Overview

Riding in Iceland is a unique experience – an opportunity to ride strong, willing horses over exciting and adventurous terrain. Riding an Icelandic horse is not only tremendous fun, it is also a great way to experience the natural beauty of Iceland; snow topped mountains, the largest glacier in Europe, volcanoes, thundering waterfalls and striking lunar landscapes.

The Icelandic horse is a pure-bred descendant of those brought to Iceland by the Vikings over a thousand years ago. Horses remain an important part of Icelandic culture; they are used on remote farms to round up livestock and are still the best means of getting around in many parts of the island. Although small, the Icelandic is a powerful horse and has no difficulty carrying someone weighing 100kgs.

The Snæfellsjökull National Park is where you find one of Iceland´s most beautiful and emblematic sights – the glacier-covered cone volcano Snæfellsjökull. The mystery and spiritual aura of this still active volcano were made famous through Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Many of the great Sagas are located in this very area. Today the remote beauty and rich bird life draw visitors from all over the world. The peninsula itself is often called “Iceland in a nutshell” because of its diversity of landscape.

This tour takes us through a landscape of extensive lava fields, craters and ash from ancient eruptions in Hítardalur valley. Enjoy wide-open stretches of light-coloured sand at Löngufjörur beach, where only the tide sets a limit to the freedom of horse and man. The impressive 50-meter deep crater Eldborg is a distinctive landmark, where the light sand turns black once you reach its lava field. On our last riding day we follow the edge of the lava flow along the shore before returning to Stóri-Kálfalækur Farm.

Key Facts

  • Set departures
  • Mid June to end of August
  • Minimum 2 / Maximum 18 riders
  • Trail with progressive riding
  • 7 Days / 6 nights (6 days riding)
  • 185 km’s, 5 hours riding per day
  • Intermediate to advanced riders
  • Weight limit – 100 kilos

Riding Level and Horses

Riders must be at ease at all 4 paces across varied, uneven terrain and be in good physical condition. You must be secure in the saddle and be comfortable riding for long hours.

Much of the riding is at a tölt, which can be fast so you need to be a confident rider able to adapt to different riding styles. General fitness is as important as riding experience due to the long hours in the saddle.

If you know how to ride a horse using English riding style you should have no problems riding an Icelandic horse. Western-style riders should not experience any difficulties adjusting to the Icelandic way of riding either. The guides will take some time at the beginning of each tour to explain the correct way to saddle the horse, mount it and how to ride the different gaits. They will carefully explain how and when to ride “tölt”, the special gait of the Icelandic horse.  The height of horses is from 13hh – 14hh

The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different than 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 keep 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 and the Bridles have a detachable noseband with clip on reins.

The Icelandic Horse breed 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 is an authentic riding experience.  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 will get to ride a variety of horses.

Helmets are strongly recommended and a packing list will be provided when you book the ride. Saddlebags, wet weather gear, and water are provided.

Itinerary

Experiencing the“tölt”, the unique extra gait of the Icelandic Horse, is made easy for you on this tour when we follow good riding tracks. The long stretches of smooth sandy beaches make this tour a delight for both horses and riders.

Itinerary:
Day 1. Reykjavík – Stóri-Kálfalækur – Grímsstaðir
Pick up in Reykjavik between 18:00-19:00 PM where our Íshesta bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Stóri-Kálfalækur Farm, 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. Stóri Kálfalækir – Grímstaðir
After an introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits we start our ride into the mountains through fertile farmlands and along riding tracks to Grímsstaðir Farm with its proud history dating back to medieval times. Overnight at Stóri-Kálfalækur in made up beds, showers and a hot tub on site. (approx. 25 km)

Day 3. Grímsstaðir – Hítarhólmur
The ride today leads through multi-coloured mountains and along low bushy hillsides. Hítardalur is a geological paradise. Vast lava fields, soft tracks through ashes and the high palagonite (tuff) mountains give you the impression of taking a ride on the moon! We leave the horses at Hítarhólmur farm and drive back to Stóri-Kálfalækur, where the hot tub is waiting. (approx. 25 km)

Day 4. Hítarhólmur – Kolviðarnes
We continue our ride through this mystical volcanic valley. We stop at the sheep gathering place Hítardalsrétt and if you take a good look you can see the troll woman Hít who was turned into stone returning late from a date. We proceed west across Hítará River and travel through an area well known as the hideout of Iceland’s most famous outlaw, Grettir. At Kolviðarnes Farm we leave the horses and drive back and spend the night at Stóri Kálfalækur. (approx. 45 km)

NB: Next three days we ride on Löngufjörur beach where timings depend on the tide. In some cases we need to start the ride very early in the morning or in the afternoon.

