WILDERNESS EXPEDITION

ISK 495.000
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Pure nature, herding, simplicity. Our most demanding tour!

If you are looking for a real horse-adventure in the Icelandic wilderness and prefer untouched, stunning nature over luxury, this is your tour! In true Icelandic style, you will be driving a free running herd of horses through vast grasslands, stony mountains and a moonlike volcanic landscape towards the glacier. You lead the herd across rivers and explore new tracks, as the old ones may have vanished in the last winter. 

During the long days on the back of the powerful and tough Icelandic Horses, you will discover breathtaking places that only a few Icelanders know about and experience the peacefulness that comes from travelling in total harmony with nature. 

In the evenings, simple but cosy mountain huts and a hearty Icelandic dinner will await you. Surrounded only by the tranquillity of the highlands, you will go to bed truly satisfied. 

Riding Experience

Very good riding skills and good physical condition needed

Duration

8 days / 7 nights – 7 riding days (1-3 horses per person per day)

Departures

5th – 12th August 2019 

19th – 26th August 2019 

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Daily riding distance

Around 25 – 40 km

Minimum age

12 years

Participants

Minimum 6 and maximum 12

Price per person (11% VAT incl.)

ISK 495.000

INFORMATION

Itinerary

Day 1 Reykjavik – Varmahlið: After the public bus transfer to Varmahlíð we will pick you up at the bus station and we will welcome you at our comfortable wooden cottages. There you can settle down, put your luggage away and then we meet for a tasty snack. We will have a short informal conversation before you will meet the horses and we set out on our first short ride (ca. 2 hours) Afterward you can jump into the natural hot tub that´s conveniently located outside our cottages and wait for an exquisite dinner.

Day 2 Varmahlíð – Breið: Today is the beginning of our adventure! After a long sleep and a good breakfast, we will drive to the stable and get on our horses. While we are on our way to the highlands, our herd of free horses is also starting its journey. Our accompanying herd allows us to change horses during the day so our mounts can have a well-deserved rest and run free with their friends. We ride along the wide river delta Héraðsvötn where we can watch plenty of birds nesting and hunting. After lunch will ride together with the herd deeper into the valley along a low-traffic road we end our day at the farm Breið where the head stays for the night. We drive back to our cottages where a warm dinner is awaiting us.

Day 3 Breið – Skiptabakki: This morning we have to pack our luggage because we spend the next nights in mountain huts. From Breið we head southbound. After a few minutes ride the civilization is already behind us, we hear nothing but the golden plover and the wind. Ahead of us lays the gleaming glacier Hofsjökull. The higher we get the less vegetation we see on our way, only some lonely arctic willow bushes and Iceland moss remain. Late in the afternoon the mountain hut Skiptabakkaskáli appears in the wilderness. Running cold water is the luxury of this charming cabin but “central heating” is guaranteed since we all sleep together in one room.

Day 4 Skiptabakki – Ingólfsskáli: Today the majestic glacier Hofsjökull dominates the horizon while we ride west along the river Vestari Jökulsá. Our herd is running across the stony, barren highland that begins to look almost moonlike. Here we have to cross a huge glacial river for the first time and we need to find a good point, so all of our horses get safely to the other side. In the evening we reach the hut Ingólfsskáli, located in the ancient lava field Lambahraun, only a few kilometres from the roots of the glacier. After a good dinner, we can enjoy the peacefulness around us and see our horses through the windows of the cabin.

Day 5 Ingólfsskáli – Laugafell

From Ingólfsskáli we turn east and ride towards the mountain Illviðrahnjúkur. The newest research has proven that the geographical heart of Iceland is situated not far from the east side of this mountain. Here the winters are very harsh and almost no creature can survive, except the ravens and the arctic fox. Immersed by the wilderness we head to the cabin Laugafell, the oasis in the centre of the desert. A hot tub awaits us to help relax our bones and muscles and we enjoy the midnight sun while bathing.

