Hornstrandir Traverse

Hiking tour in Westfjords

Join us on a journey through the wild landscapes of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, where we show you the best of what the area has to offer in a small group of like-minded adventurers.

The whole area is rich in history and wildlife that is nowhere to be seen elsewhere in Iceland. Millions of seabirds soar the cliffs in the summer and Arctic Foxes roam the land and are very curious. While hiking around the area, our guides will tell you stories of the people that lived there until it was abandoned soon after WWII.

We spend the two nights in our very cozy basecamp in the bay where you get your own bed in a big two-person tent. Gourmet dinners and social gatherings take place in our big mess tent where you can share the day’s adventure with your fellow travelers.

You should definitely put Hornstrandir Nature Reserve on your bucket list. All camping gear and food is supplied and you only need to bring a small backpack for your personal belongings.

 

Super surprise trip from my son for my birthday : Glamping 3 days on the Hornstrandir Natural reserve. It was a private tour for me. Beautiful nature, great hikes, adorable arctic foxes, comfortable tents, good food and super guidance. Only the weather wasn't on our side the first 2 days. But the last day was super and made up for the two previous days weatherwise! I definetly can recommend this trip to anyone who loves to hike and appreciate the quietness of this pristine nature reserve! I would definetly do it over again and again!

Natacha via Tripadvisor

 

Included:

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

Not included:

  • Travel to and from Ísafjörður prior to and after the trip
  • Food on the first day until the trip departs
  • Personal medical insurance
  • Personal equipment and clothing

Difficulty: Challenging.

Day 1

We meet at our cafe Bræðraborg at 9am for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry Bjarnarnes 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 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.

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

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!

How difficult is the hike?

The hike is approximately 35km in total and we hike trails most of the way, however, there are rough sections of the trail, including loose rocks and snow.

If you are an active and regular hiker, especially if you’re used to some elevation, then you will have no trouble on this hike. It is always best to do some practice hikes in your local area anyway!

I have specific dietary requirements and/or allergies to certain foods. Can you cater to my needs?

Of course, we realise that we’re not all made the same and have different needs and desires. We try our best to cater to your needs. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any requirements so that we can plan the food accordingly.

Will I see Arctic Foxes on this tour?

We often see Arctic Foxes on this tour. Because hunting is banned in Hornstrandir, there foxes are not timid around humans and therefore we can sometimes get very close. However, the foxes are still very much a wild animal, so we make no guarantees that we will see them.

Is it correct that I don't need to carry the camping gear?

Yes, that's right. All camping gear will be waiting for you in Hornvík. Please bring your own sleeping bag liner and pillow cover though.

You mention that good hiking boots that offer ankle support are mandatory. Why is that?

The main problem that we've had to deal with is guests not having appropriate boots. High top ankle boots give much better support and keep you dryer than hiking ‘shoes’. We hike through a mixture of rough terrain including wet grass, loose rock, snow, streams and sand. Therefore, we need supportive boots to help prevent ankle injuries and waterproof boots to keep you warm and dry. We recommend Scarpa leather boots or nylon versions with Gore Tex. There are many other good manufacturers such as La Sportiva, Mammut, Merrell, and Meindl.

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.

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Check out some moments from Hornstrandir Traverse