Dark Side of Óshlíð Kayaking

Sea Kayak Trip in Iceland

A half-day sea kayaking trip under the steep mountainside of Óshlíð, with its sheer pinnacles rising from the sea. The old road along the shore which connected the towns of Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík was one of the most notorious roads in Iceland due to avalanches and rock fall. Fortunately, there is now a tunnel between the two towns which opened in 2010, but the old road is still there.

This journey gives us great opportunities to experience paddling under the steep cliffs while enjoying the company of curious seals swimming around our kayaks and majestic sea birds soaring high above.


Meeting point: Our base at Mávagarður C (grey building) close to the Eastern Harbour.

Departure: 10:00 AM. Be there half an hour before departure time.

Guaranteed departures: We have guaranteed departures every Wednesday and Friday.

Minimum age: 16 years.

Group size: We need a minimum number of 2 participants to operate the tour. Maximum group size is 8, but most of our tours are between 2–6 people.

Trip Difficulty:  Moderate.

Duration of trip: 5 hours.

Included: Transportation, kayaking gear, professional guide and a delicious homemade lunch.


We did the Dark Side tour, which gave us an incredible perspective of these beautiful fjords. The cliffs were teaming with soaring sea birds and shrouded in mist.

A big thank you to our tour guide for holding our trip for us when we arrived fashionably late due to snowy driving in the fjords. We really appreciated it! The packed lunch was also delicious.

Brie M, Tripadvisor 2017

The journey begins at our base in Mávagarður C (grey building) where you meet your guide and gear up. We then walk down to the shore behind the old houses in Neðstikaupstaður, where we have a short safety briefing and paddle lesson.

Our first task is to round the headland of Suðurtangi and start paddling out of the fjord. After about an hour, we pass the small fishing village of Hnífsdalur and begin to see the dark side of Óshlíð that is almost always in shadow. We land on the beach beneath Seljadalur valley and enjoy a hearty lunch prepared by the staff at the café. The views here are incredible, on a clear day we’ll see across the bay to the sweeping shores of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, while watching the birds and seals around us. We continue on and have fun getting close to the sea stacks near the shore and maybe feel the swell coming from the north.

The next stop, if conditions allow, is the Ósvör fishing hut that was rebuilt in exactly the same style as the huts fishermen used to live in all around the coast of Iceland.

We end on the beach near the town of Bolungarvík, where our car will be waiting to take us back to Ísafjörður.

Please note that we always try to paddle in the same direction as the wind. Therefore, we may reverse the route, making the paddling a lot more enjoyable.

  • Warm woollen or fleece clothing including top, bottoms and socks. Please avoid cotton as it keeps you cold when wet and takes a very long time to dry.
  • Spare clothing in case you get wet!
  • Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen, it can get sunny up here!
  • Water bottle.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

Can I bring a camera/phone with me?
You can bring cameras and phones to capture those great moments. However, as we all know, water and electronics don’t mix very well. We at Borea hold no responsibility over your personal electronics. That being said, we have very few accidents and you’re unlikely to drop or damage your items if you're careful. We recommend using a waterproof case.

Will I get wet?
Our kayaks are very stable and capsizes are rare, therefore, you’re unlikely to get soaked. But it’s important to remember that we are kayaking and it’s normal to get caught by a few splashes. Our kayak gear will keep you somewhat protected but getting a little damp is normal.

What kind of kayaks do you use?
We use plastic sea kayaks. We have both single and tandem kayaks available. We highly recommend using tandem kayaks for our trips as they are faster, more stable and a lot more social than the singles! Tandem kayaks are not only for beginners, in fact, experienced kayakers will know the benefit of tandem kayaks. However, if you are an experienced paddler, then of course the single kayaks are available.

I have never kayaked before or have limited experience; can I still join the tour?
This trip is suited to those with some experience. The longer distance requires good strength and technique which takes some practice. If you are a beginner we recommend Calm Water Kayaking.

How do I get to Ísafjörður?
Here you can see your options on how to travel to our beautiful town: How do I get to Ísafjörður.

Check out some moments from Dark Side of Óshlíð Kayaking