Winter's Treasures

East and South Iceland: (IT-ICRT-E7)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_winter_south_treasures.aspx

Introduction
East and South Iceland
This popular winter tour provides the opportunity to experience riding in the snow on a robust Icelandic horse. 

In addition to the riding, your program includes a sightseeing tour of Southern Iceland's most famous attractions (the waterfall Gullfoss, the hot springs at Geysir and Thingvellir National Park) as well as a whale watching tour (on selected programs only). 

Each evening you will have the possibility to enjoy a bath at Hveragerði’s famous swimming pool or in our hotel’s hot tubs. And if the conditions are right, you might even be able to enjoy the spectacle of the Northern Lights!

Accomodation

Accommodation
This is a stationary ride so all nights are spent at the same location. 

Description
Your can opt to stay at a guesthouse or a hotel.

Hotel
You will sleep in a cozy countryside hotel that features 37 spacious rooms (all with private facilities), a warm, light-filled restaurant and traditional hot tubs to relax in at the end of the day. The hotel’s interior is inspired by the colors and materials found in Icelandic nature, genuine craftsmanship and age-old traditions. It was built in accordance with ecological guidelines and is the first lodging in Iceland to be awarded the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.
The rooms have double or twin beds and some of them are available as triple rooms. All rooms are outfitted with the luxurious Hästens beds, unrivalled sleep comfort handcrafted from sustainable, natural materials, such as genuine hypoallergenic horsehair, cotton, wool, flax and Swedish pinewood. Each room has a door to the garden, allowing you to step outside and observe the northern lights, weather and season permitting.
Wi-Fi access is available in all rooms.

Guesthouse
The guesthouse offers a comfortable living room, shared bathroom facilities, tea kettle that can also be used to make instant coffee, and small refrigerator. Guests that stay at the guesthouse are welcome to use all facilities and services of our nearby hotel, including the hot tub and restaurant.
The guesthouse offers private twin, triple and quadruple rooms. Each room has washbasins and soap, bed linens, towels and Wi-Fi access.

Room Occupancy
If we are unable to find another rider to share the room with you, a single supplement fee applied.
Single room accommodations are subject to availability.


Meals
All meals are included.

The food we serve is inspired by traditional Icelandic cuisine and revolves around typical Icelandic ingredients. Wherever possible, we source our food locally and much of our produce is grown in the town of Hveragerði, less than 2 km from our farm. Meat and fish are supplied by farmers and fishermen in our area. Specialities include fish, kjötsúpa (an icelandic soup, with meat, vedgetable and rice) and BBQ.

Dietary Restrictions
We are able to cater to most dietary needs with prior notice. However, we are unable meet the needs of those who have food allergies which cause anaphylaxis.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This ride is suitable for intermediate riders, with a secure, balanced seat and a good physical condition. We ride up to 45 km per day mostly in the gait tölt and take a herd of free-running horses with us part of the tour, which requires a certain speed.

Pace
We cover about 215km total over 7 riding days. On average, we ride between 4-9 hours every day, covering approx. 20 - 45 km.

Tack and Riding Style
The riding style in Iceland is similar to English riding. We use simple snaffle bits, bridles with detachable nosebands and clips on the end of the reins so they can be easily removed when grazing. Our saddles are comfortable with soft, rather flat seat, it is not necessary to bring saddle seat pads.

Riding Gear – Disinfect!
Used boots, riding wear, helmets, saddlebags etc. must be disinfected before arrival in Iceland.  Chaps, bridles and other used leather gear must not be brought to Iceland. That is because infectious, contagious diseases can easily be brought into the country, which poses a great threat for the horses, as they are not vaccinated. Riding wear is normally washed and shoes and are washed and cleaned with VirkonS, Iodine or some other fluid disinfectant.
We can lend you a riding helmet for the length of the tour.
Backpacks, large cameras, selfie sticks and other bulky items cannot be taken on horseback tours. Small waist bags are allowed.

Horses
Since 2007, our breeding program has followed two fundamental ideas. First, we strive to breed well-behaved and well-gaited riding horses that ought to suit most of our guests. Second, we breed horses with experienced riders in mind, suitable for riding classes and the company’s horse shows. As our greatest challenge has always been combining well-behaved and reliable horses with soft and simple gaits, we invested in mares that are likely to produce the expected results. Another important factor in achieving the desired outcome is choosing the right stallion for those mares.

Free running herd of horses
Experience the diversity of the Icelandic horse in its natural environment, far from civilization. On this trip, we travel with herd of free-running horses, as Icelanders used to travel in the old days. You may switch horses from time to time.

