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Íshestar invites you to come to South Iceland and ride to Landmannalaugar on the volcano mountain of Hekla! Your ride will start along the river banks of the mighty glacial river Thjórsá with a magnificent view of glacier Eyjafjallajökull and volcano Hekla. Your way back to civilization later will lead you down from the mountains into black lava and green valleys. The spirited and sure-footed horses will make this tour an experience of a lifetime! Join this holiday if you are someone seeking a challenging highland adventure!
You will be accommodated in various accommodation of shared rooms during the ride including Kálfhóll Farm on the first night, Réttarholt Guesthouse on the second night, Mountain Hut Hólaskógur on the third night, and Landmannahellir Mountain Cabin on the fourth and fifth night. On the sixth night, you may sleep in either Mountain Hut Klettur or Hólaskógur. Moreover, please note that accommodation after the ride is to be arranged individually.
Réttarholt Guesthouse is located on the edge of the highlands in the small village Árnes. There are nice cabins to sleep in here with five rooms and 24 regular beds in total. There are three showers that are placed in separate buildings and four water closets.
Landmannahellir is located in a peaceful area in Fjallabak and has for many years been one of the main dwelling places for sheep gatherers when they round up the sheep each autumn that have been grassing in this area during the summer. The cabin only has one room with 24 regular beds in total. There are two water closets in the building and two showers in a separate building.
Hólaskógur is a big mountain cabin in Þjórsárdalur, close to the glacier river Þjórsá. It is used in the autumn for the sheepherders but is open for travelers during the summer. There is only one room in the cabin with 50 regular beds in total. Hólaskógur has two showers and water closets.
Icelandic horse breed is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider, especially on a longer tour. Riding an Icelandic horse in its native habitat land is an authentic riding experience. Herding along free-running horses is the traditional way of traveling in Iceland since horses are changed at least once a day on longer tours. You will get to ride a variety of horses.
With over 30 years of experience providing horse riding tours to both locals and visitors, Íshestar is proud to be the industry leader in the caretaking of horses in Iceland. They work actively with MAST (Icelandic food and veterinary authority) to improve their caretaking methods. Íshestar's experience and collaboration with MAST and other leading veterinaries in Iceland prompted them to write and publish a handbook where their procedures are available to fellow horse riding tour operators as best-practice for optimal treatment for the Icelandic horse.
The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different than the tack ordinarily used for other breeds. The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. The saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides, a crupper helps to keep 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 and the bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.
If you know how to ride a horse using English riding style, you should have no problems riding an Icelandic horse. Western-style riders should not experience any difficulties adjusting to the Icelandic way of riding either. Íshestar's guides will take some time at the beginning of each tour to explain the correct way to saddle the horse, mount it, and how to ride the different gaits. They will carefully explain how and when to ride “tölt”, the special gait of the Icelandic horse.
This horseback riding tour is for advanced riders. You must be comfortable and in control at all paces, have firm seat, and comfortable in the saddle for up to seven hours per day. Advanced riders are also persons who usually ride regularly and are capable of handling horses in an open country.
You will be picked up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation between 18:00 to 19:00. Íshesta's bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Kálfhóll Farm where the horses and staff will be waiting for you. After a lovely introductory meal where you can get to know each other, you may relax and rest so you will be well prepared for the adventure ahead of you.
You will ride on fantastic riding paths along the mighty glacial river Þjórsá with views of the glacier Eyjafjallajökull and volcano Hekla. Later, you may stay at Réttarholt Guesthouse and relax in the hot tub outdoors.
Today. you will ride along the lovely river Sandá through the National Forest Skriðufellsskógur into the beautiful and famous valley of Thjórsárdalur. The mountain Dímon towers over the vast lavender blue lupine fields along the sandy tracks. You will stop at Stöng, the ruins of a medieval farmhouse excavated in 1939. In 1104, Mount Hekla erupted for the first time in the recorded history of Iceland. The eruption destroyed at least 20 farms in the valley Thjórsárdalur and among them is the farm Stöng. After a short stop at Gjáin, a mystical canyon with lots of small waterfalls and famous setting for "Games of Thrones", you will head for the cozy Mountain Hut Hólaskógur with a prime view of volcano Hekla.
You will ride over narrow tracks through black lava north of Valafell Mountain. Íshestar's sure-footed horses will carry you comfortably through rough terrains through the Lambaskarð mountain passage. You will continue on sandy paths close by lake Sauðleysuvatn and through the moon-like desert towards mountain hut Landmannahellir where you will spend two nights.
Today, you will ride to the famous Landmannalaugar with its natural hot pool surrounded by colorful mountains and lava from 1480. Íshestar's horses will rest in a paddock and you can have a good part of the day to relax in the hot pools or visit the numerous sights before returning to Landmannahellir. This day will be - without a doubt - one of the highlights of this tour.
You will leave the beautiful area of Landmannahellir and ride on towards the Herbjarnfell Mountain. Today's route will take you over varying landscape. You will ride across sanders, sharp lava, and huge pumice fields in many colors and over green grazing fields where the farmers drive their sheep during summer. You will stay overnight in the solitary mountain hut Klettur with a perfect view of the Hekla volcano. Here, you can get the feeling of being “on top of the world”.
Today, you will ride over the rich green mountain fields over Seljamýri to Fögruskógar and Þrengslasandur towards Réttarholt Guesthouse. Here, you will have to say goodbye to the horses and staff. The bus will take you back to Kálfhóll Farm for coffee and cake. You will then be driven back to your accommodation in Reykjavík.
Note: Please note that Íshestar reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries, or timetables without prior notice should the necessity arise.
This horse riding tour will take place in the Southern Region of Iceland. Iceland is the least densely populated country in Europe with a pure, unpolluted, and truly magical landscape. In Iceland, you can find hot spring oasis featuring hot pools and geothermal hot springs that are perfect for relaxing after a long riding day. On this tour, you will ride through various places including glacial river Þjórsá, the lovely river Sandá, National Forest Skriðufellsskógur, Thjórsárdalur valley, Stöng, Gjáin, Valafell Mountain, Lambaskarð, Landmannalaugar, Landmannahellir, Herbjarnfell Mountain, Seljamýri, Fögruskógar, and Þrengslasandur in the Mount Hekla area.
Mount Hekla is a highly active volcano often titled as the “Queen of Iceland”. The mountain towers regally over the region and every day, you can see evidence of its numerous devastating eruptions throughout the ages. In the old times, people actually believed it to be the gateway to hell.
Landmannalaugar is a geothermal wonderland in the Southern Highlands. Its natural bathing pools are only one of the highlights which make this area one of Iceland’s most popular destinations for nature lovers. The beautiful area Landmannahellir is a fitting outpost in the central highlands before going on to enjoy the colorful rhyolite mountains in Landmannalaugar, surrounded by black lava fields.
On the first day, a welcome dinner at Kálfhóll Farm will be held and during the ride, full board is provided. Íshestar's menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. You will make your own packed lunch from the breakfast table. Moreover, please note that alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty Free Store at Keflavík International Airport (KEF) upon arrival.
On Saturday, you can relax in the hot pools or visit the numerous sights of Landmannalaugar after the ride.
Please book your flight to arrive at Keflavík International Airport (KEF).
You can book your Flybus ticket to and from Reykjavík. The Flybus departs from Keflavík International Airport (KEF) 35 to 40 minutes after each arrival. Busses are located right outside the terminal building. Íshestar will pick you up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation between 18:00 to 19:00.
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