Hornvík Height & Sights
Join us for a hike in the heart of Hornstrandir, taking in all of its beauty, including Hornbjarg bird cliffs and Hornvík bay.
When limited to only a couple days in Hornstrandir, the toughest part can be deciding where to go. Hornvík Bay is a clear favourite for many travellers and is our recommendation for the “I only have a couple days, where should I go?” traveller.
We totally recommend doing more than a day trip to the nature reserve as the nature takes on a different shape in the evenings. The Arctic Fox comes out from their dens searching for food, the midnight sun shines straight into Hornvík bay and it's very cosy to sit around the table in our basecamp enjoying a nice cup of tea talking to your fellow travellers.
The wildlife in Hornvík is amazing with over 6 million birds nesting on the cliffs, Arctic Foxes that are so relaxed that you can enjoy their company very close up and many species of waders that call the bay their home.
The nature is so pristine and breathtaking, you will return from this trip a different person.
We sleep in comfortable 2 person tents and have a big separate cooking/eating tent which is heated, where we spend time socialising and drying off our gear!
Everyone we met at Borea- from the staff that booked our Heights and Sights tour, to our guides (Runar and Joonas), to the crew on the ferry- were fantastic. They gave great guidance on our pre-trip planning. Joonas and Runar set the perfect pace for the group (which included 3 different parties). The campsite is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. And the food (including the packed lunch as well the dinner and breakfast prepared by J an R) was delicious.cassreyk, Tripadvisor 2017
- Boat ride to and from Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
- All food
- