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Southern Comfort

Overview

The farmers offering horse riding trails live in almost every part of Iceland so they offer riding tours in very diverse landscapes. They operate the tour from their homes and know the area they ride in like the palm of their hands and know the most beautiful places to visit in each area. Gestu…

Highlights

  • Ride the Golden Circle between Gullfoss and Geysir
  • Enjoy the character and paces of the Icelandic horse
  • Tolt beneath the beauty of Hekla volcano
  • Discover the colourful mountains of Landmannalaugar
  • Relax in geothermal pools and hot springs

Essential Facts

  • 3 itineraries available
  • Max 20 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 110 kg / 243 lbs / 17 stone 5 lbs

Description

The farmers offering horse riding trails live in almost every part of Iceland so they offer riding tours in very diverse landscapes. They operate the tour from their homes and know the area they ride in like the palm of their hands and know the most beautiful places to visit in each area.

Gestur and family are farmers who operate tours all over south Iceland, both in popular tourist places as well as in the most rural places in Iceland. Gestur and Margrét and sons operate from Kálfhóll farm and have offered their riding tours for many years now. Their sons Egill and Hannes help their parents to make this experience an amazing one for the guests. The family at Kálfhóll farm are well known for their great hospitality and enjoy leading their guests into the magical world of the Golden Circle, Pjorsa river valley and Landmannalaugar.

The Icelandic breed is especially well known for the ‘tölt’ - a comfortable four-beat gait which is smooth to ride and can be as fast as a normal canter. The breed is also known for its versatility and strength, being able to carry grown adults despite their small stature. But the breed has a gentler side and is well suited for children. Children confident in the saddle will enjoy the Golden Circle trails offered here, whilst even total beginners can experience our Riding between Rivers options, which is suitable for riders of all levels and ages.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different than the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.The saddle is similar to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.

Bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

Horses

Icelandic.
The Icelandic breed is especially well known for the ‘tölt’ - a comfortable four-beat gait which is smooth to ride and can be as fast as a normal canter. The breed is also known for its versatility and strength, being able to carry grown adults despite their small stature.

Riding

There are 3 itineraries:

  • Golden Circle is a trail ride
  • Landmannalaugar is a trail ride
  • Riding Between Rivers is a based ride

Ages

8 and over if competent in the saddle

Health

Fit and healthy

Weight

110 kg / 243 lbs / 17 stone 5 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

During the ride full board is provided. Our menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.

Accommodation

Farmhouse accommodation with 2-4 bedrooms on the Golden Circle and Riding between Rivers, but mountain hut (sleeping bag) accommodation on the Landmannalaugar trail.

Itineraries

Golden Circle Basic / Standard accommodation.

Landmannalaugar Basic accommodation.

Riding Between Rivers Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Visits to local sites are included - see separate itineraries for details.
Non-riders cannot be accommodated on the mobile trail rides, but could join their families on the centre based option.

Travel

Transfer from pick up points in Reykjavik and the bus station is included in the trip.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Reykjavik - Blesastaðir Guesthouse

Riding: No riding.

You will be collected from BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik at 18:00 by a tour bus that will transfer you and your fellow riders to your first night's accommodation at Blesastaðir Guesthouse. Your hosts, guides, horses and support staff will already be here, waiting to meet you. After a lovely introductory meal where you will get the chance to know each other a little better and ask questions about the riding tour ahead, there is time to relax and rest so you are well prepared for the adventure.

Day 2 - Blesastaðir - Thjórsá glacier river - Blesastaðir

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

After breakfast this morning you will head out for an introduction to the Icelandic horse and its special gaits. Once safely aboard your horse, you will start the ride by following a pleasant trail along the edge of Thjórsá - a glacier fed river. at the end fo the riding day, you will leave the horses at Sandlækjarmýri field and be driven to Blesastaðir Guesthouse. This day offers the perfect way to get to know your horse and the Icelandic style of trail riding in a relaxed atmosphere. You will get the chance to enjoy the outdoor hot tub at Blesastaðir Guesthouse before a hearty dinner. 
Riding c. 15k

Day 3 - Blesastaðir - Myrkholt

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Leaving Blesastaðir in the morning, you will drive back to meet the horses where you left them the night before. From here, you will head off to the fertile farmlands of the neighbouring community Hrunamannahreppur. today, you will ride along with spare horses, in a free running herd, which will enabling you to change horses regularly and to travel at a brisk pace. Cross the well known salmon fishing river of Stóra-Laxá and stop for a picnic lunch at Hrunaréttir, the site of a corral used for the annual Icelandic sheep round-up in the autumn. in the afternoon, you will continue to ride on trails perfect for tölting as you head towards the majestic canyon Brúarhlöð where milky green water passes through bizarre rock formations. The ride ends at Brúarhlöð and you will be driven to a new farm, Myrkholt Farm, where you spend the night. 
Riding c. 30k

