In The Saddle’s Festive Round-Up: Christmas in Iceland

Posted on December 20, 2021

Christmas in Iceland

If you’ve always wondered what it might be like to spend Christmas on horseback in snowy Iceland, or sunny South Africa, then you might enjoy our next few blog posts. In the run-up to Christmas, we’ll be sharing how ride operators around the world usually spend the festive season.

To start us off let’s head to Iceland, where we’ll find out how Christmas looks at the Hestasport cottages in Skagafjörður, in the north of the country.

Icelandic horses in the snow

Christmas for guests

Guests spending Christmas at the Hestasport cottages will go out each day to explore the region of Skagafjörður on horseback. When not in the saddle, there is plenty of time to relax and unwind in the natural stone hot tub.

Christmas Eve is usually a rest day for the horses, but on Christmas Day there is the chance to go out riding in the snow.

Riding in the snow on Christmas morning

The Run-Up to Christmas

In the run-up to Christmas, the Hestasport staff usually have dinner at a restaurant, or stay in and cook together. These evenings are always full of Christmas music, good food and laughter.

The Hestasport team hail from different parts of the world, so the Christmas traditions followed are not just Icelandic, but from other countries too. They will meet up for “Bratapfelessen” (to eat baked apples), or to bake an Icelandic specialty called “Laufabrauð” together.

The cuisine at Christmas time is usually a mixture of traditional Icelandic dishes such as Hangikjöt (smoked lamb) and caramel potatoes, as well as traditional fare from other countries.

Getting into the festive spirit with Christmas jumpers

Traditions in Iceland

On Christmas Eve the staff usually spend the evening with friends and family. Some go to church, whilst others stay at home.

The horses who are not in work enjoy their time off turned out in the fields, with lots of extra food. Over the Christmas holidays the horses, cats and dogs receive plenty of Christmas love, as well as extra treats!

All the animals enter into the Christmas celebrations

Most memorable Christmas

Hestasport recalls 2019 as their most memorable Christmas. At the beginning of December, the country was hit with very bad snowstorms. It took a long time and a lot of effort to clear the masses of snow from around the stables. The horses needed extra care and extra feeding because of the unusual conditions. But the challenges of the winter weather were met and the team became closer as a result.

Some of the Hestasport guides on the trail

At Hestasport things operate a bit like a family, as everyone works side by side. Each year Christmas is enjoyed a little differently, depending on the staff, guests and weather. But whatever happens over the festive season, it’s always full of love and peace.

The northern lights

Many thanks to Giulia from Hestasport for sharing this lovely insight into Christmas in Iceland.

If you are interested in riding in Iceland, then please do email us on or call +44 1299 272 997 for more information. There are a number of exciting itineraries to choose from, including the Breath of the Highlands and the Wilderness Expedition, as well as the Hestasport Escapes short breaks. We’re looking forward to planning your Icelandic adventure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *