Northern Exposure

Northern Tours Iceland: (IT-ICRT03)

Northern Tours Iceland
This tour was nominated by the Sunday Times as one of the 10 best trails in the world!

The North of Iceland is known for its spectacular natural sights and diverse landscape. Our 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 completes the selection of natural attractions on and off shore.

We 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 we 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 us to Lake Mývatn where bubbling mud pools and eerie lava formations are a reminder of the powerful energy right beneath our feet. We have the opportunity to bathe in the warm geothermal water of the outdoor pool at the Mývatn Nature Baths. The next two days take us through Laxárdalur Valley to Heiðabær for an overnight stay and relaxation in the swimming pool on site. From there we continue across Reykjaheiði heath towards the coast and back to Bjarnastaðir Farm.

After this amazing tour in an ever-changing landscape we can let our cares float away in the hot tub at Lundur Swimming Pool before sitting down to a hearty farewell dinner at the farm.


During this tour, you will sleep in simple accommodations in shared rooms. Please, bring your own sleeping bag!

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 great view over the Fjord Öxarfjörður and the famous Lake Skjálftavatn which suddenly appeared over night 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.
•Number of beds:  18
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  Yes
•Number of showers:  2
•GSM connection:  Yes
•WiFi: No

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.”
•Number of rooms:  1
•Number of beds:  30
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers:  0
•GSM connection:  No
•WiFi: No
•Made up beds:  No
•Number of WC:  1
•Website with photos: No

During the ride full board is provided. Our menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested in advance. 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 Keflavik Airport upon arrival. Meals in Reykjavik are not included (breakfast only).

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Riding Experience
This tour is a great riding experience that is suitable for advanced riders. You need to be comfortable and in control at all paces, have a firm seat, and feel comfortable riding for up to 7 hours per day. Riders are expected to ride regularly and be capable of handling horses in an open country. Riding days can be as long as up to 35 km in the saddle so you should be in good physical condition and have a basic knowledge of horsemanship. You will get a thorough introduction into the gaits of the Icelandic horse and feel the Tölt, the extremely soft traveling gate of the Icelandic horse.

Riding Gear – Disinfect!
Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which cannot be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to disinfected at least 5 days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles, chaps and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland’s fragile nature!
We provide saddle bags, rain wear and safety helmet.

Tack & Riding Style
The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different then the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.
The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides, a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.
Bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

The Farmers
The real connoisseurs of the local terrain and history. We make sure that each tour has its own charm and is organized by the local expert, the farmer, and his family. They use their own horses and ride through the part of the country they know so well.
Our farmers have over 30 years of experience in leading riding groups through Iceland.

Herd of Horses
On this ride, you will be riding several days (except for two days) with a free running herd of horses. Herding along free running horses is the traditional way of travelling in Iceland, since horses are changed at least once a day on longer tours. You get to ride a variety of horses. 

The Icelandic horse is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider, especially on a longer tour.  Riding an Icelandic horse in its native habitat land is an authentic riding experience. The horses are especially chosen for this trip and are suited even for riders who have not had much riding experience. 


Itinerary- Subject to changes

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 – 07:30am. Please dress already in riding clothes and bring your passport or other identification document for your domestic flight. At Bjarnastaðir, we have lunch and start our ride with a short introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits. This is truly a day to remember when we ride on the east side of the National Park Jökulsárgljúfur. After riding, we 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. Overnight at Bjarnastaðir Farm.
Riding approx. 20 km

Tuesday: Bjarnastaðir - Kelduhverfi - Theistareykir Mountain Cabin
After breakfast, we drive to Kelduhverfi and start our ride from there. We ride into the mountains and see a magical landscape over Öxafjörður Fjord. We ride to the geothermal area of Theistareykir. Overnight at Theistareykir Mountain Cabin.
Riding approx. 35 km

Wednesday: Theistareykir - Laxárdalur
Enjoy today’s ride from the Theistareykir area to Halldorstaðir in Laxárdal. Over the rough landscape and riding through the geothermal area and lave fields up to the desert area of Hólasandur. Then we ride down to Laxárdalur Valley and over the Laxá river to Halldórstaðir. We then drive to Bjarnastaðir farm, where we stay the night with a hot tub on the premises.
Riding approx. 35 km

Thursday: Laxárdalur
We 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 on our side. A true day of contrasts in the ever changing Icelandic nature. We stop at the very special Hraunsrétt – made of lava. We ride to Skógarhlíð, where we leave the horses before we head back to Bjarnastaðir farm where we spend the night. We will enjoy a nice hot bath in Jarðböðin, an outdoor lagoon with geothermal water.
Riding approx. 30 km

Friday: Geldingadalur - Reykjaheiði
Today we set out through Geldingadalur Valley and Reykjaheiði heath. At one point we will practically cross over from one continental plate to another as we 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”. We ride into Öxarfjörður Fjord to Bjarnastaðir Farm, where the hot outdoor tub is waiting and we spend our last night.
Riding approx. 40 km

Saturday: Bjarnastaðir – Húsavík (optional: whale watching) – Reykjavík
In the morning return to Húsavík by bus and a whale watching cruise for those interested. (Price per person EUR 80 - to be paid locally). 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.

