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6 Days Northern Exposure Horse Riding Tour in North Iceland

Bjarnastaðir Farm, Kerlingaskógur, Northwestern Region, Iceland

Horse Riding Holiday in Iceland

The North of Iceland is known for its spectacular natural sights and diverse landscape. This tour goes from Bjarnastaðir Farm near Húsavík to the Lake Mývatn area, famous for its volcanic features and rich birdlife. Ásbyrgi Canyon, Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall, and the strange rock formations at Hljóðaklettar are just some of the gems of nature we'll be seeing on this amazing tour. An optional whale watching tour concludes the selection of natural attractions on and offshore.

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 100 kilograms
  • Tack Type: English tack
  • Horse Breed: Icelandic horse


  • 5-day horse riding (start and end in Reykjavík)
  • Approximate daily riding mileage: 32 kilometers / 20 miles
  • Ride to Jökulsárgljúfur National Park and other points of interest
  • Domestic flight from Reykjavík to Húsavík and bus drive to the farm
  • Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag, and riding helmet
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 5 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Advanced


5 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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Bjarnastaðir Farm

Bjarnastaðir Farm, home of Halldór Olgeirsson and Elín Maríusdóttir is situated in the low bushy area of Kerlingaskógur, close to the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum and Dettifoss Waterfall. You will enjoy a great view over the Fjord Öxarfjörður and the famous Lake Skjálftavatn which suddenly appeared overnight after a strong earthquake 28 years ago. Halldór and Elín, breeders of both horses and sheep, will welcome you with open arms and their warmth and hospitality is indeed second to none. The facilities here include 18 beds, outdoor Jacuzzi, and two showers. You can receive GSM connection here, but there is no Wi-Fi.

Þeistareykir Mountain Hut

Þeistareykir is known as a geothermal area with colorful mud pits, tabletop mountains, hills, and lava fields - you will find the earth constantly at work. The mountain hut stays warm all year round due to the geothermal activity of the area. The area is great for hikers and those who want to enjoy nature in the “raw.” The facilities are 30 beds and WC.

Note: Please bring your own sleeping bag with you on the tour.



You will ride along soft riding tracks ideal for “tölting”, the unique extra gait of the Icelandic horse. The first day we spend in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park and visit both Dettifoss Waterfall and Ásbyrgi Canyon.

From rich green pastureland, you head towards the Gæsafjöll Mountains and spend a night in a mountain cabin at Theistareykir. Through an area scarred with cracks and fissures from earthquakes and volcanic activity, the route takes you to Lake Mývatn where bubbling mud pools and eerie lava formations are a reminder of the powerful energy right beneath your feet. You have the opportunity to bathe in the warm geothermal water of the outdoor pool at the Mývatn Nature Baths.

The next two days take you through Laxárdalur Valley to Heiðabær for an overnight stay and relaxation in the swimming pool on site. From there, you continue across Reykjaheiði heath towards the coast and back to Bjarnastaðir Farm.

After this amazing tour in an ever-changing landscape, you can soak away your cares in the hot tub at Lundur Swimming Pool before sitting down to a hearty farewell dinner at the farm. Halldór and Elín offer their guests this extraordinary tour.


Monday: Reykjavík – Húsavík – Ásbyrgi – Dettifoss - Bjarnastaðir

Departure from pick up points in Reykjavik to the Domestic Airport for the flight to Húsavík and transfer to Bjarnastaðir Farm. Pick up between 06:30 – 07:30. Please dress already in riding clothes and bring your passport or other identification for your domestic flight. At Bjarnastaðir, you will have lunch and start your ride with a short introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits. This is truly a day to remember when you ride on the east side of the National Park Jökulsárgljúfur and visit places like Gloppa, Hallhöfðastígur overlooking Hljóðaklettar and many more. After riding you will have a sightseeing tour by bus to Europe’s largest waterfall, Dettifoss and the famous Ásbyrgi Canyon, one of the wonders of nature, a wide, horseshoe-shaped canyon with sheer cliff faces up to 100 m high. (Approx. 20 km).

Tuesday: Bjarnastaðir - Theistareykir Mountain Cabin

You ride across the mighty glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum (on a bridge) and into the mountains to the geothermal area of Theistareykir. At one point you will practically cross over from one continental plate to another as you ride over the Mid-Atlantic ridge! It is a fascinating area with deep earthquake fissures, multi-colored mountains and geothermal energy. With all this volcanic activity going on here, it is easy to understand that Iceland is still under “natural construction” (Approx. 35 km)

Wednesday: Theistareykir - Laxárdalur

Enjoy today’s ride from the Theistareykir area to Halldorstaðir in Laxárdal. After that you will drive to Bjarnastaðir farm, where you will stay the remaining nights on the tour with a hot tub on the premises. (Approx. 35 km)

