Golden Circle Tour

East and South Iceland: (IT-ICRT06)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_golden_circle_is.aspx

Introduction
East and South Iceland
This tour was nominated by CNNgo as one of the 15 greatest horse treks in the world! 

What better or more unique way to do the popular Golden Circle Tour than by riding through the lovely countryside of South Iceland. The three key attractions on this classic tour are the hot spring area of Geysir, Gullfoss or the Golden Waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. Each one guaranteed to take your breath away. Thingvellir National Park is now on the UNESCO World  Heritage List based on its historical, geological and cultural importance.

This tour is perfect for families and those not having the required riding experience for our highland tours. Keep in mind that riding days can be long so you should be in good physical shape and have the basic horsemanship skills.

On the first riding day you get acquainted with the unique Icelandic Horse and its special extra gait as we take an easy trek along the banks of the majestic Thjórsá River. We continue towards Gullfoss Waterfall with its thundering waters and the hot spring area of Geysir. After a relaxed day´s riding in that locality we next explore some of the more remote places, well off the beaten track. On our way to our accommodation we visit the charming Secret Lagoon for a well deserved bath.  We cross the highland moor of Hrunaheiði and enjoy good riding tracks when trekking past iconic basalt columns at Hrepphólar on our way back to Kálfhóll Farm. 
 

Accomodation

Accommodations
You will sleep in simple accommodation with 2-4 beds per room and shared facilities.

Blesastaðir Guesthouse
This newly renovated guesthouse can accommodate up to 20 guests.

Myrkholt
Myrkholt is located just between Gullfoss waterfall and the hot spring Geysir. Very nice farm and guesthouse.
•Number of rooms:  8
•Number of beds:  32
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers:  8
•GSM connection:  Yes
•WiFi: Yes
•Made up beds: Yes
•Number of WC:  4


Meals
During the ride full board is provided. Our menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested in advance. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table. 

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This tour is a great riding experience that is suitable for intermediate riders. You need to be comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length trots (tölt) and short canters. Riding days can be as long as up to 35 km in the saddle so you should be in good physical condition and have a basic knowledge of horsemanship. You will get a thorough introduction into the gaits of the Icelandic horse and feel the Tölt, the extremely soft traveling gate of the Icelandic horse.

Riding Gear – Disinfect!
Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which cannot be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to disinfected at least 5 days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles, chaps and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland’s fragile nature!
We provide saddle bags, rain wear and safety helmet.

Tack & Riding Style
The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different then 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 keeping 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. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

The Farmers
The real connoisseurs of the local terrain and history. We make sure that each tour has its own charm and is organized by the local expert, the farmer, and his family. They use their own horses and ride through the part of the country they know so well.
Our farmers have over 30 years of experience in leading riding groups through Iceland.

Herd of Horses
On this ride, you will be riding several days (except for two days) with a free running herd of horses. Herding along free running horses is the traditional way of travelling in Iceland, since horses are changed at least once a day on longer tours. You get to ride a variety of horses. 

Horses
The Icelandic horse 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. The horses are especially chosen for this trip and are suited even for riders who have not had much riding experience. 

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - Subject to changes

Day 1: Reykjavik - Blesastaðir Guesthouse
Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation (see: www.busstop.is) around 6:00pm. Our  bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Blesastaðir Guesthouse, where horses and staff are waiting for us. After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us.

Day 2: Blesastaðir Guesthouse - Thjórsá glacier river - Blesastaðir Guesthouse
After an introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits we start our ride along the pleasant trail at Thjórsá glacier fed river. We leave the horses at Sandlækjarmýri field and drive to Blesastaðir Guesthouse. This day is the perfect start to get to know your horse and the Icelandic way of trail riding in a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy the outdoor hot tub at Blesastaðir Guesthouse before a hearty dinner.
Riding approximately 15 km

Day 3: Blesastaðir Guesthouse – Myrkholt
We leave Blesastaðir and drive back to the horses. From there we head off to the fertile farmlands of neighboring community Hrunamannahreppur. We drive spare horses along in a free running herd, enabling us to change our mount regularly and traveling at a brisk space. We cross the well know Salmon River Stóra-Laxá and stop for our picnic lunch at Hrunaréttir, a corral used for the annual sheep round-up in autumn. We continue our ride on good trails, towards the majestic canyon Brúarhlöð where milky green water passes through bizarre rock formations. Our ride ends at Brúarhlöð and we drive to the Myrkholt Farm, where we spend the night.
Riding approximately 30 km

