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Ísafjörður

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Hornbjargsviti

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Hornstrandir Traverse

Traverse across this world renowned hiking destination in this 3 day tour of breathtaking views and good food!

Join us on a journey through the wild landscapes of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, where we show you the best of what the area has to offer in a small group of like-minded adventurers. We totally recommend doing more than a day trip to the nature reserve as the nature takes on a different shape in the evenings. The Hornstrandir Traverse itinerary gives you the time needed to experience the serenity of this wondrous area. The Arctic Foxes come out from their dens searching for food, the midnight sun shines straight into Hornvík bay and it’s very cosy to sit around the table in our basecamp enjoying a nice cup of tea talking to your fellow travellers.

Contents of this tour

Tour overview

Description

The whole area is rich in history and wildlife that is nowhere to be seen elsewhere in Iceland. Millions of seabirds soar the cliffs in the summer and Arctic Foxes roam the land and are very curious. While hiking around the area, our guides will tell you stories of the people that lived there until it was abandoned soon after WWII.

We spend the two nights in our very cozy basecamp in the bay where you get your own cot in a big two-person tent. Gourmet dinners and social gatherings take place in our big mess tent where you can share the day’s adventure with your fellow travellers.

You should definitely put Hornstrandir Nature Reserve on your bucket list. All camping gear and food is supplied and you only need to bring a small backpack for your personal belongings.

Please drop us an email if you’re interested!

Included:

  • Boat ride to and from Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
  • All food
  • Accommodation at our comfortable basecamp
  • 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

Difficulty: Challenging.

Photos

Itinerary

Please meet your guide at our office in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street) one hour before departure, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart from the harbor in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry.
The ride to Veiðileysufjörður takes between 1 and 2 hours and en-route you can see the coastline of Snæfjallaströnd and the South side of the Hornstrandir peninsula. You should keep a sharp lookout for whales that frequently visit the bay.
We land in the head of the fjord and start to make our way over to Hornvík. The hike takes us up to 520 meters and through Hafnarskarð Pass. There is usually some snow in the pass, but we take it easy and enjoy the panoramic view along the way.
From the top of the pass, we see over the whole of Hornvik Bay with its jagged peaks along the cliff’s edge. Truly a wonderful view. We then start to make our descend towards our basecamp where we will enjoy a well-deserved home-cooked meal.
Distance: 12 km.
Altitude gain: 550 m.
After a hearty breakfast, we start on today’s hike by heading over the Kýrskard Pass and down to the lighthouse in Látravík, where we’ll have lunch and enjoy the rugged scenery.
We continue along the cliffs and through Almenningar pass where we stand at the edge of the cliffs. We get a good view over the whole of Hornvík bay as we head down Innstidalur Valley and down to the coast.
There is a good chance to spot Arctic foxes on this hike since there are dens along the cliffs and the parents are busy hunting for their cubs.
The next stop is Drífandi waterfall, where stories of polar bear encounters will be told. Polar bears sometimes swim or drift all the way from the east coast of Greenland to these bays and struggle for survival where nothing can be hunted.
We’ve now done a good circle and will be rewarded with a delicious dinner and rest our legs in our base camp.
Distance: 15 km.
Altitude gain: 500 m.
We make an early start by heading towards the old farm of Horn and shoulder our daypacks for a hike up to Hornbjarg bird cliffs. Our first stop is the very tip of Horn where the view over the whole bay is breathtaking.
We continue along the grassy slope next to the cliff’s edge up to Mt. Miðfell, while watching the thousands of birds that nest in the cliffs in the summer, soaring all around us.
The last part is up a pretty steep grass slope but nothing to be worried about. You’re in safe hands.
We then drop down to Miðdalur Valley where we get a good look down the sheer face of the cliffs. This is where the hard men in Hornvík bay used to rappel down hemp ropes to collect eggs. Each summer they collected thousands of eggs to survive the long winter months.
We continue to the small lake in Miðdalur where whooper swans reside during the summer and kittiwakes come in hundreds to bathe in the lake each day, an impressive sight.
Next, we walk over the ridge of Múli before heading down to the shoreline and back to the farm. We say final goodbye to Hornvik and our friendly foxes when the boat picks us up around 2pm for a boat ride back to Ísafjörður.
Distance: 14 km.
Altitude gain: 450 m.
This itinerary is a guide only trip and is subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the

What to bring

Remember that everything you bring, you will have to carry on your back for one day. Try to pack as light as possible while still bringing everything you need.

Please note that we provide the tents, sleeping bag, mattress and pillow and you will not need to carry any of this with you. However, you will need to bring your own sleeping bag liner and pillow cover.

  • Warm outdoor clothing including hiking pants and warm upper layers. Please avoid cotton as it keeps you cold when wet and takes a very long time to dry.
  • Waterproof jacket and pants.
  • Hiking boots. Please use waterproof high-top hiking boots, which provide ankle support.
  • Thin neoprene socks is nice to have for crossing rivers. It keeps your toes warm. Light water shoes will also work.
  • Light towel.
  • Hat and gloves.
  • Small backpack. Sufficient size is 35-45 Liters.
  • Hiking poles might come in handy if your balance is not perfect and you’re not used to hiking in rocky terrain.
  • Personal medical kit i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, seasickness tablets etc. Don’t forget your personal medication, which you may need (e.g. Asthma inhaler, even if you don’t always need it).
  • Sun glasses.
  • Sunscreen and after sun cream.
  • Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife. (Optional).
  • Water bottle.
  • Sleeping bag liner and pillow cover.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

FAQ

The hike is approximately 35km in total and we hike trails most of the way, however, there are rough sections of the trail, including loose rocks and compact snow. If you are an active and regular hiker, especially if you’re used to some elevation, then you will have no trouble on this hike. It is always best to do some practice hikes in your local area anyway!
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. You can do that during the booking process.
Yes, we do. But it’s only a very slow flowing river with sand floor. The water goes up to your knee and it’s not difficult at all. It’s cold, so we recommend wearing something like thin neoprene socks or water shoes.
We often see Arctic Foxes on this tour. Because hunting is banned in Hornstrandir, foxes are not timid around humans and therefore we can sometimes get very close. However, the foxes are still very much a wild animal, so we make no guarantees that we will see them.
Yes, that’s right. All camping gear will be waiting for you in Hornvík. Please bring your own sleeping bag liner and pillow cover though. Please note that you will have to carry all your personal items on the last day. So, try to pack light.
The main problem that we’ve had to deal with is guests not having appropriate boots. High top ankle boots give much better support and keep you dryer than hiking ‘shoes’. We hike through a mixture of rough terrain including wet grass, loose rock, snow, streams and sand. Therefore, we need supportive boots to help prevent ankle injuries and waterproof boots to keep you warm and dry. We recommend leather boots or nylon versions with Gore Tex. There are many good manufacturers such as Scarpa, La Sportiva, Mammut, Merrell, and Meindl.
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.

Map

Super surprise trip from my son for my birthday : Glamping 3 days on the Hornstrandir Natural reserve. It was a private tour for me. Beautiful nature, great hikes, adorable arctic foxes, comfortable tents, good food and super guidance. Only the weather wasn't on our side the first 2 days. But the last day was super and made up for the two previous days weatherwise! I definetly can recommend this trip to anyone who loves to hike and appreciate the quietness of this pristine nature reserve! I would definitely do it over again and again!

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