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Southern Highland Adventure

Overview

Discover the majesty of Iceland's southern highlands and ride through Fjallabak on some wonderful, hidden bridle paths to Landmannalaugar. Fjallabak Nature Reserve is an area in the Icelandic Highlands surrounding the popular destination of Landmannalaugar, which has been protected since 1979. …

Highlights

  • Discover the beauty of Landmannalaugar's mountains
  • Ride under towering Mt Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull
  • Tolt on soft trails of volcanic ash
  • Bathe in natural hot springs
  • Cover long distances on comfortable Icelandic horses

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 12 riders per group
  • Average of 35 - 36 kilometres riding per day
  • Weight limit: 110kg / 242 lbs / 17 stone 4 lbs

Description

Discover the majesty of Iceland's southern highlands and ride through Fjallabak on some wonderful, hidden bridle paths to Landmannalaugar.

Fjallabak Nature Reserve is an area in the Icelandic Highlands surrounding the popular destination of Landmannalaugar, which has been protected since 1979.

The entire area is more than 500m above sea level and characterised by colourful mountains, geothermal valleys and volcanic activity. The colour is due to the rhyolite and obsidian (volcanic glass) making the ground appear green, blue, pink, red and yellow. Riding through these multi-coloured landscapes, towering glaciers and extensive lava fields gives the area a magical feeling. Upon reaching the fascinating area of Landmannalaugar you can enjoy a refreshing bath in its natural hot springs.

Two of Icelands most active and beautiful volcanoes - Mt Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull - tower over the landscape.

This area is perfect for riding since the soft trails of volcanic ash offer excellent ground for the Icelandic horses to demonstrate their unique tolt gait.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Specific Icelandic tack. Saddles are similar to dressage saddles with a relatively flat seat which is either plain or quilted. Cruppers may be used to keep the saddle in place. Stirrups are usually kept long but the riding style is similar to English. Bridles are normally simple snaffles with detachable nosebands and clip-on reins.

Horses

Icelandic horses, which are c. 12-14hh but tough and surprisingly strong.

Icelandic horses are renowned for their extra gait - the tolt - which has similar footfalls to a walk but is much faster and usually very smooth. Most people love the tolt, but it can feel a bit unusual to start with.

Native Icelandic horses are the only horses allowed on the island, and once exported they are not allowed to return. Icelandic horses are therefore not exposed to some of the diseases that are prevalent elsewhere in the world. Please note that 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 and we will supply full details when you book.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Fjallabak and Landmannalaugar Trail is a trail ride

Ages

No specific age limit but children must be experienced enough for the long riding days

Health

General good health and fitness.

Weight

110kg / 242 lbs / 17 stone 4 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

During the ride, full board meals are provided. The menu consists of a large breakfast each morning and traditional Icelandic meals (usually featuring fish or lamb) served each evening. All riders will make their own packed lunches to take with them for the riding day using items from the breakfast table. Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking.

Alcoholic drinks are not included and are difficult to source on the ride, so we recommend buying them at the Duty-Free store on arrival at Reykjavik airport and carrying them with you.

Accommodation

You stay in shared rooms in simple mountain huts - sometimes the whole group sleeps together in one bunk room. You need to bring your own sleeping bag. Indoor WC, warm showers and hot tubs are available at most locations.

Accommodation in Reykjavik before/after the ride is not included.

Itineraries

Fjallabak and Landmannalaugar Trail Basic accommodation.

Other Activities

This is a riding trail with long hours in the saddle and non-riders cannot be accommodated.

Travel

You are collected from Reykjavik city so will need to take a shuttle bus from the airport - these are easily booked in advance or when you arrive. Transfers are early in the morning so we recommend arriving the day before and spending a night in Reykjavik before the trail.