- We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary -

Rates and Dates for Northern Exposure

Rates include:

Accommodations: Sleeping bag accommodations in simple mountain cabins during the ride, meals, flight from Reykjavík to Húsavík and bus drive to the farm, rain wear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet, 5 riding days - 160 km

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20206 day trip, AP (High)€2270$2610
  • B
    20206 day trip, AP (Low)€2160$2485
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.15

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2020 Pick up at BSÍ Bus station or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation between 6:30am-7:30am on Day 1
2020 Children's discount (under 12) - 25% off

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2020 06/22 - 06/27 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (Low) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 06/29 - 07/04 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 07/06 - 07/11 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 07/13 - 07/18 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 08/10 - 08/15 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 08/17 - 08/22 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve
B 2020 08/24 - 08/29 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP (Low) 8 /16 Reserve

Dates Note: Monday- Saturday

Rates do not include:

Sleeping bag. Alcoholic beverages (can be bought at Duty Free ahead of time) Optional (available at an extra charge): Whale Watching
At Húsavík harbour a boat is waiting to go out on a whale watching cruise. There is no better way to end a great tour than by sailing into the evening sun with, hopefully, whales swimming alongside. (Price per person ~Euro 80)

Other Info
Meeting: Keflavík International Airport
Airport: Keflavík International Airport
Transfer: Keflavík International Airport

                                            Akureyri area














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Source: NOAA


Iceland enjoys a much milder climate than its name and location adjacent to the Arctic Circle would imply. A branch of the Gulf Stream flows along the southern and the western coast greatly moderating the climate. However, the climate can change very quickly. Generally speaking, the south-western part of Iceland receives more rainfall than the rest of the country. The Arctic Circle in only 60 km north of Akureyri but still the climate is mild, with summer temperatures up to 25°C and winter temperatures in average around 0˚C.

Summer (May to September)
The first half of this period the sun stays above the horizon for almost 24 hours. However, even during the middle of summer the sky can be cloudy or overcast and in that case, the air is usually cool and cold during nighttime.

The winter season sees long nights and severe winter storms. However, the silence of the frozen expanse and the dance of the Aurora Borealis on a clear night sky draw an increasing number of tourists.

What To Bring:
You should be ready for all kinds of weather as it can change very quickly. We provide you with good rain-clothes, a riding helmet and a saddle bag (where you can keep the picnic lunch, a small camera, extra pair of gloves etc.).

Luggage will be transported in the kitchen van. Bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases. Pack light because transport space is limited.
We recommend not too much luggage on the tour and you can leave extra luggage at the guesthouse if you want to.

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as the weather can change very quickly.

We recommend that the following items are included when preparing for our longer tours.

• Knee high riding boots -  water resistant/ waterproof
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woolen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at least two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Warm underwear, long if possible (protects also against chafing).
• For the ladies – sports bra.
• Riding trousers.
• Track suit.
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
• Swim suits, towels, soap etc.
• A small camera to take with you on the ride.
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
• Insect repellent, gnat net head cover.
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days.
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• Sunglasses.
• For those with sensitive eyes/contact lenses, goggles.
Sleeping bag
• Small pillow to sleep on.
• Ear plugs. Some people snore!

Disinfecting of the riding gear
It is important to follow the regulation regarding the disinfecting of used riding clothes. Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which can not be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to be disinfected at least five days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature! For further information please take a look at: 

We recommend to bring a small camera that can be taken in a pocket, a waist/hip bag or in the saddle bag.
Large camera equipment we can not allow on the horses for security reasons. Tours are operated with a free running herd - at speed of tölt or trot for most of the day. We take breaks to relax the horses and then it is possible to take pictures. While on the horse taking pictures is rather difficult since the horses are constantly moving. Because of the herd instinct it is not possible to stop an individual horse, they all will follow each other.
You can leave larger Digital SLR with your luggage at the farm or put it in their luggage that will be transferred to the new accommodation.