Rider on horseback in Iceland

The Kjolur Trail

A pacey horse riding trail which crosses Iceland on historical tracks linking the North to the South. Explore the ancient Kjölur trail, that Icelanders used to ride when travelling to their annual summer parliament in Thingvellir. You ride amongst a herd of loose Icelandic horses and swap your mount once to twice a day. Ride between glaciers, through the highlands and sheltered green valleys, past glaciers, volcanoes and geothermal areas. Our most action-packed riding tour in Iceland!
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Trail Riding
8 days / 6 days riding
From £2,420
  • Riders crossing an Icelandic river on horseback
    A great ride if you want to see as much as possible of the unspoilt Icelandic highlands.
  • Riders on a trail riding holiday in Iceland
    Ride the Kjolur Trail in Iceland
  • Group of riders on a horseback vacation in Iceland
    Discover the beauty of Iceland on a trail riding holiday
  • Icelandic horses resting during a trail ride holiday in Iceland
    The Icelandic horse is a part of the history and saga of the country
  • Riders on the Kjolur Trail pushing a herd of horses
    A mobile trail ride traversing Iceland from South to North (or vice versa)
  • Horseback riders riding with loose Icelandic horses in Iceland on Kjolur trail
    You ride amongst a herd of loose horses and swap your mount once to twice a day.
  • Horseback holiday in Iceland following the kjolur trail
    The Kjolur trail is one of our most popular holidays for experienced riders
  • Group of riders riding Icelandic horses in Iceland
    Embark on a Trans-Iceland riding holiday with Equus Journeys
  • group of icelandic horses crossing a river in iceland
    An exciting trail riding holiday in Iceland
  • Riders on horseback in front of an Icelandic glacier
    Your trail ride journeys between the huge glaciers of Hofsjökull and Langjökull.



- A mobile trail ride traversing the island from South to North (or vice versa) between the huge glaciers of Hofsjökull and Langjökull.
- 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 - Hvammur

    Flight 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 riding

    Today 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 riding

    Arbudir cabin
    As 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 riding

    Hveravellir cabin
    On 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 riding

    Gear 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 riding

    Your 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 riding

    Hveravellir cabin
    Saddle 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 - Reykjavik

    You 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

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- 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.

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

- 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
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 from Reykjavik
2 Icelandic tour leaders
2-4 assistants in charge of the free herd.


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

Inland transports



Dormitories in mountain huts with bunk beds and mattresses


Full board from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 8

Extra equipment

First aid kit

Price doesn't include


Beverages and personal extras
Lunch and dinner on day 8 are not included
Special diet supplement - please see above


Return airport transfers (FlyBus shuttle, easily bookable online - please ask us if you need help)
International flights


Tips to local team


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
    19/06/2024 26/06/2024 £2,420 €2,783 $3,001
    Guaranteed departure
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    26/06/2024 03/07/2024 £2,592 €2,981 $3,214
    Guaranteed departure
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  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    05/07/2024 12/07/2024 £2,592 €2,981 $3,214
    Last seats
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    12/07/2024 19/07/2024 £2,592 €2,981 $3,214
    Guaranteed departure
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    07/08/2024 14/08/2024 £2,592 €2,981 $3,214
    Guaranteed departure
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    14/08/2024 21/08/2024 £2,592 €2,981 $3,214
    Last seats
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Equestrian info


The Icelandic horse is a part of the history and saga of the country and its Vikings. It is characterised by its 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.

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

Your guides are Hjalti and Asa who live at Kjoastadir farm, where the Kjolur starts/ends (depending on which direction you ride it). Their trademarks are good food and good horses! Hjalti has ridden the Kjolur more than 140 times and so you can be pretty sure he won't get lost!

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be a confident rider, capable of riding over varied terrain at all paces. You should be open to learning a new style of riding - the tölt (fast pace and normally comfortable) and fit enough to maintain this pace for long periods.

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


The ride can be fast, particularly as you have a herd of loose horses with you, so you should feel comfortable about keeping up with the group. The tölt, used most of the time, is a specific pace likened to a very fast walk which you sit to. The tölt is a fast pace - you can expect long periods of tölt, but canters are not frequent. Over technical terrain the horses will walk or trot.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to assist with grooming and tacking up your horse (guidance is available) and to help with meal preperations.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit for long hours in the saddle (5-8 hours). The terrain is varied to include steep ascents/descents, rocks/lava fields and there may be holes to avoid. You should also be prepared for the changeable weather. The climate is temperate (12°c - 16°c during the day) but the temperature can change suddenly with strong winds and rain always possible. During the summer months of June/July there is almost 24 hours of daylight.
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.

Equestrian equipment

Saddle bags are provided, as are rain coats.

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.

Travel info


On the trail the accommodation is basic and you stay in mountain cabins which are communal and equipped with bunk beds. Some of the larger cabins may have more than one room, whilst other smaller cabins are dormitory style. It is not possible to request single accommodation and so you must be prepared to share. There are usually toilets available, but warm showers are not possible at all locations. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag.

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.

Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. Vegan and Gluten free diets can be accommodated at an extra cost.

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.


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: 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

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, 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
- Sandals/flipflops
- 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
- Towel

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)

Medical kit
- 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

Our Recommendations
- 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?

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

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

    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.

    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.

    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).

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • LUCIE aged 36 STRASBOURG 1 trip
    July 2022
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide