Around Hekla on Horseback

mic78it
iceland horses
Your adventure travel

From
€/pers
Duration
10 days / 9 nights

Riding a horse in the icelandic nature

Since 1980, Jon, Nicole, and their daughter Anita, have lived in their farmhouse in Austvathsholt just at the boundary of habitable land, offering horseback treks through the untamed interior regions on the other side. They combine this traditional activity with your wish to discover on horseback the beautiful natural reserve of Fjallabak. This eight day trip in the midst of unblemished nature is the best way to discover the areas surrounding one of Iceland’s most active and well-known volcanoes, Hekla.

This trip in Iceland is available from June to September

The route
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Step 1

Reykjavik

You start off by taking the bus from the BSI central bus station in Reykjavik

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Step 2

Austvathsholt

Dinner and overnight in the Austvathsholt farmhouse

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Step 3

Landmanalaugar

It’s time to equip the horses and ride off through the verdant countryside

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Step 4

Hrafntinnusker

Following the river Ranga, you will come to the historic lava fields of Landrettir

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Step 5

Rjupnavellir

Just after Rjupnavellir, you journey into an ashen desert and discover the lava fields of Solvahraun

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Step 6

Landmannahellir

You reach the fertile green region of Landmannahellir, a favourite gathering spot of Icelandic sheep

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Step 7

Landmanalaugar

Return to Landmannahellir by car for the night.

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Step 8

Eldgja

It is the largest volcanic canyon in the world that Icelanders call the “fire fissure,” a deep scar that cuts through Iceland’s entire south

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Step 9

Holaskjol

Head off due south with the gigantic icecap of the Myrdalsjökull glacier on the horizon

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Step 10

Hvanngil

You’ll reach the mountain hut of Hvanngil which will seem like an oasis

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Step 11

Bólstadur

Spending the night in a farmer’s mountain hut in Bólstadur

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Step 12

Smaratun

Overnight in the farmhouse of Smáratún

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Step 13

Austvadsholt

You join the pastures of Austvadsholt farm by midday where you will leave the horses to rest

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Step 14

Reykjavík

Transfer to the bus stop in Hella and then to Reykjavík

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Your trek around Hekla on Horseback day by day itinerary

Day 1

Reykjavilk – Hella - Austvathsholt

110km about 3h. 

You start off by taking the bus from the BSI central bus station in Reykjavik. There are two departures a day in the summertime: one at 8:00 and one at 17:00. The bus will take you to Hella, a little village where we will come to pick you up for transfer.

Dinner and overnight in the Austvathsholt farmhouse. 

Day 2

Landmanalaugar – Hrafntinnusker

5 h on horseback. 

After breakfast on the farm, it’s time to equip the horses and go through the basic procedures. Once this is done, you will ride off through the verdant countryside in the direction of Rjupnavellir. You’ll ride through prairies often occupied by lone sheep. Following the river Ranga, you will come to the historic lava fields of Landrettir. Spend the night in a guesthouse nestled in this abundant nature, close to the river, at the edge of the vast interior deserts.

Day 3

Rjupnavellir - Landmannahellir

6 h on horseback. 

Just after Rjupnavellir, you journey into an ashen desert and discover the lava fields of Solvahraun. You are at the feet of Hekla, the volcano whose 1492 meters dominate Iceland’s southern coast. One of Iceland’s most active volcanoes and in older times said to be the entrance to the gates of hell! The appearance of the land betrays the eruptions in its recent history. By the end of the day, in a stunning change of setting, you reach the fertile green region of Landmannahellir, a favourite gathering spot of Icelandic sheep.

Spend the night in a mountain hut in Landmannahellir

Day 4

Landmannahellir - Landmanalaugar

3-4 h on horseback.

In the morning, you’ll trot through Domadal valley where lava flows give way to more prairies. Going around Frostastadarvatn Lake, you’ll begin to be able to make out multicoloured mountains to the south, symptoms of the regions acidic volcanic activity. Lunch in Landmanalaugar. Relaxing afternoon in the nearby hot spring or walk one of the area’s short hikes.

Return to Landmannahellir by car for the night. 

Day 5

Landmanalaugar – Eldgja

7h on horseback. 

