Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice on Horseback

Trip Overview

On this very special, custom-designed 2018 Icelandic horseback riding trip for AdventureWomen, there is no better way to visit the South of Iceland than to ride through it!

As the summer sun skims the midnight horizon, sunset melts into sunrise in Iceland, home to 100,000 Icelandic horses. And what horses! Brought by sea to Iceland by the Vikings over 1,000 years ago, these legendary equines have played a vital role in the history of this land, which was without roads and bridges for centuries. Today, the Icelandic horse is considered to be truly unique by horse enthusiasts from around the world. With long, wondrously flowing manes and tails, these sure-footed and affectionate horses are known for their smooth gaits, especially their tölt, or running walk. Ideal for days of long overland travel, the tölt is what brings horseback riders back to Iceland again and again. While Europeans have long admired and respected the diverse qualities of the Icelandic horse, American riders are just beginning to recognize these wonderful animals.
AdventureWomen's Icelandic Horseback adventure was selected by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as one of their "50 Tours of a Lifetime" for 2013.
"Tours we selected…capture [the] spirit of exploration,…[and] push the boundaries of mainstream tourism, whether taking travelers to the far corners of the globe, or helping them dive deep into the culture of familiar destinations."

Check out this video from our 2016 Iceland Horse Riding Vacation to get a good idea about what it is like to ride an Icelandic Horse:

Horseback riding through Iceland's valleys, mighty lava fields, and into Icelandic mountains where black ash from numerous eruptions of the volcano Mount Hekla (the most active volcano in Iceland!) reminds us of the huge powers hidden below the surface of the earth. We ride through rich vegetation of fertile farmland and cross mighty rivers, following the Hekla Trail, where it is easy and fun to enjoy the Icelandic horses' smooth-gaited tölt. We'll take advantage of enjoying natural hot springs and pools in the countryside, visit a 12th century Viking farm, and experience a well-deserved massage one night.

Many travelers, for the most part, know little about Iceland, although this extraordinary country is only a 4½ hour flight from Boston! Even with its chilly name, Iceland is rapidly becoming one of the hottest destinations in Europe. It is the greatest wilderness area in all of Europe, and has a sparse population (320,000 folks) with a passion for the outdoors. Due to its abundant geothermal energy, Iceland is pristine and unpolluted.

On this women-only horseback riding trip through South Iceland, we ride approximately 12 - 20 miles per day through Iceland’s surreal landscapes. Each woman rides up to 6 horses during the trip with the entire herd of nearly 70 horses accompanying us on most days.

Here's more about what you can expect on your Iceland horse riding adventure...

"Saddling up for a morning ride includes a kiss from Anne DePrez's horse!"

Lush meadows and snow-capped mountains, hot springs and geysers, braided flood plains and frozen lava fields, plus glaciers on volcanoes have all been forged to create Iceland, a feral land of earth, fire, water, and ice!

With the North Star close at hand, join AdventureWomen in 2018 on our 8th, award-winning and extraordinary Icelandic horseback riding odyssey!

Please note: Participants must be strong intermediate to experienced riders with English and/or Western riding experience, and be in very good physical condition.

Main Attractions

  • Explore rural Icelandic landscapes on horseback riding 18-20 miles per day
  • Ride alongside a herd of free-running Icelandic horses
  • Enjoy a ride under the midnight sun on one of the longest days of the year
  • Experience Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Bathe in natural Icelandic hot springs

What You'll See and Do

  • Cultural Exploration
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hot Springs
  • Natural History
  • Photography
  • Sightseeing
  • Spa Element

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice on Horseback

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Saturday, June 23 - Arrival in South Iceland
Velkomin! Welcome to Iceland, a geological wonderland so wild and spectacular it sets an unparalleled standard for adventure—for every generation. As the Iceland summer sun skims the midnight horizon, sunset melts into sunrise in this country of lush meadows and snow- capped mountains, hot springs and geysers, braided flood plains, frozen lava fields, and glaciers on top of volcanoes.

Meet your guide at Keflavik International Airport at 7:00am. Drive to Reykjavík for breakfast.

After a brief city tour, stop at an Icelandic tack shop to buy riding gloves and any other last-minute equipment you might need.

Thingvellir National Park sits right on top of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. You can clearly see the land dropping that is being caused by the plates drifting apart. The Althing, or ancient Iclandic parliament, was founded at Thingvellir. You will learn about the judicial system of Iceland’s past. Continue to the Geysir hot springs and the beautiful Golden Waterfall Gullfoss.

