The Northern Highlands Trail

Enjoy horse riding in spectacular vast nature of the Northern Highlands, with its unique unspoiled nature and magnificent sagas.

Dates 2024

  • July: 7 - 11 & 23 - 27

Enjoy horse riding in spectacular vast nature of the Northern Highlands, with its unique unspoiled nature and magnificent sagas. Our great surefooted horses bring us through the impressive scenery partly on ancient trails that have been used since Iceland was settled. We are travelling with a free running herd of riding horses on our tour, which is a world wide unique experience. In the highlands we are riding through the summer pastures of horses and sheep. It is an adventure to see herds of horses in their natural environment as we also stay alert that they don´t mix with our group. We enjoy the peace of the highlands as well as storytelling and singing, after a great days of experience with our horses

  1. Day 1: Reykjavík – Vatnsdalur Valley – Hvammur Farm – River banks of Vatnsdalsá river – Haukagil
    Pick up at 8:30 at the main bus station Reykjavík BSÍ. Drive to the north where our farmer and his team welcome us at Hvammur farm. Hvammur is in the valley Vatnsdalur which is said to be one of the most fertile and beautiful valleys in Iceland, shaped by water, glaciers and volcanic activity. On our ride we pass the historical farm Hof and cross Vatnsdalsá river. Vatnsdalur is the setting of one of the ancient sagas, the Vatnsdælasaga. On our way we hear tales from Iceland´s heroic past of bloody conflict, revenge and love. You can sense the happiness of the free running horses as we are heading towards the highland. After a great day we leave the horses at Haukagil farm, the last farm on this side of the valley before we enter the highland plateau. Overnight stay at Hvammur farm where we can relax in the hot tub before for the riding adventures of the coming days. (Approx. 17 km)

  2. Day 2: Haukagil – Álkugil Canion – River banks Skútaeyar – Öndvegi mountain Cabin
    We start off by gathering up the herd of horses we take with us on the adventurous trail. Today we are riding through the summer pastures of horses and sheep from the farmers in the north of Iceland.
    We ascend towards the highland plateau Víðidalstunguheiði heath. It is great to drive the horses through the very free fields of the highlands. The highland opens up for us and we see the mighty Álkugil gorge with picturesque waterfalls tumbling down over rock formations. The wideness and freedom feeling is inspiring for horses and people. It is graceful to see the free running herd tölt on the soft paths of the peaceful area. We see the remains of the old Kings Trail and the tracks from travelling horses through the centuries. We cross the river Álka and head south were we pass an old hut called Álkuskáli. Here the only inhabitants are foxes birds and maybe some trolls. We spend the night at the Mountain Cabin Öndvegi which is very spacious with double rooms and showers. (Approx 35 km)

  3. Day 3: Öndvegi mountain cabin – Þjófahæðir ( Thiefhills) – Grettishæð – Spectacular highlands – Öndvegi.
    We go for a special excursion on this day. We take one horse each and leave the herd at the cabin. This makes us more flexible to observe and enjoy the impressive landscape of todays ride. We ride south towards one of the biggest glaciers of Iceland Langjökull. On the mountain Grettishæð we rest our horses and enjoy the spectacular view of the Northern Highlands. Grettishæð is on the north part of one of the biggest highland deserts of Iceland Stóri Sandur (Big Sand). Stóri Sandur makes us aware of how hostile and strong the nature can be in Iceland. There is almost no vegetation on Stóri Sandur only sand and rocks. We see the black volcano Krákur (Raven) and its lava field which is like a barrier in the highlands. Our historical viewing point Grettishæð is named after the most brutal outlaw of the Icelandic Sagas Grettir the Strong. Old tales say that the killer of Grettir, buried his head on Grettishæð. On our way back to our highland base Öndvegi, we ride beside Þjófakvísl (thiefs river).
    (Approx 20 km )

  4. Day 4: Öndvegi mountain cabin – Strangakvísl (rough river) – Lestarmannavað – Vatnsdalsárgil – Forsæludalur – Hvammur

    Today we continue our ride from our mountain cabin to east across these vast and untouched areas. We follow the river Strangakvísl (rough river). The name of this innocent looking river refers to the powerful streams that can appear in the spring when the snow is melting. The soft tracks lead us to the river Vatnsdalsá. This is the river that runs through our Valley Vatnsdalur. Here in the highlands this great angling river has its origin, from springs and gathering of smaller rivers. It is important when travelling in the highlands to pass the rivers in a safe place for horses and riders. We use the legendary tide Lestarmannavað to get to our track that leads to Vatnsdalur valley. Passing Tjaldhóll (camping hill) we ride further until our paths meet the famous Kjölur route ( the most used track between the north and the south) which we use descending from the highland plateau. The canyon Vatnsdalsárgil with all its Waterfalls greets us on out way down to our valley. Our horses rest at the farm Forsæludalur.
    (Approx 32 km)

  5. Day 5: Forsæludalur – Þórhallastaðir – Grímstunga – Vatnsdalsá – Hvammur – Reykjavík
    Great soft riding track along the banks of Vatnsdalsá allow us to enjoy a fast ride in the soft tölt ! Our track brings us past one more historic site from the Saga of Grettir the Strong, Þórhallastaðir (remains of the ancient farm from Þórhallur). There Grettir wrestled with the ghost Glámur and after a hard battle was able to defeat him. Grettir never recovered after the fight through and had nightmares for the rest of his life. Further we ride across the river Vatnsdalsá After a and head for home to Hvammur farm. After a hot cup of coffee and waffles we say goodbye to people and horses before leaving to Reykjavík (Approx 20 km) Departure to Reykjaík around 16pm and arrival in Reykjavík BSÍ around 19:30

  • Bus drive 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.

Hvammur farm is located near Blönduós in North Iceland, Hvammur 2 Guesthouse Red House features a shared lounge, garden, terrace, and free WiFi. The guest house provides a hot tub and a shared kitchen.

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.

Terms & conditions:
Íslandshestar requests 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. Children’s under 12 years receive 25% discount on our multi-day tours.

Íslandshestar 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]

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