Itinerary

Sample itinerary: 4-day program - Subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the “Flybus” from the airport to BSÍ final bus stop in Reykjavík (not included). We will greet you at the bus station or at your hotel/ guesthouse in Reykjavik for 5:30 pm and drive you to our farm Vellir near Hveragerði. We will get to know each other during the dinner. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2: Meadows, Mountains and Soft River Banks
After breakfast, you will meet your guide in the lobby and together you will walk over to the stables. 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.
After the short riding introduction, we ride on soft trails along the meadows around our farm, a good opportunity to experience the special gait of the Icelandic horse. 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, and continue riding through grassland, now following the river Gljúfurá south to the 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 seabirds. 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.
Riding 5-6 hrs.

Day 3: Ride around the Farm
Today we experience a variety of scenery. In the morning, we ride uphill 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.
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.
Riding 4.5-5 hrs.

Day 4: Last Ride & Golden Circle Tour
On the final day, you will ride 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 6:00 pm.
Riding 1.5-2 hrs.

----

Sample itinerary: 5-day program - Subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the “Flybus” from the airport to BSÍ final bus stop in Reykjavík (not included). We will greet you at the bus station or at your hotel/ guesthouse in Reykjavik for 5:30 pm and drive you to our farm Vellir near Hveragerði. We will get to know each other during the dinner. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2: Meadows, Mountains and Soft River Banks
After breakfast, you will meet your guide in the lobby and together you will walk over to the stables. 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.
After the short riding introduction, we ride on soft trails along the meadows around our farm, a good opportunity to experience the special gait of the Icelandic horse. 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, and continue riding through grassland, now following the river Gljúfurá south to the 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 seabirds. 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.
Riding 5-6 hrs.

Day 3: Ride around the Farm
Today we experience a variety of scenery. In the morning, we ride uphill 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.
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.
Riding approx. 5 hrs.

Day 4: Ride & Whale Watching Tour
Today, you will ride 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.
After lunch, you have the chance to go for whale watching tour in the bay next to Reykjavik. After whale watching we pick you up close to the harbour in Reykjavik at 17:30 and drive back to our farm. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Riding 1.5-2 hrs.

Day 5: Ingolfstrail and Golden Circle Tour
The final day starts with the a long mountain ride. You will ride in the footsteps of the first settler Ingólfur Arnarsson, along the slopes of mountain Ingolfsfjall. On your way, you will learn more about Iceland’s history and the interesting geology of this area and see the replica of Viking longhouse. After the ride and checking out of the room we warm up with a 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 6:00 pm.
Riding xx hrs.

Please note that the riding tours can be combined differently in the most enjoyable way for the participants, according to both weather conditions and group riding skills.


Rates and Dates for Winter's Treasures

Rates include:

Accommodation in guesthouse (possible to upgrade to hotel with supplement), All meals (from dinner on day 1 to lunch on last day), 2.5 or 3 riding days (depending on program chosen), Activities as described in the itinerray, English speaking guide & Transfers from/to Reykjavik city center
Helmets, warm overalls, rubber boots & rain gear is provided

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20205 day trip, AP€1095$1240
    • Upgrade to hotel accommodation, dbl, pp€190$215
      Upgrade to hotel accommodation, sgl, pp€370$420
      single supplement in guesthouse€75$85
  • B
    20204 day trip, AP€795$900
    • Upgrade to hotel accommodation, dbl, pp€165$190
      Upgrade to hotel accommodation, sgl, pp€300$340
      single supplement in guesthouse€60$70
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2020 Transfer from Reykjavik BSI bus station is included
2020 Children discount (14 and younger) - 20% off

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 01/01 - 05/14 5d / 4n 5 day trip, AP 6 /16 Reserve
B 2020 01/01 - 05/14 4d / 3n 4 day trip, AP 6 /16 Reserve
A 2020 09/13 - 12/31 5d / 4n 5 day trip, AP 6 /16 Reserve
B 2020 09/13 - 12/31 4d / 3n 4 day trip, AP 6 /16 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Airport transfer (take the Flybus), Alcoholic Drinks & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Reykjavik
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Reykjavik BSI central bus station on Day 1 at 5:30PM or hotels/guesthouse

Climate:
                                                Reykjavík area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

37

37

39

43

49

54

57

57

51

45

40

37

Average Low Temperature (°F)

27

28

29

33

39

44

48

47

42

36

31

28

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

3

4

6

10

12

14

14

11

7

4

3

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-2

-2

1

4

7

9

8

6

2

-1

-2

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

13

13

14

11

10

9

9

12

12

12

12

14

Source: NOAA
 

Seasons
As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected; thanks to the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. Its average mid-winter temperatures are no lower than those in New York City. The city's coastal location does, however, also mean it is prone to wind, and gales are common in winter. Reykjavik is also a very wet city, having on average 213 rainy days out of the year, with spring having slightly more sunny days! The south is the wettest part of the country. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy.

