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, 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.

Day 1

Leaving on our passenger boat Bjarnarnes from Ísafjörður harbor at 9:00 AM. The sailing to Hornvík Bay takes about 2,5 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 in those waters. We make 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 in the old days. Each summer they collected thousands of eggs to eat during the long winter months. We continue to the small lake in Miðdalur where whopper swans reside during the summer and kittiwakes come in hundreds to bathe in the lake each day. 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 can be seen 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 pass waterfall Drífandi 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 walk up Innstidalur Valley and through Almenningar Pass where we stand again at the edge of the cliffs. From there we continue to the lighthouse in Látravík where we have our lunch and enjoy the scenery. After a good break, we head over Kýrskarð Pass and back to basecamp. We’ve now done a good circle and will be rewarded with a barbecue on the beach!

Day 3

We take an easy morning and then say final goodbye to Hornvik and our friendly foxes, shoulder our bags and make a traverse to the fjord of Veiðileysufjörður in the South. The hike takes us up 520 meters in 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 that makes for a nice bum ride down on the other side. Then we follow the path down to the fjord where the boat will pick us up around 6 or 7 PM for an hour journey back to Ísafjörður.

It's important to rembember that you have to carry all your personal belongings on this trip. Try to keep your pack as light as possible but still take what you need but maybe not all that you want! Pack your spare clothes in a dry bag or plastic bags. Pay good attention to your hiking shoes and that they are waterproof and up for the task ahead.

 

  • Thermal underwear
  • Wool or fleece thermal mid layer
  • Hiking pants. We recommend no cottons as they take long to dry if wet.
  • Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking. 
  • Wool/fleece hat
  • One pair of gloves
  • 1 extra pair wool/synthetic socks
  • Hiking boots (Vibram sole). Need to be high up on the ancle for support
  • Dark sun glasses
  • Sunscreen / after sun cream
  • About 40L backpack that can take all your personal belongings
  • Small binoculars is nice to have for watching wildlife
  • Personal medical kit to include personal medication and i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, second skin for blister etc. Don't forget regular medication you may need (e.g. Asthma, bring your inhaler, even if you do not always need it).
  • 1 liter water bottle
  • ...and don't forget your camera!

SLEEPING BAG, TENT AND MATTRESS IS PROVIDED AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO CARRY IT!

1. How would you rate the pyhsical level from 1-5? 

The rating is about 3 out of five. The first two days are relatively easy and you can even decide just to take it easy around camp and enjoy the solitude if you feel like it. The third day is a crossing of the mountain range of to the fjords to the South. It's not a long hike (about 11 km) but goes over a mountain pass that's 550 meters above sea level. 

2. What is the minimum age?

16 years. Younger and fit teenagers are welcome if accompanied by parents who take full responsibility for their participation.

3. What is the group size like? Min. and Max.?

Minimum group size is 4 guests and normally we don't take more than 8 guests per guide. 

4. You say food is all included - does it start with lunch on the first day and end with lunch on the last day?

Yes that's correct.

5. Is the boat trip to and from Hornstrandir included?

Yes.

6. What are the requirements? Is experience needed?

There is no experience needed other than relatively good physical shape and be able to walk for up to six hours a day with a light backpack.

7. Do the participants have to carry their personal belongings during the day?

No. They can leave most of their belongings in the camp and only take what is needed for the day. Like lunch, water bottle and maybe an extra pair of layer just in case. 

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Check out some moments from Hornstrandir Traverse