East and South Iceland: (IT-ICRT-E18)
East and South
The journey starts in Southern Iceland, between three stunning glaciers! We ride north from the cornet-shaped mountain Einhyrningur with its troll's head cliff and then across the Markarfljót River. Following an ancient route, the sands, lava, glaciers and high, majestic mountains spread out in front of us promising an exciting and breath-taking landscape to conquer. We will ride over a 30km-long sand plain with a pristine glacier on one side and the rustic Icelandic highlands on the other, before crossing a powerful glacial river and riding over the mountains to the green Ófærudalur Valley. We visit Eldgjá Gorge, a 40km-long volcanic crater where we will see the beautiful waterfall Ófærufoss. Arriving in Landmannalaugar, where we have the opportunity to bathe in a natural hot spring, where we will be surrounded by a most beautiful mountain chain. We spend a day riding in this very colorful rhyolite mountain area, which is one of Iceland's most outstanding sites. The riding tour will come to a close in the lush district of Fljótshlíd, one of the locales historically written about in the Icelandic Sagas.
Sleeping bag accommodation (bring your own sleeping bag or pillow) with full board is included (apart from dinner the last evening). Lodging is in mountain huts, community centres and guesthouses.
You can choose to stay the first night in our hotel with private rooms instead of in sleeping bag accommodation (addition al charge).
Bed & Breakfast accommodation in Reykjavík is inclued the night after the tour. On departure day breakfast is included.
The chefs try and provide a nice variety of foods. Specialities include fish, kjötsúpa (an icelandic soup, with meat, vedgetable and rice) and BBQ.
A very special experience seldom to be experienced anywhere else but in Iceland - except maybe on some of our horse drives. On this ride you will be riding with a free running herd of horses. You may switch horses from time to time.
The Icelandic Horse
The origin of the horse in Iceland is exactly the same as the arrival of the first settlers from Scandinavia in the ninth century. Clearly, the horse was the catalyst that allowed the settlement of Iceland to go forward and prosper. Since no other breed of horse has ever been imported to Iceland, this special animal is a pure-bred "Viking Horse".
The horse was used for everything. They worked tilling the farmlands from dawn to dusk and provided transportation between the farms as they were settled. They went on scouting expeditions into this new territory in search of everything from water to grazing areas. Strong and sure footed, the Icelandic horse adjusted and adapted to this new land certainly as fast and most likely faster than the new settlers.
Viking battles were fought on horseback and the animal quickly adjusted to any situation that was presented to it. Is it any wonder that many of the slain Vikings warriors of the many battles in earlier times were often buried with their horses as a sign of honor and respect.
The Icelandic horse has many characteristics unique unto itself. Perhaps the most noticeable would be its intermediate size and the mane of shaggy hair. The five gaits of the horse are also one of the special features that sets it apart form all other horses. These gaits are the fetgangur, the walk or step, the brokk or trot, the tölt, which is a faster type of walk, the skeið or the pace and the stökk, or gallop.
On large farm areas, perimeter fences keep in most of the horses, but many are also simply allowed to run free. This most naturally accounts for the spirited nature of the animal. All of them seem to adapt to the personality of their owner. It is essential to establish a trust between the Icelandic horse and the rider. Doing so literally guarantees a friend for life. The passion and spirit of the Icelandic horse is never broken only brought under control. As a result, the Icelandic pure-bred horse remains one the world's most unique animals to this day.
Day 1: Arrival at Keflavik Airport, Iceland. You take the bus from Keflavik to Reykjavik BSÍ (central bus station). Our representative will greet you at 17.30 - 18.00 and arrange further transportation to the farm Vellir near Hveragerdi. In Hveragerdi the tour members will be lodged in guesthouses. The first evening we will dine together, and we will provide details about the next few days.
Day 2: Hveragerdi - Einhyrningur
We go by car from Hveragerdi to the farm Eyvindarmúli where the riding tour starts. We ride further east in the area of Fljotshlid, known from Njál's Saga. We cross the river Grímsá and ride to the mountain Einhyrningur. The mountain is shaped like a cornet and has a characteristic cliff resembling a horn in the head of a troll. We spend the night in a mountain hut. 25 km, 5 hours.
Day 3: Einhyrningur - Hvanngil
We ride on soft roads with a view in the North of Tindfjallajökull Glacier. We ride to Markarfljót River and over it to Emstrur. From there, we follow the ancient route Fjallabaksleid Sydri, where sand, lava, glacier and high majestic mountains meet us. We come to Hvanngil after crossing Kaldalófsá River . Hvanngil is a newly built mountain hut with all facilities. 30 km, 6 hours.
Day 4: Hvanngil - Lambaskardshólar
From Hvanngil we ride over the 30-km-long sand plain Mælifellssandur. On one side, we have Mýrdalsjökull Glacier and, on the other, the Icelandic highland. We cross the powerful Hólmsá River and follow a mountain road to the valley Álftavatnskrókur and on to Ófærudalur Valley , with its exceptional surroundings, shaped in a volcano eruption 1100 years ago. We cross the river Sydri Ófærá before coming to Lambaskardshólar where we spend the night. We also have here the opportunity to take a shower. 45 km, 9 hours.
