Tour 8e – Northern Lights Grand Tour
5 days riding & activities

On this tour we combine riding with visiting some of the most popular highlights in South Iceland and activities such as hiking, bathing and whale watching. We ride six half-day tours, enjoy a relaxing bath in the hotel´s hot tubs or even in a natural warm river and visit the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall, the hot springs at Geysir and Thingvellir national park. When the sky is clear and the Aurora Borealis forecast promising, you can just walk outside to observe the stunning phenomena or we drive where the chances to watch the Northern Lights are the best. Bring your swimsuit!

Duration: 6 days and 5 nights – 5 days riding & activities
Riding distance: Ca. 60 km (2-5 hours per day). It is possible to book additional riding tours instead of activities.
Accommodation & Meals: Accommodation at Eldhestar Guesthouse in double, triple & four bed rooms with shared facilities, full board (3-course dinner, special meals on request).

Please note:
This tour is dependent on weather and Northern Lights sightings are not guaranteed. 

Departures 2017 / 2018
September 25, October 16, October 31, November 13, November 27, January 29, February 12, February 26, March 12, March 26, April 9.

Day-by-day description

Tour 8e – Northern Lights Grand Tour

Day 1: Arrival
After arriving at Keflavík Airport, participants take the “Flybus” (operated by Reykjavik Excursions) to BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik. There you will be greeted around 17:30–18:00 by a representative from Eldhestar, who will drive you to our farm Vellir, close to the village Hveragerði. The day ends with dinner at Hotel Eldhestar.

Day 2 – Meadows, Mountains & Winter Warmth
After breakfast, your guide meets you for a short introduction in the stable. The guide will provide the necessary riding equipment (riding helmet, warm overall or rain gear) and start with a short riding demonstration before you get to know the horses during a few rounds in the paddock. Today we ride 4-4.5 hours, starting with the tour Meadows and Mountains. We ride on soft trails along the meadows surrounding our farm, a good opportunity to get familiar with the special gait of the Icelandic horse, the “tölt”. We then follow the river Gljúfurá, head towards the volcanic mountains and ride on an old route along the slopes of the mountain Reykjafjall. Our reliable horses take you up and down the trail, while you enjoy nice views of the diverse landscape between the ocean and the volcano Hengill. Back at the farm we warm up with light lunch before we choose horses for the afternoon program Winter Warmth. We spend another hour on horseback before driving to the thermal swimming pool in Hveragarði to soften up in soothing, warm geothermal water, relax in the steam sauna or take a swim in the comfortably warm outdoor pool. Imagine sitting in a steamy hot tub as a light snowfall turns the grass around you white. Afterwards, coffee and home baked cake will be served in the cozy environment of the hotel. We check the Northern Lights forecast and get some useful information about this natural phenomena. If the forecast is favorable, and the sky is clear, we look out for the lights at the farm or go on a hunt!

Day 3 – Horses and Hot Springs & Hiking into Reykjadalur Valley
Today we experience a variety of amazing nature. We start the day with the tour Horses & Hot Springs, riding on excellent trails along the slopes of Reykjafjall Mountain and through a green forest. We pass by many hot springs in the colorful geothermal area Gufudalur valley. This area is situated just above the village of Hveragerði and expanded dramatically during the big South Iceland earthquake in 2008. The path continues along the volcanic hills above the village, which is know for its beautiful location between the green mountains of volcano Hengill and wide plains. We stop close to the stable area for some refreshments and learn more about the Icelandic horse before riding back to our farm for lunch. We then drive about 5 minutes through Hveragerði, passing the area where we went riding in the morning and start hiking upwards into the magnificent geothermal valley of Reykjadalur. On our way on the scenic trail we will see the beautiful waterfall Djúpagilsfoss and many colorful hot springs. You also have the opportunity to take a relaxing bath in a warm river, an unforgettable experience! On our way down, we can enjoy a spectacular panorama over volcanic mountains, the village Hveragerði and all the way down to the coastline, where we might see the Westman Islands, weather permitting. The tour ends with some refreshments at our hotel. We will check the Northern Lights forecast and have a chance to watch a spectacular movie about this phenomenon.

Day 4 – The Hertiage Tour & Whale Watching
Today you will have the chance to experience two big beautiful animals on the same day, the horse and the whale! We start the day with The Heritage Tour. This tour takes us 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 we warm up with light lunch. In the afternoon you will be taken to the old harbor in Reykjavik for about 3 hours whale watching in Faxaflói bay, with a good chance to see whales and a nice view of Reykjavik and the mountains surrounding the capital. Our bus will take you back to back to Eldhestar. Back at our farm coffee and home baked cake will be available and you have the possibility to relax in our hot pots before dinner.

Day 5 – The Siggi Tour & Soft River Banks
After breakfast, you ride The Siggi Tour. This tour provides the best of available riding route to us each time. Depending on the weather and wind, we will ride for 1.5-2 hours through the surroundings of our farm. Afterwards we will have a light lunch and then go out to the stable again to prepare our horses for the tour Soft River Banks, following  the river Gljúfurá  to an old cemetery and further down to the soft river banks of the mighty glacial river Ölfusá.  From there, we have a view of the river and if the weather allows the famous volcanoes Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull. Upon your return to the farm, dinner will be served.

Day 6 – Ingólfstrail & Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir
The final day starts with the Long Mountain Tour, also called Ingólfstrail.  You will ride in the footsteps of the first settler Ingólfur Arnarsson, who settled in Iceland in the 9th century. On our way on the ancient Viking route on the foot of  the table mountain Ingólfsfjall, which is named after the first settler, you will learn more about Iceland’s history and the interesting geology of this area. After the riding and checking out of your room we warm up with light lunch, coffee and home baked cake. Then you will be picked up to visit the three most impressive natural sights in South Iceland: 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 18:00.

Notice:
Included in the price are meals and services as described in the itinerary.
Accommodation at Guesthouse Eldhestar, 2- 3- or 4-bed rooms with shared facilities.
This tour depends on the weather, and sightings of the northern lights are not guaranteed.

Dinner on the last day and accommodation in Reykjavik are not included in the price.