Come for the Ride
Enjoy a horse ride in the countryside and a visit to the best known sites
You want to see it all and experience all that Iceland has to offer when you come. Unless youʼre planning to live here, though, the country is unlikely to yield all its secrets in a week or so.
Iceland offers sights and experiences that you wonʼt find in southern European beach resorts—but thatʼs why you came here, isnʼt it? Youʼre looking for something different, apart from the norm. With so much to see and do in a short time, though, you want to make your time in Iceland count.
Horse riding is one of those special treats for which Iceland is famous. The Icelandic horse is renowned for its comfort and friendliness. It is a small, strong animal that has enabled the nation to survive since the Vikings brought them in the 9th century. So, whether you are an experienced rider or have never been on a horse before, you will find the hour or two ride enjoyable.
All protective clothing is supplied and the horse centre ensures you are given a horse to match your skill and experience. The horse ride itself takes you through the beautiful countryside in the morning, after which there is time to relax and enjoy a good drink and lunch.
Gray Line Iceland offers two tours that not only give the chance to ride horses but also take in either the Golden Circle tour or a trip to the famous Blue Lagoon.
The Golden Circle
Without doubt the most popular tour, it takes visitors to the World Heritage site of Þingvellir National Park to see where two of the earthʼs tectonic plates—the American and European plates—are tearing the rocks apart. This is the site the 9th century Vikings selected as their Alþing (Althing)—destined to become the worldʼs oldest continuously running parliament, though its current location has been moved to Reykjavik.
Driving further up into the interior, the tourʼs next stop is Geysir, the gigantic steam spout after which all the worldʼs steam eruptions are named. Today, its sibling, Strokkur, is the main attraction. It erupts every few minutes, sending a plume of steam skywards, towering over viewers. The surrounding geothermal area is bubbling with hot water and azure blue pools.
The next spectacle is the powerful Gulfoss waterfall. The water pours down from the Highlands and thunders over this stepped waterfall into the canyon below, creating an awesome sight. Spray creates rainbows in the sunlight as spectators are treated to natureʼs raw power in action.
The Blue Lagoon
The location of this renowned spa is spectacular in itself. Set in the midst of a lava field on the Reykjanes peninsula, it is a lake of bright blue in the midst of the dark rocks.
After enjoying a lovely ride on the horses in one of the most picturesque spots close to the capital, the tour takes you to the aptly-named Blue Lagoon. Here, you can bathe in the soothing, warm geothermal waters, relax in the steam bath or under the lagoonʼs waterfall. This is a health spa with a difference: you can take the products home with you and keep getting their benefits.
No matter what the weather, the waters are always warm. They contain minerals that have been shown to help people with skin afflictions and to people with ailments such as arthritis. You can experience your own in-water massage from trained massage specialists while you are here.
You will also find a café, (with free WiFi), a bar that offers a range of drinks without you having to leave the warmth of the water and a restaurant—as well as the shop, where you can find a range of skin care products and gifts for loved ones.
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