Autumn in Iceland means colourful countryside and the Northern Lights dancing in the black night sky. Enjoy visiting the best known sights in Iceland, riding the Icelandic horse along fine bridle paths and, weather conditions permitting, see the dazzling Northern Lights after a good day in the saddle.

You'll visit the magnificent sights of Iceland; the Secret Lagoon, Geysir Hot Spring area and Gullfoss Waterfall. During two riding days the tölt, the special gait of the Icelandic horse, will be introduced to you. This tour is equally suited for riders and non-riders as there is always the option of taking part in non-riding activities. You can expect riding and relaxing in geothermal water underneath the Icelandic winter sky ablaze with dazzling stars and the dancing Aurora Borealis. Evenings will be filled with traditional stories and great Icelandic food. This tour includes visits to the Secret Lagoon and a Northern Lights hunt in the saddle after dark. Accommodation is in cozy summer cottages, each sleeping two to four people with shared bathroom facilities.

Comfort Tour option
For those who want to travel with a bit more comfort, you have the option of staying in hotel accommodation during this tour where all rooms are equipped with shower/wc for a little bit of extra privacy.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from SO of Philadelphia on 23/11/2022

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments



Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
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Was there anything you should have known and were not told? YES
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What could we do to improve this ride?
More riding :)
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Lot of tölt :)
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Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1: Reykjavík – Kálfhóll Farm
Pick up at 18:00 (17:00 for Comfort Short Break) from BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik. We drive to the Horse farm Kálfhóll where we will meet our guide and staff. After we have found our bedrooms we will enjoy a delicious dinner and get to know our fellow riders and staff. We can enjoy the nice hot tub outside and look up into the sky for dazzling Northern Lights. Then get good night sleep before we start our ride the next day.

Day 2: Kálfhóll Farm – Þjórsá – Secret Lagoon
After a nice breakfast our guide will introduce us to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits. This first riding day is a perfect way to get to know Icelandic winter riding in a relaxed atmosphere along the mighty river Þjórsá (the longest river in Iceland 212 km). We enjoy the southern countryside with an impressing view of mountain ranges, pastureland in its winter coat and the queen Hekla volcano watching over us in distance. After a magical day in the winter wonderland, we will go and visit the Secret Lagoon where you can relax in the mineral-rich water. Dinner will be served at Blesastaðir and afterward, you can take an evening stroll with your guide and host to look for the Northern Lights again. Overnight at Kálfhóll. (Approx. 15 km)

Day 3: Kálfhóll Farm – Hvítá   
We start the day with a short ride in the winter fields by the farm before we have lunch. Our ride then takes us to the glacier river Hvítá with the milky water that streams from the glaciers in the highland.  We ride through lava and moss-covered terrain and enjoy the view we have all around us. After a short break near the river, we saddle up again and head back through the beautiful countryside to Kálfhóll farm to have a lovely dinner. There is nothing better after a wonderful day in the saddle than to relax in the steamy hot tub, watching the clear sky and hope for the Northern Lights to show up. Overnight at Kálfhóll. (Approx. 15 km)

Day 4: Kálfhóll – Þjórsá – Geysir – Gullfoss – Þingvellir
After breakfast, we take our last ride along the Þjórsá river and take in the breathtaking winter pastures one last time. After a light lunch, we say goodbye to the horses and hop on to the bus to visit the Golden Circle, the three most impressive natural sights in South Iceland. Golden Circle consists of the Geysir geothermal area, golden waterfall Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park. Geysir is a geothermal area with boiling mud pits, the lively geyser Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters into the air every few minutes. At Gullfoss, you will have a chance to witness the mighty waterfall, and you can feel the power from the water coming down the canyon as you stand near the cliffs. Then we drive to Thingvellir National Park and see an amazing nature and geological phenomena at Thingvellir. Since 2004 Thingvellir has been listed on UNESCO‘s World Heritage List for its geological the uniqueness and historical significance. We will be back in Reykjavík at approx: 18:00. (Approx. 15 km)

Northern Lights Comfort Tour (available on selected departure dates, please enquire)

Day 1: Reykjavík – Kálfhóll farm
Pick up between 16:00 – 17:00 from BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik. You will be transferd to Kálfhóll farm to meet the farmers for a "baðstofukvöld" with an Icelandic tradional dinner and Icelandic songs. Late at night look out for your first glimpse of the Northern Lights. Transfer and overnight at Fosshótel Hekla .

Day 2: Riding in the morning – Þjórsárdalur – Northern lights hunt from horse back
After breakfast you'll drive over to Kálfhóll Farm. After a short intodouction to the horses, you'll go for a ride along the banks of the mighty glacial river Þjórsá. (Alternative for non-riders: individual walk along the river). After a warming Icelandic soup you'll take the bus for a trip to the Þjórsárdalur valley where you can visit the spectacular Hjálp waterfall. A short hike in the Skriðudalurforest takes you to the hidden grave of a Mountain King and his beloved horse, Blesi. At the farm you'll feast on a typical Icelandic Buffet before heading outside to look for the Aurora Borealis. As soon as you've spotted them you'll take to the saddle and go for a short ride in the dark beneath the Northern Lights. (1 hour). Alternative for non-riders: Northern Lights spotting from the HotPot at Kálfhóll. After the ride: return to Fosshótel Hekla for the night.

