This fabulous tour on well trained and even tempered Icelandic horses is a perfect way to see the Kebnekaise mountains of Lapland in the far north of Sweden and Norway. You are north of the arctic circle and will get to know the Icelandic horse, have an adventure, be out in nature, sit round a campfire, learn about the Sami culture and sleep in a Sami tent (lávvu). The focus of this trip is the Icelandic horse, the riding, nature, weather and food, and a stress-free experience.
This trail is for those who want to ride up in the mountains with great views, near the nature in an area very few people ever see. You will mostly ride on pathless terrain so the pace can be quite slow. This is also for those who do not mind helping out with camping and don't mind being without luxury to experience the purest way of being out in nature.
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 VC of Lausanne on 19/08/2018
Grand Lapland Summer Trail (7d/6n) - Sweden
When you arrive to Kiruna we pick you up and then we go by car to our horse farm. We eat dinner together and you stay the night in a house at our farm in double rooms.
This morning after breakfast we'll start in an area close to our farm. We'll travel there by car and then ride through the forest up on the bare mountains with a fantastic view. We'll find you the perfect horse for your holiday. We continue to ride on the south side of the Kalix river and tonight we will sleep in a Sami tepee (lávvu) in our sleeping bags around the fireplace. We can also make a fire in the tepee if we want to and make it so cosy!
Day 3 - 5
The two following nights we will sleep in a cabin. During the tour we will have an extra horse carrying the food and our equipment but everyone carries her/his own personal things in saddle-bags on their own horse. The next morning we pack our things and ride over the bare mountain, coming down to the small sami settlement, Ratekjokk where we stay for two nights. In Ratekjokk we can have a sauna in the evening. The fourth day we ride a day tour and come back to Ratekjokk. For the next two days we ride over the mountain with a night in the tepee and come back to the place we started from.
Onto Puoltsa today where we stay overnight on our horse farm for the last night. Tonight it will be nice to have a shower and after that we have our last dinner together.
Departure day. The transfer will leave for Kiruna after breakfast.
Please note: Some tours are ridden in the opposite direction. The route is also subject to alterations as a result of unexpected weather.
Please follow this link for a map of the start point of this itinerary: Lapland Summer Trail
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.
There are about 20 Icelandic horses at the farm, and also two dogs and a cat. There are horses both for beginners and experienced riders. The Icelandic horse is quite small, about 130-145 cm high with four or five gaits walk, trot, canter, tölt and pace. You can have Icelandic horses both for riding tours with beginners and for competing. The paces are at walk, moderate distances in trot (tölt) and short distances in canter.
For this tour it is necessary to have some riding experience in varied terrain and to be in good physical health. It is also preferable if you have experience of camping as riders are encouraged to participate with setting up the camp.
Sometimes it is necessary to lead the horses when the terrain demands it, so you should be able to walk beside your horse for up to 20 minutes over rough terrain.
The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The places where you stay overnight are quite simple. 2 teepees, or 'lávvus', are provided between the group for the camping nights. The house on the base farm has three bedrooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom. You should bring your own sleeping bag for the “lávvu” nights. When in the farmhouse sheets and towels can be arranged for an extra cost which is payable on site. There is a sauna at the farmhouse, perfect for the end of a day riding!
On the trail, all personal equipment you carry with you in saddlebags. It can be windy and cold up in the mountains, so take warm clothes with you. There´s not very much room in the saddlebags so you have to think about what you really need to take with you. The ride provide sleeping bags and reindeer skins/sleeping mattresses at the overnight places, so you just need to take a travel sheet to put into the sleeping bag. There is usually no toilet and shower on the mountain tours. Other luggage they can keep for you during the tour.
Riders are expected to help out with camp chores and help each other out with the horses, there is a team atmosphere on this ride! The food is cooked together over a fire when outdoors. The food consists of specialities from the area, for example reindeer meat and fish prepared in a traditional way.
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.
British citizens and EU passport holders do not need a visa to visit Sweden but British citizens must be in possession of a valid passport. The British embassy is located in Stockholm, the British Consulate-General Address: Skarpögatan 6-8,
115 93 Stockholm. Switchboard telephone number (0046) (8) 671 3000, phone number (0046) (8) 671 3000. If you are a British citizen and find yourself in an emergency situation when the Embassy is closed, please telephone +46(0)8 671 3000 for instructions.
For sunshine visit Sweden between late May and late July, leaving before the August rains. The average temperature in the northernmost mountains in July is about 11°C (52°F), but you should be prepared for occasional sub-zero temperatures and snowfalls, even in summer. The northwest and far north: This is mostly a plateau of moderate to high elevation. Temperatures are largely controlled by altitude and at the higher levels snow cover persists throughout the year. In sheltered valleys precipitation may be much less than on the surrounding hills. Here, during fine weather, winter temperatures sink very low while summer temperatures may rise surprisingly high. The greater part of the area, however, has a severe winter climate with short, changeable summers. Sweden's northern latitude means that it never gets really dark from mid-May to late July, with the trade-off being a pervasive December dimness.
Some nights will be spent sleeping on sleeping mattresses and reindeer skins so if you have an allergy to animal fur please let us know beforehand. Riders should be fit enough to be able to walk alongside their horse up hills and where it is difficult to ride.
Please take along plenty of batteries and film with you before you travel. Camera batteries can be re-charged at the farm but not whilst camping. There is limited mobile phone coverage during the trail.
***Ofelas ask that guests do not to check in directly through to Kiruna even if they say at the airport that it is going to work. A lot of luggage gets stuck in Stockholm - please ask at check-in to be able to pick up and re-check your luggage.***
Raincoat/long raincoat and rain trousers - but these are also provided by the ride if you prefer
Rubber boots/waterproof boots (long legs, comfortable to walk in) with thick socks
Robust, comfortable, windproof jacket and trousers. Riding trousers are best, but not necessary
Warm sweater/sweaters. It can be cold and windy
Cap, gloves, scarf
2 pair of gloves - thin and thick
Long underpants - wool is the warmest
Extra t-shirt, underwear, socks
Sandals /other light shoes
Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, small towel, toilet paper etc.)
Plastic bags to pack into/waterproof bags
Small water bottle
Sunglasses and sun cream
Torch - in August
All personal equipment will be packed on your own horse in saddlebags during the tour. It can be windy and cold up in the mountains, so take warm clothes with you. There is not much room in the saddlebags so you will have to think about what you really need to take with you - your hosts will help you pack before you leave for the trail. You will need to pack for two days in the saddlebags, the remaining items can be sent to the cabin in Ratekjokk (where you can have some extra clothes to change into).
There will be sleeping bags and reindeer skins/sleeping mattresses in the tepee, so you need to take a travel sheet to put into the sleeping bag. Long-sleeved underwear, long underpants and socks are good to sleep in, in the tepee, wool is the warmest material. If you don´t have wool or silk, then synthetic is better than cotton.
There are set departure dates in July and August for the 6 night trails. Please see the itinerary below for details.
2019: 30 Jun; 14, 28 Jul; 11, 25 Aug
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To learn more about the Sami people have a look at www.samer.se and about Kiruna www.kommun.kiruna.se/Om-kommunen/English/