Icelandic weather is known to be unpredictable and changing several times a day. A beautiful day can suddenly turn windy and rainy (and vice versa). Travelers to Iceland should be prepared for anything and dress in layers.

Winter
The average January temperature is 31°F (-0.5°C). From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the country only experiences a few hours of daylight each day.

Summer
The summer temperatures in Reykjavík range from 41°F (5°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day.  During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights. 
 
The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.

What To Bring:
We provide the following:
·Safety helmets
·Rainwear
·During the wintertime we also provide winter overalls
·Rubber boots

You should bring:
•Warm clothes in layers (long underwear, woolen socks, scarf, gloves, woolen sweater or fleece, wind- and waterproof jacket).
•Thin hat to wear under the helmet, gloves and a “buff” is well suited. You can buy a “buff” locally.
•A small waist bag (not a backpack!) for using when riding. (Backpacks are bumpy when you are riding and may hurt you if you fall off).
•Swimwear and towel.
•Riding pants (If you don’t have riding pants, any seamless tight garment will do), for long tours you should bring two pants suitable for riding.
•Riding or hiking boots which should be comfortable with a thick sole for walking over rocks. Hiking boots are fine if they are not too broad for the stirrups. High riding boots might get uncomfortable, rubber boots are not necessary.
•Sun lotion
•Sun glasses (also for long tours to protect eyes from dust).
•Fly net (can be purchased at Eldhestar).
•Band-aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
•Some comfortable clothes and shoes (slippers) for using in the evening, after the riding. Normal street clothes are not necessary except for your stay in Reykjavik the last night.
•Your travel insurance card/information.

Please note: Please do not use large and bulky suitcases as we have limited space in the trailer. If you need more luggage for travelling in Iceland before / after the tour you are welcome to store it at Hotel Eldhestar during the tour.

Cameras:  
We recommend to bring a small camera that can be taken in a pocket, a waist/hip bag or in the saddle bag.
Large camera equipment we can not allow on the horses for security reasons. Tours are operated with a free running herd - at speed of tölt or trot for most of the day. We take breaks to relax the horses and then it is possible to take pictures. While on the horse taking pictures is rather difficult since the horses are constantly moving. Because of the herd instinct it is not possible to stop an individual horse, they all will follow each other.
You can leave larger Digital SLR with your luggage at the farm or put it in their luggage that will be transferred to the new accommodation. 
It is not yet legally mandatory that riders need to wear riding helmets. Nevertheless we strongly recommend clients wear one. Clients will be experiencing a new breed of horses in new terrain, involving gravel, stones and rocks. Therefore it is in the clients best interest to take precautions. If they feel they do not want to wear a helmet after the first few days it is up to them. However, some insurance companies in Europe refuse to pay in case of an accident if the client has not been wearing a riding helmet. We provide helmets here in Iceland which clients are welcome to use but if you want to bring your own it is fine with us. If you bring your own it has to be sterilized before bringing it into Iceland.

Regarding the sterilization: What can be washed in a washing machine at medium temperature or dry cleaned is fine (even riding trousers). But what can not be washed or dry-cleaned or is a full leather garment needs to be sterilized.

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as it can change very quickly. We provide you with good rain-clothes, a riding helmet and at winter time a thermo overall, gloves and rubber boots. 
Luggage that is not needed on the tour can be left at the office and recovered at the end of the tour.

Caution: Used boots, riding wear, saddlebags etc. must be disinfected before arrival to Iceland. That is because infectious diseases can easily be brought into the country, which pose a great danger for the horses. Riding wear is normally washed and shoes and cleaned with iodine or some other fluid disinfectant. All used leather articles are prohibited.
 
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Hidden Trails Travel Documents and TripVoucher (contains important local tour contact info.)
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding pants or Jodhpurs
Riding boots (rubber is best)
Riding helmet  (provided, but bring your own if you like)
Riding gloves

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings, long underwear, scarf
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Underwear and warm socks
Pyjamas and slippers (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house)
Bag for dirty clothes
Comfortable shoes
Swimsuit and towel
 
For Camping trips:
Sleeping Bag and Pillow!! (not provided)
Towel and small bar of soap
 
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream and bandaids/ second skin plasters for chaffing
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra film or batteries
Waist pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm