Hornvík Heights and Sights

The best two days in Hornstrandir

Join us for a hike in the heart of Hornstrandir, taking in all of its beauty, including Hornbjarg bird cliffs and Hornvík bay.

When limited to only a couple days in Hornstrandir, the toughest part can be deciding where to go. Hornvík Bay is a clear favourite for many travellers and is our recommendation for the “I only have a couple days, where should I go?” traveller.
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 Arctic Fox comes 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

Everyone we met at Borea- from the staff that booked our Heights and Sights tour, to our guides (Runar and Joonas), to the crew on the ferry- were fantastic. They gave great guidance on our pre-trip planning. Joonas and Runar set the perfect pace for the group (which included 3 different parties). The campsite is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. And the food (including the packed lunch as well the dinner and breakfast prepared by J an R) was delicious.

Tour overview


The wildlife in Hornvík is amazing with over 6 million birds nesting on the cliffs, Arctic Foxes that are so relaxed that you can enjoy their company very close up and many species of waders that call the bay their home.

The nature is so pristine and breathtaking, you will return from this trip a different person.

We sleep in comfortable 2 person tents and have a big separate cooking/eating tent which is heated, where we spend time socialising and drying off our gear!





  • 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


Day 1
We meet at our office in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street) an hour before departure for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart from the harbor in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry at 9am.
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.
While crossing the bay, there is a good chance to spot humpback whales that swim these waters most of the year.
We will get transferred to the beach in an inflatable boat at the head of the fjord and start to make our way up the valley floor over to Hornvík. The hike takes us up to 520 meters and through Hafnarskarð Pass. There is usually some snow in the pass, but the snow is firm and easy to walk on.
From the top of the pass, you will get the first glimpse of the magnificent Hornvík Bay and its breathtaking jagged peaks.
After a few photos and a good rest, we start to make our descend towards our basecamp in Hornvík bay where we will enjoy a well-deserved home cooked meal and get settled into our comfortable tents.
Distance: 12 km.
Altitude gain: 550 m.
Day 2
Today the goal is to traverse a good part of the sheer Hornbjarg bird cliffs and enjoy one of the most breathtaking views Iceland has to offer.
All along the way you have a good chance to spot Arctic foxes since the bay has the highest density of foxes in the whole world. Mainly due to the endless food source in the bird cliffs.
We make an early start and after a hearty breakfast, we shoulder our light packs and head across the black sand beaches towards the old farm of Horn. We have to cross one river along the way but it’s not deep and slow flowing with sand bottom but cold!
After an easy ascent, our first stop is the very tip of Horn where the view over the whole bay is truly magnificent. You see the high cliffs of Hælavíkurbjarg on the West side of the bay and beneath your feet is a sheer drop to the sea.
We recommend laying on your stomach and take a peek over the edge!
We continue along the grassy slope next to the cliff’s edge up to Mt. Miðfell. The last part is 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 for their families 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 2-3pm for a transfer back to Ísafjörður.
Distance: 14 km.
Altitude gain: 450 m.
This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the group.

What to bring

Remember that everything you bring you will have to carry on your back for the entire hike. 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.
  • Hat and gloves.
  • Small backpack.
  • 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!


The hike is approximately 21km in total and we hike trails most of the way, however, there are rough sections of the trail, including loose rocks and snow. We start at sea level and the highest point is approximately 500m on the first day and approximately 400 on the second day, so we gain around 900m in elevation over two days. 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.
We often see Arctic Foxes on this tour. Because hunting is banned in Hornstrandir, there 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.
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 Scarpa leather boots or nylon versions with Gore Tex. There are many other good manufacturers such as 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.




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