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.

We visit the magnificent sights of Iceland, the Blue 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. Accommodation for most nights is at Kjóastaðir Farm, home of Hjalti and Åsa. They will be sure to find a horse to your liking.

All nights in the countryside are spent in cozy summer cottages, each sleeping two to four people with shared bathroom facilities.

Special Offer: 5% discount for all riders that have travelled with us to Iceland before.

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 SM of on 07/10/2016

Ride Summary
Loved it - amazing riding terrain, beautiful sights and scenery. We did so much in such a short space of time! Icelandic horses are now my favourite breed
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response Loved it - amazing riding terrain, beautiful sights and scenery. We did so much in such a short space of time! Icelandic horses are now my favourite breed
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced? 6
Please explain why you scored it as you did This was not to difficult as long as you master the Tolt, riders also need to be physically fit as the rides are majority of time at Tolt or canter.
Really excellent riding.....
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments
Unicorn comments Thanks for the fab comments and glad you had a great time!

Day 1: Thursday Reykjavík – Secret Lagoon
Pick up between 16:00 – 17:00 at your accommodation or BSÍ bus station. Vehicles have to pick up and drop off all passengers staying at hostels and guesthouses within central Reykjavik at designated bus stops. Further details are available in the Accommodations tab. The tour starts with taking a refreshing bath at the Secret Lagoon (entrance fee and towel included, please bring your own bathing suit). After one hour in the mineral rich water the transfer continues to the farm. Meet your hosts and enjoy a hearty dinner at the farm. After dinner step outside and look up into the sky for dazzling Northern Lights.

Day 2: Friday Haukadalur – Geysir
Our guide will introduce the Icelandic horse and its special gaits before we start our ride along pleasant trails of the beautiful birch forest at Haukadalur valley. A perfect first riding day where we get to know the Icelandic horse and the way of riding in a relaxed atmosphere. While on our ride we enjoy the great view of mountain ranges, valleys and the glacier. Enjoy the evening with your guide and hosts and take an evening stroll to look again for Northern Lights. (Approx. 15 km)

Day 3: Saturday Gullfoss – Reykjavík
We ride towards the majestic canyon Brúarhlöð where milky, glacier fed water passes through bizarre rock formations. We follow the ever deepening canyon to the impressive Golden Waterfall Gullfoss. After having spent some time there we saddle up again we head back to the farm. In the afternoon we say goodbye to our hosts and horses and drive back to your hotel or the bus station in Reykjavík. On the way we stop at Geysir hot spring area. (Approx. 20 km). Depending on flight times guests may wish to stay an extra night in Reykjavik. The earliest flight possible would be 8pm.

Single supplements:
Please note that it is not possible to book a single room during the riding tour.

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: www.mast.is

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 17 st/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. 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: We recommend that you arrive the day before the ride begins and stay in a hotel in Reykjavik. 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 - http://hotelcabin.is/en/ 

Brim Hotel (also known as Reykjavik Hotel Centre) - http://www.booking.com/hotel/is/reykjavik-hostel-center.html


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 http://www.busstop.is/ to find the stop closest to your intended accommodation.

Climate Summary

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

Climate Chart

Health (ride specific)

No special health precautions are required for visits to Iceland.

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, etc.
• A small camera to take with you on the ride
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing
• Insect repellent, gnat net head cover.
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor)
• Ear plugs
• 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 the Íshestar gear only in the worst of weather)
• Safety riding helmet
• Sleeping bag (and sheet)

Programmes

This is a 3 day/2 night programme with 2 days riding. We recommend riders to arrive a day early and stay in a hotel in Reykjavik the night before the ride starts, and after the last day of riding.

Departure Dates

2018: 15, 22 Mar; 20 Sept; 4, 11 Oct

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 £
20173d/2n2double pp869
20173d/2n2Child under 12649
20183d/2n2double pp905
20183d/2n2Child under 12679
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20173d/2n2double pp959
20173d/2n2Child under 12719
20183d/2n2double pp999
20183d/2n2Child under 12749
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20173d/2n2double pp1,139
20173d/2n2Child under 12855
20183d/2n2double pp1,185
20183d/2n2Child under 12889
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20173d/2n2double pp9,525
20173d/2n2Child under 127,145
20183d/2n2double pp9,909
20183d/2n2Child under 127,435
Wildlife

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

Other Activities

Optional (available at an extra charge): Whale Watching

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):
Your hotel or closest designated bus stop (central zone) in Rekjavik (own booking)
Transfer:
2018: Included from BSÍ bus station or closest designated bus stop to your hotel in Rekjavik between 16:00 and 17:00
Flight Guide:
London - Reykjavik return from £110
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