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: 6 days and 5 nights – 5 days on horseback
Riding: Ca. 125 km. Riding distance per day: 20 – 35 km (4 – 7 hours).
Accommodation & Meals: Accommodation 3 nights in guesthouses and 2 nights in sleeping-bag accommodation (simple mountain huts), full board.
Departures 2019: June 3, July 10 and 30.
Please note: The last night of accommodation in Reykjavík will not be included in our shorter-, longer- and wilderness tours in summer 2019.
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: Reykjadalur – Vellir – Departure
We first ride along the slopes of Reykjafjall mountain and continue on nice riding trails surrounding the small village Hveragerði. The path then takes us through a green forest to a colorful geothermal valley with hot springs, an area which expanded dramatically during an earthquake in 2008. On our way towards the green hills surrounding the volcano Hengill we have good opportunity to try the “tölt”, the special gait of the Icelandic horse. The horses then take us on a leisurely pace following narrow trails up into the valley Reykjadalur. We pass the beautiful waterfall Djúpagilsfoss and some hot springs before we reach Reykjadalur valley and will have the opportunity to take a relaxing bath in a warm stream. During the ride down the valley we enjoy fascinating panoramas over the surroundings, the village Hveragerði, picturesque farmland and all the way down to the coastline, where we might see the Westman Islands, weather permitting. We continue along the mountain slopes again back to our farm Vellir. After some refreshments, it is time to say farewell to your tour companions and guides, as the tour ends with the drive back to Reykjavík. Tour members take their flight back home or travel further to see more of the country. 23,3 km, 5 – 6 hrs.
View Tour 12: Þingvellir and around the lake Þingvallavatn in a larger map