Thursday: Laxárdalur

You will start the day with an exciting sightseeing tour by bus. You will begin with a nice hot bath in Jarðböð, an outdoor lagoon with geothermal water and visit Dimmuborgir, fantastic black lava formations with rich vegetation. After that you will saddle up again and head of through a black sand desert along the colorful Laxárdalur valley with the glittering Salmon River Laxá in the middle. A true day of contrasts in the ever changing Icelandic nature. You will stop at the very special Hraunsrétt – made of lava, than ride to Skógarhlíð, where you leave the horses. (Approx. 30 km)

Friday: Geldingadalur - Reykjaheiði

Today you will set out through Geldingadalur Valley and Reykjaheiði into Öxarfjörður Fjord to Bjarnastaðir Farm, where the hot outdoor tub is waiting (Approx. 40 km)

Saturday: Bjarnastaðir – Húsavík – Reykjavík

In the morning return to Húsavík by bus and a whale watching cruise for those interested. (Price per person EUR 80). Others can enjoy the town‘s swimming pool with it‘s hot tubs or just go for a stroll in this beautiful town. Afternoon flight back to Reykjavík Domestic Airport and a transfer to your accommodation.

Note: Íshestar reserves the right to alter the itinerary if necessary.

The Icelandic horse

The history of the Icelandic horse can be traced right back to the settlement of the country in the late ninth century. Viking settlers brought their best horses with them, from various origins, though mostly of Germanic descent. The breed has remained pure for over a thousand years so today there is only one breed of horse in Iceland - the Icelandic horse.

Today, there are close to 80,000 horses in Iceland, an incredible number for a nation that counts only 330.000 people. The Icelandic horse is intelligent, good-tempered, and versatile. It is the most colorful breed in the world with over 40 different colors and over 100 variations. Travel on horseback is growing in popularity and Icelandic horsemen are respectful and considerate when it comes to nature, just as they are with their horse. All sorts of competitions are held, emphasizing the different gaits of the horses, from novice fun classes to top class championships.

The five gaits

The Icelandic horse is unique amongst horse breeds because it masters five gaits: walk, trot, tölt, canter / gallop, and flying pace. The breed is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider and elegantly displayed by the horse.

  • The walk: The walk is a four-beat gait. The horse should be relaxed when walking, moving ahead briskly and putting each foot down independently.
  • The trot: The trot is a two-beat gait where the front and hind legs on opposite sides move together. It is important to train it as well as the other gaits.
  • The canter / gallop: The canter / gallop is a three-beat gait, ridden at different tempi. A slow canter is comfortable while a fast gallop can liven up the horse and increases its willingness.
  • The tölt: The tölt is the specialty of the Icelandic Horse. It is a smooth four-beat gait in which the horse’s hind legs move well under the body. The Icelandic Horse can manage this gait naturally and with variations in speed, from a gracious, collected slow tölt up to a very fast and extended tölt. The smoothness of this gait is what makes it so desirable.
  • The flying pace: The flying pace is a two-beat lateral gait. Not all Icelandic horses can perform the pace, but those that manage all five gaits well are considered the best of the breed.


This tour goes from Bjarnastaðir Farm near Húsavík to the Lake Mývatn area, famous for its volcanic features and rich birdlife. You will visit some beautiful and diverse landscapes in the northern part of Iceland such as Ásbyrgi Canyon, Dettifoss, Europe’s largest waterfall, and the strange rock formations at Hljóðaklettar.


During the ride, full board is provided. The menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.

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 Keflavík International Airport (KEF) upon arrival.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

There is an optional whale watching tour at an additional cost of 80 EUR per person.

What's included

  • 5-day riding
  • Start and end in Reykjavík
  • Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag, and riding helmet
  • Domestic flight from Reykjavík to Húsavík and bus drive to the farm
  • 5 nights' accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 11% GST

What's not included

  • Whale watching tour (80 EUR per person)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Flight from and to Iceland
  • Individual travel insurance

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book a flight to arrive at Keflavík International Airport (KEF). From there, you can book a Flybus ticket to arrive at Reykjavík BSÍ bus terminal. The Flybus departs from Keflavík International Airport (KEF) 35 - 40 minutes after each arrival. Busses are located right outside the terminal building. After arriving at Reykjavík, you will then have a flight to Húsavík and be transferred to Bjarnastaðir Farm.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 42 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
6 days / 5 nights
from --
Special discount

Children under 12 years old will receive 25% discount on Íslandshestar’s multi-day tours.

Families with three or more members of parents and children 12 to 18 years old traveling together can avail of the 5% discount. This discount is not applicable if the children’s discount is used for one family member.

Early bird discount

There is a 10% early booking discount available for guests who will book before November 1, 2019 for tours in 2020.

Season Information
Low Season
  • August 26 - 31, 2019
High Season
  • June 27 - August 20, 2020

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