Tour 12 – Thingvellir and around Lake Thingvallavatn
5 days riding
A Deep Dip into History
We begin our tour at our farm Vellir. On the way to the ancient site of Iceland´s parliament, Thingvellir, we ride through one of the Volcano Hengill`s most beautiful valleys, the hidden Valley of the Horses (Maradalur), with its unusual volcanic formations. At national park Thingvellir we take a sightseeing tour and continue riding on scenic trails through lava and forests and along the lake shore, ending at a hut in the volcanic mountains. The tour ends with the ride through Reykjadalur Valley, where we can enjoy a bath in a warm river and a nice view over the Ölfús area.
Duration: 7 days and 6 nights – 5 days on horseback
Riding: Ca. 125 km. Riding distance per day: 20 – 35 km (4 – 7 hours).
Accommodation & Meals: Accommodation 4 nights in guesthouses and 2 nights in sleeping-bag accommodation (simple mountain huts), full board. Please note that dinner on the last evening is not included.
Departures 2017: June 3 and 27, July 28.
Day by day description
Thingvellir and Lake Thingvallavatn
Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the flight bus from the airport to the ending busstation BSÍ in Reykjavík. We will greet you at the bus station or at your hotel/ guesthouse in Reykjavik between 17:30- 18:00 and drive you to our farm Vellir near Hveragerði. There you will be lodged at our new guesthouse. We will get to know each other during the dinner at our Hotel Eldhestar. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.
Day 2: Vellir – Kolvidarhóll
From Hveragerdi, in the Ölfus municipality, we follow the old route to Hellisheidi. When we reach the moor, we continue to the Hengill volcano along the Kristnitökuhraun lava field. This lava came from the eruption of Hengill in the year 1000, the same year Iceland officially became Christian. The old folktales say that the eruption was the revenge of the old gods Thór, Ódinn and Freyr. We continue on the track between lava and hills (“milli hrauns og hlidar”), down to Kolvidarhóll, where people have stopped to rest for hundreds of years. We spend the night at the farm Vellir. 21 km, 4 hrs.
Day 3: Kolvidarhóll – Marardalur- Thingvellir
We continue north below the Húsmúli and Hengill mountains. We dismount and lead the horses through the narrow cleft to Marardalur (Valley of Horses). We ride through Dyrfjöll (Door mountains), and when we reach the mountaintop, we will have a view over Lake Thingvallavatn. The track continues along the lake past Hestvik to the farm Heidarbær. After that, we see the sights at the old Althing (Icelandic Parliament). From here, it is not far to Skógarhólar, where we spend the night. Iceland’s big national horse competition was held at Skógarhólar until 1978. 38 km, 6-7 hrs.
Day 4: Thingvellir – Kringlumýri
Today we ride across the Thingvellir National Park. From Gjábakki we have an exceptional view over the park. We can see Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. This is also the area where the North American and European crustal plates meet. We cross Lyngdalsheidi Moor, where we stop at the Laugardalshellir caves. From Laugardalsvöllum we go back to Lyngdalsheidi Moor, and we finish the day’s ride at the cottage Kringlumýri.
30 km, 6-7 hrs.
Day 5: Kringlumýri – Villingarvatn
From Kringlumýri we continue along soft riding paths called Drift. Here we have a nice view over Lake Thingvallavatn. We will pass the water power station Ljósafossvirkjun, built in 1937, one of the first water power stations in Iceland. The ride continues along the south side of the lake to the farm Villingarvatn, where we leave the horses for the night and continue by bus to Eldhestar’s farm, Vellir. 15 km, 3-4 hrs.
Day 6: Villingarvatn – Reykjadalur – Vellir
We ride into the mountains on the east side of the Hengill volcano and ride first along a mountain called Súlufell and gives away a beautiful view over Lake Thingvallavatn. After riding along side Kattatjarnahryggir, we come to two crater lakes, the big and the small Kattatjörn. We climb up a hill and reach first the lake Álftavatn- the Swanlake- and than the green land of Ökuelduháls with all its Hotsprings. After a while we can see Klambragíl, the steep lava path leading us down into Reykjadalur Valley, with its hot springs. We take a bathe in the valley’s warm rivulet before leaving for Hveragerði. Before we ride down the mountain we have a magnificent view over the sea and the Westman Islands. The tour ends on the new riding path between Hveragerði and Reykjafjall that leads us back to our farm Vellir where the tour ends. After some refreshments, we will go around 16:30 by car back to Reykjavik, where we spend the night in a guesthouse (bed & breakfast).
23,3 km, 5 -6 hrs.
Day 7: Departure
After breakfast, tour members can take the bus to Keflavik Airport on their own or continue travelling in Iceland.
* Please note that dinner on the last evening is not included.
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