Head to northern Iceland on this unique tour where riders are guided by the midnight sun. During June it is possible to ride during the night and sleep during the day. This equestrian trip coincides with the summer solstice, where one has the opportunity to see the sunshine through all three pillars of the Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn; a newly built monument for the island´s Pagan worshippers. This remote region is inhabited by only a few people, most of them living in little fishing villages along the coast.
During this five-day itinerary guests also experience riding on the beach in the peninsula of Melrakkaslétta, which stretches almost to the Arctic Circle, and is a paradise for birdwatchers. The trail then takes riders to the top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian plates drift apart. From mid-June to mid-July this area is home to the Midnight Sun which sends its golden light over the deep fjords of North Iceland. Accommodation is offered in shared rooms on a traditional Icelandic family farm. This is a rare chance to experience the midnight sun in an remote, unspoilt region with some truly unique landscapes.
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Day 1 Reykjavík – Húsavík – Bjarnastaðir – Katastaðir
Meeting place is at Flugfélagið Ernir in Reykjavík airport at 13.15
Fly to Húsavík and drive to Bjarnastaðir farm. Please bring passports or other identification for the domestic flight. Bus transfer to Bjarnastaðir Farm to meet up with the guides and horses and have dinner. After a short introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits, the ride will start through the Öxafjörður Fjord and along the coast to Katastaðir where the horses are left for the night and the group is driven to Bjarnastaðir farm, the base for the next 4 days (33km).
Day 2 Katastaðir – Sigurðarstaðir
Today's route is on the beach from Katastaðir to Sigurðarstaðir. The trail is quite isolated and it is unlikely to see anyone else on the way. Ride under the blazing midnight sun on the northern coastline, with only the sound heard is the sound of the horses the waves of the ocean, and the birds. After this peaceful night ride, leave the horses and drive back to Bjarnastaðir for the night. (28km)
Day 3 Sigurðarstaðir – Raufarhöfn
Continuing the journey, the route heads to the northernmost part of Iceland and the small village Raufarhöfn. Most of the 250 inhabitants of this small village make a living from traditional fishing. Witness the rich birdlife along the coast and experience this beautiful area which has the longest days and shortest nights in Iceland because of its position. (24 km)
Day 4 Melrakkaslétta – Katastaðir
Today you'll head back over the soft tracks of the Melrakkaslétta plains. Melrakkaslétta is known for its rich birdlife, many lakes to fish in and its unique beauty over the Summer Solstice. Its name comes from the arctic fox and if you look closely you might even see one stealing eggs from a birds nest. You'll leave the horses at Katastaðir and get a good nights sleep at Bjarnastaðir farm. (35 km)
Day 5 Katastaðir – Bjarnastaðir
Summer Solstice happens today and the group will be at Raufarhöfn town to witness the longest day and shortest night in Iceland. This is a unique opportunity to see the sunshine through all three pillars of the Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn. Ride back with the majestic mountains on the east leading the way to Bjarnastaðir farm. Finally, ride through Kvíar slopes at about 165m and witness the indescribable beauty of the northernmost parts of Iceland bathed in the midnight sun. (38 km)
Day 6 Sightseeing Ásbirgi – Húsavík - Reykjavík
Say goodbye to the horses and drive to Húsavík airport to catch the flight to Reykjavik. On the way stop off at the horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi canyon, one of the wonders of nature. The old saga claims that the god Odin from northern mythology rode his giant horse, Sleipnir, who stepped down on the ground and formed this 'shoe print'.
Please don't bring a long riding raincoat as they tend to flap. A short riding jacket will suffice.
It is advisable to riders to bring their own snacks for the ride (chocolate, energy bars etc).
Please bring cash for purchases at the riding centre.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
Clients ride the traditional Icelandic horses (called horses not ponies despite being pony sized!) who have a special gait known as the tölt which is very comfortable and anyone comfortable with English (or McLellan) or Western tack will be able to adapt to sitting to the new gait without any problems – the trail leaders explain how to sit it before the first day’s riding. The guides will explain how to tack up the horses, mount it and how to ride the tölt before setting off. All the guides are English-speaking.
Horses are responsive, calm and forward-going. They are used to being ridden in groups in open countryside and are lovely to ride! The pace of the ride depends on the terrain but you can expect lots of tolting and a few canters as well. Generally, you'll change horses a couple of times each day, as ridden horses are switched in and out of the free-running herd. One of the most unique aspects of riding in Iceland is the experience of riding alongside a herd of free horses, which is something very special. Switching horses throughout the trail means you''ll get to try out a number of the horses. The comfort of each horses tolt can vary!
