- Perfect choice if you want to see as much as possible of the unspoilt Icelandic highlands.
- The Kjolur trail follows a historical route originating from the first democratic foundations of the country.
- Visit the sights of the famous Golden Circle including Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir lake.
- Experience the extra gait of the Iceland horse - the tölt - fast, smooth and comfortable, it's a unique feeling.
- Ride two or three horses each day and find one or two special favourites amongst the herd of free-running horses
Day 1 1 : Arrive in Reykjavik - HvammurFlight to Reykjavik. Please note flights are not included. It is extremely important that your flight lands before 15h30. If you cannot take an earlier flight, you should arrive a day early and spend the night in Reykjavik. This is the opportunity to visit the city, or even go on a tour - please contact us for more information.
On your arrival into Reykjavik airport, you can take the Flybus to the BSI (transfer to your own account) where you will be picked up by your guide at 18h00. Dinner and overnight at the farm.
IMPORTANT: Every other week, the itinerary is ridden in reverse. Please contact us in advance so we can inform you of the exact itinerary for your preferred date, although it makes little difference to the actual experience.
Day 2 2 : Hvammur – Vatnsdalur Valley – Forsæludalur – Hvammur - 20 km ridingToday is your first riding day. Great riding tracks along the banks of Vatnsdalsá river give you the opportunity to enjoy a fast ride and experience the soft tölt! Vatnsdalur is one of the most beautiful valleys in Iceland and the setting of one of the ancient sagas, Vatnsdælasaga. On your ride to Hvammur, you will 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 you enter the highlands.
Stay overnight at Hvammur Guesthouse. The hot tub is a welcome sight after a full day in the saddle!
Day 3 3 : Hvammur – Forsæludalur – Áfangi Mountain Cabin - 35 km ridingArbudir cabinAs you ride up the valley, the canyon of the Vatnsdalsá river appears with some its many waterfalls. Today, you will ascend up to the mountain plateau Auðkúluheiði. The fertile valley dotted with farms is left behind as the horses run freely over the soft riding paths of the northern highland. Enjoy the splendid view over the impressive highland mountains and glaciers around you and your riding companions.
Stay overnight at the mountain cabin Áfangi, beside the huge man-made lake Blöndulón.
Day 4 4 : Áfangi – Hveravellir Geothermal Area, Mountain Cabin - 35 km ridingHveravellir cabinOn today's ride you will pass the mountains Sandkúlufell and Sauðafell, following a historical route. All the way back to the early settlement of Iceland, people travelled on horseback on exactly the same trails as you do today. The trail leads further to the south over the beautiful river Seyðisá. The horses run happy on the soft paths of this free and mystical highland area. The destination of today's ride is 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.
Overnight in a mountain cabin.
Day 5 5 : Árbúðir Mountain Cabin - 50 km ridingGear up for a long day on horseback. You start the day by riding through the Valley of Thieves, called Thjófadalir, a remote grassy valley surrounded by high mountains. From the entrance of the valley you can enjoy splendid views off the fertile landscape. The ride continues along the vast lava fields of Kjalhraun, where you hear of a tragic story about two brothers who froze to death in October 1780 on their way to Skagafjörður with a flock of sheep. Following the glacial river Fúlákvísl you will get a glimpse of the mighty glacier Langjökull.
The day ends at Árbúðir Mountain Cabin.
Day 6 6 : Árbúðir – Fremstaver Mountain Cabin - 35km ridingYour tour follows river Svartá for a while before crossing the river Hvítá, continuing along the slopes of Mt. Bláfell. During the last centuries, travelling through the remote Highland was a dangerous trip due to outlaws waiting to rob the riders.
Spend the night and rest the horses at Fremstaver Mountain Cabin.
Day 7 7 : Fremstaver – Gullfoss Waterfall – Myrkholt Farm - 25km ridingHveravellir cabinSaddle up again and ride by the canyon of Hvítá river heading southwards to the lowlands. Explore the world famous natural wonders, Geysir and the majestic Gullfoss waterfall. Say goodbye to our horses as they get their rest on some of the farm's fertile fields.
The group will celebrate a successful tour with a great farewell dinner, filled with stories and singing.
Overnight at Myrkholt farm.