Day 4 - Myrkholt-Gullfoss-Myrkholt

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

You will continue your ride today on those same trails which are so ideal for tölting, following alongside Hvítá River. The trail takes you through an ever deepening canyon as you travel downriver to the impressive Golden Waterfall, Gullfoss. You will enjoy your lunch break and some free time at Gullfoss before you ride back to Myrkholt farm, where you will spend the night. 
Riding c. 20K

Day 5 - Haukadalur – Haukadalsheiði – Myrkholt

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

The ride today takes you through Haukadalur valley with its beautiful birch forest. You will cross little clear streams on the way and enjoy the rich vegetation of wild mountain flowers that bloom during high summer. Whilst you ascend to a highland plateau you will notice the changes in nature as you reach higher ground. A breathtaking view of the mountain ranges and glaciers of the highland around awaits you when you reach the top of Haukadalsheiði. The rest of the day will be spent in the Geysir area. You have plenty of time to explore this highly interesting attraction with its countless bubbling hot springs. 
Riding c. 18km

Day 6 - Geysir - Tungufellsdalur - Kaldbakur - Blesastaðir

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Today you will leave the Geysir area and ride along green pastures back to the bridge at Brúarhlöð canyon, where you will cross the mighty Hvítá River. As you begin to ride towards the interior of Iceland and follow the beautiful Tungufellsdalur valley to Hrunaheiðar heath plateau, you will experience riding along the edge of civilisation. Your horses will be settled for the night at Kaldbakur Farm, before you are driven to the Secret Lagoon for a relaxing bath in the geothermal pool and then back to Blesastaðir Guesthouse to spend the night. 
Riding c. 30k

Day 7 - Blesastaðir - Kaldbakur - Hrepphólar - Kálfhóll  - Reykjavík

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

The last day of riding includes some truly terrific scenery yet again! Today's ride will follow some great riding tracks past Mt. Galtafell. You will cross River Laxá before you reach Sandlækjarmýri field and finally turn towards the banks of the Thjórsá River and follow them all the way to Kálfhóll Farm. Here you will say goodbye to your guides, staff, and horses and return to Reykjavík; approximate arrival at 20:00 
Riding c. 40k

Accommodation

Comfortable farmhouse accommodation with shared rooms (up to 8 beds in each) and shared bathroom facilities.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate riders: comfortable during long hours in the saddle.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 20
Departure windows

July 24, 2021 - July 30, 2021  (* High Season)

July 31, 2021 - Aug. 6, 2021  (* High Season)

Aug. 28, 2021 - Sept. 3, 2021

May 28, 2022 - June 3, 2022

June 4, 2022 - June 10, 2022

June 11, 2022 - June 17, 2022

July 16, 2022 - July 22, 2022  (*High season)

July 23, 2022 - July 29, 2022  (*High season)

July 30, 2022 - Aug. 5, 2022  (*High season)

Aug. 27, 2022 - Sept. 2, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Low season
£1780 $2475 €2090
2021/2022
High season (27th June - 20th August)
£1950 $2715 €2290
Included 6 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day until lunch on departure day, soft drinks with meals, 6 days of riding, set time transfers from Reykjavik bus station.
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.

Day 1 - Reykjavik - Blesastadir

Riding: No riding.

You'll be collected from the BSI bus station in Reykjavik at 6pm and transferred to Blesastadir guesthouse for an introductory meal with your fellow riders.

Day 2 - Blesastadir - Thjorsa - Sanlaekjarmyri

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Transfer to Kalfholl farm to meet your horses and set off riding on fantastic paths along the mighty glacial river Pjorsa with views of Eyjafjallajokull glacier and volcano Hekla. Leave the horses at Sandlaekjarmyri field and transfer to Blesastadir for another night in the guesthouse. Today is the perfect way to get to know your horse and the Icelandic way of trail riding, including relaxing in the hot tub in the evening. 
Riding c. 20km

Day 3 - Sandlaekjarmyri - Holaskogur

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Return to your horses and ride along the lovely river Sanda through the national forest of Skridufellskogur and into the famous beautiful valley of Thjorsardalur. The mountain Dimon towers over the vast lavender-blue lupine fields which border the sandy riding tracks. Stop at Stong, the ruins of a medieval farmhouse excavated in 1939. In 1104, Mt Hekla erupted for the first time in recorded history and destroyed 20 farms in the valley, of which Stong was one. Continue riding to Gjain, a mystical canyon with lots of small waterfalls which featured in the Game of Thrones series, before reaching your cosy mountain hut Holaskogur with views of Mt Hekla.
Riding c. 30km

Day 4 - Holaskogur - Landmannahellir

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Ride over narrow tracks through black lava north of Valafell mountain. Your surefooted horses will carry you comfortably across the rough terrain of the Lambaskard mountain passage before continuing to the sandy paths close to lake Saudleysuvatn and then through the moonlike desert towards your mountain hut Landmannahellir. You spend two nights here.
Riding c. 30km

Day 5 - Landmannahellir - Landmannalaugar - Landmannahellir

Riding: 5 - 7 hours

Today is one of the highlights of the tour as you ride to the famous Landmannalaugar with its natural hot pool surrounded by colourful mountains and lava fields from 1480. Your horses rest in a paddock so that you can visit the numerous sights on foot and relax in the hot pools before returning to your hut at Landmannahellir.
Riding c. 40km

