Iceland is a refreshingly unconventional eco-destination that you may just want to experience by horseback. This island nation is bustling with subterranean activity, and a boundless supply of geothermal heat used for thermal spas, cheap house-heating and natural energy creation. Iceland is the world’s second biggest user of geothermal energy, producing as much as the United States. Since Iceland is surrounded by towering mountains, ruggedwilderness and breathtaking sights, it is a perfect place for horseback riding. And you don’t have to settle for any horse; Icelandic horses are sure footed, docile and good natured. Considered the world’s purest breed, Icelandic horses were brought by Viking ships to serve as the sole source of transportation over Iceland’s roughest terrain.
We found the perfect eco-adventure for beginner and advanced horseback riders, but it is also a great family adventure if you are exploring Iceland with kids.
Eldhestar Tours serves most areas in Iceland, whether you want to see vast lava plains and magical lakes or Iceland’s fjords and glaciers, their tours provide access to some of the most beautiful and enchanting places you will ever see aboard a peaceful eco pony – a green mode of transport!
All tours begin at their eco-farm, Vellir, just a 30-minute drive from Reykjavík. Hotel Eldhestar is a countryside hotel adjacent to the farm. The hotel was opened the 1st of June in 2002 and is the first and only hotel in Iceland to receive the Nordic Swan environmental label. One of Eldhestar’s most popular tours is the Blue Lagoon day trip. The tour starts at Vellir farm with a two-hour ride in the charming countryside. After the ride they serve lunch at Hotel Eldhestar, and then drive you to a bus that takes you to the Blue Lagoon. At the Blue Lagoon you can relax in the unique and soothing geothermal waters. There is nothing like a spa treatment after a morning of invigorating horseback riding. This tour is offered year round and can be arranged by your hotel in Reykjavik.
The farm and hotel have strict environmental policies of which they inform all guests prior to each tour. Training guests to minimize negative impacts when visiting sensitive areas is of great importance. This includes prohibiting the taking of geological samples for souvenirs. They only take small-sized groups in order to minimize environmental impact and they provide enough guides to adequately control each group. All guides are educated thoroughly in ecology, geology, plants and native animals, equipment, safety, local practices, and Eldhestar environmental policies.
The hotel is committed to recycling, waste management, the use of renewable resources and locally grown organic products as well as homemade cuisine. Moreover, they work closely with all local governments to further responsible environmentalism. Guests are also encouraged to contribute to nature conservation projects such as tree planting and developing new riding trails in order to lighten the load on popular riding trails.
When designing and decorating the hotel, colors and materials found in Icelandic nature and its culture were used. And while old tradition inspired the interior design, the hotel was built with modern ecological technology. The goal was to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. There are only 26 rooms at the hotel, so you will want to book your tour and room well in advance of arriving in Iceland.
Iceland has been listed as one of the Top Ten Eco Nations in the world. These are the places with the most pristine environment, cleanest waters, most startling biodiversity and even some of the best public transportation or health. So book your ticket soon on Icelandic Air to the land of the eco pony and enjoy a clean and healthy vacation!
Written by Carla Scott for EuropeUpClose.com