Day 8 8 : Myrkholt farm - Geysir Hot Spring Area - ReykjavikYou will be transferred back to Reykjavik (BSI) at approx. 13:00. On they way, you will visit the world famous, Geyser hot spring area.
As there is a minimum journey time from Reykjavik to the airport of 1 and a half hours, you should book your return flights no earlier than 20:00 to ensure that you arrive in plenty of time.
If you wish to spend the afternoon exploring Reykjavik and fly out the following day, we can help organise a hotel for you - just let us know!
Dates & prices
- Rates are per person, based on sharing communal rooms. There is no single supplement as you should be prepared to share.
- Airport transfers and additional nights in Reykjavik are not included. See https://www.re.is/tour/flybus/ for more info on how to get from the airport to the city centre.
- Groups usually comprise from 6 up to 20 international riding guests plus guides. As you are riding with a herd of loose horses, it is easy to forget that there are other riders amongst them too and so the group size is never a problem.
- This route runs from the South to the North one week and from the North to the South the following week. Both directions cover the same ground and offer the same spectacular views.
- All departures are confirmed regardless of the number of riders on the tour.
- Children from 9 years of age can be accommodated provided they are good riders, with parental consent and a good riding level
- Discounts are available for families of 3+ (two parents and one child aged 12+), and for children between the age of 9 and 12. Please contact us.
- Rider weight limit is 110kg/17,3 st/242lb
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.
2 Icelandic tour leaders
2-4 assistants in charge of the free herd.
2-3 horses per rider equipped with saddle and bridle
Price doesn't include
Lunch and dinner on day 8 are not included
Departure Return Price without flights Status 19/06/2024 26/06/2024 £2,380 €2,737 $2,951Guaranteed departure Book now 26/06/2024 03/07/2024 £2,550 €2,933 $3,162Guaranteed departure Book now
Departure Return Price without flights Status 05/07/2024 12/07/2024 £2,550 €2,933 $3,162Guaranteed departure Book now 12/07/2024 19/07/2024 £2,550 €2,933 $3,162Guaranteed departure Book now 07/08/2024 14/08/2024 £2,550 €2,933 $3,162Guaranteed departure Book now 14/08/2024 21/08/2024 £2,550 €2,933 $3,162Guaranteed departure Book now
You will ride with a group of loose horses and change mounts once to twice a day, to preserve the horses strength.
Guide & local team
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Rider weight limit is 110kg/17,3 st/242lb
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Having previous experience of riding a trail of several days would be an advantage but it is not compulsory. Guests who do not ride regularly are requested to get fit prior to the ride. It is of particular importance to ensure you are comfortable and balanced when riding at speed across rough terrain and open spaces.
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.
Please understand that accommodation in the highlands is always basic, with little privacy, small rooms and limited showers.
You prepare your own picnic lunch at breakfast time.
Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking
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.
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: www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/ridingequipment
- 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
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- Down jacket or gilet for cold evenings
- 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, preferably waterproof. 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
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding
- Sleeping bag - make sure it is warm enough for chilly nights.
- 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
- 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)
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, deet based is preferable
- 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
- 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.
- 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!).
- Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
- 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.
- Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
- Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
- Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.
Did you know?
Did you know?
The Kjolur trail is an ancient highway running through the Icelandic highlands, which has been used ever since the Vikings settled in the ninth century. During the 12th and 13th centuries, small armies would use the route to race north or south to confront their enemies.
There are many tales of disaster along the route too. In 1780 two brothers from Reynisstadur farm froze to death with their newly bought sheep in a snow storm. This place is now called Beinholl or Bone Hill due to the number of animal bones that were found when the snow thawed.
In the 18th century it is also rumoured that the famous Icelandic outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur and his wife took up residence along a portion of the road that is now known as the Valley of Thieves.
The riding route of the Kjolur trail follows the ancient trail, which is a lot greener than the modern road which has now replaced it for vehicles - Route F35. The original ancient Kjolur trail has now been renamed "Kjalvegur hinn forni" - the ancient Kjalvegur and is closed to motorised traffic, making it ideal for a horse riding trail.
On the blog
Extend your trip
Whale watching excursion
Budget: £109This 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.
Blue Lagoon hot springs
Budget: £186Set 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.
Puffin watching tour
Budget: £65The 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).