Northern Exposure trail

On this riding trail in Iceland discover the spectacular north of the country with its natural wonders and diverse landscapes. This part of Iceland is well known for its spectacular natural sights and extraordinarily diverse landscape. This riding holiday will give you the opportunity to visit Europe's largest waterfall, Dettifoss and the strange rock formations of Hljodaklettar as well as the volcanic activity around Lake Myvatn. There is also the chance to join a whale watching boat trip from Husavik (optional and at extra cost).
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
8 days / 5 days riding
From £2,217
Family holidays
from 9 y.o



- The lunar landscapes of Lake Myvatn, an active volcanic area
- The most pleasant climate of Iceland and the unique spectacle of the midnight sun
- The thrill of riding with a herd of loose horses
- Discover the Icelandic horse and it's magical extra gait - the tölt
- The opportunity to bathe in the warm geothermal waters of the outdoor pool at the Mývatn Nature Baths.
- Optional whale watching trip
- This tour was nominated by the Sunday Times as one of the 10 best trails in the world.
  • Day 1 1: ARRIVE IN REYKJAVIK - No riding

    Please note Day 1 is your arrival day - your tour and our services starts early in the morning of day 2. It is therefore necessary for you to arrive early and spend a night in Reykjavik before the start of your holiday.

    Flights to Reykjavik are not included but can be booked upon request.

    On arrival at Reykjavik airport (Keflavik) you need to transfer to your hotel by FlyBus ( The transfer, hotel night and dinner are not included, but we can book a hotel for you upon request.
  • Day 2 2: REYKJAVIK - HUSAVIK - BJARNASTADIR - 20km riding

    Bjarnastadir Farm
    The meeting point is at the domestic airport (Flugfélagið Ernir) for your flight to Húsavík and then transfer to Bjarnastaðir Farm. You should dress in your riding clothes so that you are ready to ride on arrival, and must remember to keep your passport in your hand luggage for this domestic flight.

    At Bjarnastaðir, you will first have lunch and then start your ride with a short introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits. You will be riding on the east side of the National Park Jökulsárgljúfur, before joining a sightseeing tour by bus to visit Europe's largest waterfall, Dettifoss and the famous Asbyrgi canyon. A wonder of nature, this wide, horseshoe shaped canyon has sheer cliff faces up to 100m high.

    Overnight at Bjarnastaðir Farm.

  • Day 3 3: BJARNASTADIR - THEISTAREYKIR - 35km riding

    Refuge de Theistareykir
    After breakfast, you will be driven to Kelduhverfi and start your ride from there. Today's ride takes you into the mountains to discover the fantastic views off Öxafjörður Fjord. The rest of your trail today will see you ride to the geothermal area of Theistareykir.

    Overnight at Theistareykir Mountain Cabin.
  • Day 4 4: THEISTAREYKIR - LAXARDALUR - 35km riding

    Bjarnastadir Farm
    Ride from the Theistareykir area to Halldorstaðir in Laxardal. The landscape becomes rought as you ride across the geothermal area and lava fields to the desert area of Hólasandur. You will then ride down to Laxárdalur Valley and over the Laxá river to Halldórstaðir. Car transfer to Bjarnastaðir farm, where you stay the night with a hot tub on the premises.
  • Day 5 5: LAXARDALUR - 30km riding

    Bjarnastadir Farm
    Saddle up again and head off through a black sand desert along the colourful Laxárdalur valley with the glittering Salmon River Laxa at the heart of it. A true day of contrasts in the ever-changing Icelandic landscape. Stop at the special Hraunsrett which is made of lava. Ride to Skógarhlíð, where you leave the horses before you head back to Bjarnastaðir farm where you will spend the night. Enjoy a nice hot bath in Jarðböðin, an outdoor lagoon with geothermal water.
  • Day 6 6: GELDINGADALUR – REYKJAHEIÐI - 40km riding

    Bjarnastadir Farm
    Today, you set out through Geldingadalur Valley and Reykjaheiði heathland. At one point, you will practically cross over from one continental plate to another as you ride over the Mid-Atlantic ridge! It is a fascinating area with deep earthquake fissures, multi-coloured mountains and geothermal energy. With all the volcanic activity still going on, it is easy to understand that Iceland is still under “natural construction”. At the end of a full day in the saddle, you will ride into Öxarfjörður Fjord to Bjarnastaðir Farm, where the hot outdoor tub is waiting to soak your tired bones!