On departure, you can expect to be back in the city by late afternoon or early evening. We would recommend planning to spend an extra night in Reykjavik and flying out the following day, or staying on for a few more days in the city if you are able to. Extra nights in Reykjavik are not included but we can certainly advise you.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Reykjavik - Fell - Einhyrningur

Riding: 25 kilometres

You'll be picked up from Reykjavik between 08:15 and 09:00 to travel by private transfer to the south of Iceland to meet your horses at the farm Fell. Mount up and start your ride alongside the mighty Markarfljot river and follow its western banks through majestic scenery with the highlands towering ahead of you. Your path leads you up into the mountains and around Einhyrningur mountain to reach your cabin where you spend the night. There are great views of Eyjafjallajokull glacier and Thorsmork Nature park from your cabin.

Day 2 - Einhyrningur - Mosar - Hungurfit

Riding: 30 kilometres

Cross the mighty Markarfljot river over a bridge and ride through the scenic Emstrur area to Mosar. This lush grazing area in the highlands pleases your horses and you spend some time there before continuing to the new and cosy Hungurfit cabin just north of Tindfjallajokull, the smallest glacier in Iceland. It is easily recognisable by its two symmetrical peaks of Ymir and Yma, both over 1400m high. A warm shower awaits you, together with great views of Myrdalsjokull glacier where the notorious Katla crater is hidden.

Day 3 - Hungurfit - Landmannahellir

Riding: 45 kilometres

Continue your ride into the mountains, past the prominent table mountain Laufafell and through a black lava desert. Your ride takes you past the black obsidian lava fields of Hrafntinnusker and through the fascinating Reykjadalur valley with its hot springs, small geysirs and colourful mountains. End your day in the traditional sheep herding station of Landmannahellir where you spend the next two nights.

Day 4 - Landmannalaugar - the kaleidoscope of Iceland

Riding: 40 kilometres

Today you ride to the famous Landmannalaugar, with its natural hot pool surrounded by colourful mountains and lava from 1480. You will have some time to enjoy the special scenery - either on a short hike or in the natural hot pools - before continuing on your scenic ride back to Landmannahellir. The colours change from the blue-yellow-red of the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar to the greenish black lava fields and unreal blue dotted lakes in between. Cross rivers and lakes and pass through an obsidian field before arriving back at your cabin in Landmannahellir. This day will be, without a doubt, one of the highlights of your trail.

Day 5 - Landmannahellir - Rjupnavellir

Riding: 35 kilometres

Leave the scenic Landmannahellir area and ride north of Mt Hekla volcano down from the mountains. A desert of black ash and light pumice is a witness to numerous eruptions from this volcano which is the most active on Iceland and known as the Gateway to Hell. Arriving at the summer cottages at Rjupnavellir is your first step back towards civilisation. Enjoy a final night with a barbecue and beautiful views of Mt Hekla as you sleep right under the volcano.

Day 6 - Rjupnavellir - Fljotshlid

Riding: 35 - 40 kilometres

Your final riding day leads you south of Mt Hekla volcano and shows another, more positive side, to her eruptions - fertile farmland. Ride through lush fields and cross the rivers Ytri-Ranga and Eystri-Ranga. For parts of the day you follow the well-known Hekla Trail and ride on good riding tracks where it's easy to enjoy the tolt. Your ride ends in Fljotshlid where you say goodbye to your horses before being transferred back to Reykjavik.

Accommodation

You stay in mountain cabins in shared rooms and should take your own sleeping bag.

Experience Experienced

You should be a capable rider who is comfortable in all paces in open spaces. You'll be riding with a group of loose horses and will change your mount two or three times each day.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 12
Departure windows

July 12, 2022 - July 17, 2022

Aug. 4, 2022 - Aug. 9, 2022

Aug. 18, 2022 - Aug. 23, 2022

Pricing

2022
Rider, sharing
£1945 $2460 €2290
Included 5 nights shared accommodation, all meals, soft drinks with meals, 6 days of riding, set time transfers from Reykjavik.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, bus tickets/travel to Reykjavik in time for the transfers, alcoholic drinks, tips & 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.