3-Day Hornstrandir Hike in the West Fjords
Explore Iceland's Most Remote Nature Reserve on Foot
This tour will take us to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve – on a hiking adventure in a remote place of unparalleled natural beauty. Taking us along rugged mountain paths, past craggy cliffs populated by fascinating bird life and abandoned villages that were once inhabited by hardy souls who lived life on the very edge of the Arctic Circle. Hornstrandir is an unspoiled paradise without compare – that’ll provide memories which will last a lifetime and an absolute must for hiking enthusiasts, nature lovers and pretty much everyone else.
- May - Sept
- 3 Days
- Total Distance
- 35 km
- Max. Ascent
- 550 m
- Challenging (4/5)
- Min. Age
- 12 years
- 124 900
Your friendly guides will be with you every step of the way, pointing out the birds swooping overhead, the playful seals ducking and diving amongst the waves, the elusive Arctic Foxes who play amongst the Arctic tundra, and maybe even a whale diving down into the deep. They’ll also tell you about the fascinating history of Hornstrandir, which was inhabited until it was abandoned just after the second world war.
We’ll spend our nights in a comfortable basecamp, where everyone has their own bed in a spacious two-person tent, eating Icelandic delicacies by the light of the midnight sun. It takes place with a small group of like-minded people – meaning that you’ll make friends that will last you for the rest of your life.
If you want to go on a hiking adventure in an unspoiled Arctic wilderness, then this is the perfect one for you.
We’ll all meet up at our office in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street), about an hour before departure – to go through the tour in detail and answer any questions that you might have. Then, we’ll make our way down to Ísafjörður Harbour and catch the ferry to Hornstrandir.
Please note – this tour has two different departure times. Our Thursday tour departs at 9:00 am and the Monday/Saturday tours depart at 10:00 am.
The boat ride lasts around 2-3 hours, depending on the weather and time of year, taking us past sparkling blue fjords, mighty mountains, and rugged cliffs. We may also see some incredible marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins, and seals – so make sure that you bring a camera. Our friendly guide will also point out where Icelanders used to live and tell you about how they managed to survive on the very edge of the world.
We’ll land at Hornvík Bay and head towards the Hornbjarg bird cliffs – skirting around the tip of Horn, which provides a magnificent view over the entire bay. We’ll continue up the grassy hill and then walk along the cliff edge that leads to Mt. Miðfell – scaling one steep slope where our guide will help anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable.
Our next stop will be the rugged Miðdalur valley – a dramatic place surrounded by sheer cliffs – in days gone by, inhabitants of the island would rappel down the cliff to collect eggs from the many birds who nest in them. An example of just how difficult life could be in this harsh environment.
We’ll continue on to lake Miðdalur – a blue oasis, where whooper swans and kittiwakes flock and raise their chicks. The route then takes us to the ridge of Múli and climb to the summit of the Kálfatindar Peak (535m) – where we’ll see the entire of Iceland’s north coast in all of its glory, including the white-tipped Drangajökull Glacier, charming fjords and spectacular cliffs.
By then everyone will be ready for a break, so we’ll head back down the cliff to our basecamp to enjoy a traditional Icelandic dinner under the light of the Arctic sun and get some well-earned rest.
We’ll begin the day with traditional Icelandic breakfast and then hike up the Kýrskard Pass – populated by colorful arctic flowers that are beautiful and unique. We’ll find the rustic Látravík Lighthouse at the bottom, where we’ll pause for a picnic lunch – looking over dramatic rock sculptures that rise like columns out of the deep blue sea. The trail continues past some vast cliffs, proceeding along the meandering Almenningar pass, which teeters over the cliff edge, allowing us to look down on the white-crested waves of the Atlantic Ocean – as they continue their eternal battle with the rocks below. The next stop will be the Innstidalur valley – offering another gorgeous vista over the entire of Hornvík Bay.
The last stop of the day will be the Drífandi Waterfall, whose cylindrical torrent cascades over moss-carpeted cliffs into the deep blue sea below. Surprisingly, it has gained a reputation for polar bear sightings, who drift across from the east coast of Greenland and find themselves stranded on the island. Our friendly guide will tell us the urban legends associated with these sightings. Then, we’ll head back to camp for a hearty Icelandic meal and some well-earned rest.
Our final morning will be free – allowing you to laze around at camp or go off and do some exploring of your own. We’ll leave the camp after lunch and head towards the Veiðileysufjörður Fjord – climbing to the top of the Hafnarskarð Pass – for a panoramic view over the south of the Westfjords. There is normally snow along the pass, which glints in the midsummer sun – creating a mesmerizing scene that is very photogenic. That will mark the end of our adventure and we’ll descend back down to the fjord and catch the ferry back to Ísafjörður between 18-19:00 – after three days of fun at the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Please note – the Thursday version of the tour is done reversed – beginning with a hike to Hornvik Bay from Veiðileysufjörður Fjord and then continuing from there.