cloudy

11°C

Ísafjörður

cloudy

7°C

Hornbjargsviti

Glacier Fjords Kayaking

Multi day kayaking with comfort

We realise that we’re not all made for camping in the wilderness. Therefore, we decided to offer a more luxurious alternative where guests can enjoy the best sea kayaking that Iceland has to offer while staying in comfortable accommodation.

We travel light since we don’t have to carry camping and cooking gear, and everything is a bit simpler in operation. This experience provides you with more time and energy to enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Contents of this tour

Tour overview

Description

We realise that we’re not all made for camping in the wilderness. Therefore, we decided to offer a more luxurious alternative where guests can enjoy the best sea kayaking that Iceland has to offer while staying in comfortable accommodation. We travel light since we don’t have to carry camping and cooking gear, and everything is a bit simpler in operation. This experience provides you with more time and energy to enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

We will be staying in our farmhouse in Kvíar that stood empty for over 60 years until we rebuilt it. The farmhouse is the only house in the valley and was built in 1921 and was occupied by the same family until they moved away in 1948 seeking an easier life in Ísafjörður.  The sauna is available in the evenings to soothe sore muscles and the nearby Arctic Foxes will for sure come to say hello.

The kayaking itself provides amazing opportunities to see wildlife in its natural habitat. Sea birds, marine mammals and Arctic Foxes are plentiful, and we blend right in when we’re in our sea kayaks getting in rhythm with Nature.

This trip is our ‘medium’ difficulty trip, more demanding than the Wild Camp Discovery but easier than the Coastal Kayaking Adventure. This trip is suited to those with some experience. The longer distances require good strength and technique which takes some practice.

Please drop us an email if you’re interested!

Difficulty: Challenging.

Included:

  • All food
  • Three nights’ accommodation in comfortable houses
  • Ferry transfer to Hornstrandir and back
  • Kayaking gear (kayak, paddle, neoprene pants, dry top, spray skirt, life vest, paddling boots, paddling gloves and additional dry bags)
  • Professional guide

Not included:

  • Travel to and from Ísafjörður prior to and after the trip
  • Food on the first day until the trip departs
  • Personal medical insurance
  • Personal equipment and clothing

Photos

Itinerary

Pre-Departure

We meet at 5pm on the evening before departure at our base in Mávagarður C (grey building) for a briefing where we meet each other, answer any questions and make final preparations. This shouldn’t take longer than an hour. If you’re unable to be here the day before departure, then just let us know via email and we’ll make sure that you have all the information you’ll need.

Day 1

We meet again at our base in Mávagarður C at 8am for last minute checks before departing from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry at 9 am. Our destination is Hesteyri, which was the biggest settlement in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. After loading up our kayaks and safety briefing, we either start by paddling out of the fjord along the coast towards the lighthouse at Slétta, or into the fjord to see the remains of the whaling station that used to be run by Norwegian whalers at the end of the 18th. century. After getting warmed up and a short break on the beach, we head across the fjord towards the old farmhouse of Kvíar, our accommodation and base for the trip. At the headland on the other side of the fjord, there is quite a good chance to spot the white tailed eagle soaring along the cliffs. After our lunch break, we get going again and paddle across the fjord of Veiðileysufjörður enjoying the beautiful scenery from another angle. We then take a short break somewhere along the shoreline and stretch our legs before the final push to Kvíar. That last stretch of shoreline is magnificent with many waterfalls coming down from the snowmelt on the mountain tops and thick vegetation. After landing in Kvíar, we get settled in the house, have sauna and enjoy a well deserved dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Distance: 17 km

We leave most of the gear in the farmhouse and go for a beautiful paddle into Lónafjörður fjord which, according to many, is the most beautiful fjord in Iceland. Totally unspoiled with no sign of human presence. The fjord is a haven for birds and a huge seal colony can be found in the small bay of Sópandi. We’ll follow the whole coastline and enjoy a long day of paddling. Back to the farmhouse for sauna to soothe sore muscles and delicious dinner.

Distance: 20 km

 

After a hearty breakfast and a good amount of coffee, we get back on the water and aim for the beautiful fjord of Leirufjörður. This is where Drangajökull Glacier looms in the background and the water of the fjord is milky colour from the silt coming from under the glacier. There is much to explore and easy to land anywhere in the fjord and go for a short hike. We get back to our cozy home in Kvíar in the before dinnertime after another great day out.

Distance: 20 km

 

Our passenger ferry picks us up from Kvíar Lodge in the morning around 11 am and we head back to Ísafjörður. Please note that the guide may be staying at Kvíar to continue the kayak journey with other guests on Paddle in the Wild. The crew on the ferry will take good care of you and make sure safely arrive back to Ísafjörður.