Enjoy a late lunch at a very special restaurant in Friðheimar. Have a private horse show which will teach you about the versatility of the Icelandic Horse!

Check in to the hotel. Enjoy your afternoon as you please: take a nap, go for a walk, or enjoy the open hot tub.

Enjoy a welcome dinner and a trip orientation.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Álftröð Country Hotel
http://alftrod.is/

Alftröð is a 30-minute drive to Geysir and Gullfoss Waterfall and a 40-minute drive to the Thingvellir National Park. There is a 360° mountain view from the guest house and views of the most famous volcanoes in Iceland including Hekla, Eyjafjallajökul, and Tindfjöll. Enjoy the hot tub under the midnight sun!

 

Day 2

Sunday, June 24 - South Iceland
Developed from ponies taken to Iceland by Norse settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries, the Icelandic horse is mentioned in literature and historical records throughout Icelandic history; the first reference to a named horse appears in the 12th century. Horses were venerated in Norse mythology, a custom brought to Iceland by the country’s earliest settlers.

After breakfast, drive to Flúðir for a riding lesson to learn to ride the tölt gait. Each group of five riders will have a 30-minute lesson. While you are not riding, you can watch the other riders while enjoying coffee and Icelandic cakes. You can also learn from a local woman how to comb, spin, and dye the wool from Icelandic sheep.

Enjoy Langoustine soup at Mika Restaurant - a real specialty!

Meet the women of the Mountain Rescue Team and learn all about their missions to rescue humans and horses in danger!

Enjoy a soak this afternoon in the geothermally heated water at the Secret Lagoon. The pool´s steam rising into the air gives the place a magical feeling and the warm water stays at a temperature of 100-104°F all year round. Nearby there is even a little Geysir which erupts every five minutes, showing off for you as you relax in the hot spring. Changing rooms with showers are available on site.

Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.

You will be picked up at 10:00pm to go for a ride under the midnight sun. Ride to the mountaintop, where you will be greeted with magnificent views of the infamous volcano Hekla and its even more dramatic glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Enjoy champagne, cake, and fresh strawberries, before returning to the hotel around 2:00am.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Álftröð Country Hotel

 

Day 3

Monday, June 25 - South Iceland
Southern Iceland has some of the country’s most diverse landscapes, including glaciers, volcanoes, volcanic islands, geothermal areas, glacial rivers, black sands, vast meadows, marshes, lakes, untouched highlands, and long black beaches.

After breakfast, head out for today’s ride over the mighty Langholtsfjall mountain and underneath the green slopes of Miðfell mountain.

Stop for high tea at Bragginn café and ceramic Studio, housed in the family’s old potato storage. The menu is based on the Slow Food concept, using mostly locally grown and sourced ingredients from neighboring farmers as the area is a vibrant production area of fresh and delicious food. The young artist will greet you and show you her work.

Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.

Continue riding along the banks of the great salmon river Stóra-Laxá back to the farm for about 11-12 miles. By now you will feel safe in the saddle and in full comand of the tölt gait. (11-12 miles on horseback)

Enjoy dinner at the hotel and relax in the hot tub this evening.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Álftröð Country Hotel

 

Day 4

Tuesday, June 26 - South Iceland
The tölt gait is known for its explosive acceleration and speed; it is also comfortable and ground-covering. There is considerable variation in style within the gait, and thus the tölt is variously compared to similar lateral gaits such as the rack of the Saddlebred, the largo of the Paso Fino, or the running walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Like all lateral ambling gaits, the footfall pattern is the same as the walk (left hind, left front, right hind, right front), but differs from the walk in that it can be performed at a range of speeds, from the speed of a typical fast walk up to the speed of a normal canter.

After breakfast at the hotel, return to the farm and head off on your highland adventure. Starting today you ride with the herd! Ride underneath the basalt columns of Hrepphólar along the canyon of the Stóra-Laxá river. Stop at the little local museum Samansafnið along the way and take a peek into the old days of farming life in Iceland.

Stop for a picnic lunch at the Hrunaréttir sheep paddock, used for separating the sheep in autumn when returning from the highland. Continue your ride over the mountains to Hvítárdalur farm where you will leave the horses for the night. Drive back to your cozy hotel beds and hot tubs at Hotel Álftröð! (15-18 miles on horseback)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Álftröð Country Hotel

Day 5

Wednesday, June 27 - South Iceland
The Norsemen were pastoral people who relied heavily on a succession of successful farming years in order to survive.

