Horse riding holiday in Iceland

A six day summer small group riding holiday in the South of Iceland, with four riding days, staying in mountain huts and eco accommodation along the way.
Four days’ horse riding Thorsmork Nature Reserve Hut to hut horse riding Riding on Icelandic horses Dimon Rock Ride along river Markarfljot Eyjafjallajökull Elves Church Stakkholtsgjá Canyon
£1375 excluding flights
Convert currency:
5 Days
Small group
Make enquiry

Description of Horse riding holiday in Iceland

This horse riding holiday in Iceland is a five day adventure holiday into Icelandic wilderness, and yet all within a few hours’ drive from Reykjavik. A small group, fully guided holiday, riding on Icelandic horses, most of the riding takes place in Thorsmork Nature Reserve, in the south of the country.

Thorsmork is a stunning location for riding and takes you well off the usual tourism trail into a hidden valley. Surrounded on three sides by glaciers, you will have four days of adventurous riding, fording glacial rivers, around dramatic waterfalls, traversing lava fields and exploring the volcanic landscapes in and around Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted in 2010. Although now dormant, the lava fields here are extraordinary landscapes to cover on horseback.

Fans of Norse mythology and Viking sagas will revel in this journey, Thorsmork itself being named after the Norse god of thunder. Other magical and mythical spots along our travels include the Elves Church volcanic peak, Dímon Rock and the River Markarfljót from the Saga of Njál. Far from mythical, however, are the reserve and valley itself which is green and fertile boasting ancient woodland and the freezing River Krossa, coming straight off the glacier.

The total distance covered over four riding days is 105km, with an average of 25km per day.

Price information

£1375 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Make enquiry

Check dates

For departure dates contact us on 01273 823 700

Travel guides

Horse riding
Horse riding holidays vary hugely. You can choose to ride across the endless Mongolian steppe for nine hours a day, dining with nomads and sleeping un...
Wheelchair accessible
Just because you need a wheelchair to get around some or all of the time, doesn’t mean your craving to see the world is any the less. So why you shoul...


Accessible Overview:
This holiday is a little unconventional because, compared to a beach holiday, it requires your active participation. We are all different and an activity that’s straight forward for one person may not be straight forward for another. Some destinations have age restrictions, others may require specific planning, and you may have some personal requirements. There is almost always a way of making an itinerary work for everyone and over the years we have acquired considerable experience in making the impossible possible.
Limited mobility:
Everything that we do is tailor-made so if you have restricted mobility we will ask you some specific questions which will facilitate us to exercise a proper duty of care. Once we have the information from you we can liaise with in-country hotel managers, stable owners or whatever is required to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
We can be pretty flexible and adjust the duration of rides (some rides!) for a less-mobile rider.
If you require a wheelchair most of the time, or even all the time, you can still ride an Iceland Horse in Iceland. These rides are not suitable for novice riders, but if you have some experience in the saddle, then we can adapt our riding holidays for you. Please note that we do not have a hoist to lift riders into the saddle but we can provide a mounting block and guides to assist you into the saddle. You might need to stand with support and take maybe one or two paces away from your wheelchair with assistance for mounting.
Generally speaking we can’t guarantee a special vehicle adapted for wheelchairs. However, we can brief drivers to assist you getting into and out of a vehicle (so long as you’re OK with a little assistance) and your wheelchair can be stowed in the back.
Smaller hotels, lodges, mountain huts and suchlike don’t all have wheelchair access, but if you’re OK to be physically assisted, we can with pleasure provide that assistance. Larger hotels will have ramps, proper shower facilities and wider doorways. We can advise on the specifics of accommodations on this trip if you get in touch with us.
Blind or partially sighted:
There is no ‘one rule fits all’: please speak to us and we will run through the specifics of a given itinerary. As an example we have experience of a rider with 90% sight loss who completed a riding safari in Rajasthan. His wife accompanied him to provide an interpretation of the terrain ahead, and we paired him with an ultra-reliable horse. There was no jumping involved. Information in braille is not generally available overseas but local support from dedicated personnel is excellent.
Deaf or Limited hearing:
Air travel is feasible, even for a solo travelling deaf person. Once in-country we tend to hold daily briefings which can be summarised and relayed one-to-one from group leader to specific client.
'Free from' food:
We send all travellers a questionnaire specifically asking about their dietary needs and any allergies. This is standard practice. Do please be as thorough as possible in the information you provide us.
Iceland is a tolerant country and there should be no issues for LGBT travelers.