Day 6 Laugafell – Hildarsel: Ahead of us is one of the longest of our riding days and amazingly beautiful nature. After a strengthening breakfast, we saddle the horses and begin to descend from a highland plateau down to the riverbanks of the East Glacial River. Very slowly it is getting greener and livelier around us, we hear the common snipe and maybe get a glimpse of a ptarmigan. Our herd is trotting through small birch- and blue berry bushes as we ride along the powerful river. We have wonderful views and ever changing riding trails until we reach the very rustic hut Hildarsel in Austurdalur valley.

Day 7 Hildarsel – KeldulandToday we ride north through the valley until we reach the ruins of the turf farm Ábær and a very tiny church. Many stories can be told about the life of past generations here. After a stop we ride ahead to the magnificent deep gorge Merkigil. We climb down into the gorge with our horses and take a moment to watch this very unique nature beauty. Up again we continue our way to our final destination: The farm Kelduland. Here we have to say good bye to our trustful horses. We drive to the Hestasport Cottages where we enjoy a farewell dinner and a last bathe in the hot tub, while we recapitulate all the impressions of this unforgettable trip.

Day 8 Varmahlið – Akureyri: After breakfast, you have to say goodbye to the Hestasport team and your cottages. Then our driver takes you to Akureyri, the second biggest town after Reykjavik. From there your domestic flight to Reykjavík leaves. Iceland’s capital is known for its wide range of entertainment so make the best out of being back in civilization 

*We reserve the right to change the itinerary in a short notice depending on weather condition or other unexpected nature phenomenons. It could be that the huts are even more basic, or we have to recourse to tents.

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Included in the price

  • Transfer by public bus from Reykjavík to Varmahlíð
  • All ground transportation throughout the riding tour
  • Full board during the riding tour, starting with a light meal for lunch on day 1, ending with breakfast on day 8
  • 3 nights in Hestasport Cottages (2-4-bed rooms, shared facilities)
  • 4 nights in Mountain Huts (sleeping bag place, sleeping bags are provided) 
  • English and / or German speaking guides
  • Helmets, raingear, saddlebags
  • Accompanying service carrying luggage, food, etc.
  • Transfer to Akureyri in the end of the tour
  • Domestic flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík
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Not included in the price

  • Transfer to and from Iceland
  • Riding breeches, boots, jackets, gloves
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Accommodation in Reykjavík (but bookable on demand for an extra charge)

Practical Information

What to bring

Temperatures in the summer can range from freezing to 20° C, so be prepared for all kinds of weather. Pack warm clothes such as a wind-proof jacket, woollen or fleece sweaters, gloves, thick woollen socks, headbands/earmuffs, scarf, long underwear (thermals) and of course your riding breeches. We recommend riding boots and/or hiking boots for riding. If you are comfortable with walking in rubber boots, you can bring them too. For the cabins/indoor use, slippers are advisable. Also, prepare for warmer weather and bring along lighter clothes and sunblock, and don’t forget your swimsuit (hot pools). If you need them, you should bring a small pillow and all personal medication. Our staff members are not allowed to give out medication except for emergency situations.

If you enjoy alcoholic beverages in the evening, we recommend that you buy them either at home or take advantage of the duty-free shop in Keflavík airport, because alcohol is rather expensive in Iceland and only sold in special state-run shops. Please find information regarding duty-free regulations here.

 

Riding in Iceland

Your riding clothes and boots must be disinfected before you arrive. It is prohibited by Icelandic law to bring used riding gear including saddles, bridles, etc. into the country, as well as used leather riding boots, other leather riding wear or riding gloves. Riding clothes, rubber riding boots and any other gear should be machine-washed (min. 40°) or dry-cleaned (chemically cleaned), and disinfected with VirkonS®. More detailed information can be found here.

On long riding tours, apart from Home at Hestasport, we ride 5-8 hours per day (on Wilderness Expedition sometimes even more) over plains, hills, rocks and rivers. We, therefore, recommend that participants have solid riding experience and are healthy and in good physical condition.

Note: We reserve the right to alter any itinerary in the guests’ best interest and for reasons of safety. This will not reduce the quality of our tours! 

