Adventure vacations in Iceland

The Ultimate Hekla – Riding and Exploring in Iceland


The Ultimate Hekla is a combination of riding the famous Icelandic horses and exploring some of Iceland’s most unusual natural landscapes by vehicle. These sites include the black volcanic beaches around Iceland’s southern-most village of Vik, thundering waterfalls and impressive glaciers near Thorsmork, as well as a visit to the Thingvellir National Park to see the fissure zone of the mid-Atlantic ridge.

The rides are planned according to the ride level of the guests, from beginners and novices through advanced riders. Exploration rides from Austvadsholt farm into the surrounding countryside will include sites such as the Hekla volcano, the Ranga River, a historic lava sheep-fold and the largest hand-made cave in Iceland.

This riding and exploration adventure consists of about half sightseeing by car and half on horseback and is well suited for families and riders who would like to experience the incredible Icelandic horses and see the countryside but aren’t up for the faster paced, progressive Hekla-Landmannalaugar trek.

The lodging and food are very simple by American standards, but accommodations are clean and the food is wholesome. During the ride you will stay in dormitory type lodging at the farmhouse home of your hosts. The guesthouse has indoor plumbing, electricity and showers.

A typical menu will consist of the following:
Breakfast: Milk, yogurt, cereals, several kinds of bread, cheeses, jams, coffee and tea.
Lunch: Picnic with varied sandwiches, fruit, cold and warm drinks.
Dinner: A hot meal with meat or fish, vegetables, milk products and fruit.
Please note that meals consist of many dairy products. Riders who are lactose intolerant or vegetarians need to notify Equitours in advance. Also, this is a “dry” tour with alcohol only available to purchase in Landmannalaugar.

  • Overview:
    Icelandic horses are short (about 13.2 hands average) but stout and strong, weighing 800 to 1000 pounds and are quite capable of carrying large and heavy people over rough distances at a brisk rate. The horses are usually in snaffle bits - loose rings with snap-on, one-piece reins. English-type saddles are used with the Icelandic style of saddle seen as somewhat of a cross between a dressage and an endurance saddle. The saddle is set further back on the horse.
  • Horse Breeds:
  • Trip Pace:
    To suit
  • Tack:
  • Weight limit:
    225 lbs

In addition to riding, driving tours, hiking, and swimming are also all part of the itinerary.

10AM on the first day of the ride at the Reykjavik BSI (central bus station)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

The Great Circle Day: After breakfast at your hotel in Reykjavik make your way to the BSI bus station in Reykjavik where the outfitter will meet you at 10AM to go by car on the classic Golden Circle tour. Drive to Thingvellir National Park where the fissure zone of the mid-Atlantic Ridge can be seen. This is also one of the most important historic places in Iceland. Next visit Gullfoss waterfall and the geyser and hot springs area around Geysir on your way to the farm for Dinner and overnight.

Day 2

The Big Ride Day: After breakfast and preparing a picnic lunch, meet up with the horses and ride out along the calm river Ranga with a mountain view all around, including the volcano Hekla. Stop for a picnic next to old traditional sheep houses before continuing through farmlands and seeing the historic lava sheep-fold Landrettir. Today’s destination is a neighbor’s farm where we will leave the horses overnight and return by car to Austvadsholt for dinner and overnight. 4-5 hours of riding.

Day 3

From the Cave to the Mountain: Return to the neighbor’s farm after breakfast, collect the horses and ride for 2 hours to the farm of Hellar where we will visit the largest man-made cave in Iceland. Following a picnic, take the car to explore the farms of Hekla. Hike up the mountain Bjolfell with a magnificent view of the volcano Hekla and the farmland where we have been riding. Stop in the little town of Hella on the way back and enjoy a dip in the local swimming pool, a perfect way to relax at the end of the day. Dinner and overnight at the farm.

Day 4

Completing our Circle: Return to Hellar and pick up the horses to ride back home over large meadows, stopping along the way for our traditional picnic. After a 4 hour ride, say good-bye to the horses. Enjoy the last group dinner together and spend a relaxing evening to talk about the events of the past days.

Day 5

From the Farm to the Beach: After breakfast, we’ll prepare a picnic lunch and then drive to Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland which is famous for its black volcanic beaches and coastline with basalt boulders. We’ll hike around the area and have lunch on the beach, weather permitting. After enjoying the area around Vik drive in the direction of Reykjavik with views of Eyjafjallajokull and Vestmanneyjar volcanos on the way. Arrive at your chosen hotel in Reykjavak late afternoon.

Itinerary Addendum

**This itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur due to weather or other unexpected events.**

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

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Preferred Trip Dates

The Ultimate Hekla – Riding and Exploring in Iceland
May 21, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

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It was a wonderful ride in every way. Stefnir and Anita are the loveliest and hardest-working people I think I have ever met. They treat their beautiful horses with love and terrific care and attention. Their tack was in perfect condition. Stefnir answered endless questions about Iceland's history, culture and geography. Anita... Read more  

Gruber, May 2019