Welcome to a great winter adventure in the north of Sweden, encompassing all the best activities. Go reindeer sledging, ride Icelandic horses, learn about the Sami culture and visit the famous IceHotel all on this fabulous horseback holiday. This is the ideal holiday for all the family, beginners and non-riders can join in all the fun!
Your Sami guides are very familiar with this area of Sweden and its culture, and know the best places to find wildlife such as reindeer and moose, and the illusive Northern Lights. You will feel true peace and quiet, and be very much out in nature. What you will experience on this short break is both genuine and exciting.
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 NR of Leeds on 30/12/2017
After your arrival in Kiruna you are transferred to the farm. Please aim to get a morning flight as you will then arrive in good time to enjoy a riding lesson to get to know the horses before a delicious two course dinner. You might be lucky enough to see wild moose and the Northern Lights outside the window. Overnight at the farm.
Today you will try ice fishing on a tarn up in the mountains, only accessible by snowmobile. Your Sami guide will even teach you how to drive it! Lunch is taken when out in the countryside and as night falls you saddle up and head out for a magical ride through the forest where you will hopefully get to see the Northern Lights, reindeer and moose. The evening is spent in the goathi (Sami hut), talking round the fire and enjoying an evening meal before heading home.
Today you will experience a reindeer sledging tour, which is the old way of transportation in this area. After lunch we head off to the famous Icehotel. This extraordinary hotel is rebuilt each winter, from snow and ice, taking inspiration from the river Torne. A true work of art. Dinner is taken at the hotel. After dinner we head back to the farm although those who would like to spend the night in the Icehotel can do so for a supplementary cost.
The morning is spent riding on a shorter trail through the forest. After lunch (not included) you say goodbye to Sweden and are transferred back to Kiruna airport.
Please note: The itinerary for this riding holiday is intended as a guide. Activities are subject to change as a result of unexpected weather.
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 on the farm, two dogs and a cat, a tame reindeer and his friends and 2 goats. There are horses both for beginners and experienced riders.
The Icelandic horse is quite small, around 130-145 cm high with four or five gaits walk, trot, canter (including gallop), tölt and pace. The paces are at walk, moderate distances in trot (tölt) and short distances in canter.
No riding experience is necessary for this short break and guests can participate as much or as little as they wish in the riding programme.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
On the farm there are three twin rooms with shared comfortable living area, kitchen and 2 shower rooms. Sheets and towels can be arranged on site. Meals are served in the main kitchen/dining area, or in the Blue House kitchen.
The meals are delicious and all home cooked. They are very tasty and passionately prepared with attention to detail and presentation. Breads, cakes, pastries, sweets are all homemade, even when out on a picnic.
Breakfast includes a selection of the following: breads, meats and cheese, hard boiled egg, cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurts, juice, tea and coffee.
Lunch and dinner, 2 or 3 courses consisting of local produce, for example; salmon soup, feta salad with reindeer stew and rice, moose burgers, homemade blueberry cake, homemade orange cheese cake.
When visiting the Icehotel, dinner is taken in one of the warm restaurants. Top quality service and dishes of local produce. Included in the price is your choice of 2 courses. You may pay extra for drinks and a third course, should you choose. Traditional meals are cooked over a fire when outdoors.
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. In the winter months in the Arctic Circle, you can expect temperatures of -10 to -30 and it can be very chilly in the wind. 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.
Please note that cameras and phones will stop working in these freezing temperatures. You may wish to consider buying a freezeproof camera, although the battery on these will also run out quickly in cold temperatures.
***We strongly suggest that guests do not to check their luggage 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.***
Suggested packing list:
Driving license (for those wanting to drive the snowmobile)
Snow boots/walking boots for general use
Quilted jacket and trousers, such as ski wear
Thick woollen jumpers
Gloves - it is recommended you take inner liner gloves AND normal woolen gloves AND winter gloves (such as ski gloves)
Sunglasses (February to April)
Thermal underwear/sports base layers
Clothes to layer up, such as long sleeved tops and jogging bottoms
Thick socks - ski/walking socks. You may need to wear 2 pairs each day
While winter clothing is available to borrow, it is recommended you take as much as you can of your own. Available to borrow; overalls, (riding) boots, hats, gloves, snoods, mittens/riding mittens, socks, jumpers, balaclava, woollen trousers...
If you have woollen sweaters, underwear, hat, gloves, scarf, socks we recommend you to take them instead of synthetic materials because it is warmer with wool. Cotton is not to recommend as it is a cold material. In the winter you will need many layers of clothing and it is important that they are not too tight as the air between the layers is warming.
Example what to wear under your overalls on a cold day:
one layer of thinner underwear wool/(synthetic)
one layer of wool/fleece sweater
one layer of wool/fleece/jogging trousers/riding breeches
2-3 pair of woollen socks
On a warmer day you may not need a quilted jacket and trousers under the overalls. Instead, an extra layer would be sufficient.
Sleeping bags, reindeer skins/sleeping mattresses are provided so you just need to take a travel sheet to put into the sleeping bag
This is a 4 day/3 night programme with riding on 2 days available on set dates in the winter months.
2020:19 Jan; 2 (FULL), 16, Feb; 1, 15, 29 (FULL) Mar.
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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/
You will get to enjoy reindeer sledging and learn how to drive a snow mobile. Your Sami guide will also teach you how to ice fish!
Despite the climate there is plenty of wildlife around, moose, reindeer, snow hares and wolverines, for example.