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Spectacular Volcanic Area Horse Riding Tour Iceland

Íslandshestar invites you to come to South Iceland and ride to Landmannalaugar on the volcano mountain of Hekla! On this exciting tour, you will see the mountain Hekla towering over the region and every day find evidence of its numerous devastating eruptions throughout the ages.

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 242 pounds / 110 kilograms
  • Tack Type: close to the English tack, but stirrups are worn long
  • Horse Breed: Icelandic horse

Meet the instructors

Hannes and family at Kálfhóll farm
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Highlights

  • 6 days of picturesque horse riding
  • 20 - 40 kilometers of daily horseback riding
  • Ride to Gjáin, a famous setting for Game of Thrones
  • Horseback ride with an amazing view of the glacier and Hekla volcano
  • 3 - 4 horses per person and local guidance
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Daily meals during the ride
  • Transfer from Reykjavík to the farm

Skill level

  • Advanced

Styles


6 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 20 participants
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Accommodation

Landmannahellir Mountain Cabin

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.

  • Number of rooms: 1
  • Number of beds: 24
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: No
  • Number of showers: 2 in separate buildings
  • GSM connection: No
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Made-up beds: No
  • Number of WC: 2 (in the building)

Réttarholt Guesthouse

It is located on the edge of the highlands in the small village of Árnes. There are nice cabins to sleep in.

  • Number of rooms: 5
  • Number of beds: 24
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: No
  • Number of showers: 3 in separate buildings
  • GSM connection: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Made-up beds: No
  • Number of WC: 4

Hólaskógur

It 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.

  • Number of rooms: 1
  • Number of beds: 50
  • Outdoor jacuzzi: No
  • Number of showers: 2
  • GSM connection: yes
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Made-up beds: No
  • Number of WC: 2

Program

Daily itinerary

Day 1: Reykjavík - Kálfhóll

Pick up at BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik at 6:00 p.m., where the bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Kálfhóll farm where horses and staff are waiting for the group. After a lovely introductory meal where you get to know each other. Relax and rest so you are well prepared for the adventure ahead of you.

Day 2: Kálfhóll - Glacier river Thjórsá - Réttarholt

Ride on fantastic riding paths along the mighty glacial river Þjórsá, with views of the glacier Eyjafjallajökull and the volcano Hekla. You leave the horses at Sandlækjarmýri field and drive to Réttarholt. This day is the perfect start to getting to know your horse and the Icelandic way of trail riding in a relaxed atmosphere. You stay at Kálfhóll and relax in the hot tub outdoors.

  • Approximate riding distance: 20 kilometers

Day 3: Réttarholt - Mountain hut Hólaskógur

Today, you ride along the lovely river Sandá through the National Forest Skriðufellskógur into the beautiful and famous valley of Thjórsárdalur. The volcano Hekla towers over the vast lavender-blue lupine fields along the sandy tracks. You stop at Stöng, the ruins of a medieval farmhouse excavated in 1939. In 1104, Mt Hekla erupted for the first time in the recorded history of Iceland.

The eruption destroyed at least 20 farms in the valley Thjórsárdalur, among them the farm Stöng. After a short stop at Gjáin, a mystical canyon with lots of small waterfalls and a famous setting for Games of Thrones, you head for the cozy mountain hut Hólaskógur with a prime view of Volcano Hekla.

  • Approximate riding distance: 35 kilometers

Day 4: Mountain hut Hólaskógur - Landmannahellir Mountain hut

You ride over narrow tracks through black lava north of Valafell mountain. The surefooted horses carry you comfortably through rough terrain through the Lambaskarð mountain passage. You continue on sandy paths close to Lake Sauðleysuvatn and through the moonlike desert towards Mountain Hut Landmannahellir, where you will spend two nights.

  • Approximate riding distance: 30 kilometers

Day 5: Landmannahellir - Landmannalaugar - Landmannahellir Mountain hut

Today you ride to the famous Landmannalaugar, with its natural hot pool, surrounded by colorful mountains and lava from 1480. The horses rest in a paddock and you 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.

  • Approximate riding distance: 40 kilometers

Day 6: Landmannahellir - Mountain hut Hólaskógur

You leave the beautiful area of Landmannahellir and ride on towards the Herbjarnfell mountain. Today's route takes you over the varying landscape. You ride across sanders, sharp lava, huge pumice fields in many colors, and over-green grazing fields where the farmers drive their sheep during summer. You stay overnight in the solitary mountain hut Hólaskógur with a perfect view of the Hekla volcano. Here, you get the feeling of being “on top of the world”.

