horse riding volcanoes Iceland
horse riding holiday with volcanoes Iceland
horse riding holiday with wild ponies in Iceland
horse riding holiday Iceland
horse riding holiday volcano Iceland
fast riding holiday on horseback Iceland

The national park of Snæfellsnes Peninsula is where you find one of the most recognised sights in Iceland; the glacier covered cone volcano Snæfellsjökull. Its mythical atmosphere became famous through Jules Verne’s novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. Many of the famous Sagas unfolded in this spectacular area; a home to elves, trolls and ancient sorcerers. Today rich bird life attracts visitors from all over the world. The peninsula itself is often called “Iceland in a nutshell” because of its diversity of landscape.

You will ride through mighty lava fields, craters and ashes of ancient eruptions enjoying wide-open stretches of light-coloured sand whilst Hítardalur Valley comes as a surprise with it's multicoloured mountains.

Whether you like an easy-going horse or a more spirited one, you can be sure to find the right horses to suit your liking. Experiencing “tölt”, the unique gait of the Icelandic horse is made easy for you since you follow excellent riding tracks.

Stóri-Kálfalækur Farm offers cosy rooms and a warm outdoor tub where one can relax after an exciting riding day. Accommodation is in beds in shared rooms. Enjoy not having to pack and unpack every day yet experience a challenging ride herding free running horses alongside.

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 EW of Sydney on 31/07/2017

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
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Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
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Please give more details to explain your response:
Bring rubber boots!
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?
7
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The ride itself was fairly easy and the horses are matched very well, but the duration of the riding could get tough for some
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Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :) Rubber boots are on the packing list on the final details sent to all riders.

Day 1 Reykjavík – Hraunholt
Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik at 18:00 where our Islandshesta bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Hraunholt Farm, where horses and the family at Hraunholt are waiting for us. After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us. Over night at Hraunholt.

Day 2 Hraunholt - Kolviðarnes
After an introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits, we start our ride from Hraunholt and ride through fertile farmlands with lava on both sides. We cross the river Haffjarðará on our way to Kolviðarnes where our ride ends today. Over night at Hraunholt. Riding distance: approx. 25km.
NB: Next three days we ride on Löngufjörur beach where timings depend on the tide. In some cases, we need to start the ride very early in the morning or in the afternoon.

Day 3 Kolviðarnes - Traðir
After rejoining the horses, we start our beach ride on Löngufjörur, the famous horse trail on the seashorses of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. View majestic Snæfellsjökull Glacier ahead of you and feel the horses excitement and take part in the joy on this extraordinary trail released by the tide. Over night at Hraunholt. Riding distance: approx. 35km.

Day 4 Traðir - Kolviðarnes
Another days ride on the yellow colored, sandy beach, the same directions as the day before a unique experience for everyone with lava-fields and mountains on one side of the trail and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. We leave the orses at Traðir Farm and we spend the night at Hraunholt Farm. Riding distance: approx. 35 km.

Day 5 Kolviðarnes – Hausthúsahringur - Kolviðarnes
We leave the herd at Kolviðarnes and go out and play, enjoying another brisk ride on the beach with fantastic views of the ocean, the mountains and the majestic Snæfellsnes Glacier. The horses stay at Kolviðarnes and we drive back to Hraunholt.
Riding distance: approx. 18 km.

Day 6 Kolviðarnes – Hraunholt
We take all the horses with us and ride into the mountains and lava, on our way back to Hraunholt. We ride through fertile farmlands and along good riding tracks over the river Haffjarðará and travel through an area well known as the hideout of Iceland‘s most famous outlaw, Grettir. Over night at Hraunholt. Riding distance: approx. 25 km.

Day 7 Hraunholt – Rauðaneslaug - Hraunholt
On the last day we choose our best horses and continue riding in amazing landscape surounded with lava, mountains, rivers and lakes. We ride to Rauðaneslaug where we can have a bath in the Rauðaneslaug swimming pool.
We will then ride our last part of the tour before we enjoy the farewell dinner at Hraunholt. Riding distance: approx. 22 km

Day 8 Hraunholt – Reykjavík
Transfer back to BSÍ bus station in Reykjavík. Approx. Arrival 11:30

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

We strongly recommend that knee-high rubber boots are taken for the beach ride. 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. Luggage is taken ahead every day by truck/trailer to the next night's stop. We recommend you bring bags, rather then hard cover suit cases, and pack lightly because transport space is limited.

There is a family discount of 5% available for parents and older children (between 12 and 18 years old) travelling together, 3 or more people only for this offer.

Children under 12 receive a 25% discount.

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

In this land of the midnight sun the season for rides only lasts for 4 months – June, July, August and September but the rides we offer provide plenty of variety of scenery. 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. As well as the ridden horses, a herd of loose horses will be running with the group, and you will change your mount during the day. There is about 6 – 7 hours riding each day (starting around 10.30am) as up to 35/55km have to be covered each day: you’ll need to be riding fit because occasionally the odd day may be slightly longer. The purpose of riding with a herd of horses is to enable a change of mount at the 2 or 3 breaks each day. A minimum of 5 riders up to a maximum of 20 riders per trip: so you could be riding with up to 70 loose horses! The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different then the tack ordinarily used for other breeds. The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long. Bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

Rider requirements

5 to 8 hours per day, riders of all abilities are catered for, but this ride is mainly intermediate to advanced – beginners and novices can have tailor-made rides organised for them - 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 242 lb/110 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Nights on the Volcano Trail are in made up beds in shared rooms. Indoor WC, warm showers and/or hot pools are available. Large breakfasts are traditional (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). 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: 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. 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.

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 20°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

Bring sufficient film, batteries, etc. with you because there are no opportunities 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 - knee-high, preferably rubber, because of the rivers you cross.
• 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.
• Fly net
• 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
• Bum bag or similar to carry water, cameras etc.

• Small pillow to sleep on.
• Ear plugs. Some people snore!
• Sleeping bag

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 Íshestar 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 an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding, available on set dates.

Departure Dates

2019: 24 (full) August (*denotes high season).
2020: 6, 20 June; 15*, 29 August (*denotes high season).

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 £
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp1,925
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 121,445
2019 - High Season8d/7n6double pp2,069
2019 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 121,549
2020 - High Season8d/7n6double pp2,039
2020 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 121,529
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp1,935
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 121,449
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp2,189
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 121,645
2019 - High Season8d/7n6double pp2,349
2019 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 121,765
2020 - High Season8d/7n6double pp2,319
2020 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 121,739
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp2,199
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 121,649
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp2,595
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 121,945
2019 - High Season8d/7n6double pp2,779
2019 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 122,085
2020 - High Season8d/7n6double pp2,745
2020 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 122,059
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp2,605
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 121,955
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp24,085
2019 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 1218,065
2019 - High Season8d/7n6double pp25,845
2019 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 1219,385
2020 - High Season8d/7n6double pp25,515
2020 - High Season8d/7n6Child under 1219,135
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6double pp24,185
2020 - Low Season8d/7n6Child under 1218,139
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)

Wildlife

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 or closest designated bus stop to your hotel in Rekjavik
Transfer:
2019/20: Included from BSI Bus Station or closest designated bus stop to your hotel in Rekjavik.
Flight Guide:
London - Reykjavik return from £110. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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