Ask a Question

Check Availability

Northern Iceland

Overview

This family run farmhouse has been welcoming guests for extraordinary riding adventures since 1985. The incredible landscapes of Iceland are a wonder to behold and feature remote valleys, winding rivers and a myriad of colours from white ice and snow in winter to beautiful greens in the summer mont…

Highlights

  • Tölting on a friendly and forward-going Icelandic Horse
  • Juliane's afternoon cakes!
  • The unbelievable scenery from mountains to meadows
  • Whale-watching - maybe even from horseback
  • Sipping water from crystal-clear streams

Essential Facts

  • 3 itineraries available
  • Max 18 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100 kg / 220lbs / 15 st 10 lbs

Description

This family run farmhouse has been welcoming guests for extraordinary riding adventures since 1985. The incredible landscapes of Iceland are a wonder to behold and feature remote valleys, winding rivers and a myriad of colours from white ice and snow in winter to beautiful greens in the summer months. There is a choice of rides to choose from and they bring chances to explore Iceland's treasures - the Northern Lights, the coastline of the North Sea, impressive volcanoes (including the world's most volcanic region!), remote fishing villages, whale-watching, magical woodlands and Viking history. It is a land of mystery and legend!

There are around 130 horses living at the farm all year round and then around 20 more join the herd in the summer months. The Icelandic Horses are world renowned for their small stature but also their strength, willingness and exceptionally sure-footed nature. The breed has been pure-bred in Iceland for more than 1000 years and has been incredibly well-protected against disease and outside contamination. Sometimes you will be riding with a herd of free-running horses and can even change your horse each day (if you like!) for a true horseback adventure! The breed has an extra gait known as the 'tölt' - this is a four beat gait with foot falls in the same pattern as walk and it is incredibly smooth to ride. For many visitors to Iceland riding a local horse at the tölt is a very special experience.

The farmhouse offers basic accommodation so these are not rides for those interested in luxury. They are however perfect if you dream of exploring enchanting landscapes on a trusty horse, surrounded by a happy herd. Riders will definitely not go hungry as all guests are well-fed with home cooked meals and snacks, including some local Icelandic specialities! Your hosts want you to feel happy and welcome, experiencing the best of Icelandic hospitality, culture and riding.

NB. In order to ensure the safety of the Icelandic horse breed, there are some restrictions on what riding clothing and equipment you can bring into the country. Please get in touch so that we can give you the necessary information.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Icelandic tack is slightly different than tack ordinarily used for other breeds. The saddle is built closer to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Stirrups are worn long and it is not uncommon to use a crupper which keeps the saddle in place. Iceland saddles come with a flat, quilted seat. Stirrups are shaped to accommodate heavy boots. Bits range from simple snaffle to the Icelandic curb bit. Bridles often have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

Horses

The Icelandic Horses are world renowned for their small stature but also their strength, willingness and exceptionally sure-footed nature. Sometimes you will be riding with a herd of free-running horses and can even change your horse each day (if you like!) for a true horseback adventure! The breed has an extra gait known as the 'tölt' - this is a four beat gait with foot falls in the same pattern as walk and it is incredibly smooth to ride. For many visitors to Iceland riding a local horse at the tölt is a very special experience.

Riding

There are 3 itineraries:

  • Fascinating North Iceland Trail is a trail ride
  • Autumn Colours and Northern Lights Trail is a based ride
  • Ring Around the Midnight Sun is a based ride

Ages

No age limit

Health

None

Weight

100 kg / 220lbs / 15 st 10 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

The food here is substantial - your host's believe riders must never be hungry! Here you have an opportunity to savour Icelandic specialities but nothing too "exotic".

Favourites are lamb, fish, vegetables, salads, rice and noodles. Vegetarians are catered for. During the rides there are plenty of sandwiches and on the longer tours when the herd runs freely, Goi will drive the bus and be on hand with the lunch boxes.

In the evening there will always be a hot and hearty meal to enjoy. Unlimited tea, coffee and delicious Icelandic spring water is always available.