    In the morning, return to Husavik by bus for an optional whale watching trip (please see dates and prices). For those not interested in the whale watching there are hot tubs in the town or you could go for a stroll.

    In the afternoon, fly back to Reykjavik for a final night in the capital. Hotel night not included but can be booked upon request.

    Transfer is by Flybus to Reykjavik airport in time for your flight home.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to Reykjavik are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. Flight from Reykjavík to Húsavík are included.

- Rates are per person, based on sharing a collective room. There is no single supplement as you should be prepared to share.

- Groups usually consists of 6 to 20 international riding guests plus guides. All departures are confirmed regardless of the number of riders on the tour.

- Transfers to and from Reykjavik airport, and from/to Reykjavik domestic airport, are not included in the price for the trip. See for more info on how to get from the airport to the city centre. To reach the domestic airport, you will need to take a taxi or a city bus:

- Accommodation in Reykjavik is not included and can be booked upon request.

- Optional whale watching tour at the end of your ride: €80/£75/$90. These are approximate costs and this is payable locally.

- Vegan and/or Gluten Free diets will incur on an extra supplement of around £90/€100/$110 per person.

- Family and children discounts available - please contact us.

- Children from 9 years of age can be accommodated provided they are good riders. Teenagers 14+ years old may come unaccompanied, but with parental consent, a good English level, independence and a good riding level.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English speaking horse guide since Reykjavik
1 Icelandic expedition leader
2-4 assistants in charge of the free herd.


1 cook
2-3 horses per rider equipped with saddle and bridle
1 vehicle and driver

Inland transports

Flight from Reykjavík to Húsavík and return


Collective room in Guesthouses
Nights in collective mountain huts with bunk beds and mattresses


Full board from first diner to last breakfast

Extra equipment

First aid kit

Price doesn't include


Beverage and personal extra
Free dinner on day 1 and 7 in Reykjavik
Special diet supplement - please see above


Return international airport transfers (FlyBus shuttle) or domestic airport transfers (taxi or city bus)
International flights


Tips to local team
Whale watching on day 6: see dates and prices


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation



Extra nights in Reykjavík: please contact us for the price
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    23/06/2024 30/06/2024 £2,252 €2,590 $2,792
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    28/07/2024 04/08/2024 £2,252 €2,590 $2,792
    04/08/2024 11/08/2024 £2,252 €2,590 $2,792
    Guaranteed departure
    Book now
    11/08/2024 18/08/2024 £2,252 €2,590 $2,792
    Guaranteed departure
    Book now
    18/08/2024 25/08/2024 £2,217 €2,550 $2,749
    Guaranteed departure
    Book now

Equestrian info


The Icelandic horse is a part of the history and saga of the country and it's Vikings. It is characterised by it's extra pace - the tölt, which is fast and very comfortable. Some are also capable of an additional Flying Pace, which is similar to trot, but much faster and used for racing. Icelandic horses are small, sociable, comfortable and energetic. Icelandic tack consists of simple snaffle bridles, often with drop nosebands and straight cut saddles similar to English style.

Guide & local team

Halldor and Elin, your hosts at Bjarnastadir farm are renowned for their excellent horse breeding. Halldor is a respected member of the community and is known as the "mountain king" for his skill leading shepherds to gather sheep in the autumn.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider who is comfortable riding at all paces in the outdoors. You will be riding with a group of loose horses and so experience of riding in a group is essential.

Rider weight limit is 110kg/17,3 st/242lb


There will be long periods of tolt along the sandy tracks and grassy pastures. There will also be walking and trotting across more difficult terrain. The tölt is a fast pace - you can expect long periods of tölt, but canters are not frequent.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to assist with grooming, tacking and un-tacking your horse. The whole group gets involved in meal preperation.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be fit and have good stamina for the long periods of tolt, which is a fast but comfortable pace. There are some long hours in the saddle (5-8 hours) and the terrain can be rough. The weather can also be unpredictable.

Experience of riding a trail over several days would be an advantage but is not essential. Riders who do not ride regularly would need to get back into the saddle before joining this ride.

Equestrian equipment

Comfortable Icelandic saddles with saddle bags.

Hard hats are mandatory. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

You will be provided with a raincoat but should still bring your own warm coats to wear underneath.

Travel info


On the trail, you stay in shared rooms and require sleeping bags. Bathrooms are shared. On a few occasions, you may have to pay for hot water.

Please understand that accommodation in the highlands is always basic, with little privacy, small rooms and limited showers.


