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Wildlife and Arctic Foxes

Introduce yourself to the wild flora and fauna of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Hornstrandir is a magical place and we never get tired of telling people about its charm.

To introduce our guests to the area, is a feeling that is hard to explain but we have created this tour for this very purpose. One of Hornstrandir’s delights is the charming and elusive Arctic Foxes, which is highly likely to spot on this tour.

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is one of the few places in the world where the fox can raise its young without fear of being prey to hunters. This makes the foxes friendly towards humans in many places, so they are easier to spot and get close to.

For years, an Arctic Fox family has had their den near our farmhouse in Kvíar and often you get a good chance to see them and take photos of the cubs when they venture out of the den in late June.

Remember that the arctic foxes are wild animals and it’s hard to make guarantees that you see them. Not to worry, there is plenty to see and enjoy in this isolated valley of Hornstrandir.

Contents of this tour

Tour overview

Description

NB: Our commitment to increasing your chance to see Arctic foxes may result in moving this tour location to Hesteyri. At this location, two hikes will be offered as well as an early dinner at the historic ‘doctors house’ cafe. This meal will be traditional fish soup, rye bread and Icelandic pancakes for desert. The departing and return times will be unchanged.

Meeting point: Our Service Center (white container), Ísafjörður harbour.

Departure: 09:00 AM. Be there half an hour before departure time.

Minimum age: This trip is suitable for almost all ages.

Group size: We need a minimum of 2 participants to operate the tour. Maximum group is 10, but most of our tours are between 4 – 6 people.

Trip difficulty: Easy.

Duration of trip: 10 hours.

Included: Boat ride both ways, professional guide, a delicious homemade dinner.

Not Included: Lunch

Itinerary

We meet at our Service Center (white container) half an hour before departure for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart at 9:00 am from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry.

The boat journey takes just over an hour, depending on the booking that day and we travel through fjords and along mountain cliffs, before being dropped off at Kvíar farmhouse. When on land we have a full day of exploring and enjoying the pristine nature surrounding Kvíar Lodge. We will tell you the story of Kvíar and its inhabitants. You’ll learn about the Arctic Foxes and try to spot them playing outside.

The itinerary is usually pretty open, since we might have guests that are into photography and might want to test their patience and wait for the foxes to appear. For those who wish to take a little hike, you can walk up the valley behind the farmhouse and enjoy the beautiful cascading waterfalls, or you can also relax outside Kvíar and breath in the fresh, clean air that Iceland is known for.

It’s really hard to promise we will see the foxes. There are many factors like the tide (they usually come down to the beach at low tide in search for food), weather they’re just sleeping somewhere up in the hills or just in the den to name a few. But we’ll do our best and use our knowledge of their behaviour and usual whereabouts.

In the afternoon, the guide will prepare a delicious dinner, that we will enjoy with the good company of our fellow travellers. The house itself is an interesting place to visit, it’s like travelling back in time to visit a local farmer of this isolated place.
After dinner, the boat will collect us and we arrive back in Ísafjörður at approximately 7pm.

This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change depending on the weather and the ability of the group.

What to bring

  • Warm outdoor clothing. 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.
  • Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen, it can get sunny up here!
  • Small backpack.
  • Some snacks for the day. We serve a light lunch in the house before we embark on a longer hike up the valley but you might want to bring some extra snacks.
  • Water bottle.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

FAQ

This trip is a good option for families and it is easy to make it suitable for most ages. It is a great trip to get away from all stress, internet and other distractions and just enjoy the moment, playing outside in the pristine nature of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
Arctic foxes are wild animals so we make no guarantees that we will see them. But we try our best. In the last few years, there have been at least two den sites not far away from the farmhouse We will visit those sites and hopefully see them there. The parents get down to the beach at low tide to search for food, so it’s better to be there at low tide. We wished we could have low tide around noon every day…! If seeing and photographing arctic foxes is your number one priority, we urge you to participate in our Hornvik Heights and Sights to Hornvik Bay where it’s guaranteed to see them. The bay has the highest density of arctic foxes in the world.
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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