Accommodation

The farmhouse from where the ride is based lies in the North of Iceland at the longest fjord and is the starting point of a variety of long and short riding tours. It is located a few kilometres away from Grenivik, a small fishing village.

The accommodation is not for those looking for luxury but nevertheless is comfortable, warm and hospitable. Accommodation at the farm is in one of three cottages belonging to your hosts.

The first has two double rooms and one four bed room. The second has three double rooms and one four bed room, both have shower and toilet facilities. The third cottage has one four bed room and one five bed room each with their own shower and toilet facilities.

During trails you will sleep at farmhouses, mountain huts, schools and community centres in sleeping bags. PLEASE NOTE: several of the programmes have the odd night when the whole group sleeps together in one room.

Itineraries

Fascinating North Iceland Trail Basic accommodation.

Autumn Colours and Northern Lights Trail Standard accommodation.

Ring Around the Midnight Sun Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Whilst most of your time on these rides will be taken up on horseback, the unique landscape of the area invites long walks, fishing or just exploring the area on a bike. In the village, you may go shopping or enjoy a dip in a famous Icelandic hot pool.

Travel

There are a few airlines flying into Iceland including the national airline, Icelandair. International flights usually arrive into the main airport of Keflavik. You then require an internal flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri in the north (c. 45 min flight). Please note that you may have to change airports for this flight and should allow time to transfer between them. Keflavik is out of the city, whereas the domestic airport is central.

The three main operators of internal flight between Keflavik in the south and Akureyri in the north are Icelandair, Air Iceland and Eagle Air. These flights typically operate several times per day during the summer months from June to September. UK passengers flying with Icelandair for both legs of their trip will be able to check-in luggage at London Heathrow through to Akureyri and vice versa.

Alternatively, if you wish to see more of this country there are buses which take approximately 6 hours.

From Akureyri, it is approximately a 30-minute journey to the farm. Your hosts arrange one pickup transfer each day, usually in the late afternoon at around 6 pm. Guests arriving in Akureyri earlier than this may wish to explore the town before collection later in the day.

Testimonials

Valerie J., June 7, 2021

Stunning scenery. Lovely horses. Staff all very friendly and well organised. Meals excellent. Very nice to go to the heated pool afterwards in the local town. Plenty of wet weather gear if required. (I was) Happy with my horses but the staff would have done their best to accommodate if you needed to change. The first day we had excellent weather - clear blue sky and warm - which showed the Fjord at its best.


Rosaleen & Angharad, Jan. 25, 2019

Fun! It felt like a holiday. Rides not arduous and varied in length and destination. Great to come back to delicious cake and comfortable bed. Felt part of the 'family' and enjoyed chats with Stefan. Cultural tours varied the itinerary. Good atmosphere on the yard. All of us in the group got along well. Cabin was comfortable and clean. Food plentiful and wholesome. Delicious cakes. Stefan and Juliane wonderful hosts. Nice to have choice (of horses) for last 2 days and ride our favourites. Saddles so comfortable.


Pat B. (Autumn Colours & Northern Lights), Sept. 23, 2016

Fast paced riding on forward, steady horses in beautiful scenery. Excellent food and lots of it. Good accommodation, although not luxurious. Accommodation in guesthouse on 1st trail was an unexpectedly very high standard. Very happy (with my horses) it was good to be able to 3 different ones and saddles were very comfortable. Our guides were excellent. Couldn't have been more helpful and full of fun. (Favourite memory?) Many good ones - possibly riding out from the guesthouse on 1st trail in the sunshine after 2 days of rain. Also the night spent in the shepherd's hut on the 2nd trail (again with good weather).


Johanna F., Sept. 1, 2016

Very pleasant, I liked everything especially horses who were wonderful, kind forward going and beautiful. Surroundings were breathtaking and food was excellent.


Mirren K., Oct. 15, 2015

Fantastic horses, people and landscape. Such a fun holiday with excellent riding through an amazing country, with whales and Northern Lights as a bonus!


Becky H., Oct. 15, 2015

Fantastic holiday with lovely horses and a great experience tölting! Also made to feel extremely welcome by Stefan, Juliane, Paula and the everyone on the yard.