Brief transfer by car back to Landmanalaugar to rejoin the horses before taking up the ancient « Fjallabak trail » the trail of the mountains. River crossings, ascent and descent of hills, you’ll bypass old inactive volcanoes covered in many colored mosses, and reach Eldgja by the end of the day. It is the largest volcanic canyon in the world that Icelanders call the “fire fissure,” a deep scar that cuts through Iceland’s entire south.

Overnight in a mountain hut in Holaskjol

Day 6

Holaskjol – Maelifellssandur - Hvanngil

7-8h on horseback. 

Head off due south with the gigantic icecap of the Myrdalsjökull glacier on the horizon. Ford the river Skafta to reach the black ash desert of Maelifellssandur. Black and white as far as the eye can see as well as a few patches of green atop the cones of volcanoes, the landscape is utterly otherworldly. Passing Alftavatn, or “swan lake,” you’ll reach the mountain hut of Hvanngil which will seem like an oasis

Day 7

Hvanngil - Bólstadur

4-5h on horseback. 

A shorter leg of the trip during which you will pass through peaceful landscapes of green hills with grazing sheep before arriving at Einhyrningur mountain. The mountain is surrounded by three glaciers and the setting becomes much more alien as rivers have dug deep canyons into the black stone.

Spending the night in a farmer’s mountain hut in Bólstadur. 

Day 8

Bolstadur - Smaratun farm

6h on horseback.

You take a trail along the powerful Markarfljot river into the Fljotshlid region. Towards the south, two titanic glaciers bar the horizon, Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull (that violently awoke in 2010). You’ll slowly see the landscape turn back into the peaceful green Iceland you remember from the beginning of your trip.

Overnight in the farmhouse of Smáratún. 

Day 9

Smaratun – Austvadsholt

6-7h on horseback. 

Now you only have to go around Hekla’s eastern edge along the Vatnsdal valley and cross the Ranga river to get back to the pastures of Austvadsholt farm by midday where you will leave the horses to rest. You’ve just completed one of the most beautiful horseback rides in all of Iceland! You will dine and stay the night at the farm. If your plane leaves early the next day, you can take a bus back to Reykjavík on day 9. However, the night in Reykjavík is not included in our price.

Day 10

Austvadsholt – Reykjavík

110km about 3h. 

Transfer to the bus stop in Hella and then to Reykjavík

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Your accomodation during your trek Around Hekla on Horseback

Accommodation is provided in well-kept mountain huts.
In farmer’s mountain huts or, when you are still in populated lands, in guesthouses.
They are heated, some even have electricity and hot water, but they remain nevertheless mountain huts with no luxury and little privacy. You will stay in shared rooms with bunks that you may be forced to share. But in this wild environment, especially if there is difficult weather, these mountain huts will seem like four star hotels!
Your guides prepare your breakfast and dinners in the mountain huts. Lunch will be taken in the form of cold picnics on site. Helping with food preparations, taking care of the horses and other daily tasks is polite and expected.

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Dates and price in 2017 on request

It is possible to schedule a private trip as long as there is a minimum of 5 participants. Price and details upon request.

Included in this travel

  • 2 nights at Austvathsholt farm, in dormitory
  • 7 nights in mountain huts, in dormitory
  • 8 days with two professional Icelandic guides
  • All meals starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on day 10
  • All transfers and transportation from Reykjavík central bus station
  • Access fees to natural reserves

Not included in this travel

  • International flights
  • Drinks
  • Tips and extras
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Friendly advice for your trek Around Hekla on Horseback:

  • It would not be wise to undertake this journey without previous horse riding experience. If you are not very equestrian, take a look our farmhouse stay offer.
  • You can also take a shorter 8 day trip if you prefer, including 6 full days of riding. This is a good idea for people who are not familiar with Icelandic horses. Just ask us for details!

Staff:

The group is led by two experienced guides that are very familiar with the tracks and Iceland’s central highlands.
A driver rejoins the group every evening.

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Your adventure travel

From
€/pers
Duration
10 days / 9 nights
Highlights

  • In the spirit of the ancient Icelandic tradition of horseback journeys, two additional horses will accompany the group, allowing riders to switch horses if necessary
  • Two experienced guides with extensive knowledge of the historic tracks of the high plateaus you will be taking
  • Every night is spent in a mountain hut
  • The tölt, the gait unique to the Icelandic Horse, is known for its comfort and fluidity of movement
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