Norwegian settlers who inhabited the coasts of Iceland in the late ninth century brought their farming traditions with them. The settlers brought sheep, cattle, horses, and goats from Norway to supply their farms with animals.

Enjoy a wonderful ride with the herd into the uninhabited wilderness north of the valley of Tungufellsdalur. Climb on a high mountain plateau and follow the narrow tracks made only by sheep and horses. Enjoy wonderful views of the wild green mountainside, follow little creeks with spring water, and get a wonderful feeling of mountain freedom!

Pass the abandoned farm of Kluftir and leave the horses at Kaldbak farm for the night. (15-18 miles on horseback)

Rest at the hotel this evening. Enjoy a delicious dinner and maybe a soak in the hot tub!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Álftröð Country Hotel

Day 6

Thursday, June 28 - South Iceland
For centuries, the interior of Iceland was virtually inaccessible, for years at a time playing host only to outlaws in hiding. The highlands of Iceland are an untamed mingling of rocky deserts, jagged peaks, volcanoes, ice caps, valleys, and hot springs. Most of the numerous glaciers, such as Vatnajökull, Langjökull and Hofsjökull, are part of the Icelandic Highlands.

After breakfast, return to the horses for a thrilling ride over the mountains and over the the Stóra- Laxá river. Pass the remote settlement of Laxárdalur to Fossnes Farm. Ride through breathtaking wilderness, only greeted by sheep, wild geese, and the occasional arctic fox! (18 miles on horseback)

Return to the hotel for a shower and a barbecue with Icelandic delicacies.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Álftröð Country Hotel

Day 7

Friday, June 29 - South Iceland to Reykjavík
The Icelandic goat, also known as the ‘settlement goat,’ is an ancient breed of domestic goat believed to be of Norwegian origin and dating back to the settlement of Iceland over 1,100 years

ago. This breed of goat was on the verge of extinction during the late 19th century, but recovered prior to World War II, only to precipitously decline again. As of 2012, the population was recovering.

Leave the hotel after breakfast to meet the horses for one last ride! Today they know that they are on their way home and will show you how fast an “Icy” can tölt! The lanes through the charming countryside with small dairy and sheep farms make for a fast ride!

Stop for a picnic lunch at a dairy farm in a remote valley where you are invited to visit the farmer’s home. This family also breeds the rare Icelandic goat.

Continue on beautiful tracks back to the farm Syðra-Langholt where you will say goodbye to your wonderful horseback riding hosts Arna, Steini, and Simmi! (15 miles on horseback)

Drive back to Reykjavík for your farewell dinner at Harpa Concert Hall. Celebrate the end of an extraordinary trip!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Skuggi Hotel
https://www.keahotels.is/en/hotels/skuggi-hotel 

Skuggi Hótel is a brand new hotel in Reykjavik’s city center. Its timeless, modest, and clear-cut design reflects the style of the hotel. All rooms are well- designed and equipped with standard amenities for a comfortable stay.

The hotel is perfectly located near one of the oldest streets in Reykjavik, Hverfisgata, and is within walking distance from Iceland’s main shopping street Laugavegur, which is home to a variety of designer shops, cafés, restaurants, gift shops, and exciting nightlife.

Day 8

Saturday, June 30 - Reykjavík and Depart
The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to be beneficial for the skin. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages from 99–102°F.

This is your last day in Iceland. If your flight is in the afternoon you can enjoy a free morning in Reykjavik or:

  • Enjoy Reykjavik: visit museums or go shop- ping until you depart for the airport.
  • Go Whale Watching from Reykjavik. Tours are offered from 9:00-12:00. (Additional Price: Approximately $120)
  • Visit the Blue Lagoon on the way to airport. You should leave the hotel around 10:00am.(Additional Price: Approximately $95)

You need to depart from the hotel three hours prior to your flight time. Bid farewell to your new AdventureWomen friends!
Breakfast

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice on Horseback

Traveling to Iceland



Traveling to Iceland

Arrive: Arrive at Keflavik International Airport (KEF) on June 23, 2018 by 7:00am.

Depart: Depart Keflavik International Airport (KEF) on June 30, 2018 after 5:00pm.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

 If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Health Considerations

We rate this trip as moderate to high energy. You should be in good physical condition and horseback ride on a regular basis. You should meet these requirements:

  • You feel comfortable and safe in the saddle in all gaits
  • You feel comfortable riding at higher speeds over rugged terrain
  • You feel comfortable following the speed of the herd over long distances
  • You are not not afraid of riding uphill or downhill at higher speeds
  • You have compassion and understanding for the horse’s abilities and limits.
  • You don’t mind long hours outside in any weather

Please note: You do not need any prior knowledge of Icelandic Horses or the special gait tölt. You will ride English Style, but Western Style riders will get used to the riding. You will ride four to six hours a day, with breaks for lunch and shorter stops in between.

