Nature's Treasures and Rider's Pleasures - Winter
Explore the magnificent contrasts in the Icelandic scenery around the Hengill Volcano. Glacier rapids, warm streams and unique rock formations abound. In the evening you can enjoy a dip in a warm pool, an excellent dinner and quality accommodation at Hótel Eldhestar – Perfect relaxation after a day on horseback!
Departures 2020 - 2021: October - April; Sundays and Thursdays.
Direct flights from Belfast (BHD), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), London Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR), London Luton (LTN), Glasgow (GLA) and Manchester (MAN). Connecting flights from other airports in the UK also available.
General information about horseback riding tours
Information about the difficulty of the different horseback riding tours, what you need to pack and much other important information can be found here: More information
Arrival to Iceland - transfer to Reykjavík - Hveragerdi
The tour begins in the evening. Guests who arrive in Iceland on the same day take the airport shuttle bus (Reykjavik Excursions) from the airport to Reykjavík (BSÍ bus terminal). We will pick you up at BSÍ or at your hótel / guesthouse between 17:30 and 18:00 and drive to Eldhestar’s farm Vellir near to the village of Hveragerði (ca. 40 minutes driving), where you will be staying either at Hotel Eldhestar or at Guesthouse Eldhestar (according to your booking). An information letter with a detailed description of the following days will be offered upon arrival. The day ends with dinner at Hotel Eldhestar.
Meadows and Mountains
After breakfast you will meet your guide in the lobby and together you will walk over to the stable. You will get necessary riding equipment (riding helmet, warm overall or rain gear) and a short riding demonstration before you get to know the horses during a few rounds in the paddock. Today we ride 5- 6 hours, starting with the tour Meadows and Mountains. We ride on soft trails along the meadows around our farm, a good opportunity to experience the special gait of the Icelandic horse “tölt”. We then follow the river Gljúfura and continue on an old route towards Ingólfsfjall Mountain, named after the first Norwegian Viking who settled in Iceland in the 9th century. We ride along the slopes of the mountain Reykjafjall with nice views of the landscape between the ocean and the volcanic mountains surrounding the village Hveragerdi before returning to the farm for warming up and a light lunch.
After lunch, we saddle our horses again for the afternoon ride, Soft River Banks and continue riding through grassland, now following the river Gljúfurá south to scenic landscape at the delta of the mighty glacial river Ölfusá. We stop at an old cemetery with a great view of the river before continuing further down to the soft river banks, enjoying a short ride on black lava sand. This area is close to a bird sanctuary and known for many species of wetland- and sea birds. Weather permitting, we might even catch a glimpse of the famous volcanoes Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull. We proceed through the grassy plains before returning to our farm Vellir, where coffee and home baked cake will be available. In the evening, you have the possibility to take a relaxing bath in the hotel´s hot tubes before dinner is served at the hotel.
Hot Springs and Horses & Midwinter Warmth
Today we experience a variety of scenery and spend 4-5 hours on horseback. In the morning, we ride the tour Horses & Hot Springs, which takes us up a hill on excellent riding trails, along the slopes of the mountain Reykjafjall and through a green forest, a rare sight in Iceland. We then pass many hot springs in the impressive, colorful geothermal area situated just above the village of Hveragerði, a small town also known as the “hot spring capital of the world”. This area expanded dramatically during an earthquake in 2008 and is constantly changing. The path continues along the volcanic hills above the village, which is also known for its beautiful location between the volcano Hengill and the wide plains of the southern lowlands. We have a nice view of Varmá river, called the “warm river” as geothermal water flows through it, and green valleys with rising steam in the distance.
Back at the farm, we enjoy a light lunch, have some time to rest and then meet at the stable again for the afternoon program, Midwinter Warmth. After one hour on horseback in the scenic landscape surrounding our farm, you can soften up in the big and warm hot tub in Hveragerði’ s famous swimming pool, relax in the steam sauna or take a swim in the comfortably warm thermal pool. Imagine sitting in steamy water as a light snowfall turns the grass around you white. After returning to our hotel, dinner will be served
The Heritage Tour & Golden Circle Tour
On the final day you will ride The Heritage Tour in the morning.This tour takes us 1,5-2 hours on nice trails through meadows, lava fields and a small river. On our way we enjoy the nice scenery of volcanic mountains and farmland, passing several farms which give us an idea of how agriculture has developed in the last decades. After the riding and checking out of the room we warm up with light lunch and coffee or tea. Then you will be picked up to visit the three most impressive natural sights in South Iceland along the “Golden Circle”: The famous Geysir geothermal area, the “golden waterfall” Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park.
The Geysir geothermal area boasts spouting springs, including Strokkur, the most active geyser in Iceland. At Gullfoss you are given the opportunity to stand next to the amazing waterfall, watching enormous quantities of water tumble violently into a deep canyon. You also spend time encountering a cross-section of Iceland’s natural wonders and geological phenomena at Thingvellir National Park, an area of historical and geological significance. You will be back in Reykjavík around 18:00.
Breakfast at your hotel. If you have chosen the optional add-on of return transfer to the airport a transfer bus will fetch you at the hotel. You can also buy a ticket for the airport transfer on site.