Riding Icelandic horses became a bucket list item of mine when I visited Iceland in 2018. When I planned my next Iceland trip in 2022, I knew that I had to make it happen! Horseback riding in Vik, Iceland was a dream come true!
In this post, I will tell you about our experience riding Icelandic horses on the black sand beaches of Vik, Iceland, and what you can expect.
Horseback riding in Vik Iceland
There isn’t a more magical way to see the south coast of Iceland than from the back of an Icelandic horse. It’s such an incredible feeling!
Riding along the black sand beach with views of Reynisdrangar. The seagulls flying around the cliffs above you and the waves of the ocean crashing onto the beach. Yes, it’s as peaceful as it sounds!
There are about 80,000 Icelandic horses in Iceland. Of course with so many horses, riding opportunities can be found all over Iceland. We chose to go horseback riding in Vik, Iceland because our anniversary fell during that part of our trip and I’m so glad!
If you will be in the Vik area, I highly recommend taking the tour we did.
Read next: 18 Things to do Near Vik Iceland
Vík Horse Adventure Horseback Riding Vik Iceland
Getting ready for our horse riding tour
We chose one of the horseback riding tours with Vík Horse Adventure. They are conveniently located in Vik and were a delight to tour with! In our opinion, this is one of the best day tours in South Iceland!
We arrived about 30 mins before our tour to fill out paperwork and grab our riding helmets. This of course didn’t take long so we were able to wander about the stables and enjoy the Icelandic horses while we waited for our tour to begin.
There were quite a few horses at the stables. Some are tour horses, and others are simply boarded there by other owners.
One thing about the stables that we found unique as Americans, was that the horse stalls were set lower than the rest of the stables. This meant that to get a horse into a stall, you had to take a step down. And bringing a horse out of a stall required a step up.
The result was an optical illusion that the horses were a lot shorter than they were. We enjoyed walking around the stables and seeing all of the different horses.
Preparing for our horseback riding tour
Once everyone arrived for our tour, we were each assigned horses. I was given a cute little red dun named Baukur frá Dýrfinnustöðum or “Piggy Bank” translated into English. Tucker was given a black and white horse named Stígandi frá Vídivöllum-fremri or “Good Steps”.
One thing that we appreciated was that the staff picked horses suited to our riding levels. We both liked our assigned horses and wouldn’t have wanted any other!
After everyone had their horses, our tour guide gave the group brief instructions on how to ride the horses. Some of the people on our tour had never ridden horses before.
The Icelandic horses are ridden very close to English style which was a slight adjustment as we are more accustomed to Western riding. It was easy to catch on though and we didn’t have any problems adjusting.
Once everyone was ready, we mounted our horses and headed out for Víkurfjara, the beautiful black sand beach!
Black beach horse riding Vik
Riding out onto the black beaches was breathtaking! The horses were very well behaved and followed our front tour guide in a single-file line. We had a small group with only 8 horses on our tour which made for a more relaxed, private experience.
There were two guides on our tour. One led the group at the front, and the other rode alongside the group to monitor and make sure everyone was doing ok.
We enjoyed talking with the guide during the duration of our tour. He told us a lot about the Icelandic horses and we compared the differences and similarities of our Quarter Horses back home.
It was interesting to learn more about the wonderful Icelandic horses. One thing that I enjoyed learning was that the only horse breed allowed on the island is the Icelandic Horses! There are no other breeds in Iceland.
Also, once an Icelandic Horse leaves Iceland, it is never allowed back on the island. This keeps the herd population in Iceland safe from outside diseases.
Once we reached the far end of the beach, we stopped for pictures with Reynisdrangar in the background. Our tour guides took pictures of our group, as well as individual pictures on each of our phones. We appreciated having those pictures taken to look back on!
On the way back to the stables, our guide asked if we would like to try Tölt which is the special gait that Icelandic horses have. Everyone agreed so we were able to try it!
Tölt is a very smooth gait that almost makes you feel like you are floating. This gait is one of the main things that attracts riders to the Icelandic Horses.
Read next: 14 of the Best Waterfalls in Iceland
Q&A about the best horseback riding in Iceland
How long are the Icelandic horse riding tours?
Our tour lasted one hour but the time flew by! It was such an incredible experience and is something that we will remember for the rest of our lives. If riding Icelandic horses wasn’t already on your bucket list, I hope it is now!
Vík Horse Adventure also has a family tour that is 30 mins long if you are looking for something shorter.
Is there an age limit for Vík Horse Adventure?
For the hour-long tour, the minimum age is 10 years old. If you have younger children, you can book the 30-minute family tour and the minimum age for that is 6 years old.
Is there a weight limit for Vík Horse Adventure?
Riders must be under 110 kg (242 lbs). This is for the safety of the horses.
What should you wear for Vik Iceland horse riding?
On our tour, it was a surprisingly sunny afternoon. It was still quite cold in March so we bundled up, but didn’t personally have to worry about rain. We wore multiple layers of clothing as well as waterproof hiking boots.
You are required to wear a helmet on your tour, but you can wear a flat hat (no pompoms) under your helmet to help keep your head warm. We also wore gloves or they are provided if you need them.
If the weather is rainy, you will want to wear waterproof pants and a waterproof coat/jacket.
Do you have to have horse experience to go horseback riding in Vik Iceland?
Anyone can ride the Icelandic Horses in Vik. Both beginners and experienced riders will enjoy this tour! The guides are very helpful and informative and will teach you everything you need to know to enjoy this horse riding experience.
How much does it cost to ride horses in Iceland?
The cost for excursions like this varies from farm to farm. We found Vik Horse Adventure to be reasonably priced compared to other riding locations.
At the time of our visit in March 2022, we paid 11,000 ISK (equivalent to roughly $80) per person. If you choose to do the shorter family tour, the cost was 9,000 ISK (equivalent to roughly $65) per person.
Where is Vík Horse Adventure?
Vik Horse Adventure is located in Vik Iceland right on the Golden Circle route. (In our opinion, it’s one of the best Golden Circle tours you can do!)
Google Maps is the best tool to use to find the stables. Information directly from their website:
“Some SatNavs try to lead you down a steep gravel bank from the nearby roundabout where you will get stuck. Access is through the Orkan petrol station, opposite Hotel Kría – turn into the petrol station and then turn right and you will find us.”
Closing thoughts about horseback riding near Vik Iceland
I hope that you’ve found this post helpful in planning your Iceland horseback riding adventure. If you have any further questions about our experience, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
You can also find other people’s great reviews on TripAdvisor.