The Ultimate Guide to Horse Riding in Iceland

Horse Riding in Iceland

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    Horse Riding in Iceland is an extremely unique experience. Not only because you get to take “the road less traveled”, or become a part of the magnificent Iceland landscape, but because you get to do it on the back of Iceland’s very own breed of horse; the Icelandic Horse.

    If you’ve got an upcoming trip to the island and would like to add horse riding to your trip itinerary, or are just an animal lover that would like to learn more about Icelandic Horses – this article is for you. Here you will learn everything there is to know about these esteemed creatures.

    The Icelandic Horse

    Don’t let the unimaginative name fool you; these are incredible creatures. The Icelandic Horse looks very pony-like despite being fully grown. They are exceptionally friendly and sport a thick, fluffy coat during the colder months of the year. But what these horses are most famous for is the fact that they can perform an extra gait called the tölt.

    This gait is believed to be so smooth since the horse always keeps one hoof on the ground that it has inspired a dare here on the island. If you’re looking for some friendly competition between friends and family during your horse riding adventure here on the island, challenge them to a beer tölt. This is when a rider is given a pint of beer and challenged to perform the tölt without spilling a drop.

    Iceland horseback riding

    The Best Time for Horseback Riding in Iceland

    Horseback riding is an activity that can be done all year round here on the island. There are just a few things to keep in mind when it comes to horseback riding in Iceland. As an outdoor activity, the weather and the seasons will affect it. Most prefer to go on Icelandic horse tours during the warmer summer months from June to September (for obvious reasons). That being said, our local saying isn’t “you can experience all four seasons in one day in Iceland” for nothing. 

    So, always keep an eye on the Iceland weather forecast, especially before heading out. Since the summer season is also our busiest season here on the island, we highly recommend that you book your spot on one of the horseback riding tours well in advance to avoid disappointment. Even though Iceland offers horseback riding in winter, some trails may be closed during the harsher winter months, especially those located in the northern parts of the island. 

    Where to Go for Some of the Best Horseback Riding in Iceland

    Since riding horses in Iceland is such a beloved activity, you will find horse farms and guided horseback riding tours all across the island. Below are just a few popular places to go horseback riding in Iceland:

    Reykjavik Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding around the capital city of Reykjavik is incredibly popular for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it’s usually the very first stop after someone has landed at Keflavik Airport.

    Secondly, some who have very limited time here on the island or are on a business trip, tend to stick to the capital. That’s why it’s easier to work in a quick horse riding tour that’s located near Reykjavik. Some of the Reykjavik horseback riding tours that come highly recommended are:

    Icelandic horses

    Horseback Riding on a Black Sand Beach in Iceland

    The black sand beaches in Iceland have become synonymous with the island. These beaches are the result of the volcanic activity here in Iceland, and what we experience is black sand today is actually hardened lava that has been eroded by thousands of years’ worth of weather and crashing waves.

    Whilst many choose to take a relaxing or romantic stroll on one of these beaches, why not step it up (figuratively speaking), and take them on during your Iceland horseback riding vacation? If this sounds like something you'd like to tick off your Iceland bucket list, the following are a few popular horse riding tours to consider:

    Horseback Riding in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

    The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is known for its incredible landscapes. Crossing valleys, rivers, and lava fields, with magnificent views of the glacier and the coast are at the order of the day during one of the Iceland pony rides offered here. If you would like to cross this impressive terrain on horseback, the following tours come highly recommended:

    Horseback Riding in Vik in Iceland

    Most will associate Vik with its black sand beaches, but this is not the only reason people come to visit this quaint little town. Vik is a beautiful little seaside village that lies in the shadow of the Myrdalsjökull Glacier.

    And whilst you can opt for a horse riding outing on a black sand beach here, you can also explore the meadows with mountain views around the town. If you want to include Vik on your Iceland trip itinerary, then be sure to include one of the following horseback riding tours:

    Horse riding in Vik, Iceland

    Horseback Riding Along the Golden Circle in Iceland

    The best way to properly explore the island is by making a road trip out of it, and one of Iceland's most popular road trip routes is the Golden Circle. Except for the fact that one can find many of the island's famous landmarks all along this route, one can also find a variety of horse riding tours offering different experiences. If you would like to add some of these horse riding adventures as stops on your Golden Circle road trip, you can consider the following:

    Horseback Riding in Akureyri in Iceland

    Akureyri is known as the capital of the north and is the second-largest city here on the island. So, whether exploring the northern regions or coming for business, it stands to reason that many visitors to the island would end up here.

    So whether you want to add horseback riding to your northern Iceland experience or make the most of a business trip, the following horseback riding tours will definitely make for a fun outing:

    Horseback riding in Akureyri

    Horse Riding in Iceland; the Excursion of a Lifetime

    Traversing over lava fields, across black sand beaches, over hills, and through meadows… and all this on the back of amazing creatures that are exclusive to the island. All of this makes horse riding in Iceland the excursion of a lifetime. If you are planning on making horse riding an activity along your road trip route, just rent a campervan in Iceland and use this article as a guide to help plan your trip itinerary.

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