Kjolur Ride

Highland Tours Iceland: (IT-ICRT07)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_kjoelur_glaciers.aspx

Introduction
Highland Tours Iceland
Step back in time and ride along the ancient Kjölur trail as Icelanders did over the centuries when travelling to the annual summer parliament at Thingvellir, first held in 930 AD. We visit this historic site where the heart of the nation beats and which became Iceland´s first National Park in 1930. Before heading off into the wilderness of the interior we stop to enjoy the Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss Waterfall.

Travelling from south to north or vice versa right across the heart of Iceland we find ourselves traversing sandy deserts close to the mighty Langjökull and Hofsjökull Glaciers. Sheltered green valleys come as a surprise in this rugged terrain. At Hveravellir, a geothermal area in the highlands, we can soak in a long hot bath under the Midnight Sun.

If you want to see as much as possible of the unspoiled Icelandic highlands, this tour, which has been in operation since 1983, is the perfect choice.

Accomodation

Accommodation
You will sleep in simple mountain cabins with shared facilities. Please, bring your own sleeping bag.

Árbúðir Mountain hut
Arbudir is a mountain cabin right beside the Kjölur route on the banks of the river Svartá. The cabin has sleeping-bag accommodation for 30 overnight guests.
•Number of rooms:  2
•Number of beds:  30
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers:  1
•GSM connection:  Yes but weak
•WiFi: No
•Made up beds: No
•Number of WC:  2

Hvammur farm
Hvammur farm is situated in the beautiful Vatnsdalur Valley which is so full of the old Sagas and has the famous salmon fishing river Vatnsdalsá running down the middle. The farmhouse was renovated 4 years ago and has a hot tub in the garden with a view over the river.
•Number of rooms: 6 rooms
•Number of beds: 2 – 4 beds in each room, altogether max 19
•Outdoor jacuzzi: Yes
•Number of showers: 2
•GSM connection : Yes
•WiFi: Yes
•Made up beds: Yes
•Number of WC: 2

Hveravellir Mountain hut
Hveravellir is a beautiful geothermal hot spot located in the western highlands of Iceland. The group stays in the „Old hut” next to the geothermal area and the „geothermal pool”.  Please note the stables/horses are in 15 min walking distance from the hut.
•Number of rooms:  2 (8-12 bedded)
•Number of beds:  20  (bunk beds)
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  Yes (Geothermal)
•Number of showers:  1  (sharing with campsite)
•GSM connection:  Yes
•WiFi: No
•Made up beds: No
•Number of WC:  3 (sharing with campsite)

Myrkholt
Myrkholt is located just between Gullfoss waterfall and the hot spring Geysir. Very nice farm and guesthouse.
•Number of rooms:  8
•Number of beds:  32
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers:  8
•GSM connection:  Yes
•WiFi: Yes
•Made up beds: Yes
•Number of WC:  4

Fremstaver
Fremstaver is a cozy hut on the south slopes of the mountain Bláfell. The cabin is situated in beautiful surroundings that offer many sight-seeing possibilities. Climbing the mountain Bláfell is a long but rewarding walk. The top offers views wide and far on a good day.
•Number of rooms:  1
•Number of beds:  25
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  no
•Number of showers: 0
•GSM connection: yes
•WiFi: no
•Made up beds:
•Number of WC: 2

Gíslaskáli
Gíslaskáli is located in a beautiful and unspoiled landscape on the Kjölur tour. Nearby is the source of Svartár river which is a beautiful crystal clear spring water.
•Number of rooms:  1
•Number of beds:  40
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers: 
•GSM connection:  Yes
•WiFi: No
•Made up beds: Yes
•Number of WC: 


Meals
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

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. 

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

Sample itinerary - North to South - Subject to changes

Day 1: Reykjavik - Hvammur
Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation (see: www.busstop.is) around 5:30pm. Our  bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Hvammur farm in northern Iceland where horses and staff are waiting for us. After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us.