  • Approximate riding distance: 40 kilometers

Day 7: Mountain hut Hólaskógur - Réttarholt Guesthouse - Kálfhóll - Reykjavík

Today you ride over the rich green mountain fields over Seljamýri to Fögruskógar and Þrengslasandur towards Réttarholt Guesthouse. Here, you have to say goodbye to horses and staff. The bus will take you back to Kálfhóll farm for coffee and cake. You then drive back to Reykjavík BSÍ.

  • Approximate riding distance: 35 kilometers

About the tour

The ride starts along the river banks of the mighty glacial river Thjórsá, with a magnificent view of glacier Eyjafjallajökull and Volcano Hekla. The beautiful area of 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.

Your way back to civilization leads you down from the mountains and into black lava and green valleys. The spirited and sure-footed horses make this tour an experience of a lifetime for anyone seeking a challenging highland adventure. Gestur and family at Kálfhóll farm offer this tour. Íslandshestar reserves the right to alter the itinerary if necessary.

Riding skills

Advanced riders.

Tack type

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. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides, a crupper helps keep the saddle in place. The riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to the English riding style, but stirrups are worn long. The bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip-on reins.

Instructors

Hannes and family at Kálfhóll farm

Location

Mount Hekla is a highly active volcano often titled the “Queen of Iceland”. The mountain towers regally over the region and every day we 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. It is natural bathing pools are only one of the highlights which make this area one of Iceland’s most popular destinations for nature lovers.

Tour highlights

Þjórsá

A glacier river with its source in Hofsjökull. It is the longest river in Iceland around 230 kilometers.

Eyjafjallajökull

Glacier is located in south Iceland. Under its small ice cap rests a caldera of an active volcano that famously erupted in 2010. Despite its relatively small eruption, it caused a massive air traffic disturbance in Europe for a week.

Hekla volcano

Mount Hekla often titled the “Queen of Iceland” is a highly active fissure vent and a stratovolcano in South Iceland. Its numerous and frequent eruptions have produced a massive amount of lava and a big coverage of tephra layers. In the middle ages, it was referred to as the Gateway to hell by Europeans.

Sandá

A river that runs beside Þjórsá and a good salmon river. The name translates to "sand river."

Þjórsárdalur

The valley takes its name from the river Þjórsá. It is rather flat and marked by Hekla’s numerous eruptions both with fields of lava and tephra. Famous sites of interest are the Commonwealth Farm, Stöng, the 122-meter waterfall Háfoss, the waterfall Hjálparfoss, and Vegghamrar.

Mount Dímon

Around 200 meters high located in the forest Skriðufellskógur surrounded by birch and spruce forest.

Stöng

The ruins of a medieval farmhouse were 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, among them the farm Stöng.

Gjáin

A mystical canyon with lots of small waterfalls and a famous setting for Games of Thrones.

Hólaskógur

The cozy cabin Hostel with a beautiful view of volcano Hekla. It is located near Háifoss Waterfall, Gjáin, and Hjálparfoss Waterfall.

Lambaskarð

A mountain passage.

Sauðleysuvatn

It is an unusually deep lake within walking distance of Landmannahellir. It is not accessible by car.

Landmannahellir

A cave that was formerly a well-known resting place for travelers of Landmannaleið and farmers rounding up their sheep. Later the mountain hut next to it was built.

Landmannalaugar

Breathtaking landscape and geology. Famous for its colorful rhyolite mountains, natural hot pool to bathe in, and lava field from 1480. There are plenty of short and long interesting hiking trails with breathtaking scenery. The beginning of the famous hiking trail Laugavegur ends in Þórsmörk or Skógar.

Food

During the ride, full board meals are provided and included in the price. The menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table. 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.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 days of riding
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Full board meals while on the riding tour
  • All transfers during the riding tour
  • 3 - 4 horses per person and local guidance
  • Rainwear, saddle bag, water bottle, and a safety helmet
  • 11% VAT

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Individual travel insurance

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by bus

Íslandshestar's pick up for the tours will be from BSÍ bus station, except for the tours that use domestic flights.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
7 days / 6 nights
from --

Availability

Arrival: Monday August 12, 2024
Departure: Sunday August 18, 2024

Special discount

Children under 12 years old will receive a 25% discount on Íslandshestar’s multi-day tours.

Low season

  • Rest of the year

 

High season for 2025:

  • June 22 to August 16

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