Tour 19 – Sprengisandur
6 days riding
Between Glaciers into the Desert Wilderness
We ride along the ancient Sprengisandur route that crosses Iceland, exploring some of the most fascinating and extreme contrasts of the Icelandic landscape. In the South, we ride on soft green paths along the riverbanks of the Thjórsá River and through a lava valley created by an 800-year-old eruption of the volcano Hekla. The spectacular wilderness of Iceland emerges as we follow the sand and rock plains across Sprengisandur between the glaciers Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull. In stark contrast to this barren landscape, we stop at a hot spring, where we have the opportunity to relax in the geothermal water. During the tour, we pass Arnarfell Mountain, Iceland’s geographical centre. We arrive in North Iceland at the bottom of Eyjafjörður Fjord, one of the longest fjords in Iceland.
Duration: 8 days and 7 nights – 6 days on horseback.
Riding distance: Ca. 260 km, 25 – 60 km per day (5-9 hours).
Accommodation & Meals: 2 nights in guesthouses (made-up beds) and 5 nights sleeping-bag accommodation in simple mountain huts (dormitory style). Full board (traditional Icelandic home cooking, special meals on request). Dinner on the last day is not included.
Departures 2018: July 9 and July 18.
The first tour starts in the South, the second in the North.
Please note that this tour requires many years of riding experience, a good physical condition and stamina.
Day by day description
Tour 19 – Sprengisandur
Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day in Iceland should take the “Flybus” from the airport to the final 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 Guesthouse Eldhestar. We will get to know each other during dinner at our Hotel Eldhestar. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour (might be in the morning).
Day 2: Hveragerdi – Fellsmúli – Hólaskógur
From Hveragerdi, in the Ölfus municipality, we drive to the farm Fellsmúli near the Mt. Hekla volcano. The riding tour starts there, and we follow soft paths through a birch forest,to the old farm Skarfanes. Most of the day we ride along the banks of the mighty river Thjórsá (the longest river in Iceland). On our way to Tröllkonuhlaup we pass the waterfall Thjófafoss and the striking mountain Búrfell, which was once home to giants and trolls. From there, we drive to the hut Hólaskógur where we spend the night. 25 km, 5 hours.
Day 3: Hólaskógur – Hrauneyjarfoss
We continue north-east of the Thjórsá River. The landscape changes steadily into wilderness. We spend the night in a hut at Hrauneyjar, near one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in Iceland. 35 km, 7 hours.
Day 4: Hrauneyjarfoss – Versalir
Today we start early to ride a long distance from Hrauneyjarfoss Falls to Versalir, a resting place at the beginning of Sprengisandur, known from the song “Á Sprengisandur” (Ridum, ridum…). On this route, we see many mountains and the glaciers Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull. We spend the night in a large, comfortable mountain hut. 50-60 km, 9 hours.
Day 5: Versalir – Nýi Dalur
On this day we also cover a long distance on our way North. The landscape is similar to that of the previous day, but we approach the glaciers and ride between them. East of us we can see Mt. Arnarfell, a green mountain which is known to be the center of Iceland. At this point, we enter Sprengisandur. We pass the dwellings of some of the most famous Icelandic outlaws, for example, that of Fjalla-Eyvindur. We spend the night in a big mountain hut in Nýi-Dalur. 60 km, 10 hours.
Day 6: Nýi-Dalur – Laugafell
On our way from Nýi Dalur, we ride on big sand dunes. We have spectacular views as the landscape of North Iceland begins to open before us, and we leave the three biggest glaciers in Iceland behind. We spend the night in the Laugafell mountain hut where we can bathe in a hot spring. 45 km 8 hours.
Day 7: Laugafell -Halldórsstadir in Eyjafjördur
We ride from Laugafell in the direction of Eyjafjördur Fjord, where the green natural surroundings, lush with bushes and some woods, start to dominate the landscape more . We start to glimpse a most beautiful view over Eyjafjördur and Akureyri. The tour ends at the Halldórsstadir Farm in Eyjafjördur. From there we will be driven to Akureyri Airport and fly back to Reykjavik. Our planned arrival there is around 18:00 p.m. Bed and breakfast accommodation in a guesthouse. 35 km, 6 hrs.
Day 8: Departure
The tour ends with breakfast. Tour members can take the bus to Keflavik Airport on their own or continue travelling in Iceland.
Please note: The first tour starts in the South, the second in the North. Dinner on the last night is not included.
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