This itinerary is subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the group.

What to bring

Remember the less you bring, the easier it is. There’s plenty of space in the kayaks if you pack wisely.

  • Thermal base layers, at least two sets of tops.
  • Wool or fleece thermal mid layer.
  • Hiking pants. We don’t recommend cotton as it is cold and takes a long time to dry.
  • Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking onshore. The lighter – the better.
  • Wool/fleece hat.
  • One pair of warm gloves.
  • 2 to 3 pairs thick wool/synthetic socks.
  • Swim suit and towel for the sauna at Kvíar.
  • Light hiking shoes for strolls around the houses.
  • Sun glasses.
  • Sunscreen and after sun cream.
  • 1 litre water bottle.
  • Personal medical kit i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, sea-sickness tablets etc. Don’t forget your personal medication which you may need (e.g. Asthma inhaler, even if you don’t always need it).
  • 2 x Dry bags*
  • Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife. (optional)
  • Don’t forget your camera!

*We use dry bags to keep our personal gear dry, especially sleeping bags. We have a small selection of dry bags which you may use but you should bring at least two of your own. Test it to make sure that all of your gear all fits inside!

We supply all paddling gear and clothing. However, feel free to bring your own if you have it available. Your personal gear is guaranteed to fit perfectly and it is comfortable. We recommend good dry pants and top with rubber cuffs or at least a 3mm neoprene wetsuit with a windproof top. A full dry suit is definitely best but can be pretty warm and cumbersome on sunny days but great to have if things get rough. Footwear should preferably be neoprene boots with ankle support and thick soles to safely negotiate the rocky shoreline. Neoprene gloves, mittens or pogies are great at keeping your hands warm.

We use neoprene wetsuits on our trips. However, you can upgrade to a dry suit if you would prefer.

FAQ

No, you don’t. Both locations which we stay at overnight have beds with mattresses. We provide you with sleeping bags. Feel free to bring your own if you would prefer though.
You arrive in Keflavik International Airport about 40 minutes away from the capital city of Reykjavik. From the domestic airport in Reykjavik there are 2-3 daily 40 minute flights to Isafjordur. You can take the Fly-Bus between the airports and most of the time you can continue same day. Check out Air Iceland Connect for schedules and special offers. You can also rent a car and drive to Isafjordur. The drive, over mountain passes and through fjords is an adventure itself. It’s about 440-500 km depending on which route you take. A new road via Arnkötludalur opened in 2009 which completes the asphalted pathway the whole way, and kills the old myth of bad roads in the Westfjords! The drive will normally take you 5-6 hours. A new tunnel opened in September 2020 under the infamous mountain pass between the fjords of Arnarfjörður and Dýrafjörður. That tunnel makes it much easier to travel through the Westfjords all year round and shortens the route up the West coast. For accommodation in Reykjavik there are many options of hotels and guesthouses that we can book for groups. Please ask us for individual bookings. We strongly recommend you to spend a few extra days visiting the West Fjords and other parts of Iceland. We’re happy to help you arranging few days in the area or give you good tips about exciting things to do while in Iceland.
We use plastic sea kayaks. We have both single and tandem kayaks available. We highly recommend using tandem kayaks for our multi-day trips as they are faster, more stable, hold more gear and are a lot more social than the singles! Tandem kayaks are not only for beginners, in fact, experienced kayakers will know that tandems are a better choice for longer trips. However, if you have experience then of course the single kayaks are available.
This trip is our medium difficulty trip, not quite as easy going as Wild Camp Discovery but not as difficult as Coastal Kayaking Adventure. This trip is suited to those with some experience. The longer distances require good strength and technique which takes some practice.
You don’t need to be able to roll your kayak Greenlandic style. It’s very rare that people capsize on multi-day trips as the boats are loaded with gear and very stable. We recommend that people take a weekend course to refresh their skills and learn simple self-rescue techniques. The more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy the trip.
Of course, we realise that we’re not all made the same and have different needs and desires. We try our best to cater to your needs. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any requirements so that we can plan the food accordingly.

Map

Group of old high school buddies went kayaking around the remote and majestic Jokulfirdir in the Western Fjords. We paddled among curious seals, saw a whale, puffins and endless other types of birds. The small and friendly arctic fox even ventured close to the group to see if we might have misplaced a slice of pepperoni. Stayed in a renovated and rustic house far-far from civilization with a sauna and cosy beds. Our guide and chef, Runar, was absolutely fantastic. Knowledgable about the area, friendly and witty, environmentalist to the bone, safe kayak guide but most importantly a darn good cook. The firm and guide was professional, friendly and flexible. Recomend.

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