A based trail through a variety of landscapes in north-western Iceland, accommodation is in a comfortable farmhouse each evening. An ideal trail for beginners or those lacking in confidence, this is relaxed riding with a focus on the beautiful scenery and wildlife of this remote area. You'll ride through the spectacular Vatnsdalur valley, known for it's waterfalls, river canyons and scenery and you'll even be able to attempt a river crossing on horseback on the final day. As well as riding your guide will teach you about the rich history of this fascinating country with stories of revenge and betrayal from Icelandic sagas.

Accommodation in shared rooms at a traditional Icelandic farmhouse, hosted by one of our most experienced families, you'll enjoy hearty evening meals and can even soak away any aches and pains in the outdoor hot tub with a view over the river. 

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Day 1: Reykjavik – Hvammur
You'll be collected from the BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik at 17:30 where a minibus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Hvammur farm where the horses and staff are waiting for you. After a lovely introductory meal where you can get to know each other, spend the evening relaxing and resting so you are well prepared for the adventure ahead.

Day 2: Hvammur – Vatnsdalur
You´ll learn the basics about riding the friendly Icelandic horse and head out on the first riding tour which takes you through the spectacular Vatnsdalur valley. You'll be riding on the eastern side of the valley, past Hvammsfoss waterfall, surrounded by impressive basalt columns. You might even see falcons flying in the air and if you look really closely you could see the elves and trolls that live in the mountains hiding behind the rocks! Todays ride ends at Sveinsstaðir where you leave the horses to head back to Hvammur farm.

Day 3: Hvammur – Sveinsstaðir – Þingeyrar nágrenni
Today, you'll visit Þingeyrar church known as one of the most beautiful churchs in the whole of Iceland. It’s a stone church with 1000 golden stars painted on the ceiling and other beautiful handicraft that makes it extraordinary. The first monastery was held there until 1550 and many of the Icelandic Sagas were written there. You'll ride through the unique surroundings of Þingeyrar rich in birdlife and sandy beaches with Lake Hope on one side and the north Atlantic on the other. After  riding you can relax in the outdoor hot tub at Hvammur Farm before a hearty dinner.

Day 4: Hvammur – Thingeyrar – Húnavatn
Today you'll continue to explore the northern countryside riding towards Vatnsdalur. You might even cross Húnavatn river on horseback if everyone is up for the task which is an amazing experience. The ancient Saga says that the Viking Ingimundur found two polar bear cubs at the river and named the river Húnavatn (Water Cubs) in their honour! After a wonderful final riding day you'll head to the nearest town, Blönduós for a relaxing swim and to see one of Iceland’s greatest glacial rivers. In the evening you'll celebrate a successful riding tour with a great farewell dinner.

Day 5: Hvammur – Reykjavík
It is time to say good bye to your guides and drive back to your accommodation in Reykjavík. Approx. arrival at 12:30 in Reykjavík.

There is a children’s discount (under 12 years) of 25% on this tour. There is also a family discount of 5% available for parents and children 12 - 18 travelling together, 3 or more. Not applicable if the children’s discount is used for one family member.

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 and how to ride the tölt before setting off. All the guides are English-speaking.



Horses are responsive, calm and relaxed. They are used to being ridden in groups in open countryside and are lovely to ride! The pace of this ride is very relaxed and will be geared to the ability of the group. You will switch horses throughout the trail meaning you''ll get to try out a number of the horses. The comfort of each horses tölt can vary!


Rider requirements

Hours per day in the saddle ranges from two to four hours although the pace is relaxed. The minimum age for this ride is 7 years old. Assistance wil be given in tacking up and mounting your horse and you will receive instruction on riding in the Icelandic style.

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 traditional guesthouse equipped with made-up beds (sleeping between 2-4 to a room), indoor shared bathroom, warm showers and a complimentary hot tub. The farm is also equipped with Wifi. 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. There are many hotels to choose from in Reykjavik, we recommend the Cabin Hotel or 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 banned all buses to drive within the central part of the City in 2017. 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 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 around 17°C but can 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 is electricity available in the evening accommodation to charge cameras etc. Wifi is also provided at the guesthouse.

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, because of possibility of river crossings
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woollen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at lest two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Warm underwear, long if possible.
• 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.
• Sunglasses
• Bum bag or similar to carry water, cameras etc.
• 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

Programmes

This is a 5 day/4 night programme with 3 riding days available on set dates.

Departure Dates

2021: 23, 30 May; 29 Aug

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 £
20215d/4n3double pp1,205
20215d/4n3Child under 12905
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20215d/4n3double pp1,289
20215d/4n3Child under 12969
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20215d/4n3double pp1,605
20215d/4n3Child under 121,205
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20215d/4n3double pp13,759
20215d/4n3Child under 1210,325
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):
BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik
Transfer:
2021: Included from BSI bus station in Rekjavik.
Flight Guide:
London - Reykjavik return from £110
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