Riding days can be long so you should be in good physical condition and have a basic knowledge of horsemanship. Hours per day in the saddle ranges from four to six. The minimum age for this ride is 7 years. A sense of adventure is important as is an open and positive frame of mind due to the nature of the trip.
Used riding clothes must be disinfected before entry to Iceland. 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 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: www.mast.is
The weight limit for this ride is 242 lb/110 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation is at a family-owned farm. Rooms accommodate between 2-4 people in made up single beds with bed linen provided. Please bring your own towel. Bathrooms are shared and equipped with hot showers. There is also an outdoor Jacuzzi available to use.
The menu consists of a large breakfast (cheese, meats, bread, eggs, fruits, cereals. Riders make their own lunches up from the large food selection at the breakfast table (a tip: bring a small box, Tupperware or sandwich bags to pack it in). Evening meals are traditional (lamb and fish are the staple dinners) though special diets (vegetarian, etc.) can be provided if advance notice is given. Tea, coffee and water are all provided while on this trip. 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. Luggage will be transported in the kitchen van. Please bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases and pack lightly because transport space is limited.
Extra accommodation: Some riders may want to stay an extra night at the end of the ride before flying home. There are many hotels to choose from in Reykjavik, some recommendations are below.
Cabin Hotel - http://hotelcabin.is/en/
Brim Hotel (also known as Reykjavik Hotel Centre) - http://www.booking.com/hotel/is/reykjavik-hostel-center.htm
As part of an initiative to improve the centre of Reykjavik for locals and travellers, the local authorities have banned buses from driving within the central part of the City. Instead, vehicles with group licenses will pick up and drop off all passengers staying at hostels and guesthouses within the area at designated bus stops, including airport transfers and tours. Please take a look at the available bus stops here http://www.busstop.is/ to find the stop closest to your intended accommodation.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling. When visiting Iceland, your passport should be valid for at least 3 months from the date you arrive. Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/iceland In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Iceland.html In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/iceland
Come prepared for all kinds of weather as the day can change very quickly! Summer temperatures usually reach the 17°C but can also be less than 10°C.
COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.
Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Iceland and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.
You should make sure you have sufficient medical supplies (including prescription medicines) for the duration of your stay and any unforeseen delays, adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
Sunscreen and insect repellent is advised.
No special health precautions are required for the rides.
If you need to contact the emergency services, call 112.
No special health precautions are required for visits to Iceland.
In Iceland the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.
There are a few plug sockets around the farmhouse where it is possible to charge phones and cameras etc. There is Wifi available in the evenings at Bjarnastaðir farm.
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 this tour.
Please note, leather items shoes/riding boots etc are only permitted if disinfected with Virkon S 5 days before arrival.
Riding Boots - We strongly recommend knee-high, rubber boots to avoid getting wet feet and for ease of disinfection
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.
Tracksuit or casual, loose clothes
A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation. (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
Swimsuit, towels and soap
A small camera to take with you on the ride.
Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
Chocolate, snacks like energy bars or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days (not available on site)
Sun lotion for face and lips (with hight UV factor)
A sports bra for the ladies often comes in handy
Bum bag or similar to carry water, cameras etc.
Ear plugs (some people snore!)
You may bring your own riding gear (eg helmet) but it needs to be dry cleaned or disinfected; officially, a written certificate is needed to prove at the airport that this has been done, but it is rarely asked for.
Rain wear (heavy/industrial so best to have your own and use the provided gear only in the worst of weather)
Safety riding helmet
Luggage will be transported in the kitchen van. Please bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases and pack lightly because transport space is limited.
This is a 6 day/5 night programme with 5 riding days available on set dates. You may like to stay in a hotel in Reykjavik the night after the ride finishes.
2024: 16 - 21 June
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2023||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||1,535|
|2024||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||1,585|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2023||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||1,735|
|2024||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||1,795|
|Riding days||Product item description||US $|
|2023||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||1,935|
|2024||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||1,999|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2023||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||20,519|
|2024||6d/5n||5||Child under 12||21,775|
WH Auden and Louis MacNeice 'Letters from Iceland'
Mark Cowardine 'Iceland Native's and Meeting Places'
David Roberts 'Iceland Land of the Saga's'
Terry Lacy 'Ring of Seasons'.
For a broad selection of equestrian travel books, many previously unavailable visit www.HorseTravelBooks.com - inspiring adventure!
Blue Lagoon, whale watching (Reykyavik)
Disinfecting of used riding gear: Riding gear (riding boots, riding trousers, jackets, hats, gloves, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C), dry cleaned or disinfected with Virkon S before arriving in Iceland. Saddles, bridles and other leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases (i.e. rabies or foot and mouth diseases) in Iceland and therefore important to protect the animals of the country. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature!
For further information please take a look at: www.mast.is