Riding with the herd
Riding on the beach in Iceland
Riding in Northern Iceland
Horses on the farm
Horses crossing stream
Loose horses
The farm accommodation
double room
Single bed

Head to northern Iceland on this unique tour where you'll be guided by the midnight sun. During June it's possible to ride during the night and sleep during the day. This trip coincides with the summer solstice, where you'll have 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 you'll 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 you 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
Pick up at 15:00 at the BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik and transfer to the Domestic Airport Ernir for the flight to Húsavík. Please dress in riding clothes and bring your passport or other identification for the domestic flight. Bus transfer to Bjarnastaðir Farm, where you will meet up with the guides and horses and have dinner. After a short introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits, you'll start the ride. You will ride through the Öxafjörður Fjord along the coast to Katastaðir where you'll leave the horses and drive to Bjarnastaðir farm, your base for the next 4 days (33km).

Day 2 Katastaðir – Sigurðarstaðir
Today you'll be riding on the beach from Katastaðir to Sigurðarstaðir. The path is quite isolated and it's unlikely you'll meet anyone else on the way. You'll be riding under the blazing midnight sun on the northern coastline and you'll hear only the sounds of your horse, the waves of the ocean and the birds. After this peaceful night ride, you'll be driven back to Bjarnastaðir to rest. (28km)

Day 3 Sigurðarstaðir – Raufarhöfn
You'll be continuing your journey to the northernmost part of Iceland; the small village Raufarhöfn. Most of the 250 inhabitants of this small village make a living from traditional fishing. On the way, you'll witness the rich birdlife along the coast and experience this beautiful place 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! You will be at Raufarhöfn town to witness the longest day and shortest night in Iceland. You'll have the unique opportunity to see the sunshine through all three pillars of the Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn. You'll then ride back with the majestic mountains on the east leading the way to Bjarnastaðir farm. Finally, you'll ride through Kvíar slope which is about 165 metres above sea level and witness the indescribable beauty of the northernmost parts of Iceland when the midnight sun shines over us. (38 km)

Day 6 Sightseeing Ásbirgi – Húsavík - Reykjavík
Here you'll say goodbye to the horses and drive to Húsavík airport to catch the flight to Reykjavik. On the way, you'll stop off at Ásbyrgi canyon, one of the wonders of nature, a horseshoe-shaped canyon. The old saga says that the god Odin from northern mythology rode his giant horse Sleipnir who stepped down on the ground and formed this shoe print.

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.

Horses & Riding

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!


Rider requirements

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

Weight Limit

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


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year 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 on request.

General information:

Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.

The British Embassy in Reykjavik is at Laufásvegur 31, 101 Reykjavík. Postal Address: PO Box 460, 121 Reykjavík. Tel: + (354) 550 5100. Email: britemb@centrum.is.

In the U.K the Embassy of Iceland is at 2A Hans Street, London SW1X 0JE. Telephone: (020) 7259 3999. Email: icemb.london@utn.stjr.is

Climate Summary

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.

Climate Chart

Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to Iceland, for further details please see your local doctor.

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.

Health (ride specific)

No special health precautions are required for visits to Iceland.

Electricity

Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.

Film and Camera Equipment

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.

Packing List

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.

• Riding Boots - knee-high, preferably rubber to keep your feet dry!
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woollen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at lest two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Riding trousers.
• Tracksuit or casual, loose clothes
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation. (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
• Swim suit, towels and soap
• A small camera to take with you on the ride.
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
• Towel
• Chocolate or glucose sweets or snacks for strenuous riding days.
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• Sunglasses
• Bum bag or similar to carry water, cameras etc.
• Ear plugs
• Lunchbox/Tupperware to carry your packed lunch

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.

Items provided:
• Saddle bags
• 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.

Programmes

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.

Departure Dates

2021: 17-22 June

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20216d/5n5double pp2,015
20216d/5n5Child under 121,509
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20216d/5n5double pp2,159
20216d/5n5Child under 121,619
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20216d/5n5double pp2,689
20216d/5n5Child under 122,015
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20216d/5n5double pp23,025
20216d/5n5Child under 1217,269
Recommended Reading

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!


Other Activities

Blue Lagoon, whale watching (Reykyavik)

Other Information

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

Other Country Information

Iceland is a volcanic island in the North Atlantic. It is three hours flying time from London and two from Glasgow. Geologically speaking, it is the youngest country in the world. The Icelanders live in a beautiful, but rather fierce natural setting with extremes in the weather, and are continually reminded of the often-harsh natural elements with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions relatively commonplace. Iceland enjoys the midnight sun in summer and extensive darkness in winter, with the northern lights adding a touch of magic on clear winter nights.

In addition to its expansive landscape, it has a rich history and folklore tradition. Iceland was the last country in Europe to be settled, by Vikings and Celts, in the 9th and 10th century AD. The nation converted to Christianity in 1000. From the Middle Ages she was a Norwegian and later a Danish colony. She gained Home Rule in 1904 and then separate sovereign status under the Danish crown in 1918. During WW II, the country was benignly occupied, first by British and then by US forces. Iceland became an independent republic on 17 June 1944.

DISINFECTION: 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.

Iceland is on GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The dialling code for the country is +354.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
The BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik
Transfer:
2021: Included from closest designated bus stop in Rekjavik.
Flight Guide:
London - Reykjavik return from £110
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