This popular centre-based horse riding holiday in Iceland uses the farm’s private hotel and explores the area around the farm and along the south coast. During the short week you’ll ford shallow rivers, experience the amazing variation in habitats and ride along a black-sand beach. There’s also the chance to soak in the warm waters of the river Reykjadalur, which is geothermal and has natural hot pools.
Join us on a series of exciting day-rides. At the end of each day riders can relax in the ‘hot pot’, enjoy a good dinner and first rate accommodation in the country hotel attached to the farm. Exciting riding each day, combined with the comfort of soft beds and private bathrooms at night.
Available mid-May to mid-Sept each year.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Keflavík Airport (Rejykavic) and take the “Flybus” to BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik. There you will be greeted at about 17:30 by the representative from the ranch, who will drive you to Vellir, where the farm is. The day ends with dinner at the hotel which is attached to the farm. [no riding today]
Day 2: Ölfusá River Delta
We gather after breakfast for a short introduction to riding Icelandic horses, before heading off to the yard to meet your horse. The program starts with a practical riding demonstration, followed by a first ride in the riding ménage for each rider. We then start riding out into nature, discovering the beautiful landscape that opens up between the volcanic mountains and the Atlantic Ocean in southern Iceland.
We begin the ride on a sound riding trail that runs through adjoining meadows, ideal for trying the special gait of the Icelandic horse, tölt. The trail continues along the river Gljúfurá to an old cemetery close to the mighty glacial river Ölusá, where we stop for a lunch break and enjoy the panoramic view of the river delta and the famous volcanos Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull. We then follow a grassy path down to the soft, black lava sand on the river bank and through shallow water to the green islands in the river delta. We enjoy riding on soft ground on the islands, across sand and splashing through the shallows, with good chances of seeing various kinds of wetland birds living in the nearby bird sanctuary Ölfusforir. We end the ride on meadow trails before relaxing with coffee and home-baked cake in our Cafeteria. Afterwards you have the possibility to soften up in the comfortably warm hot tubs at the farm. [5 hrs riding]
Day 3: The Hot Spring Tour Reykjadalur Valley
Today offers spectacular views and a surprising variety of magnificent Icelandic nature (and don’t forget to bring your bathers!). We first ride along the slopes of Reykjafjall mountain and continue on good trails that loop around the small village Hveragerði. The path then takes us through a green forest to a colourful geothermal valley with heaps of hot springs, an area which expanded dramatically during an earthquake in 2008. On our way towards the green hills surrounding the volcano Hengill we have good opportunity to try the “tölt” again. The horses then take us at a leisurely pace following narrow trails up into the valley of Reykjadalur. We pass the beautiful waterfall Djúpagilsfoss and some hot springs before we reach Reykjadalur valley where there’s the opportunity to take a relaxing bath in a warm stream. During the ride down the valley we enjoy fascinating panoramas over the village of Hveragerði, picturesque farmland and all the way down to the coastline far below, where we might see the Westman Islands, weather permitting. We continue along the mountain slopes again back to the farm, where coffee and home-baked cakes are waiting for us. Today’s ride includes about 30 minutes hiking/leading. [6 hrs riding]
Day 4: Ingólfstrail
After breakfast we follow the trail which fords a small river, crosses a lava field and meanders through long meadows. There are several horse farms along the way that give us an idea of how agriculture has developed over the last decade in Iceland. On our way we enjoy the fascinating scenery of volcanic mountains towering over green hills and pastures, riding between large fields with grazing horses; excellent paths that are ideal for a brisk tölt. After the lunch break we head towards the table mountain Ingólfsfjall, named after the first settler of Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarson. The landscape changes dramatically near the foot of the mountain, and we ride through a gap between huge rocks with soft pillows of green moss all around and perhaps some grazing sheep. We then follow a scenic, narrow old Viking trail along the slopes of the mountain, riding in the footsteps of the first settlers. On the way back to the farm at Vellir we cross mount Reykjafjall, where both sheep and horses graze in the summer, with nice views over the surrounding area and the village of Hveragerði. After the ride we enjoy some refreshments and relax for the evening. [5 1/2 hrs riding]
Day 5: The Beach Ride
After breakfast and check-out we box the horses to the small fishing town Thorlákshöfn, where we set off on a ride on the long, black beach. The sand is derived from pumice, hence its course, black nature. We follow the beautiful beach along the surf of the North Atlantic for a few kilometres, until we reach the beautiful area where the mighty glacial river Ölfusá meets the sea and forms a large delta. We ride through shallow water at the edge of the delta and reach the grassy river bank. The trail leads into an important conservation area that consists of an extensive wetland meadow, to reach farmland in the Ölfús area. On our way we have plenty of opportunity to try all paces; it feels so far from civilization surrounded by the spectacular views of mountains and the volcanos Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull, weather permitting. We also have good chances to see sea and wetland birds of different kinds living in the Flói Bird Reserve between the ocean shore and the river. After we have reached the old cemetery at Arnarbæli we ride along the river Gljúfurá and through pastures with grazing horses. This is the end of the ride. Time for good-byes and the bus takes you back to Reykjavik at about 16:15. [5 hrs riding]