Challenging 8 Day Horse Riding Adventure on the East Fjords of Iceland
Explore the hidden valleys of East Iceland from horseback on this fantastic eight-day riding tour from Egilsstaðir. If you want to enjoy Iceland’s most ancient method of transportation in the country’s oldest landscapes, the desolate East Fjords, then this is the adventure for you.
The rugged landscapes of the East Fjords are filled to the brim with jagged mountain peaks, scenic rivers, cascading waterfalls and narrow fjords with spectacular seaside views. It’s said that there’s no better way to experience the Icelandic nature than from the back of a horse, where you can trot across the land in the same way as the country’s earliest settlers.
The Icelandic horse has been with its people since settlement, resulting in their excellent temper and friendly nature, seeing as they’ve never had any natural predators in their environment. What’s more, the Icelandic horse is known throughout the world for possessing an extra gait, the briskly paced but smooth-as-silk tölt.
The itinerary of this eight-day tour consists not only of horseback riding but storytelling, singing, staying at farms and enjoying local cooking. Accommodation and meals are included so all you have to do is enjoy the ride.
Don’t hesitate in joining this authentic adventure in the company of fun-loving locals, to get to know a very special horse breed, and quenching your thirst for Icelandic folklore and history. Check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arriving in the East Fjords
Your excursion begins at Egilsstaðir Airport in the morning, where you'll be picked up and brought to the local farmstead Skorrastaður. Once there, you’ll meet with your group of local guides, all avid riders that are exceptionally knowledgeable about the animals in their care and the history of your magnificent surroundings.
After enjoying lunch, you get paired up with your trusty steed and new friend for the next week. Then, get ready to saddle up and begin an afternoon valley ride through scenic farmlands and stunning, untouched nature.
Upon your return, you'll have dinner and then be treated to a trip to the local geothermal swimming pool, where you can soak in the hot tubs and gather strength for the upcoming days. You'll spend the first night in Skorrastaður.
Day 2 - The Valleys of Hrafnaskord Pass
On your second day, you will be riding through ancient fjord roads, created before the age of cars. Your first stop of the day will be in the valley Litlidalur, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the fjord Norðfjörður, walled by sweeping mountains on each side.
Then, prepare to make your way from Hnúkar to the pass of Hrafnaskörð, riding past the majestic mountain Grænafell and the eerie rock formation Glámsaugu. Riding through the pass also gives you views of the deserted Hellisfjörður and the idyllic island Skrúður.
As you ride down Hrafnadalur Valley towards the fjord Eskifjörður, the horses will be put to pasture, having done a stellar day’s job as your mode of transportation and sightseeing companions.
At the end of the day, you’ll be driven back to Skorrastaður where you will have dinner with your group and get a good night’s sleep.
Day 3 - Old Mountain Roads to Tungudalur and Herad
Your adventure continues as you leave Skorrastaður behind and ride over the pastures of Eskifjarðarheiði, the old route to the area of Hérað. Prepare to scout the remains of the two-century-old stone-paved road, leading you over the mountain all the way down to Tungudalur Valley.
From there, your ride continues into the valley of Eyvindarárdalur, with its tumbling brooks and lush green landscapes, before finally reaching Hérað. These beautiful locations aren’t necessarily found on any tourist routes, making your experience all the more local and authentic.
You’ll spend the night at a charming local farm called Útnyrðingsstaðir.
Day 4 - Forestry, Folklore and Skriddalur Valley
On your fourth day, you are sure to have bonded with your horse, making you ready to ride through the vastness of Fljótsdalshérað, stretching from the ocean into the deepest valleys of the East Fjords.
Here is where you’ll find the largest forest in Iceland, Hallormsstaðaskógur, and the stunning Lagarfljót Lake, alleged home to the mythical water serpent Lagarfljótsormurinn. After a full day of riding through the area’s many trail paths and beautiful terrain, you’ll make your way to the farm Arnhólsstaðir where you’ll be spending the night.
Day 5 - The Waterfalls of Vatnsdalur Valley
On day five, get ready to ride through no less than four gorgeous valleys, as you make your way from Skriðdalur and Vatnsdalur, to Norðurdalur in Breiðdalur.
The valley of Vatnsdalur is especially favoured amongst the locals, given its numerous waterfalls, great canyons, rough mountain passes and dramatic cliffs.
After such a scenic day, filled with natural wonders all around, you will spend the night in Breiðdalur Valley at the farm of Skarð.
Day 6 - Mountain Views of Stafheidi Heathland
Today, you will be riding through the spacious valley Norðurdalur, dotted with grassy fields and soft ground; the perfect terrain for the horses to take it easy and stretch out in the field.
You will then continue through the valley of Stafheiðardalur, over the pasture Stafheiði and down to the magnificent mountain views of Þórdalur area.
Your day will consist of riding north through Þórdalur, then east through Brúðardalur terrain, over the heath of Þórdalsheiði, down the valley Áreyjardalur, and finally to the area of Slétta in Reyðarfjörður Fjord.
Once there, your horses will be put out to pasture for the night while you can enjoy a soak in the swimming pool before calling it a night, revisiting the tour's original farm Skorrastaður.
Day 7 - Mountain Road Riding & Final Night
On day seven of your Icelandic horse-riding adventure, you will ride along the main road to the fishing port of Eskifjörður. On today's route, you will pass the nature reserve of Hólmanes before making your way up the old road over the pass of Oddskarð, the highest mountain road in Iceland.
On your way up the mountain, prepare for sweeping views over the fjords Eskifjörður and Reyðarfjörður, as well as the roaring Atlantic Ocean.
Once you return to the farm, you can opt for a relaxing soak in the pool before enjoying the last dinner of your trip with the added pleasure of an evening get-together.
Day 8 - Back to Egilsstadir
Every journey must come to an end, so say goodbye to your wonderful animal companion and the rest of your travel buddies, as you pack up and get ready to leave the East Fjords for the time being.
After breakfast, you will catch your ride back to Egilsstaðir Airport, knowing that you just spent a full week basking in the most authentic of Icelandic experiences, in the most stunning wild landscapes imaginable.
What to bring
Good to know
This tour takes place in August, but even though it is known as one of the hottest months of the year in Iceland, the weather in the land of ice and fire is unpredictable. Please make sure to bring plenty of warm layers.
Please note that this tour is listed as 'demanding'.