We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you to ensure that you are prepared for the trip. Visit https://fitfortrips. com/partners/adventure-women/ for more information.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Money

Icelandic currency is the Krona.

As of May, 2017, US$1 = ISK 103.21. ATMs will be accessible most days of the trip. Credit cards can be used in most places; Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express. If you want to buy small souvenirs at the farms, such as homemade wool, you may need some local money in cash.

Suggested Gratuities: Gratuities are not common in Iceland.

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone. As a courtesy, we can hold your space for five days while you are making personal and travel arrangements.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking "Sign Up for this Trip" on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer) on or before March 25, 2018.

 

 

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice on Horseback

Included

  • All hotel accommodations throughout the trip
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guide throughout the trip
  • One AdventureWomen Associate

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Iceland
  • Optional activities as listed in the itinerary
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages not included above
  • Fees for passports, visas, or immunizations
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice on Horseback

What To Bring

Iceland is in the path of the North Atlantic Current, which makes its climate more temperate than would be expected for its latitude just south of the Arctic Circle. You can expect temperatures from 40° to 55F. The weather in Iceland is notoriously variable and often very windy. When it is sunny, you need to wear strong sunscreen. Good layers of thermal underwear paired with

a windproof jacket will keep you warm and snug even in colder temperatures. Good gloves and socks are important as well. Eat well in the mornings – we recommend the hot porridge at breakfast that will keep you warm and strong during the ride. It is also advisable to bring some chocolate or any other kind of quick energy provider along. Always remember: A warm rider is a happy rider!

If you want to bring your own riding gear:

Please see and follow the restrictions of the Icelandic Veterinary Authority in regards to bringing used riding clothes to Iceland: http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/ridingequipment/

Icelandic horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Visitors are asked to adopt strict bio security measures

Importing the following equipment without proper disinfection is strictly prohibited:

  • Used riding equipment, such as saddles, bridles, nose- bands, pads, rugs, whips, etc.
  • Used riding gloves

Cleaning and disinfection: Used riding clothes and boots should be washed in a washing machine or dry cleaned prior to entering the country. Used riding clothes and boots that cannot be placed in a washing machine or dry cleaned should be washed and disinfected as follows:

  • Rinse thoroughly with detergent
  • Dry
  • Spray with 1% VirkonS® (10g per liter of water)
  • Store for at least five days prior to bringing the clothes into contact with horses in Iceland

Clothing and Gear:

  • Duffel bag or small suitcase
  • Daypack
  • Knee-high rubber riding boots
  • Slippers to wear inside
  • 4-5 pairs wool socks
  • 2-3 long underwear tops
  • 2-3 long underwear bottoms
  • 2-3 wool sweaters/fleece jackets
  • 2 pairs good-quality riding pants (not jeans, even if you are used to riding in them at home)
  • 1 set of nicer clothes for the farewell dinner
  • 1 waterproof/windproof jacket
  • 5-7 pairs underwear
  • 2-4 sports bras
  • 1-2 thin balaclavas/buff to wear underneath your helmet
  • 2 pairs wool gloves (must be new)
  • 1 bathing suit
  • Sleepwear
  • 1-2 towels
  • Heavy-duty rain gear (jacket and pants) and helmets will be provided.

AdventureWomen Essentials:

  • Travel documents (passport, airline tickets, money)
  • 2-3 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
  • Your AdventureWomen insulated bottle (good for hot or cold drinks!)
  • Locks for your suitcase/duffel bag (when left in rooms)
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (8x40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus models are easiest)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Power adapters (three round pin sockets and two round pin sockets)
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: We recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs. Available at most drugstores or at earplugstore.com
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and Ziploc bags
  • 1-2 heavyweight plastic garbage bags for wet swimsuits
  • 1-2 bandanas
  • Reading material/journal

Personal First Aid Kid:

  • Foot powder for moisture absorption
  • Bandaids (cloth, not plastic)
  • 10 individually wrapped alcohol pads
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen
  • Cold-symptom relief tablets
  • Antihistamine
  • Cough drops
  • Tweezers
  • Ace bandage
  • Antibiotics (as advised by a doctor)
  • Prescription medicines in their original bottles
  • Acidophilus or other probiotic
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Laxative
  • Emergen-C
  • Eye drops

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.

 

 


If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.