Mary J., Dec. 3, 2014

Brilliant in all respects: hosts, horses, companions, scenery, weather, food, trips in addition to riding... and the rides of course!


Sue R., Oct. 27, 2014

It was like being a small, pony-mad child all week... looked after well, indulged, relaxed, long rides, heaps of food, delicious cakes, wonderful scenery, welcoming hosts. Food and accommodation was absolutely wonderful. Horses extremely well-cared for and loved, living in a very natural outdoor herd environment. Guides were all lovely (about 6 of them in total) and took a lot of effort to make us feel at ease during the day and evening too.


Dorien B., Sept. 25, 2009

I had a great time! Iceland is so beautiful with all its colours, waterfalls, hot springs and different landscapes. Juliane and Stefan were really great with a great sense of humor and I felt really welcome. I was lucky because we had a group of 4 people and we had a lot of fun. The horses were also very nice, I didn't know they could climb the mountains so steadily and fast. And of course the tölt was so comfortable.


Vicky B., July 3, 2009

I took part in the Autumn Colours and Northern lights programme it was an amazing experience in which I won't forget, it couldn't have been better. Overall it was brilliant and as guests we just had to sit back and enjoy it.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

In the late afternoon, you will be transferred to Grytubakki farmhouse for a hearty dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 2

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

After breakfast you will be shown the famous waterfall of the Gods. According to the sagas, Þorgeir of Ljósavatn threw his statues of the gods into the falls when Iceland converted to Christianity in the year 1000, hence the name. Then you will be driven to Fremstafell farmhouse, where you catch the horses and saddle up. You will then ride to the Bardardalur valley, follow the river Skjálfandafljót and stay overnight at Hotel Kiðagil. The river Skálfandafljót flows through the valley over the Bárðardalshraun lava field that probably came all over the way from Trölladyngja in Ódaðahraun north of Vatnajökull more than 7,000 years ago.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

You will leave Kiðagil, ride over the bridge at Stóruvellir to the other side of the valley and reach the old farmhouse of Stóratunga. Here you will be very close to the entrance of Ódaðahraun, the enormous lava field, believed to be the home of outlaws, elves and trolls in the old days. At Stórutunga you will leave some of the horses and then ride on to the impressive waterfall Aldeyarfoss. Here you will enjoy this wonderful nature paradise. Overnight at Stóratunga.

Day 4

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Today you ride in the breathtaking surroundings of Storatunga. In the morning you ride in a north eastern direction alongside the river Skjalfandafljot and over to the old lava fields of Tunguhraun. Continue to Tunguharmri and ride south alongside the river Svarta back to the Storatunga farmhouse for lunch. In the afternoon you ride towards the highland and south to the Sudura river and the area of Rettartorfur and the waterfalls of Hrafnabjorg. Most of your riding is over lava and sand and you will ride c. 12km in the morning and c. 16km in the afternoon.

Day 5

Riding: 4 hours

Say goodbye to Storatunga and ride over Landsmelar at Viðiker to the area of Myvatn. Your ride will take you over sandy hills and through moorland. A tremendous view awaits you when you reach the highest point. If you are lucky you might see the queen of the Icelandic mountains in the distance: Herdubreið. Leave the horses at farmhouse Stöng and start your sightseeing tour into the Myvatn area. The pseudo craters of Skutustadir, the bizarre lava formations of Dimmuborgir and bubbling mud pools of Namaskard await you! You stay at Breidamyri community centre

Day 6

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast you will leave Stöng to the south, close to the old farmhouse of Hörgsdalur, and ride then along Myvatnsheiði to the valley of the smoke - Reykjadalur. Smooth tracks, adventurous tracks and a diversified landscape await you. Mountain Kinnarfjöll to the west side and mountain Gaesafjöll to the east side are visible if the weather allows it. You will again stay overnight at Breiðimyri, close to the little village Laugar.

Day 7

Riding: 6 hours

Today your ride will take you along Vatnshlið through woods. There is a wonderful view over the valley Reykjadalur and the lake Vestmannsvatn. After the hill Fljótsheiði a terrific and diversified ride awaits you along the river Skjálfandafljót and through the forest Fellskógur. On the way you will pass the waterfalls Ullarfoss and Barnafoss. You will be able to leave the horses at Fremstafell farm and be driven home.  Tonight you will enjoy a final dinner where you can talk about your adventure with your new friends, and your overnight stay will be back at the farmhouse.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Akureyri.

