our horses run freely over the riding paths of the northern highland, one of the largest uninhabited areas in Europe. We enjoy the splendid view over the impressive highland mountains and the completely untouched nature around us. We stay overnight at the mountain cabin Öndvegi. (Approx. 35 km)
  4. Day 4.   Öndvegi – Hveravellir Geothermal Area,  Gíslaskáli Mountain Cabin
    On our ride today we pass the mountains Sandkúlufell and Sauðafell. It is easy to see that we follow a historical route.  All the way back to the early settlement of Iceland, people traveled on horseback on exactly the same trails as we do today. The horses run happily with us on the soft paths of this free and mystical highland area. We leave the horses at the river Kúlukvísl where they can rest for the night. We head up to our cabin Gíslaskáli where we will stay for the next two nights. (Approx. 35 km)
  5. Day 5. Gíslaskáli – Gíslaskáli Mountain Cabin
    The destination of today’s ride is Hveravellir, a very unique geothermal area between Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers. Our path leads us over the river Seyðisá and we can see the vegetation changing as we get higher up into the highlands. Todays ride is a shorter one inbetween 2 long riding days. The horses get to rest and we have time to explore the unique area of Hveravellir. Here in this rough but extremely beautiful nature the most famous outlaw Fjalla Eyvindur survived for years. A natural hot pool invites us to a deserved relaxing bath before we return to our cabin Gíslaskáli. (Approx. 15km)
  6. Day 6. Gíslaskáli – Árbúðir Mountain Cabin

    We start the day by riding through the Valley of Thieves, called Thjófadalir, a remote grassy valley surrounded by high mountains. During the last centuries, traveling through the remote Highland was a dangerous trip due to outlaws waiting to rob the riders. From the entrance of the valley, we have a splendid view over the fertile landscape. Following the glacial river Fúlákvísl we enjoy the view of the mighty glacier Langjökull. The day ends in Árbúðir Mountain Cabin. (Approx. 50 km)
  7. Day 7. Árbúðir – Fremstaver Mountain Cabin
    We follow the river Svartá for a while before crossing the river Hvítá. Our ride continues along the slopes of Mt. Bláfell. As we ride down the mountain the beautiful south appears in front of us. Our horses bring us in their soft and strong gates the last part of the journey.
    Our ride ends at Fremstaver mountain cabin beautifully located on the south side of the mountain Bláfell not far from the famous water fall Gullfoss. We celebrate a successful tour with an authentic farewell dinner, storytelling and singing. (Approx. 25km)
  8. Day 8.  Fremstaver – Reykjavík

    We say good-bye to the horses, Haukur and his crew and return back to Reykjavík. On our drive back to Reykjavík BSÍ, we visit the world famous natural wonders, Geysir and the majestic Gullfoss waterfall. Approx. arrival at 14:00.

    – We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary –

Day-by-day itinerary North-South:

  1. Day 1. Reykjavik – Fremstaver
    Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik at 18:00 where our bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Fremstaver mountain cabin, where horses and staff are waiting for us. On our way we stop at the world famous natural wonders, Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall.
    After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other, we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us.
  2. Day 2.  Fremstaver – Árbúðir Mountain Cabin
    
The ride starts off towards the majestic glacier Langjökull and up into the Highlands. Our horses bring us in their soft and strong gates along the slopes of Mt. Bláfell. We cross the river Hvítá and follow the river Svartá until we get to the Mountain Cabin Árbúðir where we spend the night and rest the horses. (Approx. 25 km)
  3. Day 3.  Árbúðir Mountain Cabin – Gíslaskáli
    Our ride continues following the glacial river Fúlákvísl with great view of the mighty glacier Langjökull. We then enter the Valley of Thieves, called Thjófadalir, a remote grassy valley surrounded by high mountains. During the last centuries, traveling through the remote Highland was a dangerous trip due to outlaws waiting to rob the riders. From the entrance of the valley, we have a splendid view over the fertile landscape. The ride ends at the paddock of Hveravellir where our horses will spend the night and we head up to our cabin Gíslaskáli where we will stay for the next two nights. (Approx. 50 km)
  4. Day 4.  Gíslaskáli – Hveravellir Geothermal Area – Gíslaskáli Mountain Cabin
    We start the day by driving to our horses in Hveravellir and we continue our ride through the highlands and cross the river Seyðisá. Todays ride is a shorter one inbetween 2 long riding days. We leave the horses to rest at the river Kúlukvísl and we have time to explore Hveravellir, a very unique geothermal area between Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers. Here in this rough but extremely beautiful nature the most famous outlaw Fjalla Eyvindur survived for years. A natural hot pool invites us to a deserved relaxing bath before we return to our cabin Gíslaskáli. (Approx. 15km)
  5. Day 5. Gíslaskáli – Öndvegi Mountain Cabin
    In the morning we make our way back to our horses at the paddock of Kúlukvísl where we start todays ride. The horses run happily with us on the soft paths of this free and mystical highland area. We pass the mountains Sandkúlufell and Sauðafell before reaching our destination. It is easy to see that we follow a historical route. All the way back to the early settlement of Iceland, people traveled on horseback on exactly the same trails as we do today.  We spend the night in the mountain cabin Öndvegi. Up to mid-July the sun hardly sets in this part of the country. (Approx. 35 km)
  6. Day 6.  Öndvegi – Forsæludalur  – Hvammur Farm
    We continue our ride over the mountain plateau Grímstunguheiði. The valleys with the farms in the north are getting closer. It is impressive to see the fertile valley Vatnsdalur with all its fields and vegetation. As we ride down to the valley the canyon of the Vatnsdalsá river appears with some of its many beautiful waterfalls. Our horses stay at Forsæludalur Farm which is the first farm to reach in this area when you come down from the highland. We stay overnight at Hvammur Guesthouse. The hot tub offers a nice relaxation after today’s ride. (Approx. 35 km)
  7. Day 7. Hvammur – Forsæludalur – Vatnsdalur – Hvammur
    Great riding tracks along the banks of Vatnsdalsá river give us the opportunity to enjoy a fast ride in the soft tölt! Vatnsdalur is one of the most beautiful valleys in Iceland and the setting of one of the ancient sagas, Vatnsdælasaga. On our ride to Hvammur we hear tales from Iceland´s heroic past of bloody conflict, revenge, and love. We say good-bye to our horses as they get to rest in the green fields of the valley. We celebrate a successful tour with a great Farwell dinner, storytelling and singing. (Approx. 20 km)
  8. Day 8. Hvammur – Reykjavík
    We say goodbye to our farmer Haukur and his crew. Transfer back to Reykjavík BSÍ Approx. return at 14:00.