Lunches are simple picnics; dinners are generous and hearty.
You prepare your own picnic lunch at breakfast time.

Vegan and Gluten free diets can be accommodated at an extra cost.


Contrary to popular belief, the general climate in Iceland is temperate and cool with extreme cold temperatures only recorded in winter. In summer the average temperatures are 10-12c but can be as low as 5c and as high as 25c. You should be prepared for both sun and rain and dress in layers.


Tips are welcome but not expected. You should tip what you feel is appropriate and you are comfortable with.

Packing list

There are some important packing considerations for a riding holiday in Iceland. The Icelandic horses have had no contact with other equine species and are not vaccinated. They do not have any resistance to diseases which are common elsewhere in the world and so it is important to take precautions to prevent the spread of infections.

- You should NOT take the following products into Iceland: saddles, bridles, halters, saddle pads, whips, brushes or any leather products which have been in contact with a horse.

- Your riding clothes must be thoroughly cleaned at least 5 days before departure (riding breeches, jumpers, coats, gloves) and should be washed in temperatures of at least 40c.

- Items which cannot be washed at 40c, such as riding hats or leather boots must be thoroughly disinfected at least five days before departure:
1. Wash in detergent.
2. Dry thoroughly
3. Spray with a 1% solution of Virkon detergent (10g per litre of water)

For more details please visit the Icelandic veterinary authority website:

- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
- A flyhat to wear over your helmet may be a good idea in the summer months, when flies can be be an issue
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain
- Warm hat for cold evenings/days

Upper body
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- Down jacket or gilet for cold evenings
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared. In the mountains the weather can change quickly

- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub. Take two pairs
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Thermal trousers

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged. It is recommended your boots are waterproof as you may be crossing rivers and they can get wet.
- Sandals/flipflops
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

- Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner
- A small camping pillow
- Slippers (you will have to remove your shoes inside the accommodation)
- An eye mask can help with the 24hr daylight

Other useful items
- A fly net against bugs
- Swimsuit - for hot tubs
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Wet Wipes or equivalent (for when washing facilities aren't available)
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Please bring a soft bag instead of hard shell suitcase and pack light because transport space is limited.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Carry a copy of your passport and insurance documentation with you.

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

Did you know?

Did you know?

A highlight of this riding tour in Northern Iceland is a visit to Dettifos Waterfall. Dettifos is the highest waterfall in Iceland and one of the most powerful waterfalls in all of Europe. With a height of 45 meters (144ft), it spans over 100 meters in width and is a hugely popular attraction in the area. It is located on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier and collects water from a large area in Northeast Iceland. A loose translation of “Dettifos” could be “the Collapsing Waterfall”.


This riding tour includes many other highlights and sights, including Ásbyrgi Canyon, Lake Mývatn and Laxárdalur Valley 

On the blog

The Icelandic horse breed holds a very special place in the Icelander's hearts and souls. When riding these horses in Iceland, you will surely understand why it is considered to be one of the most curious, intelligent and independent horses in the world. Read our report on this breed on the blog.

Extend your trip

    Blue Lagoon hot springs

    Budget: £175

    Set in a stunning black-lava field, the Blue Lagoon is probably one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. It is also very conveniently located between the airport and the city centre, making it an ideal first stop!

    Take the time to relax in these natural hot springs, enjoy your first day in Iceland. The heated water (38°C) is rich mineral salts and silica mud, which are a real treat to the skin.

    You can decide to visit the Lagoon from the BSI in Reykjavik or from the airport - shuttles run throughout the day.

    Whale watching excursion

    Budget: £105

    This half-day excursion is a unique opportunity to watch Minke whales, Humpback whales, Dolphins and Porpoises in their natural element.

    This is a fantastic day out, ideal for all from individuals to couples or families! Children can even enjoy a discount - pleace contact us. Obviously, we can never guarantee anything with wild animals, but viewing chances are good, and especially in the summer.

    One or two departures a day depending on the season, pick up at your hotel.

    Puffin watching tour

    Budget: £57

    The Atlantic Puffin is a captivating and beautiful bird. Between May and August, it settles along the Icelandic coast to nest during the warmer months. Iceland boasts the largest colony in the world and provides some amazing opportunities for bird-watching!

    Animal lovers will love this excursion. On a boat, you get as close to the birds as can be - if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of other species such as grey headed ducks or cormorans.

    Three departures a day from Mid-May to Mid-August.
    Children discounts (7-15 yo).