Day 4: Myrkholt – Gullfoss – Myrkholt
We continue our ride on soft trails ideal for tölting, alongside Hvítá River we follow the ever deepening canyon on to the impressive Golden Waterfall Gullfoss. We will have our lunch break at Gullfoss before we ride back to Myrkholt where we spend the night.
Riding approximately 20 km

Day 5: Haukadalur – Haukadalsheiði – Myrkholt
Our ride takes us through Haukadalur valley with its beautiful birch forest. Cross clear little streams on the way and enjoy the rich vegetation of wild mountain flowers that bloom during high summer. While you ascend to a highland plateau you will notice the changes in nature as you reach higher ground. A breathtaking view of the mountain ranges and glaciers of the highland around awaits you when you reach the top of Haukadalsheiði. Rest of the day is spent at the Geysir area. You have plenty of time to explore this highly interesting area with its countless bubbling hot springs.
Riding approximately 18 km

Day 6: Geysir – Tungufellsdalur – Kaldbakur – Blesastaðir Guesthouse
We leave the Geysir area and ride along green pastures back to the bridge at Brúarhlöð canyon where we cross mighty Hvítá River. Now we head towards the interior and follow beautiful Tungufellsdalur valley onto Hrunaheiðar heath plateau and we experience riding along the edge of civilization. Our horses spend the night at Kaldbakur Farm. We drive to the Secret Lagoon for relaxing bath in the geothermal pool and then drive to Blesastaðir Guesthouse and spend the night.
Riding approximately 30 km

Day 7: Blesastaðir Guesthouse – Kaldbakur – Hrepphólar – Kálfhóll – Reykjavík
Our last day of riding includes yet again terrific scenery. Today we follow good riding tracks past Mt. Galtafell. We cross River Laxá before we reach Sandlækjarmýri. We turn towards the banks of Thjórsá River and follow them to Kálfhóll Farm. Here we say goodbye to our guides, staff and horses and return to Reykjavík, approx. arrival at 8:00pm.
Riding approximately 40 km

--Subject to change--


Rates and Dates for Golden Circle Tour

Rates include:

Accommodations: made up beds in shared rooms, meals, bus transfer from Reykjavik to the farm, saddle bag, water bottle, raingear, riding helmet, 6 riding days - 150 km

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20197 day trip, AP (High)€2230$2675
  • B
    20197 day trip, AP (Low)€2080$2495
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2019 Pick up at BSÍ Bus station or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation on Day 1 between 18:00-19:00

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 07/20 - 07/26 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (High) 7 /18 Expired
A 2019 08/10 - 08/16 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (High) 7 /18 Expired
A 2019 08/17 - 08/23 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (High) 7 /18 Expired
B 2019 08/24 - 08/30 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (Low) 7 /18 Expired

Dates Note: Saturday - Friday

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic beverages (can be bought at Duty Free ahead of time), Snowmobile drive on Langjökull glacier, 26.200 ISK pp paid in cash locally. No credit cards accepted.

Other Info
Meeting: Keflavik Airport
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Keflavik Airport

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:
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 a saddle bag (where you can keep the picnic lunch, a small camera, extra pair of gloves etc.).

Bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases. Pack light because transport space is limited.

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as the weather can change very quickly. We recommend that the following items are included when preparing for our longer tours.
• Knee high riding boots - water resistant/ waterproof
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woolen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at least two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Warm underwear, long if possible (protects also against chafing).
• For the ladies – sports bra.
• Riding trousers.
• Track suit.
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
• Swim suits, towels, soap etc.
• A small camera to take with you on the ride.
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
• Insect repellent, gnat net head cover.
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days.
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• Sunglasses.
• For those with sensitive eyes/contact lenses, goggles. 
• Ear plugs. Some people snore!

Disinfecting of the riding gear
It is important to follow the regulation regarding the disinfecting of used riding clothes. Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which can not be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to be disinfected at least five days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature! For further information please take a look at: http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/ridingequipment/ 

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.