Horseback Riding in Iceland

Hekla-Landmannalaugar Trail

Overview

The Hekla-Landmannalaugar horseback riding tour in Iceland is located in the vast interior, which comprises one of Europe’s greatest wilderness areas. While some places are extremely barren and sparse — described as similar to being on the moon, others are full of scenic diversity with rainbow-streaked mountains, moss covered lava flows and blue mountain lakes. Superimposed on this wilderness is a tough and independent society — descendants of farmers and warriors who fled the tyranny of medieval Scandinavia to settle this empty country. Although Icelanders are sometimes considered reserved, visitors often find they are some of the friendliest people found anywhere.

There can hardly be a horse in the world better adapted to cross country riding than the Icelandics which have been kept a pure breed for centuries. These sturdy, sure-footed horses have a naturally gentle and friendly disposition. They are bred to carry people for long distances and they have a smooth fourth and fifth gait which enable one to cover the miles comfortably and swiftly. This is a hard trip with very basic accommodations; a true adventure.

During the ride you will stay in dormitory type lodging in mountain huts. Many of the mountain huts do not have electricity or artificial lighting. However, they are designed to take full advantage of the long daylight hours. Showers are available only every few days but there are chances to swim in the hot, sulfurous springs.

A typical menu will consist of the following:
Breakfast: Milk, yogurt, cereals, several kinds of bread, cheeses, jams, coffee and tea.
Lunch: Picnic with varied sandwiches, fruit, cold and warm drinks.
Dinner: A hot meal with meat or fish, vegetables, milk products and fruit.
Please note that meals consist of many dairy products. Riders who are lactose intolerant or vegetarians need to notify Equitours in advance. Also, this is a “dry” tour with alcohol only available to purchase in Landmannalaugar.

  • Overview:
    Icelandic horses are short (about 13.2 hands average) but stout and strong, weighing 800 to 1000 pounds and are quite capable of carrying large and heavy people over rough distances at a brisk rate. The horses are usually in snaffle bits - loose rings with snap-on, one-piece reins. English-type saddles are used with the Icelandic style of saddle seen as somewhat of a cross between a dressage and an endurance saddle. The saddle is set further back on the horse. You will have the unique experience of riding with a herd of 30-50 horses running free with the riders which allows for horse changes throughout the week to ensure freshness of the horses. This is an Icelandic tradition and the horses are comfortable with this.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Icelandic
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate
  • Tack:
    Icelandic
  • Weight limit:
    225 lbs

This is not a recommended option for non-riding companions.

BSI bus station in Reykjavik at 6PM on the first day for the group transfer to Hella and the outfitters farm.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Participant will be picked up from the BSI central bus station in Reykjavik at 6PM for travel to Hella and the outfitters farm Austvadsholt for final preparations for the tour, dinner and overnight.

Day 2

After breakfast course is set through meadows and lava fields, alongside Ranga River, to the lodge at Rjupnavellir, passing the historical lava sheep-fold Landrettir and the last farms before the highlands. 6 hours riding.

Day 3

Morning departure from Rjupnavellir to the wilds, crossing a desert of ashes and the lava fields of Solvahraun, close to the famous volcano Hekla (last eruption 2000). It will take 6 hours to reach the Fjallabak Nature Reserve and the historical area of Landmannahellir, where the farmers stay in the autumn when gathering their sheep in the mountains.

Day 4

In the morning a 3-4 hour ride through the Domadal Valley and alongside the magnificent lake Frostastadavatn, to Landmannalaugar – a beautiful setting of old craters, glaciers and colorful mountains. The afternoon will be at the client’s leisure for exploring the surroundings or bathing in the natural open-air hot-water pool. Drive back to Landmannahellir for overnight.

Day 5

In the morning drive back to the horses that stayed at Landmannalaugar. Explore the area further on horseback via another route to Landmannahellir, a wild track previously known only to farmers. Traverse superb explosive craters such as Ljotipollur and Hnausapollur, then ride across expansive and unusual landscapes and by beautiful lakes. Overnight at the lodge in Landmannahellir. 5 hours riding.

Day 6

Ride through the highlands, crossing lava fields, toward Mt. Valafell to the Afangagil Valley, a special place where farmers get together in September for the “Rettir”, after the sheep have been collected. Overnight in an old shepherd’s hut. 5-6 hours riding.

Day 7

Depart from Afangagil early in the morning for the return to the farm. Ride across deserts of ash, passing through the 1970 lava flow. Then on through farmland and across the Ranga River toward home. This is a long day with seven to eight hours in the saddle. Depart at 5PM with the transfer back to Reykjavik.

Itinerary Addendum

THIS ITINERARY IS FLEXIBLE. CHANGES MAY OCCUR DUE TO WEATHER OR OTHER UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Jun 28, 2020
Jul 4, 2020
Jul 12, 2020
Jul 18, 2020
Aug 23, 2020
Aug 29, 2020

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,860
  • Transportation
  • 6PM pickup from the BSI bus station in Reykjavik is included on the first day. On the last day the transfer back to Reykjavik leaves at 5PM from the outfitters farm.

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Jun 27, 2021
Jul 3, 2021
Jul 11, 2021
Jul 17, 2021
Aug 22, 2021
Aug 28, 2021

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,860

  • Transportation
  • 6PM pickup from the BSI bus station in Reykjavik is included on the first day. On the last day the transfer back to Reykjavik leaves at 5PM from the outfitters farm.

Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.


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Contact Biggi Hayes

It was a wonderful ride in every way. Stefnir and Anita are the loveliest and hardest-working people I think I have ever met. They treat their beautiful horses with love and terrific care and attention. Their tack was in perfect condition. Stefnir answered endless questions about Iceland's history, culture and geography. Anita spent time with us each afternoon following our ride. She is a fabulous cook and baker. Their adorable children visited us too. The accommodations were comfortable, clean and warm. The weather was sunny every day! Despite the sun, it was quite cold when riding. I'm glad I followed your suggestions re: packing. I wore long underwear, winter riding gloves, layers of shirts - synthetic and wool - a puffy jacket and a rain/ wind shell each day on the trail. All in all, a perfect "10"!

Gruber, May 2019