Day 1: Entering the Highlands: Fljótshlid – Mosar (ca. 35 km)
Pick-up in Reykjavik in the morning and a 1,5 hour drive to our starting point in the historical Fljótshlíð area, where we meet staff and horses and start our ride alongside the Markarfljót River. We are riding past lucious farm land and waterfalls cascading down the slopes, Merkjáfoss (also known as Gluggafoss) being one of the most remarkable ones in this area. Since the early times of settlement this area has been proven to be fertile farmland and it was also the scene for the Saga of Njál one of the most famous sagas in Icelandic culture. We follow the Markafljót river upstream and ascend into the mountains, up the slope Þórolfsfell. From there we get great views of Eyjafjallajökull Glacier and Thórsmörk Nature Park. We follow the mighty Markarfljót River on the Western banks for about half of the day. Then our path leads us further into the mountains, around the Einhyrningur mountain. We meet Markarfljót again, crossing it this time (on a bridge) and enter the scenic Emstrur area. This grazing area in the highlands pleases our horses and we spend the night in a mountain cabin.
Day 2: Where the wild sheep roam: Around Mosar (ca. 25-35 km):
We leave the herd behind and continue on individual horses to further explore this wonderful area some more. We ride into the beautiful Botnar valley and stop at a cave used in earlier times as a shelter for farmers when gathering their sheep. The highlight of this day will be looking down at the impressive Markafljotsglúfur, a gorge that is 200 meter deep. Before heading back to the cabin we stop at a hilltop and enjoy a great 360 degree view over the Southern highlands, including Mýrdalsjökull Glacier and the notorious Katla crater.
Day 3: Fire and Ice: Mosar – Lambaskarðshólar (50 km)
The longest day of our tour lies ahead of us. Our ride will take us North East, between Mýrdalsjökull and Torfajökull Glacier. We follow the Fjallabak Trail across Mælifellssandur, a black sand desert named after the prominent cone shaped volcano Mælifell that rises above the black sand and provides great contrast with its’ moss green slopes. We ride around it and turn North through the Álftavatnskrókur grazing area and past Lake Álftavatn. cross several small glacier fed rivers on our way to the cabin. Before reaching the cabin, we have to pass Ófæragíl, a narrow canyon where the horses have to pass through one by one. We end our ride at Lambaskarðshólar cabin, close to River Skaftá. After this long riding day, the hot showers at the cabin will be highly appreciated (60 km).
Day 4: Around Eldgjá – Exploring the Fire Canyon (ca. 20 km)
The riders that join the Northern part will arrive around midday and join for the ride
After the long ride the day before, we start today a little bit later and leave the herd at home to rest. We will ride down to the banks of the glacier river Skaftá. Our ride will take us further North to the edge of Eldgjá, the “Fire canyon”. It is around 40 km long. ca. 270 metres deep at its deepest point and 600 metres wide at its widest point. The eruption at 939 AC released approximately 18 cubic kilometres of lava and caused a drop in temperature. The ash cloud could be traced as far as Central Asia. We have a short break there with the opportunity to walk a bit into the canyon to see it´s dimensions.
The riders that only take the Southern Part tour will leave us after the ride.
Day 5:On the road to Nowhere: Lambaskarðshólar – Landmannalaugar (car transfer to Landmannahellir) (ca. 40 km)
A long exciting day lies in front of us. We ride with our herd Northwards through the mountains, past the Eldgjá Canyon entering the Northern part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. This is a mountainous region and we will navigate our way over and through the mountain ranges, crossing rivers until we reach the colourful geothermal area of Landmannalaugar. We leave the horses but will not spend the night here, instead drive to the more remote and serene cabin Landmannahellir.
Day 6: The Kaleidoscope of Iceland´s colours: (car transfer to) Landmannalaugar – Landmannahellir (ca. 25 km)
Today we drive back to the famous Landmannalaugar, with its natural hot pool, surrounded by colourful mountains and lava from 1480. We spend the morning there with the opportunity to hike or take a dip in the pool. After lunch we embark with our herd on the scenic ride returning to Landmannahellir. The colours change from the blue-yellow-reddish of the rhyolite mountain ranges of Landmannalaugar to the greenish black lava fields and unreal blue dotted lakes all in between. We cross rivers and lakes and pass through an obsidian field before arriving back in Landmannahellir. This day will be without a doubt, one of the highlights of this tour.
Day 7:Through the Smokey Valley: Landmannahellir – Hungurfit (ca. 45 km)
We start our day with a steep ascend into the mountains. When we reached Pokahryggur at about 1000 metre,, we are rewarded with a breathtaking view over the Southern Highlands, with Torfajokull, Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull in sight. From there we descend into Reykjadalur, a remote valley with hot springs, small geysers and colourful mountains. Our ride takes us past the black obsidian lava fields of Hrafntinnusker towards the prominent table mountain Laufafell, where a hidden waterfall provides the perfect backdrop for a break. We are riding through a black lava desert and on the banks of the Eystri-Rangá river until we reach the cabin at Hungurfit, just North of Tindfjallajokull, our place for the night.
Day 8: Winding down: Hungurfit – Foss (ca. 35 km)
Our last riding day leads us further West, with the infamous Mt. Hekla volcano to our right side. Hekla is one of the most active and most feared volcano in Iceland, the lava fields in the South date back to the 12th century. Constant eruptions have not only destroyed human settlements throughout the centuries but also created fertile soil. Our ride takes us on the slopes of Tindfjallajökull through lush farmland at the edge of lava fields and crossing the rivers Ytri-Rangá and Eystri-Rangá. For most parts of the day we follow the well-known Hekla Trail and ride on good riding tracks where it is easy to enjoy the tölt. This is the perfect day to wind down and let all the impressions from the trip sink in. Departure to Reykjavik in the evening.