Pearls of the North

Northern Tours Iceland: (IT-ICRT-E16)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_pearls_of_north_eh.aspx

Introduction
Northern Tours Iceland
This tour takes us in the area between the two highland deserts Kjölur and Sprengisandur, exploring in detail the landscape south of Hofsjökull, the third largest glacier in Iceland. We start the tour along the glacial river Hvitá and visit the famous Gullfoss waterfall before heading north into the wilderness towards the glacier. At the Kerlingafjöll, the colorful mountain of the “old ladies“, we experience the stunning contrast of glacier ice and hot springs. The Kerlingafjöll area is one of the most beautiful and interesting area in Iceland. The tour continues east towards Sprengisandur, down the beautiful cleft Laxárgljúfur to the green hills Hrunamannahreppur, and end at the farm Kaldbak. 

Accomodation


Accommodation
This is a progressive ride so you will be staying in different locations.

Description
Accommodation during the tour is at farms, guesthouses, community centers and simple mountain huts (sometimes dormitory style accommodation). Please, bring your own sleeping bag and pillow. Bathrooms are shared everywhere except while staying at the accommodations in Vellir.
Wi-Fi access is only available at the accommodations in Vellir. There are no laundry facilities available during this trip.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Guesthouse in Vellir
Night 2: Mountain Hut Fremstaver
Night 3: Accommodation in Árbúdir
Night 4: Mountain Hut in Kerlingafjöll
Night 5: Svínárnes Mountain Hut
Night 6: Helgaskáli Mountain Hut



Guesthouse in Vellir
You will sleep in made-up beds at the riding farm's guesthouse (2-4 bed rooms, shared facilities). The guesthouse offers a comfortable living room, shared bathroom facilities, tea kettle that can also be used to make instant coffee, and small refrigerator. Guests that stay at the guesthouse are welcome to use all facilities and services of our Hotel, including the hot tub.
An upgrade to our hotel is possible for a supplement (if rooms available).

Room Occupancy
If we are unable to find another rider to share the room with you, a single supplement fee applied.
Single room accommodations are subject to availability.



Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on the last day.

The chefs try and provide a nice variety of foods. Specialties include fish, kjötsúpa (an Icelandic soup, with meat, vegetable and rice) and BBQ.

Alcohol is not included in the price. However, we do bring wine, beer and soda on tour for those who would like to buy it at a discounted price.
We do not allow the consumption of alcohol while people are riding – for instance at lunchtime.

Dietary Restrictions
We are able to cater to most dietary needs with prior notice. However, we are unable meet the needs of those who have food allergies which cause anaphylaxis.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Riding Experience
This ride is suitable for intermediate riders, with a secure, balanced seat and a good physical condition. We ride up to 45 km per day mostly in the gait tölt and take a herd of free-running horses with us part of the tour, which requires a certain speed.

Pace
We cover about 220km total over 6 riding days. On average, we ride between 4-9 hours every day, covering approx. 25 - 55 km.

Tack and Riding Style
The riding style in Iceland is similar to English riding. We use simple snaffle bits, bridles with detachable nosebands 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.

Riding Gear – 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.
We can lend you a riding helmet for the length of the tour.
Backpacks, large cameras, selfie sticks and other bulky items cannot be taken on horseback tours. Small waist bags are allowed.

Horses
Since 2007, our breeding program has followed two fundamental ideas. First, we strive to breed well-behaved and well-gaited riding horses that ought to suit most of our guests. Second, we breed horses with experienced riders in mind, suitable for riding classes and the company’s horse shows. As our greatest challenge has always been combining well-behaved and reliable horses with soft and simple gaits, we invested in mares that are likely to produce the expected results. Another important factor in achieving the desired outcome is choosing the right stallion for those mares.

Free running herd of horses
Experience the diversity of the Icelandic horse in its natural environment, far from civilization. On this trip, we travel with herd of free-running horses, as Icelanders used to travel in the old days. You may switch horses from time to time.

