Tour 18 – Between the Deserts

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.

This tour has a free running herd of horses

Experience the diversity of the Icelandic horse in its natural environment, far from civilization, and how Icelanders travelled in the old days with a herd of free-running horses. Every rider gets the chance to try 2 or 3 different horses each day, which develops riding skills.

These people were fantastic! They took the time to get to know how comfortable you were with the horses and then kept checking on everyone in the group to make sure everyone was having a good time, not scared. I would recommend this group to anyone and everyone who visits Iceland



7 days and 6 nights. 6 days on horseback.

Availability & Price

see overview at the end of the page


Riding distance

220 km, or 25-55 km (4-9 hours) per day.



English speaking guide, riding and safety equipment and transfer from/to Reykjavik.

Accommodation 1 night in Guesthouse Eldhestar in shared rooms, 5 nights sleeping bag accommodation in farms and/or simple mountain huts in shared rooms.

Full board (traditional Icelandic home cooking).


What to bring

Good shoes, comfortable pants (riding pants not necessary), gloves and a buff is recommended and if you want to bring a camera, please bring a small waist bag as backpacks cannot be taken on horseback.

See more detailed information here


Day 1: Arrival

The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the Flybus 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 dinner at our Hotel Eldhestar. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2: Myrkholt – 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.

Riding time and distance: 25 km, 6-7 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.

Riding distance and time: 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 tubs, while enjoying the view in the wilderness.

Riding time and distance: 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 entire 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 roundup for many years.

Riding time and distance: 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.

Riding time and distance: 30 km / 7-8 hrs.

Day 7: Helgaskáli – Kaldbak

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 drive to Reykjavík, where the tour ends.

Riding time and distance: 25 km 6-7 hrs.