Iceland - Kjolur

Experience Level
  • Open Jun-Aug
  • Set arrivals
  • 6 to 7 nights / 6 days of riding
  • Weight limit: 17st 4lbs (110 kg) (242 pounds)
  • Usual maximum: 20

Move back in time and ride 225 km along the historic Kjölur trail as the Icelanders did throughout the centuries whilst travelling to the summer parliament at Þingvellir. Famed for the natural beauty and varied landscape of the highlands, this tour runs south to north or vice versa on the ancient route across the heart of Iceland. Pia Thommes went on the Kjolur ride in summer 2012 and put together a photo book of her trip, which you can see here.

Ride through remote desert-like areas and cross glacial rivers. As you pass the extinct volcanoes and glacier lakes, scattered areas of grassland come as a surprise in this landscape shaped by glaciers, ice and snow. Bathe in natural hot springs in the heart of the country.

The Icelandic horse is a pure-bred descendant of those brought to Iceland by the Vikings over a thousand years ago. Horses remain an important part of Icelandic culture; they are used on remote farms to round up livestock and are still the best means of getting around in many parts of the island. Although small (the average height is 13hh to 14hh), the Icelandic is a powerful horse and has no difficulty carrying someone weighing 100 kg.

What makes this horse special is its fourth gait, the tölt, which is comparable to a running walk. Most riders can master it fairly quickly; it's fast, comfortable and enables the horse to cover great distances.

For these trails you need to be a confident rider able to adapt to different riding styles. General fitness is as important as riding experience due to the long hours in the saddle and the fast pace of the ride.

On the trail you change horses once or twice a day and as you ride, the herd of fifty or more loose horses travels with you.

Riders are expected to care for their horse (grooming and tacking up) but help is always on hand should you need it.

Riding style is English.

Hard hats are mandatory.

The sleeping bag accommodation on the trail is in basic mountain cabins. In many of the cabins, the accommodation is communal, with everyone sleeping in one large room.

Showers are available on certain nights and on others there may be natural thermal pools. On some nights there may only be cold water available. Ablutions are shared.

A support vehicle goes ahead carrying your personal gear, cooking equipment and food.

Hvammur Farm is situated in the beautiful Vatnsdalur Valley famous for salmon fishing. There are six bedrooms with two to four beds in each and two toilets and showers available. There is also WiFi and a hot tub in the garden with a view over the river.

Hveravellir is a beautiful geothermal hot spot located in the western highlands of Iceland. There are two bedrooms one sleeping eight and the other twelve. There is a shower and three toilets available (shared with a campsite) but no WiFi. There is a geothermal outdoor pool just outside the cabin.

Gíslaskáli is near to the source of the Svartár River in a beautiful and unspoiled landscape. This cabin also has a large number of beds (c. 40) in one large room.

Árbúðir is a mountain cabin on the banks of the river Svartá. The cabin has 30 beds in a communal room with two toilets and one shower also available. There is no WiFi at the cabin.

Fremstaver is a cosy hut on the south slopes of the mountain, Bláfell. There are 25 beds in one large room and two toilets available. There are no showers or WiFi at this cabin.

Myrkholt is located just between Gullfoss waterfall and the hot spring Geysir. There are 32 beds split between eight rooms and WiFi is available. There are also eight showers and four toilets available at this guesthouse.

Accommodation Gallery

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Upcoming Dates

If you do not see availability for your preferred dates please do contact us. There might have been a cancellation or we might have a slightly different ride in Iceland which would appeal to you.

Set arrival and departures Saturday to Saturday.

Depending on your flight times you may need a night in Reykjavik before and after the ride.

Holiday Experience LevelExp Lvl Arrive - DepartArr - Dep   Price Itinerary Availability
Kjölur - South to North
22 Jun 2019 - 29 Jun 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£1,997.30
£1,797.57
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - North to South
29 Jun 2019 - 6 Jul 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - South to North
6 Jul 2019 - 13 Jul 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - North to South
13 Jul 2019 - 20 Jul 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - South to North
20 Jul 2019 - 27 Jul 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - North to South
27 Jul 2019 - 3 Aug 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - South to North
3 Aug 2019 - 10 Aug 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book
Kjölur - North to South
10 Aug 2019 - 17 Aug 2019 7 nights 7 ngts
£2,170.79
£1,953.71
View (.pdf) Book

Prices

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT of 10% for 2019 dates booked before the end of 2018.

INCLUDES Shared mountain hut accommodation and meals on the ride; riding; transfers on the ride.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT Single rooms are not available on the ride and you should be prepared to share.

PAYABLE LOCALLY Drinks; tips; airport transfers.

NEAREST AIRPORT Keflavik.

TRANSFERS Included from Reykjavik city at set times.

In The Saddle Gallery

Client Photos

Location

A ride through the highlands and interior of Iceland.


Weather & Climate

The climate in Iceland is milder than its name and latitude suggests. However, the weather can change very quickly, especially in the mountains, going from warm and sunny to freezing cold in a few hours, and it is often very windy. Therefore, you must be prepared for all types of weather. In the summer months of June and July there are 24 hours of daylight.

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Guest Review

A much looked forward to dream holiday! In The Saddle were fantastic right from the beginning, answering any questions that I had and I knew exactly what to expect from my trip. The landscape was amazing, the horses fantastic, our guide and hosts wonderful and the food was to die for! I definitely want to ride again in Iceland - but there's so much more world to explore!

Abigail ,Lincolnshire

5 star rating Overall rating: 5/5

What the Press Say

Pia Thommes says...

Kjolur Riding Specialist

Chris says

These rides are such fun! Nothing compares to riding with a herd of loose horses through amazing and diverse landscape. This remains my favourite ride to date.

My Top Tip

When you're riding with the herd you simply can't stop so be prepared for long hours of fast riding at a 'tölt'. Don't forget your earplugs for the mountain huts!

Email: chris@inthesaddle.com

Chris Day
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