Riding under the Northern Lights
Northern lights on the beach
Riding on the beach
Aerial view of the islands
The mountains of Lofoten
The Lofoten islands
Exploring Lofoten beaches on horseback
Mountains on the islands
Beaches of the Lofoten islands
Northern lights at the lodge
The dining room
The lodges at night
Lodge living room

Discover the Lofoten islands on this 6-day ride on a remote Norwegian archipelago known for it's mild climate, distinctive scenery and wildlife. Situated well above the Arctic Circle in the Norwegian Sea, it is the most northerly location with temperatures above freezing all year round. It offers beautiful scenery; majestic mountains, deep fjords, huge seabird colonies, long, white sand beaches and the world's largest know deep water coral reef.

Riding in this extraordinary location is exclusively on Icelandic horses, sure-footed and reliable on the steep terrain. You'll be exploring various islands on ancient Viking roads, riding for 4-6 hours per day. Depending on the time of year, you could ride under the Northern lights (September to mid April) or the midnight sun late May to mid July). 

Accommodation is in cosy lodges, complete with wood-burning stoves and traditional dinners are served in the on-site restaurant. The itinerary includes visits to a local Viking museum and organic goat cheese farm to taste the local produce. Ideal for intermediate riders onwards who want to discover unusual destinations. 

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 ER of Kuopio on 30/09/2020

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
It was a wonderful riding vacation. Everything was perfect; accommodation, food, horses, riding guides and other staff. The weather is...what it is! On two stormy days we rode only half day. Never seen such winds! :o
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
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?
4
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Icelandic horses are very easy to ride. Time in the saddle was shorter than we expected. Stormy days!
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
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?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your comments and we are glad you enjoyed your trip... despite the windy days!

Day 1
Travel to the Lofoten Islands, 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle and arrive at either Leknes or Svolvaer airport. You'll be collected by your hosts and transferred (a one hour drive) to the lodges, your base for the next 6 days. Check in to your warm and cosy lodge and meet your fellow riders and guides over dinner at the farms' on-site restaurant. Meet the horses and take part in a short 2 hour ride where depending on the time of year (September-March is most likely) you may be able to spot the northern lights.

Day 2
Today you'll be exploring the island of Gimsøy, one of the  nothernmost islands of the archipelago. You'll be spending up to six hours in the saddle today, riding along the old Viking roads. Stopping in a traditional lavvu (a yurt/tent structure) for lunch in the valley. Once the riding is done, you'll be driven back to the lodges in time for dinner in the on-site restaurant.

Day 3
Today's full-day tour takes you from the Viking Museum in Borg to Aalan Gård; a local organic goat farm. You'll have lunch at the farm hich serves organic produce and you'll also be able to taste plenty of the goats cheeses produced on-site. Continuing on in the afternoon you'll have impressive views of the North Sea. After a total riding time of between 5-6 hours you'll be driven back to the lodges for dinner and overnight.

Day 4
Today will be another full-day ride (5-6 hours) on  the island of Gimsøy. You'll travel from Gjendalen to the picturesque beach of Vinje on horseback. The beaches on Lofoten almost tropical in appearance with white sand and crystal clear turquoise water. You'll have lunch in a local, traditional cafe and after your afternoon ride will be driven back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 5
The ride today takes you through some of the islands most spectacular, and contrasting, scenery. You'll be in the saddle today for between 4-5 hours exploring the largest and easternmost island of the Lofoten chain, Austvågøya, a mountainous island with some of Lofoten's highest peaks.

Day 6
After a hearty breakfast at the lodge it's time to pack up and say goodbye. You can be transferred to either Leknes or Svolvaer airport for the journey home.

 

There is also a spectacular 18-hole championship course which is beautifully situated in nature making this holiday ideal to share with a golfing partner.

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

This stables has 50 horses to choose from, all of them are Icelandic horses, a unique breed of horse that originated in Norway and arrived in Iceland with the first Norwegian settlers. The Icelandic breed is known for being sure-footed and able to cross rough terrain. Your mount for this ride is also able to display an extra gait in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter, gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. The gait is a four-beat lateral ambling gait called tölt known for it's acceleration and speed, it's a comfortable pace for covering plenty of ground. The horses range in height from 132 to 147 cm high. The stables have some horses which are more spirited and ideal for more experienced riders. They also have quieter horses for nervous riders. You will be matched with a suitable horse each day and will ride a variety of the horses during the holiday.



The pace of the ride is variable according to the groups wishes and the terrain. There are some sections when it is possible to go faster and other sections where riders will need to lead their horse (maximum 10 minutes) through steep ascents and descents.


Rider requirements

This ride is for intermediate riders onwards. All riders need to be able to walk, trot and canter in open countryside and must be happy to mount and dismount unassisted. Some sections of the ride require riders to dismount and lead their horse due to steep climbs. The minimum age for this ride is 12 years old although occasionally participants as young as ten can be accepted if they are good riders and able to spend up to 6 hours per day in the saddle. The maximum weight is 90 kilos.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

You'll be spending the duration of the holiday staying in a cosy Norwegian lodge. These purpose-built, modern lodges are made up of a shared living room with wood-burning stove, a kitchen and terrace complete with sea view. Just off the beach, they make the perfect place for your northern lights base camp. The lodges are equipped with complimentary WiFi, hairdyers and towels. After a days riding you'll be able to come back to enjoy the northern lights (visible between Sept-April) from the comfort of the sofa and warmth of the fireplace. The lodges are north facing with a spectacular view towards the northern lights and the ocean.



A short walk from the lodges is the on-site, rustic restaurant Låven at Hov Gård. The restaurant is where your breakfast and other meals during your stay will be served. Lunch is either a picnic taken in the saddle bags each day or at a local cafe during the ride. The Restaurant Låven offers traditional local food as well as a modern cuisine. There is a changing menu which also features fish, meat and a vegetarian option. The restaurant can also cater for vegan or gluten-free guests but require advance notice so please let your travel advisor know if you require this. Delicious home baked cakes are available at the restaurant every day.


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

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

A valid passport is required for travel to Norway but no visa for European Citizens.

Royal Norwegian Embassy in London
25 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8QD

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7591 5500
E-mail: emb.london@mfa.no

Embassy Opening hours
Monday - Friday 09:00 - 16:00

Consular services:
Phone enquiries: +44 (0) 20 70528500
Monday-Friday 10.00-11.00

Climate Summary

The Lofoten Islands are quite an anomaly when it comes to climate, as they experience relatively warm temperatures for their high Arctic latitude thanks to the warm Gulf stream. This warmth makes them an ideal place for exploring in summer as you can make the most of the midnight sun. Between mid-May and mid-July, the sun provides its warming light while you can experience the Northern Lights from September to mid-April.

Climate Chart

Health

In Norway, all public hospitals are funded from the national budget and run by four Regional Health Authorities owned by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. In addition to the public hospitals, a few privately owned health clinics are operating.

Electricity

Norway uses the Europlug (Type C & F), which has two round prongs. 220 volts.

Film and Camera Equipment

Electricity is available in your accommodation each night for charging cameras and batteries. There is free Wifi available in the lodges and in the restaurant.

Packing List

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as the weather can change very quickly. We recommend you pack the following items:

• Riding hat (also available to borrow).
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woollen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves.
• Riding trousers.
• Casual clothes for evenings
• Camera
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• Sunglasses
• Torch
• Dry bag/s for the (provided) saddlebags
• Waterproof bag for phones/camera
• Refillable water bottle

Programmes

This is a 6 day/ 5 night programme available on set dates between April and October

Departure Dates

2020: 16, 23, 30 Aug; 20, 27 Sept; 4, 11, 18 Oct.
2021: 28 Feb; 21, 31 Mar; 5, 18, 25 Apr; 2, 9, 16 May; 19, 26 Sept; 3, 10, 17 Oct.

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20206d/5n5double pp1,449
20206d/5n5single supplement Mar - May255
20206d/5n5single supplement June, Sept - Oct269
20216d/5n5double pp1,539
20216d/5n5single supplement269
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20206d/5n5double pp1,589
20206d/5n5single supplement Mar - May279
20206d/5n5single supplement June, Sept - Oct299
20216d/5n5double pp1,689
20216d/5n5single supplement299
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20206d/5n5double pp1,865
20206d/5n5single supplement Mar - May329
20206d/5n5single supplement June, Sept - Oct349
20216d/5n5double pp2,059
20216d/5n5single supplement365
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20206d/5n5double pp16,585
20206d/5n5single supplement Mar - May2,905
20206d/5n5single supplement June, Sept - Oct3,099
20216d/5n5double pp17,619
20216d/5n5single supplement3,099
Recommended Reading

Johan Bojer's novel The Last of the Vikings (1922) tells the story of the Lofoten cod fishermen


Other Activities

Norway's diverse landscapes offer unparalleled opportunities for hiking, skiing, fishing, marine rafting or diving. The islands are also ideal for surfing - they are among Norway's best and the world's northernmost surfing spots.

Wildlife

Thanks to its varied topography, the Lofoten Islands are home to a huge variety of wildlife both on land and out to sea. The southern islands actually lie on the Røst Reef which boasts the world’s largest deep water coral reef. Other wildlife that can be seen includes birdlife such as sea eagles, cormorants and puffins and otters which are common throughout the fjords. Look out for moose and other bird species that nest in the mountains and cliffs. During the summer, the islands are a great location for whale watching with minkes and sperm whales being seen off the coast.

Other Information

There is also a spectacular 18-hole championship course nearby which is beautifully situated in nature making this holiday ideal to share with a golfing partner.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Svolvær Airport (SVJ) or Leknes Airport (LKN), Norway
Transfer:
2020/21: Included from either Svolvær (SVJ) or Leknes Airport (LKN)
Flight Guide:
London to Leknes from £288 return (via Oslo and Bodo)
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