    – We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary –

  • Bus transfer from Reykjavík to the farm.
  • 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 when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty-Free Store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.
  • Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet.

Árbúðir Mountain Hut

Arbudir is a mountain cabin right beside the Kjölur route on the banks of the river Svartá. The cabin has sleeping-bag accommodation for 30 overnight guests.

  • Number of rooms: 2
  • Number of beds: 30
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: No
  • Number of showers: 1
  • GSM connection: Yes but weak
  • WiFi: No
  • Made up beds: No
  • Number of WC: 2

Hvammur farm

Hvammur farm is situated in the beautiful Vatnsdalur Valley which is so full of the old Sagas and has the famous salmon fishing river Vatnsdalsá running down the middle. The farmhouse was renovated 4 years ago and has a hot tub in the garden with a view over the river.

  • Number of rooms: 6 rooms
  • Number of beds: 2-4 beds in each room, altogether max 19
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: Yes
  • Number of showers: 2
  • GSM connection: Yes
  • WiFi: Yes
  • Made up beds: Yes
  • Number of WC: 2

Fremstaver

Fremstaver is a cozy hut on the south slopes of the mountain Bláfell. The cabin is situated in beautiful surroundings that offer many sight-seeing possibilities. Climbing the mountain Bláfell is a long but rewarding walk. The top offers views wide and far on a good day.

  • Number of rooms: 1
  • Number of beds: 25
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: no
  • Number of showers: 0
  • GSM connection: yes
  • WiFi: no
  • Made up beds: x
  • Number of WC: 2

Gíslaskáli

Gíslaskáli is located in a beautiful and unspoiled landscape on the Kjölur tour. Nearby is the source of Svartár river which is a beautiful crystal clear spring water.

  • Number of rooms: 1
  • Number of beds: 40
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: No
  • Number of showers: x
  • GSM connection: Yes
  • WiFi: No
  • Made up beds: No

Here you can book your Flybus ticket to and from Reykjavík. The Flybus departs from Keflavík airport 35-40 minutes after each arrival. Busses are located right outside the terminal building. Book my ticket.

Kjölur tour operates alternatively from south to north, the next tour being from north to south. Please send us a request for day by day itinerary North-South at [email protected]

Terms & conditions:
We request a confirmation payment upon booking of minimum 30% of the tour price. When the confirmation payment is received the seat is secure. The remaining balance is due 2 weeks before the tour departs. If you book the tour through the website the full amount is requested.

Children’s under 12 years receive 25% discount on our multi-day tours.

Liability:
We reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or timetables without prior notice, should the necessity arise. No liability is accepted for loss or expenses due to delays or changes of arrival or departures of flights or other services, injury, sickness, accident, strikes, damage, negligence, weather, wars or other causes outside the control of Íslandshestar. All such losses and expenses are the personal liability of the traveler. The estimated duration of tours as indicated by km or timing can change according to road or weather conditions.

For more information please see also our Frequent Asked Questions and/or contact us at [email protected]

Reviews

I really wish I would have done this trip sooner, this is truly a life changing experience and one you can´t describe until you try it your self! The horses, nature, hosts, and helpers were amazing. I 100% recommend all riders to ride with them!

L.E. Germany.

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