Day 5: Lambaskardshólar - Landmannalaugar
On our way to Landmannalaugar, we visit Eldgjá, a 40-km-long volcano crater, with unique stone formations. Riding into Eldgjá, we find the Ófærufoss Fall, known from the movie "The Raven Flies". The way wends along soft paths over Herdubreidarháls to the Jökuldalir Valleys. We ride into Landmannalaugar where we have the opportunity to bathe in natural hot springs. 35 km, 7 hrs.
Day 6: Landmannalaugar - Landmannahellir
We continue through Landmannalaugar. The mountains around the hot springs are extraordinary and beautiful. We then ride to Landmannahellir. On both sides, we have the famous and incredibly colourful mountain chain of Landmannalaugar. 35 km, 7 hrs.
Day 7: Landmannahellir - Hvanngil
This day we ride up along Pokahryggir to Reykjadalir. We will also find hot springs and beautiful colours here . We cross Markarfljót, where the river is shallowest. We continue over mountains and through valleys north and east of Laufafell, through Álftavatnsskard to Lake Áltfavatn. The night is spent in Hvanngil. 50 km, 9-10 hrs.
Day 8: Hvanngil - Fljotshlid
On the last day, we ride in the same area as the first day, but farther south to the beautiful district Fljotshlid, known from the Saga of Burning Njál. The tour ends at Grímsá River. 25 km, 4-5 hrs.
Day 9: Departure. You take the bus to Keflavik Airport (not included).
Subject to change
Rates and Dates for Landmannalaugar Nature
Sleeping bag accommodations, all meals (except dinner last night), 7 riding days
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Reykjavik BSI bus station is included
Rates do not include:
Airport transfer into town - take the Flybus !
Dinner last evening.
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Reykjavik BSI central bus station on Day 1 between 5:30-6 PM.
As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected because of the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. The summer temperatures in Reykjavík range from 41°F (5°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day. The average January temperature is 31°F (-0.5°C). The south is the wettest part of the country, but snow is rare. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy. During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights. From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the opposite is true, with the country only experiencing a few hours of daylight each day. The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.
What To Bring:
Despite its extreme north Atlantic situation, Reykjavik's climate is not as cold as might be expected, its average mid-winter temperatures being no lower than those in New York City. This is because the Icelandic coastal weather is tempered by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The city's coastal location does, however, also mean it is prone to wind, and gales are common in winter. Reykjavik is also a very wet city, having on average 213 rainy days out of the year, with spring having slightly more sunny days.
We provide the following:
· Safety helmets
· During the wintertime we also provide winter overalls
· Rubber boots
You should bring:
· A waist bag is useful when riding. (A backpack is not good because it bumps around when you are riding and it may hurt you if you fall off).
· Please note, sleeping bags are not provided. Please bring your own with a pillow.
· Please bring your Travel Insurance Card information.
· Normal street-clothes are not necessary except for your stay in Reykjavik the last night.
It is not yet legally mandatory that riders need to wear riding helmets. Never-the-less we strongly recommend clients wear one. Clients will be experiencing a new breed of horses in new terrain, involving gravel, stones and rocks. Therefore it is in the clients best interest to take precautions. If they feel they do not want to wear a helmet after the first few days it is up to them. However, some insurance companies in Europe refuse to pay in case of an accident if the client has not been wearing a riding helmet. We provide helmets here in Iceland which clients are welcome to use but if you want to bring your own it is fine with us. If you bring your own it has to be sterilized before bringing it into Iceland.
We recommend to bring a small camera that can be taken in a pocket, a waist/hip bag or in the saddle bag.
Large camera equipment we can not allow on the horses for security reasons. Tours are operated with a free running herd - at speed of tölt or trot for most of the day. We take breaks to relax the horses and then it is possible to take pictures. While on the horse taking pictures is rather difficult since the horses are constantly moving. Because of the herd instinct it is not possible to stop an individual horse, they all will follow each other.
You can leave larger Digital SLR with your luggage at the farm or put it in their luggage that will be transferred to the new accommodation.
Regarding the sterilization: What can be washed in a washing machine at medium temperature or dry cleaned is fine (even riding trousers). But what can not be washed or dry-cleaned or is a full leather garment needs to be sterilized.
You should be ready for all kinds of weather as it can change very quickly. We provide you with good rain-clothes, a riding helmet and at winter time a thermo overall, gloves and rubber boots.
Luggage that is not needed on the tour can be left at the office and recovered at the end of the tour.
Caution: Used boots, riding wear, saddlebags etc. must be disinfected before arrival to Iceland. That is because infectious diseases can easily be brought into the country, which pose a great danger for the horses. Riding wear is normally washed and shoes and cleaned with iodine or some other fluid disinfectant. All used leather articles are prohibited.
|This list is only a guideline for you
|Hidden Trails Travel Documents and TripVoucher (contains important local tour contact info.)
|Visa (check with your consulate)
|Riding pants or Jodhpurs
|Riding boots (rubber is best)
|Riding helmet (provided, but bring your own if you like)
|Jacket or sweater for cool evenings, long underwear, scarf
|Underwear and warm socks
|Pyjamas and slippers (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house)
|Bag for dirty clothes
|Swimsuit and towel
|For Camping trips:
|Sleeping Bag and Pillow!! (not provided)
|Towel and small bar of soap
|ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
|Sore cream and bandaids/ second skin plasters for chaffing
|Adapter for electric appliances
|Camera and extra film or batteries
|Address book and pen (for postcards!)
|Sun glasses with strap
|Sun tan lotion and lip balm