* Please note that some trail dates will include slight variations of the above riding route. On 2 specified dates each year, you will ride all the way up North to the peninsula of Melrakkaslétta and back again.

Accommodation

First and last night at the farmhouse, but other nights out on the trail in a mixture of different rustic buildings. You will need to bring a sleeping bag!

Experience Experienced

Experienced riders who are able to ride different horses and are comfortable for long hours in the saddle.

Minimum group size 12
Maximum group size 18
Departure windows

June 21, 2022 - June 28, 2022

July 2, 2022 - July 9, 2022

July 12, 2022 - July 19, 2022

July 22, 2022 - July 29, 2022  (Melrakkasletta)

Aug. 2, 2022 - Aug. 9, 2022  (Melrakkasletta)

Aug. 12, 2022 - Aug. 19, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing; All other trail dates
£1785 $2470 €2120
2022
Sharing; Melrakkasletta Trail dates
£1895 $2620 €2250
Included 7 nights accommodation, full board meals, 6 days riding, set-time transfers to/from Akureyri airport or bus terminal
Not included Flights, alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, tips, sleeping bag & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will be picked up at Akureyri airport or bus station in the late afternoon. You will be driven to the farmhouse Grytubakki (30 minutes). On the way you may admire the beautiful view over Eyjafjörður. After dinner you will discuss the coming days and your hosts will give you information about the riding and programme.

Day 2

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After breakfast, the horses are caught and tacked up - every rider gets a horse suitable for them. You will ride up to the entrance of the Fjörður peninsula and around the mountain Hofdi. Enjoy the view over the longest fjord in Iceland - Eyjafjordur and if you are lucky, you may spot whales that have been seen in the fjord as late as October!

Back at the farm, you will stop for coffee and cakes before you are welcome to try your hand at some mini-golf! Dinner and overnight at the farmhouse.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Ride to the fishing village of Grenivik and from there along the coast of Latrarstrond. The North Sea is there to greet you! You will ride above steep cliffs, through wide meadows, clear brooks and impressive valleys. On the way, you will see some historical ruins reminding you of former times. You will stop for a lunch break at the ruins of an ancient farmhouse, Svínarnes.

This area is where the farmers' young horses spend the summer but soon they will be taken back to their home meadows, as the autumn colours are arriving and signalling that winter is on its way!

Return to the farm by the same route for more coffee and cakes.

Day 4

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today you ride into the valley of the river Fnjoska and on both sides of the river there are mountains up to 1000m high. You will ride along the southern part of the valley, by brooks, hills and through forests showing the rich autumn colours.

Cackling geese rest along the riverbank, preparing themselves for their long journey south. They will be spending winter in warmer areas before returning to Iceland in the spring, when the sun starts to shine for longer hours.  Spend some time in this valley before returning to Grytubakki for coffee and cakes.

After coffee you drive out to the famous waterfall of Godafoss which played an important role during the Christianisation of Iceland - it is also one of the most beautiful in Iceland.

Day 5

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today you will leave for the mountains. Your destination is the shepherd hut Gil at the end of the valley of Trolladalur. From the highest point at Leiroalsheioi, you will have a fantastic view over the fjord Hvalvatndfjorour and the open polar sea. 

After dinner you will go for a walk under the stars and hope to see some of the dancing Northern Lights.

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you will saddle up again and leave for your ride back to the farmhouse. On the way you will see some of the many thousands of sheep that have spent the summer months in the mountains. They are on their way back home, knowing that soon, everything will be under snow. A final dinner will be served at the farmhouse.

Day 7

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you will be driven back to Akureyri.

Accommodation

5 nights at the farmhouse and one night in a shepherds hut on the trail. You will need to bring a sleeping bag!

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate riders upwards, capable in all paces across open terrain.

