Hornstrandir Hiking & Glamping

Starting from: Ísafjörður
Season: 1st Jun-10th Sep
Duration: 2-3 days

A trip to the Hornstrandir nature reserve is like stepping into another world. This is Iceland at its most remote and inaccessible, as the area has been completely uninhabited since the 1950s and can only be accessed by boat or on foot.

The sheer basalt mountains which stretch from the sea to the sky; divided by deep fjords, secluded alcoves and valleys; are a hikers dream. The sea cliffs are populated by over 50 different bird species and the arctic fox wanders around in its natural environment unafraid of humans. Inland the crawling glaciers of the last ice age have hewn ancient mountain passes and lakes into the rugged peninsula.

Explore this place of magnificent untouched beauty and wildlife with our experienced guides while staying in a comfortable base camp in Hornvik.
 

We offer the following two Hornstrandir multi-day small group tours:

 

Hornvik Height & Sights (2 days/1 night) - Difficulty: Challenging

Day 1 - Hiking distance: 11 kms
Meet at 8am for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. Departure by passenger ferry from Ísafjörður harbour at 9am.  After about an hour's scenic boat ride across fjords and along mountain cliffs, we will be dropped off at the head of Veiðileysufjörður fjord. We begin by hiking along the valley floor to Hafnarskarð pass where the view opens up over the bay of Hornvík. The hike takes us up to 500 meters and is on a path most of the way. The last part up to the pass is usually covered with snow and is a little steep. Our guides will be there to help every step of the way. We descend down to our basecamp in the bay and enjoy Icelandic roasted lamb for dinner. The night will be spent in comfortable tents and we supply the tents, mattresses and sleeping bags.  

Day 2 - Hiking distance: 10 kms
We will wake up early to a hearty breakfast before circumnavigating the edge of the magnificent Hornbjarg bird cliffs. During the hike you will experience looking down the 400 meter cliffs (if you dare) to see kittiwakes taking a bath in the lake under the cliffs, thousands of birds soaring the edge, Arctic Foxes searching for food on the beach and enjoy the magnificent view over this isolated and pristine place. We then make our way down to the beach for a boat pickup around 1PM. We then make the 2-3 hour boat ride back to Ísafjörður. We arrive back in town at approximately 4pm, in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavík.

 

Hornstrandir Traverse (3 days/2 nights) - Difficulty: Challenging

Day 1

We meet at 9am for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart by passenger ferry from Ísafjörður harbour at 10am. The ride to Hornvík Bay takes between 2 and 3 hours and en-route you can see the whole coastline and bays that are carved into Hornstrandir. All these bays were once occupied by our ancestors that harvested the land and fished the waters.

We land under 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. The last part is a pretty steep 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 eat during 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, a pretty impressive sight. Next, we walk over the ridge of Múli and start the last leg of today’s adventure, climbing the peak of Kálfatindar (535 m). The climb is pretty steep when we get closer to the top but the trail is pretty good. You will be rewarded with a great view over the whole north coast of Iceland, Drangajökull glacier and a big part of the cliffs. What a great highlight of the day. We then start our descent to our camp where our personal gear will be waiting and a well-deserved dinner.

Day 2

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 eat our lunch and enjoy the rugged scenery. We continue along the cliffs and through Almenningar pass where we stand again at the edge of the cliffs. We get another view over the whole of Hornvík bay as we head down Innstidalur valley and down to the coast. 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 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!

DAY 3

We take an easy morning and then say final goodbye to Hornvik and our friendly foxes, shoulder our bags and traverse over to the fjord of Veiðileysufjörður in the south of the peninsula. The hike takes us up to 520 meters and through Hafnarskarð Pass. From there we get a good view over to the south and see our final destination way down in the fjord. There is usually some snow in the pass, but we take it easy and enjoy the midsummer snow. Then we follow the path down to the fjord where the boat will pick us up around 6 or 7PM, we then make the journey back to Ísafjörður which takes around an hour.

 

The above itineraries are subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the group.

Private tours can be arranged on request. Please note that we only arrange self-guided hiking trips to Hornstrandir if you can demonstrate very strong experience and abilities. The best option for the vast majority of travellers is to hire a local company for guiding & preparations - this is in the interest of your safety and enjoyment, the natural environment and responsible Hornstrandir travel.

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

 

Remember that everything you bring you will have to carry on your back for the final day of the 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!
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