Day 3: Kálfhóll farm – Reykjavik
After breakfast, transfer to Kálfhóll farm. You'll go for another 2-3 hour ride through the lovely countryside (alternative for non-riders: visit to the small ccuntryside Samansafnið Museum at Sólheimar) before having lunch at the farm and heading back to Reykjavík.

The hosts reserve the right to change the itinerary if necessary.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Letters From Iceland - WH Auden and Louis MacNeice
Iceland, Land of the Saga's - David Roberts
Ring of Seasons: Iceland - Its Culture and History - Terry Lacy

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!) which 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.

Rider requirements

Happy in walk, trot and canter on open ground on a good horse. Novices with an adventurous spirit are welcome. The riding is at all paces including tölt (instruction is given), 125kg weight limit (please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.) Some walking beside horses required. Children are welcome provided that their parent/guardian is prepared to take full responsibility for them during the holiday. The minimum age for this ride is 7 years.

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:

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 242 lb/110 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Whilst on the ride accommodation is in small summer cottages on farmland. Each cottage sleeps two to four people and there are shared bathroom facilities. Single supplements are available for single rooms but please note that this does not include a private bathroom, please enquire for more information. Alternatively, you can stay in hotel accommodation (on selected departure dates) during this tour, where each room has private bathrooms and there is an option to have a single room (for a supplement, see Prices). Please speak to your travel advisor about which option you would prefer.

Large breakfasts are traditional and lamb and fish are the staple dinners, though special diets (vegetarian, etc.) can be provided if advance notice is given. Riders make their own lunches up from the large food selection at the breakfast table (a tip: bring a small box, Tupperware or similar, to pack it in).

Extra accommodation: Some riders may also want to stay an extra night at the end of the ride before flying home. The earliest flight possible would be 8pm on day 3 (last day). There are many hotels to choose from in Reykjavik, some recommendations are below.

Cabin Hotel - 

Brim Hotel (also known as Reykjavik Hotel Centre) -

As part of an initiative to improve the centre of Reykjavik for locals and travellers, the local authorities will ban all buses to drive within the central part of the City from July 15 2017. Instead, vehicles with group licenses will have to 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 to find the stop closest to your intended accommodation.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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 Hungary, 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:

In the USA:

In Canada:

Climate Summary

Come prepared for all kinds of weather as the day can change very quickly!

Climate Chart


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.

Health (ride specific)

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

Bring sufficient film, batteries, etc. with you because there are no oportunities to buy these out on the trail.

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
• Warm, waterproof jacket or overcoat
• Warm (woollen or fleece) sweater
• Warm socks and gloves (at lest two pairs) scarf (or muffler) and a cap or hat
• Warm underwear, long if possible
• Riding trousers
• Track suit or casual, loose clothes
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation
(Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house)
• Swim suits, towels, soap, toiletries, flip flops or slippers etc.
• A small camera to take with you on the ride
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor)
• A sports bra for the ladies usually comes in useful!
• Sunglasses

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.

The host provides:
• Saddle bags (but only a few amongst the group)
• Rain wear (heavy/industrial so best to have your own and use this gear only in the worst of weather)
• Safety riding helmet
• Sleeping bag (and sheet) and pillow


This is a 4 days / 3 nights with 3 days riding (Short Break) or 3 days / 2 nights with 2 days riding (Comfort Tour Short Break)

Departure Dates

2022 Short Break: Nov 2, 9, 16; Dec 7, 14.
2023 Short Break: Feb 28; Mar 7, 14, 21, 28; Oct 10, 17, 24, 31; Nov 7, 14, 21, 28; Dec 5, 12.

No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.
No of   
Riding days Product item description £
20224d/3n3double pp879
20224d/3n3Child under 12659
20234d/3n3double pp1,055
20234d/3n3Child under 12789
No of   
Riding days Product item description
20224d/3n3double pp999
20224d/3n3Child under 12749
20234d/3n3double pp1,199
20234d/3n3Child under 12899
No of   
Riding days Product item description $
20224d/3n3double pp1,105
20224d/3n3Child under 12829
20234d/3n3double pp1,325
20234d/3n3Child under 12995
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
20224d/3n3double pp11,049
20224d/3n3Child under 128,285
20234d/3n3double pp13,269
20234d/3n3Child under 129,955
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 - inspiring adventure!

Other Activities

Optional (available at an extra charge): whale watching


Enjoy geothermal pools, outdoor hot tubs, bird watching and exploring the lava fields and fauna in the evenings.

Other Information

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.

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):
BSI Bus Station in Reykjavik.
2022/23: Included from BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik at 18:00 (17:00 for Comfort Short Break).
Flight Guide:
London - Reykjavik return from £110
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