Day 5. Kolviðarnes – Traðir
After rejoining the horses, we start our beach ride on Löngufjörur, the famous horse trail on the seashores of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. View majestic Snæfellsjökull Glacier ahead of you and feel the horses’ excitement and take part in their joy on this extraordinary trail released by the tide. We leave the horses at Traðir Farm and we spend the night at Stóri Kálfalækur. (approx. 30 km)

Day 6. Traðir – Kolviðarnes – Stóri-Kálfalækur
Another day´s ride on the yellow colored, sandy beach. Direction changes and we head back towards mighty Eldborgarhraun lava field. A unique experience for everyone with lava-fields and mountains on one side of the trail and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. We leave the horses at Kolviðarnes Farm and drive to Stóri-Kálfalækur, where we spend the last two nights. (approx. 30 km)

Day 7. Kolviðarnes – Stóri-Kálfalækur Farm
Last day on the beach and yet a new experience. The sand turns black as we follow the outline of Eldborgarhraun lava field. Imagine the black lava still on the move on your way back to dry land. The ride finishes at Stóri-Kálfalækur Farm, where we enjoy Ólöf’s farewell dinner. (approx. 30 km)

Day 8. Stóri-Kálfalækur – Reykjavík
Transfer back to Reykjavik to your accommodation. Approx. arrival at 11:30.

We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary

We recommend an extra night in Reykjavik at the end and we can arrange this for you.

Accommodation and Food

You will stay at various family run guest houses during this trip. Price is based around sharing a twin or quad room with twin or bunk beds. Single rooms are on request with a supplement. Bathrooms are shared.

During the ride full board is provided with a mix of cosy, simple guesthouses & farmhouses. The food is lovely home cooked Icelandic food, consisting of soups & stews, fish & lamb, with healthy breakfasts & lunches. Vegetarian meals and other meal requests are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.

Rain wear, water bottle, saddle bag are provided. It is compulsory to wear a riding helmet.

Hot tubs are available at most of the guest houses so this gives the riders something to look forward to after a long days riding.

There are a wide variety of other rides available like Sheep round ups throughout the summer.  If you do not see availability for your preferred dates, please do contact us. There might have been a cancellation or we might have a slightly different ride in Iceland which would appeal to you.

Depending on your flight times, you will need at least one night in Reykjavik after your ride.

Upcoming Dates

Duration: 7 nights – 6 riding days – approx. 185 km
Dates 2019: Saturday – Saturday
1 – 9 (Sold Out) • June 15 – 22 (L) • June 29 – July 6 (H)• July 13 – 20 (Sold out) (H) • July 27 – Aug 3 (H) • Aug 10 – 17 (On Request) (H) • Aug 24 – 31 (L)

Cost: €2190.00 euros Low season and €2350.00 euros High season.
We use the ANZ sell rate to convert from euro to the Australian dollar.

Rates are based on the Euro and subject to currency fluctuation, so please contact us for the most up to date pricing for your riding holiday.

Includes

  • All accommodation in twin or quad share rooms
  • Bus transfer from Reykjavik to the farm
  • Full board during the ride is provided. The menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb).  All riders make their own picnic lunch form the breakfast table.
  • 6 full days of riding on horseback, riding gear and 3-4 horses per person
  • Trained riding guides
  • Rain wear, water bottle, saddlebag and riding helmet are provided

 Not included

  • International flights and transfers to start of ride paid locally
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Entry to sights and activities not mentioned
  • Drinks not included with meals, additional incidentals and tips
  • 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 on arrival.

Other Information

Location
Pick up Reykjavik and ride in Snæfellsjökull National Park area.

Weather
Weather website: http://www.holiday-weather.com/

Activities
During the ride you will enjoy sightseeing in the local area and there is normally a hot tub to relax in most nights depending on the location.

Languages spoken
English and Icelandic

Closest Airport
Nearest Airport Keflavik

Other information
It is suggested to pack a soft covered bag and pack light as space is limited

Please contact Snaffle Travel for further information, booking terms and conditions at info@snaffletravel.com.au

Please note that the itinerary may change depending on the weather at the time and other local conditions.

Terms and conditions and terms apply to this riding holiday.

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