Fascinating North Iceland

FROM THE LAKE OF THE MIDGES TO THE ARCTIC FOXES PLAIN

In 2024, we offer three different itineraries under the name of the tour Fascinating North Iceland. With these tours we cover the area from Grýtubakki farmhouse to Goðafoss, Bárðardalur, lake Mývatn area and up to the very north, Öxarfjörður and Melrakkaslétta, the arctic foxes plain.

The descriptions of the individual tours are as follows:

 

CLASSIC (June 27th  and July 8th 2024)

Day 1

In the late afternoon (mostly between 4 pm and 7 pm), we will pick you up from Akureyri and bring you to our farm Grýtubakki. There you will be lodged at our little guesthouses with shared bathroom.  We will get to know each other during dinner and we will end the day with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2

After breakfast we drive to Goðafoss. Here you can enjoy this breathtaking waterfall, which has played a significant role during christianisation in Iceland. A little bit further on the horses are waiting for us at farmhouse Fremstafell. Here we saddle our horses and ride into the valley Bárðardalur. This is the longest still inhabited valley of Iceland. Waterfall Goðafoss greets us from the left and we follow the river Skjáfandafljót further South to Kiðagil, where we have dinner and stay overnight.

Day 3

We leave Kiðagil in direction Stóruvellir. On our way, we have to cross a suspension bridge to get to the other side of the valley. This day’s final destination is the deserted farm Stóratunga, which is placed in the south of the valley, just between the two rivers Skjálfandafljót and Svartá. There, we are very close to the entrance of the “culprit-desert” and can see the mountains next to the famous lake Mývatn in the far distance. After four to five hours riding, we leave our horses for the afternoon and walk to the impressive waterfall Aldeyjarfoss. Due to his beautiful basalt pillars, he counts as one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls. On our way, we also walk alongside the old riverbed of the river Skálfandafljót.

Dinner and overnight stay at Stóratunga.

Day 4

We stay one more day at Stóratunga and start the day with a lovely ride alongside river Skjálfandafljót and up towards river Svartá. We ride on soft ground direction north enjoying the idyllic landscape close to the river. We have lunch at the farm, change horses and ride up to the waterfalls of Hrafnabjargarfossar. Here we are very close to the entrance of the highland route Sprengisandur. In the morning we ride about 2 hours and in the afternoon 2 1/2 hours. This is a day without the herd. Dinner and overnight at Stóratunga.

Day 5

After leaving Stóratunga behind, we ride over Landmelar, which is located close to Viðiker, into the region around the lake Mývatn. Jón Þorkelsson, who was famous for guiding travellers through the “culprit-desert” all the way to Askja caldera, lived in Viðiker in the 19th century. On this day, the way leads across sandhills and heathland. A breathtaking view awaits us when reaching the highest spot of Engidalur. In good weather, we might be able to see all the way to Herðubreið, the queen of the Icelandic mountains. After three to four hours of riding, we arrive at the farm and hotel Stöng. We leave our horses there and drive to Breiðamýri where we stay overnight in sleeping bag accommodation.

Day 6

After an extensive breakfast at Breiðamýri we drive to Stöng and saddle our horses. The drive takes us around 20 minutes. From Stöng we ride direction north towards Mývatn area and then make a turn to the west on an old „highway“ called Akureyrarleiðin before we head north again. Akureyrarleiðin is an old path that many Icelanders went in formal times when going from the eastern part of the country to the western part or vice versa. A diverse landscape with soft riding tracks awaits us. On our righthand side, we once again have the chance to enjoy the panoramic view surrounding the lake Mývatn. The horses will stay on a big field of the farm Akrar, which is located in the valley Reykjadalur, while we drive back to Breiðamýri where we stay once again overnight. Dinner and overnight at Breiðamýri in sleeping bag accommodation.

Day 7

On day seven, we start from Akrar and ride alongside Vatnshlíð, a forested riding path. The view down into the valley Reykjadalur all the way to lake Vestmannsvatn is unique. After crossing the mound Fljótsheiði, we ride over a long bridge that stretches over the river Skjálfandafljót. A wonderful ride alongside the river, through the forest Fellsskógur and by the waterfalls Ullarfoss and Barnafoss awaits us. We will reach Fremstafell, our final destination, after round about six hours. There, we bid our horses farewell and drive back to Grýtubakki.

Dinner and overnight at Grýtubakki.

Day 8

After breakfast, we will drive you back to Akureyri.

Jubiläumstour   Tag2

Tag7   Tag7

In the Footsteps of the Vikings (July 19th)

In the Footsteps of the Vikings (August 10th - vice versa)

Day 1

In the late afternoon (mostly between 4 pm and 7 pm), we will pick you up from Akureyri and bring you to our farm Grýtubakki. There you will be lodged at our little guesthouses with shared bathroom. We will get to know each other during dinner and we will end the day with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2

After breakfast we pack our belongings and drive to Goðafoss. Here you can enjoy this breathtaking waterfall, which has played a significant role during christianisation in Iceland. A little bit further on the horses are waiting for us at farmhouse Fremstafell. Here we saddle our horses and ride into the valley Bárðardalur. This is the longest still inhabited valley of Iceland. Waterfall Goðafoss greets us from the left and we follow the river Skjálfandafljót further South to Kiðagil, where we have dinner and stay overnight.

Day 3

After breakfast we go to our horses and saddle them. This day’s destination is Stöng. On our way, we have to cross a suspension bridge to get to the other side of the valley Bárðardalur. We ride direction south following the river Skjálfandafljót for an hour before we make a turn north/east over a hill into the next valley Engidalur. We have a breathtaking view over Ódáðahraun – a huge lava field covering a big part of the Icelandic highlands. The oldest layers of the lava are about 9.000 years old. Many Icelandic outlaws had to spent their lives in caves in Ódáðahraun. When we have arrived in Engidalur we have our lunch and make our way down to farmhouse Stöng. There you have a nice view over the Mývatn area. When we have arrived in Stöng we leave our horses and drive to Breiðamýri, where you will spend the next three nights. Dinner and overnight in Breiðamýri in sleeping bag accommodation.

Day 4

After an extensive breakfast at Breiðamýri we drive to Stöng and saddle our horses. The drive takes us around 20 minutes. From Stöng we ride direction north towards Mývatn area and then make a turn to the west on an old „highway“ called Akureyrarleiðin before we head north again. Akureyrarleiðin is an old path that many Icelanders went in formal times when going from the eastern part of the country to the western part or vice versa. A diverse landscape with soft riding tracks awaits us. On our righthand side, we once again have the chance to enjoy the panoramic view surrounding the lake Mývatn. The horses will stay on a big field of the farm Akrar, which is located in the valley Reykjadalur, while we drive back to Breiðamýri where we stay once again overnight. Dinner and overnight at Breiðamýri in sleeping bag accommodation.

Day 5

After an extensive breakfast at Breiðamýri we drive to Akrar and saddle our horses. From Akrar we will ride alongside Vatnshlíð, a forested riding path. The view down into the valley Reykjadalur all the way to lake Vestmannsvatn is unique. After about two hours of riding we will cross the river Laxá, which has often been called the queen of salmon rivers in Iceland. Even though the river is not really deep you might get wet – depending on the size of your horse😊. Just 5 minutes after crossing Laxá we will have our lunch break at Hraunsrétt – an old sheep pen built with lava rocks. Hraunsrétt was first built in 1838 but was expanded in 1900. After lunch we head further east over Hvammsheiði and will leave the horses at a farm called Heiðarbót for the night. We go back to Breiðamýri with the bus. Dinner and overnight at Breiðamýri in sleeping bag accommodation.

Day 6

The bus takes us from Breiðamýri back to the farm Heiðarbót. Here we catch the horses and ride with the herd along the Geldingardalur valley towards Reykjaheiði, a heath landscape at an altitude of 300 to 400 meters. This used to be an important connection between the areas of Reykjahverfi near Húsavík and Kelduhverfi, which is located by the fjord Öxarfjörður. On our way we will see a special place called Höfuðreiðarmúli - “The mad-head-hill”. The story says that a man called Víkingur had a quarrel with Harald Fairhair, king of Norway in the 9th century. The king sent men out to Iceland to kill him. They cut off the farmer's head and put it in salt to bring it to the king and prove their achievement. They rode over Reykjaheiði, just as we will do. After a while they took a break, looked at the head and got really scared as the mouth was all in a sudden wide open! Terrified, they buried the head right away and rode back as fast as possible. We just take our time and ride down to Ingveldarstaðir farm, where we will leave the horses and drive by bus to our Guesthouse called Lundur. There is also a swimming pool and hot tube within walking distance of the Guesthouse to relax your muscles. Dinner and overnight at Lundur in made-up beds.

Day 7

After our breakfast in Lundur we drive to Ingveldarstaðir where we saddle our horses. Our destination today is the farm Ærlækur. We will ride from Ingveldarstaðir within sight of the fjord Öxarfjörður and the horseshoe-shaped gorge Ásbyrgi. According to legend, the Ásbyrgi gorge is a hoofprint of Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of the god Óðinn. We cross the bridge over the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, one of the most impressive rivers in Iceland. The horses stay in a pasture near the farm Ærlækur until the next tour starts. We, on the other hand, take the bus back to our farm Grýtubakki where we will have our last dinner and overnight stay. Dinner and overnight at Grýtubakki in sleeping bag accommodation.

Day 8

After breakfast, we will drive you back to Akureyri.

 

Storatunga   Storatunga

Tag6   Tag6

Highlights (July 30th)

Day 1

In the late afternoon (mostly between 4 pm and 7 pm), we will pick you up from Akureyri and bring you to our farm Grýtubakki. There you will be lodged at our little guesthouses with shared bathroom. We will get to know each other during dinner and we will end the day with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2

Today is our first riding day! Our horses are located at a farm in Öxarfjörður called Ærlækur and we need to make our way to them with the bus. The drive takes us about 2 hours. When we have arrived at Ærlækur we will have our lunch and make ourselves ready for the ride. The first day of riding will be without the herd in the surroundings of the farm Ærlækur. You will explore the area on two individual rides – the first ride will take us down to a river called Sandá and the second ride will take us up to a hill where you will have a nice view over the bay of Öxarfjörður. We will have a small break at Tungurétt, which is an old pen to round up sheep. The pen is still in use and thousands of sheep are sorted up there every autumn when they come back from roaming free up in the mountains. In the evening we will drive to the Guesthouse Lundur where we will spend the next 5 nights. The Guesthouse is only a 5-minute drive from Ærlækur and even has a swimming pool close by. Dinner and overnight at Lundur in made-up beds.

Day 3

After an extensive breakfast we make our way with the bus to Ærlækur. There we saddle the horses and head up north with the whole herd with us. It’s the first day with the free-running herd and the horses will be ready to speed up through the breathtaking landscape of Öxarfjörður. Our destination is Katastaðir, a farm close to the village Kópasker. Today we ride about 35 kilometers with breaks for the horses and a longer break so we can enjoy our sandwiches at lunch time. After about seven kilometers we pass the farm Klifshagi where one of our tour guides lives with his family. The horses take us up Öxarfjarðarheiði for an hour and then we turn north through a valley called Fremridalur. There we will mostly be riding on sheep tracks that take us down to another valley called Arnarstaðadalur. North of that valley is Valþjófsstaðafjall - small mountain that we will pass on our way down to the farm Katastaðir. From there we will take the bus back to Lundur where we will spend the night. Dinner and overnight at Lundur in made-up beds.

Day 4

After breakfast we drive to Katastaðir and saddle the horses. Our destination is Leirhöfn where there is a nice meadow for our horses and a stunning view towards the fjord Öxarfjörður. We will ride east of the mountains Leirhafnarfjöll on soft ground. We are riding on the peninsula Melrakkaslétta which is 30 kilometers wide and 40 kilometers long. The north and east coast of the peninsula is indented with coves and pinnacles, but the west coast is sandier with fewer pinnacles. The name of the peninsula, Melrakkaslétta, draws its name from the Arctic Foxes, which were widespread in formal times. We leave the horses in Leirhöfn and drive back to Lundur. Dinner and overnight at Lundur in made-up beds.

Day 5

After breakfast we drive up north to Leirhöfn and saddle our horses. Today we head back to Ærlækur but will go another route then on day 4. We will ride along the coast side of Öxarfjörður - pass Snartastaðanúpur, the village Kópasker and Presthólahraun. Just after noon we will pass the lair of the outlaw Grettir Ásmundarson, which is one of the best-known Vikings in Iceland. The history of this fellow Viking can be found in one of the Icelandic Sagas called “The Grettis Saga”. It will be a long day, covering about 40 kilometers in the saddle. From Ærlækur we drive to Lundur. Dinner and overnight at Lundur in made-up beds.

Day 6

After breakfast we drive to Ærlækur and saddle the horses. Today we have a combination of riding with the herd and without it. We bring the herd with us to Vestaraland, about 10 kilometers south of Ærlækur. There we leave the free running herd and ride following Jökulsá á Fjöllum, the second longest river in Iceland. You will have the pleasure of enjoying Rauðhólar and Hrútabjörg from the back of your horse. Rauðhólar is a volcanic formation that was active 11.000 years ago. Because of their unique red colour they got the name “The red hills” – Rauðhólar. In the afternoon we turn back with the horses and leave them at Ærlækur for the night. Dinner and overnight at Lundur in made-up beds.

Day 7

After breakfast we drive to Ærlækur and saddle the horses. Today we have a combination of riding with the herd and without it, just like on Day 6. We take the herd with us to Akursel, which is a farm located on Austursandur – a sandy area close to the bay of Öxarfjörður. We leave the free running horses at Akursel and ride the black sandy beach of Öxarfjörður. We pick up the herd again and ride back to Ærlækur. We bid our horses goodbye and will drive with the bus back to Grýtubakki. Dinner and overnight at Grýtubakki.

Day 8

After breakfast, we will drive you back to Akureyri.

Melrakkasletta   Melrakkasletta

Mitteltour   Mitteltour

 

 

Tag5   Tag5

 

 

Tag3   Tag3

Price per person

2450 EURO

Duration

8 days - 7 nights

6 riding days

Departures 2024

June 27 - July 4: Classic

 

July 8 - July 15: Classic

 

July 19 - July 26: In the Footsteps of the Vikings

 

July 30 - August 6: Highlights - Fully booked

 

 

August 10 - Aug 17: In the Footsteps of the Vikings

Daily rides

25-40 km / free running horses

Riding level

Experienced riders

Min. age

12 years

Number of participants

Max: 16

Accommodation

Classic: sleeping bag

In the Footsteps of the Vikings: sleeping bag/made-up beds

Highlights: made-up beds

BOOKING / REQUEST