Breath of the Highlands
This vibrant riding tour with a herd of free-running horses commences in the beautiful Skagafjörður, the heart of horse breeding in Iceland. We will embark on a trail leading through the wilderness of the Icelandic highlands, where the stunning sight of the glaciers Hofsjökull and Langjökull will emerge as we go further. The scenic canyon Gilhagadalur, the remote highlands hut Galtará and the beautiful Svartádalur valley are only
Good riding skills needed
7 days / 6 nights – 6 riding days (1-3 horses per person per day)
25th of June – 1st of July 2023 — sold out
08th of July – 14th of July 2023 — sold out
23rd of July – 29th of July 2023— sold out
06th of August – 12th of August — sold out
20th of August – 26th of August 2023 — sold out
from 8 years (only with experience)
Minimum 6, maximum 14
Price per person (11% VAT incl.)
*price for 2023
Day 1: Reykjavik – Varmahlíð:
A bus will pick you up in the morning of the ride between 9 am and 10 am at your Hotel. After the bus transfer to Varmahlíð 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 – Gilhagi:
Today our adventure truly begins! We will be riding through the stunning nature of the river delta towards the pen Mælifellsrétt. Our herd of free-running horses will also start their journey towards the pen and we will meet the herd around noon. From this time we will ride with our herd of horses deeper into the valley along a low-traffic road. Riding with the herd enables us to change horses so they can relax while running free. This day will end at the farm Gilhagi, where the herd will spend the night. We will return back to our cottages, where the delicious dinner will be already awaiting us.
Day 3: Varmahlíð – Gilhagi – Galtará:
Before we set out in the morning, we will pack our luggage for the night in the highlands. Everything that we don´t need can be left in the biggest, common cottage until our return. After a short drive, we get back on horseback and ride through the scenic canyon Gilhagadalur into the highlands. Our destination is the mountain hut Galtará located nearby the Blöndulón reservoir in the wide moor Eyvindarstaðaheiði. The horses also spend their night here – only a few steps away from our hut! At the Galtará hut, we have even the luxury of hot water and showers. Before the night sets in our chef will treat us to a delectable dinner. If we are lucky, we will be able to see the Hofsjökull and Langjökull glaciers shimmering in the soft light of the midnight sun.
Day 4: Galtará – Svartárdalur – Stafnsrétt
After breakfast, we have to pack our luggage and leave the peaceful Galtará and the stillness of the highlands behind. We follow wide riding trails that allow us for an endless tölt. In the breaks, depending on the season, we may be able to pick crowberries, the aromatic wild thyme, or the healthy Iceland moss. As we descend from Eyvindarstaðaheiði further into the Svartárdalur valley, we will see the corral Stafnsrétt, where the sheep are collected every autumn. This corral is our destination today. Our horses will retreat here for the night and we will drive back to our cottages.
Day 5: Stafnsrétt – Varmahlíð:
In the morning we will saddle our horses and we will ride all the way back home. The day seems like a summary of our entire tour. The paths alternate between old riding trails that are perfect for tölting and a more challenging, rugged terrain.
To start with our horses climb uphill on rocky serpentines. From the mountain pass Kiðaskarð we will be able to catch one last glimpse of the faraway highlands and the majestic glaciers. We will ride down towards our home meadows and release our herd there for the night.
Day 6: Varmahlíð:
Following a delightful breakfast we start our last day with some culture before we are going on horseback again.
You got to know already over the last few days what the Icelandic horse is capable to do. For getting the whole picture of our fantastic horses we will meet on the old competition ground Vindheimalmelar and show and try out the fifth gait of our fabulous horses, the Flying pace. You will be aided by our skilled riding instructor and her well-trained pace horses to get a glimpse of that gait with breathtaking speed and explosive acceleration.
After that exiting experience we saddle up our horses and will have a last farewell ride in the valley. After that we will have to say goodbye to our horses and release them into the pasture. At the cottages, a substantial farewell dinner will be awaiting us. For an even better conclusion to our riding tour, we can jump into the stone hot tub and relax while pondering the ever-amazing memories of the past days spent on horseback.
Day 7: Transfer to Reykjavik – the end of the tour:
After breakfast, you will pack your luggage and we will give you a lift to Reykjavík.
If you would like to take the Highland Bus that follows road F35 and explore the geothermal area of Hveravellir, the magnificent waterfall of Gullfoss and the famous Geysir in Haukadalur, we can arrange this for you as well for an extra charge. Domestic flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík with transportation to the airport in Akureyri is also available for a surcharge upon request. (It is not possible to refund the private bus transfer)
Included in the price
Transfer to and from Reykjavík (pick-up service)
All ground transportation throughout the riding tour
- Full board during the riding tour, starting with lunch on day 1, ending with breakfast on day 7
- 5 nights in Hestasport Cottages (2 person rooms with shared facilities – Private facilities might be available for an extra price.)
- 1 night in a mountain hut (sleeping bag place, sleeping bags are provided)
- 2-3 horses per day / per rider
- English and / or German speaking guides
- Helmets, raingear, saddlebags
- Accompanying service carrying luggage, food, etc.
Not included in the price
- Transfer to and from Iceland
- Accommodation in Reykjavík (but bookable on demand for an extra charge)
- Riding breeches, boots, jackets, gloves
- Alcoholic beverages
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. 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 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!
We strongly recommend that you have your own personal insurance when joining a riding tour in Iceland.
Booking and cancellations
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.
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
- 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 100 kg (220 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.
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.
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.
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