1 Reviews of Horse riding holiday in Iceland

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Excellent throughout. We rode (mainly tolting and walking, but some cantering once the guide was certain of our riding ability) across varied terrain, which
was wonderful, and each tried out several different ponies, selecting our favourite for riding on the last day. Our final day's riding ended with a magnificent gallop along a deserted beach, after crossing estuarine waters.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be honest about your riding ability. Don't pretend to be more experienced than you really are, as you won't last beyond the first day of riding. Also, all new groups of riders are assessed when they first mount and ride around an arena and non-riders will soon be spotted and could be asked to join a less-experienced group. The welfare of the ponies is paramount, so tell the truth about your weight too. Icelandic ponies are sturdy, but there are limits to how much weight they should carry.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, as many local people are employed there, and recycling and environmental protection is evident everywhere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. I'd like to go again, and, now I'm certain that I could cope with it, perhaps try one of the trail rides last several days, instead of the daily circular
routes of this holiday.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear A.M. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Iceland; it really is a fantastic destination, and the Icelandic horses are great characters! You and I had a good long chat before you booked and I thought this would be a destination you'd enjoy; matching rider to destination, as you say, is so important. I'm plesed that my Viking partners looked after you and your daughter well! Best wishes,

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


Our destination is Thorsmork, a nature reserve surrounded on three sides by glaciers situated in the interior of southern Iceland. In order to reach this we use the most environmentally sensitive form of transport – the horse which is quiet and gentle on the environment and a natural part of the habitat.

We use the Icelandic horse. Sometime around the year 900 Norsemen brought horses to Iceland from Scandinavia, and thus began the distinctive breed that we know today. Natural selection due to the harsh climate, coupled with selective breeding, has manipulated and moulded to become a resilient, multi-purpose horse. The breed society was established in 1904.

Iceland is just about free from horse diseases because imports are banned and horses that are exported can never return. In Iceland the horses are first and foremost used as working horses, herding sheep. There is also a thriving leisure industry and the all-important racing. The ranch we use has about 300 horses which include riding horses, stallions, brood mares and young stock. The ranch is conducting a breeding program of the highest standard thus ensuring the survival and improvement of the Icelandic horse by supporting it we are supporting the program.

Welfare of the horse is important to us and to the ranch. English saddles and snaffle bits are used as they are comfortable for horse and rider.

One of the lodges we use as our accommodation was the first lodging in Iceland to receive the Nordic eco label – the Nordic swan which demonstrates that the building process and the daily operations follow strict ecological guidelines. The other lodges we use are older so were built before the building could have been given a label but do endeavor to reduce carbon footprint.

At home our Office encourages recycling and we work in an eco build office. Our building has facilities to encourage the use of bicycles to work.


We are acutely aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism should have on indigenous communities and fragile environments.
The ranch we use on this trip hires local people to work. For many of the people working on the ranch riding and horses are their passion and they supplement the income generated in the riding months by having other jobs in the winter.

In addition we support the local economy by using a locally run and owned farm house and hut as well as the eco built lodge as our accommodation. We do not use the multi national hotel chains.

The horse is a vital part of traditional Viking culture which is rich in sagas that date from around this time and there are frequent references to horses. We feel we are supporting the traditional culture of Iceland on this trip where travellers will hear stories and learn lots about the role of the horse in Icelandic culture.

Before our clients travel we issue them with a Field Manual which has information in it to encourage travel in an culturally and environmentally aware manner.

Popular similar holidays

Catalan horse riding holiday in Spain

Catalan horse riding holiday in Spain

From €734 - €1165 8 days excluding flights

Horse riding in the beautiful Catalan countryside

Border to coast horse riding holiday in Wales

Border to coast horse riding holiday in Wales

From £1800 6 days excluding flights

This is a real trail riding expedition, covering 100 miles

Family horse riding holiday in South Africa

Family horse riding holiday in South Africa

From £1525 9 days excluding flights

Family horse riding safari holiday in South Africa