Day 2: Hvammur – Vatnsdalur Valley – Forsæludalur – Hvammur
Today is our first riding day. Great riding tracks along the banks of Vatnsdalsá river give us the opportunity to enjoy a fast ride in the soft tölt! Vatnsdalur is one of the most beautiful valleys in Iceland and the setting of one of the ancient sagas, Vatnsdælasaga. On our ride to Hvammur we hear tales from Iceland´s heroic past of bloody conflict, revenge and love. The horses stay at Forsæludalur farm which is
the last farm in the valley before we enter the highland. We stay overnight at Hvammur Guesthouse. The hot tub offers a nice relaxation after todays ride.
Riding approx. 20 km

Day 3: Hvammur – Forsæludalur – Áfangi Mountain Cabin
As we ride up the valley the canyon of the Vatnsdalsá river appears with some its many waterfalls. Today we ascend up to the mountain plateau Auðkúluheiði . The fertile valley with its farms is left behind as our horses run freely over the soft riding paths of the northern highland. We enjoy the splendid view over the impressive highland mountains and glaciers around us. We stay overnight at the mountain cabin Áfangi, beside the huge man-made lake Blöndulón.
Riding approx. 35 km

Day 4: Áfangi – Hveravellir Geothermal Area, Mountain Cabin
On our ride today we pass the mountains Sandkúlufell and Sauðafell. It is easy to see that we follow a historical route. All the way back to the early settlement of Iceland, people travelled on horseback on exactly the same trails as we do today. Our route today leads us further to the south over the beautiful river Seyðisá. The horses run happy with us on the soft paths of this free and mystical highland area. The destination of todays ride is Hveravellir, a very unique geothermal area between Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers. Here in this rough but extremely beautiful nature the most famous outlaw Fjalla Eyvindur survived for years. A natural hot pool invites us to a deserved relaxing bath.
Riding approx. 35 km

Day 5: Hveravellir – Árbúðir Mountain Cabin
We start the day by riding through the Valley of Thieves, called Thjófadalir, a remote grassy valley surrounded by high mountains. From the entrance of the valley we have a splendid view over the fertile landscape. Our ride leads along the vast lava fields of Kjalhraun, where we hear a tragic story about two brothers who froze to death in October 1780 on their way to Skagafjörður with a flock of sheep. Following the glacial river Fúlákvísl we enjoy the view of the mighty glacier Langjökull. The day ends Árbúðir Mountain Cabin.
Riding approx. 50 km

Day 6: Árbúðir – Fremstaver Mountain Cabin
We follow river Svartá for a while before crossing the river Hvítá. Our ride continues along the slopes of Mt. Bláfell. During the last centuries, traveling through the remote Highland was a dangerous trip due to outlaws waiting to rob the riders. We spend the night and rest the horses at Fremstaver Mountain Cabin.
Riding approx. 35 km

Day 7: Fremstaver – Gullfoss Waterfall – Geysir Hot Spring Area – Myrkholt Farm
We saddle up again and ride by the canyon of Hvítá river heading southwards to the lowlands. Our horses bring us in their soft and strong gates the last part of the journey. We explore the world famous natural wonders, Geysir and the majestic Gullfoss waterfall. We say good-bye to our horses as they get their rest on some of the farms fertile fields. We celebrate a successful tour with a great farewell dinner, storytelling and singing.
Riding approx. 25 km

Saturday: Myrkholt – Reykjavík
We say good-bye to our farmer and his crew and return back to Reykjavík. On our drive back to Reykjavík to your accommodation we visit the historical site Thingvellir, Iceland’s first National Park. Approx. arrival at 1:00pm.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sample itinerary - South to North - Subject to changes

Day 1: Reykjavik - Myrkholt
Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation(see: www.busstop.is) around 5:30pm. Our  bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Myrkholt Guesthouse, where horses and staff are waiting for us. After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us.

Day 2: Myrkholt Farm - Gullfoss – Fremstaver Mountain Cabin
The ride starts off towards the majestic glacier Langjökull and our first stop is at the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall. Our ride today leads us to a mountain called Bláfell. There we spend the night and rest the horses at Fremstaver Mountain Cabin.
Riding approx. 25 km

Day 3: Fremstaver – Árbúðir Mountain Cabin
Our ride continues along the slopes of Mt. Bláfell. This area was roamed by outlaws in the old days. We cross River Hvítá and enjoy the view to the glacier fed lake Hvítárvatn. Tonight we stay at Árbúðir, situated right at the banks of river Svartá.
Riding approx. 35 km

