Wildlife and Arctic Foxes
Wildlife and Arctic Foxes in Hornstrandir
Hornstrandir is a magical place and we never get tired of telling people about its charm. To get the chance to take our guests there, is a feeling that is hard to explain. One of Hornstrandir's delights is the charming and elusive Arctic Foxes. 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. But remember that the arctic foxes are wild animals and it's hard to make guarantees that you see them. But there is plenty to see and enjoy in this isolated valley of Hornstrandir.
The only way to explore Hornstrandir is to travel by boat, the journey to Kvíar is a great way to experience the isolation of this place and its impressive landscape.
When in Kvíar, we get the chance to hike in pristine nature, hopefully observe the Arctic Foxes and enjoy delicious home cooked dinner in our beautiful restored farmhouse that was originally built in 1921.
Meeting point: Our base in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street) in Ísafjörður.
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, soup and bread and delicious dinner.
We meet at our cozy office in Aðalstræti 17 for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart at 8am from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry Bjarmi.
The boat journey takes 1-2 hours 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), wether 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.
- 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 soup and bread 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!
Is this tour suitable for families?
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.
Will I see arctic foxes on this tour?
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.
How do I get to Ísafjörður?
Here you can see your options on how to travel to our beautiful town: How to get to Ísafjörður