 

Meals and Accommodation*

Our staff will prepare all meals and you’ll get the chance to taste traditional Icelandic specialities such as fresh and smoked lamb, trout, salmon and a variety of cheese and other dairy products. Depending on the tour you choose, you may stay in mountain cabins or our Hestasport Cottages. Sleeping bag accommodation during the Wilderness Expedition tour includes mattresses with a sheet and accommodation is shared, sometimes with the whole group.

*Does not apply to Home at Hestasport and Mountain Challenge

 

Insurances

We strongly recommend that you have your own personal insurance when joining a riding tour in Iceland.

Booking and cancellations

Booking

Please use the “Book now” button on the corresponding tour’s page to book a long riding tour or contact us by email or phone. We’ll contact you with the specifics and will be happy to answer all your questions. 

Once you have decided to participate in the tour and we have agreed on the details, you are kindly asked to secure your booking by making a (down) payment. We require a down payment of a minimum 25% to reserve your place on the tour. The rest of the payment is due no later than 4 weeks prior to the agreed departure. 

Cancellation

We only accept cancellations by email. 

If you cancel your multi-day tour 4 weeks or more before departure, 25% of the total price of the tour will be charged as a cancellation fee. 

If you cancel less than 4 but more than 2 weeks before departure, the cancellation fee will be 50% of the total price. 

If you cancel less than 2 weeks but more than 48 hours before departure, you will be charged 75% of the full price. 

In case of cancellation within less than 48 hours of the scheduled departure or in case of no-show the full price of the reservation will be charged. 

Terms and conditions

Safety rules
  • The minimum age for long riding tours varies according to the level of difficulty, please refer to the individual tour for information.
  • Pregnant women are riding at their own risk. In case of an accident, we do not assume liability for harm caused to the mother or the unborn child.
  • People under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs are not permitted on the riding tours.
  • Please note that the weight limit for our riders is 110 kg (240 lbs)
  • All clients must participate in the riding tour by their own free will and they are obliged to inform the tour guide of any condition that might affect their ability to participate in the tour.
  • Children who cannot communicate in English or German must be accompanied by their parents.
  • All customers are obliged to listen to and acknowledge the safety instructions.
  • Backpacks or bags cannot be taken on the ride.

With your security in mind, we have done everything in our power to ensure that these trips will be enjoyable and safe, and we ask you to confirm the following when making your booking:

  • I am taking this trip of my own free will.
  • I consider myself physically and mentally able to take part in this trip.
  • I agree to follow the instructions of the guide in every respect.
  • I am aware that this trip/these trips can involve some danger.
  • I agree to notify the tour guide of any illnesses that could affect my ability to take part in this trip (i.e. epilepsy, asthma, diabetes) and the medication that I take for them.
  • I am aware that the operator’s liability extends only to accidents that derive from defects in or incorrect use of equipment by the company’s employees and/or carelessness on their part. I myself bear all responsibility for damage caused by me due to my carelessness or failure to follow set/given/published instructions.
  • I am liable for all personal property taken by me on this trip.
  • I am not under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs.
Liability

Hestasport reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries or timetables without prior notice, should the necessity arise. We reserve the right to cancel the tour or exclude individual riders if we deem it in the person’s or group’s best interest. No liability is accepted for loss or expenses due to delays or changes of arrival or departures of flights or other services, injury, sickness, accident, strikes, damage, negligence, weather, wars or other causes outside the control of Hestasport. All such losses and expenses are the personal liability of the traveller. The estimated duration of tours as indicated by km or timing can change according to road or weather conditions.

BOOK NOW

Please note that your tour has not been confirmed until you receive a confirmation email from Hestasport Riding Tours. When your tour has been confirmed you will receive payment information.

Riding Experience - If you are booking for more than one person, please indicate the appropriate level of experience for each rider

Kennitala: 5005942769
VSK: 94859

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Visit North Iceland

Contact information

info@riding.is
+354 453 8383
Varmahlíð, 560 Varmahlíð