Day 4: Árbúðir – Hveravellir Geothermal Area, Mountain Cabin
We ride along the glacier fed river Fúlakvísl through huge rugged lava fields of Kjalhraun where we hear a tragic story about two brothers who froze to death in October 1780 on their way to Skagafjörður with a flock of sheep. During the ride we enjoy magnificent views of the glacier Langjökull. We continue into the world of Thjófadalir, or Valley of Thieves, a grassy valley surrounded by high mountains, a true oasis in the wilderness. The destination of todays ride is Hveravellir, a very unique geothermal area between Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers. Here in this rough but extremely beautiful nature the most famous outlaw Fjalla Eyvindur survived for years. At the mountain cabin a natural hot pool invites us to a deserved relaxing bath.
Riding approx. 50 km

Day 5: Hveravellir – Áfangi Mountain Cabin
Our route today leads us further to the north over the beautiful river Seyðisá. Further the horses run free with us on the soft paths of this mystical highland area. We pass the mountains Sandkúlufell and Sauðafell before reaching our destination. It is easy to see that we follow a historical route. All the way back to the early settlement of Iceland, people travelled on horseback on exactly the same trails as we do today. Our well-equipped cabin for the night has a hot tub next to it. It is named after the hill Áfangafell wich offers great views of the big glaciers behind us and towards the high mountains of the North ahead of us. Up to mid-July the sun hardly sets in this part of the country. Riding approx. 35 km

Day 6: Áfangi – Vatnsdalur Valley – Hvammur Farm
We continue our ride over the Auðkúluheiði Moor. The valleys with the farms in the north are getting closer as our horses run freely over the soft riding paths of the northern higland. It is impressive to see the fertile valley Vatnsdalur with all its fields and vegetation. As we ride down to the valley the canyon of the Vatnsdalsá river appears with some of its many beautiful waterfalls. Our horses stay at Forsæludalur Farm which is the first farm to reach in this area when you come from the highland. We stay overnight at Hvammur Guesthouse. The hot tub offers a nice relaxation after todays ride.
Riding approx. 35 km

Day 7: Hvammur – Forsæludalur – Vatnsdalur – Hvammur
Great riding tracks along the banks of Vatnsdalsá river give us the opportunity to enjoy a fast ride in the soft tölt! Vatnsdalur is one of the most beautiful valleys in Iceland and the setting of one of the ancient sagas, Vatnsdælasaga. On our ride to Hvammur we hear tales from Iceland´s heroic past of bloody conflict, revenge and love. We say good-bye to our horses as they get rest in the green fields of the valley. We celebrate a successful tour with a great farewell dinner, storytelling and singing.
Riding approx. 20 km

Day 8: Hvammur – Reykjavík
We say good-bye to our farmer and his crew. Transfer back to your accommodation in Reykjavík. Approx. return at 2:00pm.

--Subject to changes--


Rates and Dates for Kjolur Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations: Sleeping bag accommodations in simple mountain cabins during the ride, bus transfer from Reykjavik to the farm, meals, saddle bag, water bottle, raingear, safety helmet, 6 riding days - 185km

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, AP (High)€2390$2870
  • B
    20198 day trip, AP (Low)€2200$2640
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2019 Pick up at BSÍ Bus station or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation on Day 1 between 17:30- 18:30

Dates Note: Note: Tours operate alternatively from north to south, the next tour being from south to north.

Rates do not include:

Sleeping bag, alcoholic beverages (can be bought at Duty Free ahead of time)

Other Info
Meeting: Keflavik Airport
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Keflavik Airport

Climate:
                                                Reykjavík area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

37

37

39

43

49

54

57

57

51

45

40

37

Average Low Temperature (°F)

27

28

29

33

39

44

48

47

42

36

31

28

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

3

4

6

10

12

14

14

11

7

4

3

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-2

-2

1

4

7

9

8

6

2

-1

-2

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

13

13

14

11

10

9

9

12

12

12

12

14

Source: NOAA
 

Seasons
As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected; thanks to the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. Its average mid-winter temperatures are no lower than those in New York City. The city's coastal location does, however, also mean it is prone to wind, and gales are common in winter. Reykjavik is also a very wet city, having on average 213 rainy days out of the year, with spring having slightly more sunny days! The south is the wettest part of the country. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy.

Icelandic weather is known to be unpredictable and changing several times a day. A beautiful day can suddenly turn windy and rainy (and vice versa). Travelers to Iceland should be prepared for anything and dress in layers.

Winter
The average January temperature is 31°F (-0.5°C). From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the country only experiences a few hours of daylight each day.

Summer
The summer temperatures in Reykjavík range from 41°F (5°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day.  During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights. 
 
The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.

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.).

Bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases. Pack light because transport space is limited. 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: http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/ridingequipment/ 

Cameras
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.