Minimum group size 5
Maximum group size 15
Departure windows

Sept. 1, 2022 - Sept. 7, 2022

Sept. 13, 2022 - Sept. 19, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022 - Sept. 26, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing
£1330 $1840 €1580
Included 6 nights accommodation, full board meals, 5 days riding, set-time transfers from/to Akureyri airport or bus terminal
Not included Flights, alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, tips, sleeping bag & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will be picked up at Akureyri airport or the bus station in the late afternoon. A 30 minute drive will take you to the farmhouse. After dinner, details about the next days will be provided. Overnight at the farmhouse.

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

After breakfast you will saddle your horse. You will receive a short introduction before beginning the tour by riding through the marshy country of Nes. After about an hour you reach the valley of the river Fnjoska and cross over an old bridge to continue up the valley. Fnjoska is the longest freshwater river in Iceland and the narrow valley has a huge variety of landscapes as well as many birds caring for their young.

Stop for lunch and then turn back to Grytubakki for coffee and cakes.

After coffee you are driven to the well-known turfhouse of Laufas - a pure example of the gabled Icelandic farms of the past. This farmhouse has been a vicarage since the earliest Christian times. Dinner and overnight at Grytubakki.

Day 3

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today you ride towards the longest fjord in Iceland - Eyjafjordur. Firstly you ride along the river Gljufura and then into the surrounding hills of Hofdi which offers spectacular views. Fjord Eyjafjordur is one of the best places in Iceland for spotting whales - mainly the huge Humpbacks, Minke, porpoises and Northern bottlenose whale. You will stop several times to look for them. On your way back you will also see the island of Hrisey which is the second largest Icelandic island and gave the fjord its name - Fjord of the Island.

After a coffee back at the farmhouse, you will saddle your horse for a short ride in the vicinity of the farm. After dinner at the farmhouse, you can marvel at the midnight sun.

Day 4

Riding: 4 hours

Today you will have a day ride to the coast Látrastönd above steep cliffs, through clear brooks and wonderful green valleys. You will have your lunch break close to the ruins of the old farmhouse Svínarnes, inhabited until the middle of the last century. You will enjoy the amazing view to the island of Hrísey, fjord Eyjafjördur and the open sea. Maybe you will be lucky enough to see whales again or perhaps some shy seals.

Coffee and cake at the farmhouse and then drive to the swimming pool in Grenivik for a surprisingly good view of the fjord and surrounding mountains before dinner.

Day 5

Riding: 2 hours

The famous area of lake Mývatn is your destination today by vehicle. You will have a look at the pseudo crater of Skútustadit, the bizarre formations made of lava in Dimmuborgir and the bubbling mud pools of Námaskard. On the way home you can look at the historical waterfall of Godafoss which played an important role in the Christianisation of Iceland around the year 1,000.

After dinner at the farmhouse you will saddle your horse for a two hour ride around the farm to enjoy the midnight sun! Overnight at the farmhouse.

Day 6

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Today you will ride up to the mountains into the wild valley Fjördur. Fjörður is a mysterious and deserted area. It has been closed off from the rest of the world for 40 years. Only about 4000 sheep spend the summertime here every year, together with the trolls and elves. Names like Trölladalur, the valley of the trolls and Álfaborgir, the cities of the elves remind us of the existence of these invisible beings.

From the rise of Leirdalsheiði you will have a wonderful view over to the fjord of Eyjafjörður, the fishing village Grenivík and the surrounding farms. You will ride through green valleys, along rushing rivers and over stony paths. Extinct volcanoes, silent glaciers and hidden waterfalls will accompany you. In the late afternoon, you will be back at the farmhouse for dinner and overnight.

Day 7

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast transfer back to Akureyri.

Accommodation

All nights are spent at the farmhouse Grytubakki with made-up beds.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate riders upwards who are capable in all paces across open terrain.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 16
Departure windows

June 13, 2022 - June 19, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing
£1330 $1840 €1580
Included 6 nights accommodation, full board meals, 5 days riding, road trip to Myvatn, set-time transfers to/from Akureyri airport or bus terminal
Not included Flights, alcoholic drinks, travel insurance, tips, sleeping bag & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.