Countryside Riding Adventure | 7 Days of Summer in East Iceland

Countryside Riding Adventure | 7 Days of Summer in East Iceland
Posing at the gorgeous glacier rivers of the east highlands.
A horse is called 'the most needed servant' in Icelandic, and are invaluable to all natives, still today.
A rest between riding stints in green grass. What could be better?
Impressive river gorges in the eastern highlands.
A traditional baðstofa room, where you will sleep on this tour.
No one goes hungry in the wilderness centre!

Experience Icelandic nature to its fullest while riding the charming Icelandic horse. The authentic and cosy Wilderness Center is the base for this tour. It has excellent access to a variety of riding paths in the beautiful and peaceful Fljótsdalur valley and the surrounding area.

You will have six days of horseback riding, light hiking, visiting informative and engaging exhibitions as well as relaxing in the hot springs and old-style sauna at the Wilderness Center. This area is rich, both in nature and history, as well as being known as “old Iceland,” with small family-run farms, historical places, museums, hiking paths, canyons, forests, and rivers.

One of the many charms of this place is the wild reindeer roaming the area, and the access we have to visit local farms means there will be plenty of interesting things to see and do. While at the Wilderness Center you will get a taste of local food made from ingredients from the valley. It is cooked in front of the guests and served in a home-style kitchen. Your accommodation is a “sleep in a museum” concept, with beautiful decor in the style of the former residents of the farm. 

Your hosts have been passionate riders from childhood, and they have guided riding tours for many years, bringing riding experience, local knowledge and personal service to the excursion. The friendly horses are fit for both less experienced riders as well as more experienced guests.

This tour is the perfect way to bond with the charming horses as well as experiencing the nature, history, and culture of the place. Take this time to get a break from your busy life and enjoy the moment. It's ideal for couples, families, groups or just anyone who appreciates outdoors activities. Check out the calendar for departure dates and guarantee your spot on this active and yet relaxing experience. 


Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Aug. - Dec.
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Activities: Hiking, Horse Riding, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum age: 10 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Egilsstaðir, Skriðuklaustur, Fljótsdalshérað, Hengifoss, Hallormsstaðaskógur
Pickup information:
  • Departure time : 08:30.


Please be at the tour start location in good time before departure.
Included:
  • Fully guided tour

  • Authentic accommodation

  • Riding gear

  • Local food

  • Transportation

  • Tickets to activities and museums listed in the itinerary

  • Drinks


What to bring:
  • Wool socks

  • Warm sweater (e.g., Icelandic wool sweater) or fleece jacket

  • Riding pants

  • Good shoes/hiking shoes

  • Wool undergarments (top and long-johns)

  • Extra outer top (such as a thick jumper or a light down jacket)

  • Gloves

  • Buff headwear

  • Light rainwear (jacket and pants), e.g., Goretex



Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Fljotsdalur Valley and Kleif abandoned farm


A beautiful waterfall by an abandoned farm in East Iceland.


Your host will pick you up at Egilsstaðir domestic airport, the official starting place of the tour, or at your accommodation in Egilsstaðir. From there we will drive the scenic route along lake Lagarfljót to the Wilderness Center. Along the way, we will make a short stop at the Vatnajökull National Park exhibition.

After lunch, we will take a pleasant trip to the abandoned farm of Kleif, where we will spend some time basking in the beautiful surroundings and having a look around the old farmhouse. Before we head back to the Wilderness Center, those who like a little additional adventure can try their hand at winching themselves across the Jökulsá river by a traditional cableway cart.

Each night after dinner, the guests can soak in the hot spring or relax in the old-style sauna.


Day 2 - Riding and Wilderness Exhibition


A display at the Wilderness museum, of a man who seemingly does not like ducks.


After breakfast, we ride out of Norðurdalur valley, passing many small farms. One of them is the last farm in Iceland that still houses its sheep in turf houses. From there we head into the beautiful Suðurdalur valley until reaching our destination, the farm Flöt at the bottom of the valley.

After the ride, we experience the adventures of the wilderness through the visually stunning and award-winning exhibition about the history of life in and next to the wilderness. After dinner, we will play games and sing a few songs.


Day 3 - Hengifoss waterfall


A deep canyon with the Háifoss waterfall, in the eastern highlands.


On this day, we will ride from Suðurdalur valley up to the heath east of the valley and experience the highlands. There we turn north down into Gilsárdalur, with its impressive canyons. We leave the horses in the forest at Buðlungavellir and head to the Hengifoss waterfall trail by car.

Hengifoss is among the highest waterfalls in Iceland, measuring 128 meters. It falls from the plateau above into a magnificent gorge. A colourful rock face surrounds the waterfall, showing layers from the different volcanic eruptions in the Tertiary period when Iceland was still being formed. The walk from the parking lot takes 40-60 minutes to the waterfall.

Along the way, you will also see another astonishing waterfall called Litlanesfoss. This one is crowned by remarkable tall basalt columns which make it unique and photogenic. Afterwards, we will drive to the Wilderness Center for a tasty dinner and a relaxing time. Those who want to can enjoy the old-style spa.


Day 4 - Hallormsstaður forest and the old monastery ruins.


A rest will be taken during your ride, though you can choose to sit and drink coffee instead of sleeping by the horse.


From Buðlungavellir we ride on through Hallormsstaður forest with delightful views over lake Lagarfljót, travelling the alluring forest trails until we ride over a small heath to Skriðdalur Valley. We end the ride at the farm Lynghóll in Skriðdalur. There we enjoy a farm visit and meet animals like the endangered Icelandic goat.

Afterwards, we will drive back and stop at Skriðuklaustur, a unique place with a compelling history. We take a look at the ruins of an old monastery and visit a house that was the home of the author Gunnar Gunnarsson. To end the day, we will enjoy local food and have a relaxed evening at the Wilderness Center.


Day 5 - Fljotdsalsherað


Snow never leaves the highlands, where you will pass on your horses.


Today we head from Skriðdalur back along a different route across the mountains and into Fljótsdalur. We will have great views over the Fljótsdalshérað area and all the way to Héraðsflói bay.

The second part of this ride is through Hallormsstaður forest again.


Day 6 - Last day of the ride


Kaffitími! The best time of the day is the serving of sweets and coffee in the afternoon!


From Hallormstaður forest we head on to the Wilderness Center. On the way, we will pass several farms, stopping for lunch at an old traditional stone sheepfold with a view into Bessastaðaárgil canyon. We pass the historic Valþjófstaðarkirkja church and ride from there to the Wilderness Centre.

As this is the last evening of the tour, we will celebrate the end of this great riding experience with a barbeque feast at the centre. We will sing and play games—and, of course, those so inclined will still have time to enjoy the hot springs.


Day 7 - Final day


The intimate and comfortable baðstofe, the traditional room where people slept and worked in old Icelandic farms.


After a good breakfast, it is time for goodbye and a drive to Egilsstaðir Airport where the tour comes to an end.


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