Tour 18 – Between the Deserts
6 days riding

Cold Glaciers and Hot Springs
This tour takes us in the area between the two highland deserts Kjölur and Sprengisandur, exploring in detail the landscape south of Hofsjökull, the third largest glacier in Iceland. We start the tour along the glacial river Hvitá and visit the famous Gullfoss waterfall before heading north into the wilderness towards the glacier. At the Kerlingafjöll, the colorful mountain of the “old ladies“, we experience the stunning contrast of glacier ice and hot springs. The Kerlingafjöll area is one of the most beautiful and interesting area in Iceland. The tour continues east towards Sprengisandur, down the beautiful cleft Laxárgljúfur to the green hills Hrunamannahreppur, and end at the farm Kaldbak.

6 nights – 6 days on horseback – 220 km. Riding distance per day: 25-55 km (4-9 hours).
Accommodation 1 night in guesthouse Eldhestar, 5 nights sleeping bag accommodation in farms and/or simple mountain huts, full board.

Departure 2019: July 16 and 26.

Please note: The last night of accommodation in Reykjavík will not be included in our shorter-, longer- and wilderness tours in summer 2019.

For a route map of the tour, please click here.


Day-by-day description

Between the Deserts

Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the flight bus from the airport to the ending bus station BSÍ in Reykjavík. We will greet you at the bus station or at your hotel/ guesthouse in Reykjavik between 17:30- 18:00 and drive you to our farm Vellir near Hveragerði. There you will be lodged at our guesthouse. We will get to know each other during the dinner at our Hotel Eldhestar. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2: Gullfoss – Fremstaver
We start the riding from Myrkhol and along Hvítá to our first stop will be at Gullfoss. From Gullfoss we ride into the wilderness, in a black desert of stones and sand until we come to the Mt. Bláfell, 1160 m above sea level, which gives us a beautiful view over Kjölur. We see the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Hofsjökull and the volcano Hekla and, on the right, Mt. Hlödufell and the Langjökull Glacier. We spend the night south of Bláfell in the mountain hut Fremstaver. 21 km, 4-5 hrs.

Day 3: Fremstaver – Árbúdir
We ride east along Bláfell. We cross the Hvítá River over a bridge and follow the best riding roads on Kjölur, which is the oldest road between South and North Iceland. It is mostly even and is about 700 m above sea level. We have a view over the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers and the Kerlingafjöll mountains – Kjölur’s flagship. We follow the Svartá River to Árbúdir, where we spend the night. 30 km, 7-8 hrs.

Day 4: Árbúdir – Kerlingafjöll
We continue riding along Svartá North towards Hofsjökull, the third biggest glacier in Iceland. The tour ends in “Kerlingafjöll”, the”ladies” Mountains. Here, where the rivers Hvítá and Thjórsá part, you will meet the glaciers as well as hot springs. At Kerlingafjöll you have the possibility to take a bath in nice hot pots, while enjoying the view in the wilderness. 30 km, 6-7 hrs .

Day 5: Kerlingafjöll – Svínárnes
Today we are heading South from Kerlingafjöll. We are riding along the river Hvitá and see the mountain Bláfjöll on our right side. We will enjoy a great view over the entir are a below us until we reach Svinaness, our hut for the night. Svinanes is a primitive but cosy hut which has been used as an overnight place on the sheep round up for many years. 36 km and 6-7 hrs

Day 6: Svínárnes – Helgaskáli
The tour continues South along Hvítá. Here on our way we have nice scenery in all directions. Later on the day we will turn left and ride over the highlands towards Helgaskáli, our hut for the night. 30 km. 7-8 hrs.

Day 7: Helgaskáli – Kaldbak – Departure
We ride through the highland down the beautiful cleft Laxárgljúfur to the green hills of Hrunamannahreppur, and end at the farm Kaldbak. The Eldhestar bus will pick us up at Kaldbak. With a short stop at Vellir, we will finish our tour with the drive to Reykjavík. Tour members can take the bus to Keflavik Airport on their own or continue travelling in Iceland. Ca. 25 km 6-7 hrs.