Day 6 - Landmannahellir - Holaskogur

Riding: 5 - 7 hours

Leave Landmannahellir behind and head towards the Herbjarnfell mountain. Todays route takes you over varying landscapes including sharp lava, huge pumice fields and green grazing fields where farmers drive their sheep in summer. Stay overnight in the solitary mountain hut Holaskogur with perfect views of Mt Hekla - it feels as though you are on top of the world.
Riding c. 40km

Day 7 - Holaskogur - Rettarholt - Reykjavik

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

Ride over the rich green mountain fields across Seljamyri to Fogruskogar and Prengslasandur, eventually reaching Rettarholt guesthouse. Here you leave the horses and transfer to Kalfholl farm for coffee and cake before transferring back to Reykjavik. Accommodation is not included in Reykjavik, but we can advise.

Accommodation

The first 2 nights will be spent at a farmhouse featuring shared rooms with 2-4 beds in each. For the other nights, you will be staying in simple mountain huts, with shared sleeping quarters and will need to bring your own sleeping bag for this.

Experience Experienced

You should be a competent rider who is confident and balanced in all paces across varied terrain. You should also be fit for some long hours in the saddle.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 20
Departure windows

Aug. 10, 2021 - Aug. 16, 2021  (* High Season)

Aug. 17, 2021 - Aug. 23, 2021  (* High Season)

June 21, 2022 - June 27, 2022

Aug. 9, 2022 - Aug. 15, 2022

Aug. 16, 2022 - Aug. 22, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Sharing
£2000 $2785 €2350
Included 6 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day until lunch on departure day, soft drinks with meals, 6 days of riding, set time transfers from Reykjavik bus station.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, bus tickets/travel to Reykjavik in time for the transfers, alcoholic drinks, sleeping bag, 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.

Day 1

Riding: 15 kilometres

You will be collected from Reykjavik bus station or a specified location in the city, between 9 and 10am, so we recommend that you arrive the night before and spend a night in the city. You are transferred to Kalfholl farm where you'll meet your hosts and have lunch before getting introduced to the horses. Ride for about 15km on the mossy and grassy farmland and enjoy your Icelandic horse on its home ground. Return to the farm for dinner and enjoy the hot tub before a good nights sleep.

Day 2

Riding: 20 kilometres

After breakfast, head out riding along a pleasant trail along the glacial-fed Thjorsa river, stopping for lunch on the banks of the river. Enjoy the Icelandic nature and the sounds of the birds and river before returning to the farm. Today is the perfect day to get to know your horses better and the Icelandic way of riding. Another evening meal and dip in the hot-tub before bed.

Day 3

Riding: 20 kilometres

Ride to the Hvita river (the white river), which starts at Hvitarvatn glacier lake on the Langjokull glacier. The river flows for 40km before dropping down into a narrow gorge at the famous Gullfoss waterfall en-route to the ocean. Follow good riding tracks on your way to Hvita, riding through moss and lava with amazing mountain views, where the volcano Hekla looks over you. After a circuit of c. 20km you again return to the farm for another night.

Day 4

Riding: 20 kilometres

Ride to the summer pastures for the horses and experience riding amongst the herd and maybe seeing the new foals that are born during the summer months. A perfect day for photos! Your ride takes you alongside Pjorsa river which is the longest in Iceland at 212km. The c. 20km route takes you along excellent riding trails through fertile farmland and allows you to experience true Icelandic countryside. After dismounting, you are transferred back to Reykjavik, arriving at c. 8pm. We recommend spending an additional night in the city (to your own account)

Accommodation

All nights are at the guesthouse Blesastadir, which has 2-4 bedded rooms with linen provided.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate

Suitable for beginners and intermediate riders. The ride is at a relaxed pace ideal for families or less experienced riders

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 16
Departure windows

July 26, 2021 - July 29, 2021

Aug. 2, 2021 - Aug. 5, 2021

Aug. 9, 2021 - Aug. 12, 2021

Aug. 16, 2021 - Aug. 19, 2021

May 23, 2022 - May 26, 2022

June 13, 2022 - June 16, 2022

June 20, 2022 - June 23, 2022

July 4, 2022 - July 7, 2022

July 18, 2022 - July 21, 2022

July 25, 2022 - July 28, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022 - Aug. 4, 2022

Aug. 8, 2022 - Aug. 11, 2022

Aug. 15, 2022 - Aug. 18, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Adult sharing, High Season (June-August)
£1105 $1540 €1295
2021/2022
Child (11 or younger), sharing, High season (June-August)
£830 $1155 €970
2021/2022
Child (11 or younger), sharing, Low season (May, Sept)
£765 $1065 €895
2021/2022
Adult sharing, Low season (May, Sept)
£1020 $1420 €1195
Included Full board accommodation and riding. Bus transfer from Reykjavík to the farm. Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet.
Not included Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty-Free Store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival. Travel insurance. Flights. Extra nights in Reykjavik.
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.