Itinerary


Sample itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the flight bus from the airport to the ending bus station BSÍ in Reykjavík. We will greet you at the bus station or at your hotel/ guesthouse in Reykjavik for 17:30 and drive you to our farm Vellir near Hveragerði. There you will be lodged at our guesthouse. We will get to know each other during the dinner. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Guesthouse


Day 2: Myrkholt – Fremstaver
We start the riding from Myrkhol and along Hvítá to our first stop will be at Gullfoss. From Gullfoss we ride into the wilderness, in a black desert of stones and sand until we come to the Mt. Bláfell, 1160 m above sea level, which gives us a beautiful view over Kjölur. We see the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Hofsjökull and the volcano Hekla and, on the right, Mt. Hlödufell and the Langjökull Glacier. We spend the night south of Bláfell in the mountain hut Fremstaver.
Riding 25 km (approx. 6-7 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Fremstaver mountain hut


Day 3: Fremstaver – Árbúdir
We ride east along Bláfell. We cross the Hvítá River over a bridge and follow the best riding roads on Kjölur, which is the oldest road between South and North Iceland. It is mostly even and is about 700 m above sea level. We have a view over the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers and the Kerlingafjöll mountains – Kjölur’s flagship. We follow the Svartá River to Árbúdir, where we spend the night.
Riding 30 km (approx. 7-8 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Árbúdir


Day 4: Árbúdir – Kerlingafjöll
We continue riding along Svartá North towards Hofsjökull, the third biggest glacier in Iceland. The tour ends in “Kerlingafjöll”, the”ladies” Mountains. Here, where the rivers Hvítá and Thjórsá part, you will meet the glaciers as well as hot springs. At Kerlingafjöll you have the possibility to take a bath in nice hot pots, while enjoying the view in the wilderness.
Riding 30 km, 6-7 hrs.

Day 5: Kerlingafjöll – Svínárnes
Today we are heading South from Kerlingafjöll. We are riding along the river Hvitá and see the mountain Bláfjöll on our right side. We will enjoy a great view over the entire are a below us until we reach Svinaness, our hut for the night. Svinanes is a primitive but cosy hut which has been used as an overnight place on the sheep round up for many years.
Riding 36 km (approx. 6-7 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Svinanes mountain hut


Day 6: Svínárnes – Helgaskáli
The tour continues South along Hvítá. Here on our way we have nice scenery in all directions. Later on the day we will turn left and ride over the highlands towards Helgaskáli, our hut for the night.
Riding 30 km (approx. 7-8 hours)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Helgaskáli mountain hut


Day 7: Helgaskáli – Kaldbak
We ride through the highland down the beautiful cleft Laxárgljúfur to the green hills of Hrunamannahreppur, and end at the farm Kaldbak. The bus will pick us up at Kaldbak. With a short stop at Vellir, we will drive to Reykjavík, where the tour will end.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch


Rates and Dates for Pearls of the North

Rates include:

Accommodations in guesthouses/farmhouses, All meals, transfers from/to Reykjavik city center & 6 riding days
Helmets & rain gear is provided

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20217 day trip, AP€2175$2590
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.19

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2021 Transfer from Reykjavik BSI bus station is included 0 $0
2021 Upgrade to hotel accommodations for first night, dbl, pp 40 $50
2021 Upgrade to hotel accommodations for first night, single 100 $120

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 07/26 - 08/01 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 6 /16 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Airport transfer (take the Flybus), Alcoholic Drinks & Gratuities
Please, bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Pearls of the North (IT-ICRT-E16):
If your booking is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible to postpone your trip to a later date in 2020 or 2021 at no extra fee (depending on availability). We will be able to determine if a tour will go or not about 2 weeks prior to the scheduled departure.

