This tour has a free running herd of horses
Experience the diversity of the Icelandic horse in its natural environment, far from civilization, and how Icelanders travelled in the old days with a herd of free-running horses. Every rider gets the chance to try 2 or 3 different horses each day, which develops riding skills. This tour is best suited to experienced riders with a taste for a riding adventure - accommodation is varied with one night in sleeping bags in a simple mountain hut.
We have two options to choose from 5 days or 6 days - the 6 day tour includes a long beach and river ride.
Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the Flybus from the airport to the bus station in Reykjavík. We will collect you at the bus station or at your hotel/guesthouse in Reykjavik between 17:30- 18:00 and drive you to our farm near the village Hveragerði. There you will be lodged at our guesthouse. We will get to know each other during dinner at our Hotel which is onsite to the stables. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.
Day 2: Hveragerdi – Torfastaðir
We take the bus to the farm Torfastaðir in Fljótslhlíð, South Iceland, where the tour begins, and get to know the horses. On the first day, we ride from Torfastaðir to the river Markarfljót, crossing wide plains along the old river banks with views of hills, mountains and glaciers. After reaching the striking rock Dímon, which is well known from the Saga of Njáll, we cross the old bridge over the river Markarfljót and end the farm Stóru-Mörk / Ásgarður, where we stay overnight.
Riding time and distance: 22-25 km – 4 hours.
Day 3: Stóra-Mörk – Thórsmörk
Today we ride from the farm Stóra-Mörk towards the valley Thórsmörk. We follow the river Markarfljót (known from the Saga of Njáll) along the slopes of the famous glacier and volcano Eyjafjallajökull, riding on the soft ground covered by the ash of the volcano’s eruption in 2010, which has changed the landscape in this area considerably. During our ride into the valley we cross several rivers and ride along the banks of the torrential glacial river Krossá, before we reach the beautiful nature reserve Thórsmörk, which is named after the old Nordic god Thór. The picturesque valley is framed by glaciers on three sides, Eyjafjallajökull, Tindafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. We stay overnight at the mountain hut Básar in Thórsmörk. In the evening we get the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular landscape of the broad valley with surprisingly rich vegetation, birch woods, canyons and lava formations shaped by rivers and volcanos.
Riding time and distance:25 km – 5-6 hours.
Day 4: Thórsmörk – Stóra-Mörk
The day begins with a visit of the “Elves Church”, a distinctive volcanic formation, followed by a visit of the enormous canyon Stakkholtsgjá, an unforgettable experience. We follow the riding trail of the day before out of the valley, ride over the green heathlands Hamragarðaheiði and then back to the path again through the valley of the river Markarfljót until we reach the farm Stóra-Mörk / Ásgarður, where we stay overnight.
Riding time and distance:30 km, 6 hours.
Day 5: Stóra-Mörk – Torfastaðir
On our last day, we first ride on good riding trails in the surroundings of the river Markarfljót and then follow an old road through the nice landscape along the green hills of Fljótshlíð. On our way back to the farm Torfastaðir we ride past the farm Hlíðarendi, where one of the most famous Vikings, Gunnar of Hlíðarendi, lived and died, according to the Saga of Njáll. Around 15:00 we drive back to our farm and after a short stop at the farm the bus takes you to Reykjavik, where the tour ends (around 17:30).
Riding time and distance: 25 km, 4-5 hours.
After an overnight stay in our guest house we head off with the horses to the beach. We follow a scenic beach along the North Atlantic surf for a few kilometeres, riding on the black lava sand until we meet the delta of the river Olfusa. The ride continues through the shallow water at the edge of the river and along grassy banks, along wetlands and meadows back to the farm. After a chance to refresh at the farm we head off on the bus to Reykavik for around 17.30.
If none of these dates suit you get in contact with your preferred dates as we have other tours available.
5 days 4 nights full board £1895
6 days 5 nights full board £2340 - same dates but no option for this tour on 28 July
Accommodation at guesthouse Eldhestar (1 night) in shared rooms and sleeping bag accommodation in farmhouses and a simple mountain hut (3 nights in shared rooms), full board.
Please note that dinner on the last day is not included.
What to bring
We can provide you with hats, riding boots and rain/ outerwear but please have good shoes, comfortable leggings or tracksuit bottoms (riding jodphurs not necessary), gloves and a buff is recommended and if you want to bring a camera, please bring a small waist bag as backpacks cannot be taken on horseback. Bring your swimsuit and towel!
Riding wear / gear – Caution: Disinfect!
Used boots, riding wear, helmets, saddlebags etc. must be disinfected before arrival in Iceland. Chaps, bridles and other used leather gear must not be brought to Iceland. That is because infectious, contagious diseases can easily be brought into the country, which poses a great threat for the horses as they are not vaccinated. Riding wear is normally washed and shoes and are washed and cleaned with VirkonS, Iodine or some other fluid disinfectant.
The riding style in Iceland is similar to English riding. We use simple snaffle bits, bridles with detachable nose-bands and clips on the end of the reins so they can be easily removed when grazing. Our saddles are comfortable with soft, rather flat seat, it is not necessary to bring saddle seat pads.
This tour is for experienced riders. We select horses according to riding skills and participants on our tours always get to try “tölt”, the special, smooth gait of the Icelandic horse.
Icelandic horses are capable of carrying adults without difficulty. The maximum weight is 120 kg/18 stone . Riders must be able to mount a horse with little assistance.
Climate and weather
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, temperatures are usually moderate all year round. Average temperatures in Reykjavík are about 12°C in July and 1°C in January. Icelandic weather is known to be unpredictable and changing several times a day. A beautiful day can suddenly turn windy and rainy (and vice versa). Travellers to Iceland should be prepared for anything and dress in layers.
From mid-May to mid-August the sun only sets for only a few hours per day, and it is effectively light for the whole 24-hour period. In contrast, there are around 4-5 hours of effective daylight during mid-winter. But Iceland’s inexpensive geothermal energy means that streets and buildings are well-lit during winter darkness.
For this tour we stay at Stóra-Mörk (a farmhouse accommodation) where we stay in two guesthouses with twin rooms and at Básum in Þórsmörk we are using a cottage for 23 people with all staying in one big room. There is no single room accommodation.
For tips regarding your holiday such as what to wear and riding ability, please visit the Travel Tips page.
We work hard to ensure that each customer has a great time on their holiday. Please see some riding holiday reviews here.
We have a large range of holidays to suit a range of riding abilities. Please see here for more information.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.