Please, follow these helpful rules:
1- We ask our guests to practise social distancing.
2- Do not share personal equipment/food/beverages with anyone other than your closest travel companions.
3- Use of hand sanitizers is encouraged, especially before and aafter meals.
4- We have provide cleaning stations at our toilet and shower facilities so that each guest can disinfect surfaces before and after each use.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Reykjavik
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Reykjavik BSI central bus station on Day 1 at 5:30PM or hotels/guesthouse

Climate:
                                                Reykjavík area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

37

37

39

43

49

54

57

57

51

45

40

37

Average Low Temperature (°F)

27

28

29

33

39

44

48

47

42

36

31

28

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

3

4

6

10

12

14

14

11

7

4

3

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-2

-2

1

4

7

9

8

6

2

-1

-2

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

13

13

14

11

10

9

9

12

12

12

12

14

Source: NOAA
 

Seasons
As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected; thanks to the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. Its average mid-winter temperatures are no lower than those in New York City. 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! The south is the wettest part of the country. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy.

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). Travelers to Iceland should be prepared for anything and dress in layers.

Winter
The average January temperature is 31°F (-0.5°C). From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the country only experiences a few hours of daylight each day.

Summer
The summer temperatures in Reykjavík range from 41°F (5°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day.  During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights. 
 
The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.

What To Bring:
We provide the following:
·Safety helmets
·Rainwear
·During the wintertime we also provide winter overalls
·Rubber boots

You should bring: 
bull;Warm clothes in layers (long underwear, woolen socks, scarf, gloves, woolen sweater or fleece, wind- and waterproof jacket). Eldhestar provides good rain gear. Please have in mind that you might experience “T-shirt weather” as well as temperatures close to 0°C, especially on Wilderness tours!
•Thin hat to wear under the helmet, “buff” is well suited. You can buy a “buff” at Eldhestar.
•Sleeping bag. We recommend a small pillow and a bed sheet if you use your sleeping bag as a blanket. A sleeping bag is not needed for tours with all nights at Hotel or Guesthouse Eldhestar.
•A small waist bag (not a backpack!) for using when riding. (Backpacks are bumpy when you are riding and may hurt you if you fall off).
•Swimwear and towel.
•Riding pants (If you don’t have riding pants, any seamless tight garment will do), for long tours you should bring two pants suitable for riding.
•Riding or hiking boots which should be comfortable with a thick sole for walking over rocks. Hiking boots are fine if they are not too broad for the stirrups. High riding boots might get uncomfortable, rubber boots are not necessary.
•Sun lotion
•Sun glasses (also for long tours to protect eyes from dust).
•Fly net (can be purchased at Eldhestar).
•Band-aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
•Some comfortable clothes and shoes (slippers) for using in the evening, after the riding. Normal street clothes are not necessary except for your stay in Reykjavik the last night.
•Your travel insurance card/information.

Please note: Please do not use large and bulky suitcases as we have limited space in the trailer. If you need more luggage for travelling in Iceland before / after the tour you are welcome to store it at Hotel Eldhestar during the tour.

Cameras:  
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.
  

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Hidden Trails Travel Documents and Trip Voucher (contains important local tour contact info.)
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding pants (If you don't have riding pants, any seamless tight garment will do)
Riding boots -rubber is better
Riding helmet - provided
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Rainwear- provided
During the wintertime we also provide winter overalls

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Warm clothes (long underwear, woolen socks, scarf, gloves etc)
Some comfortable clothes for using in the evening, after the riding (Normal street-clothes are not necessary except for your stay in Reykjavik the last night)
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimwear and towel.
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Sleeping bag and a small pillow
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Fly net/gnat to wear over or under the helmet to protect you from the harmless but annoying Icelandic flies.
Torch/ Flashlight
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra film or batteries
A small waist bag (not a backpack!) for using when riding. (Backpack is not good because it bumps around when you are riding and it may hurt you if you are falling off)
Personal Travel Insurance information
Sun glasses with strap
Sun protection lotion and lip balm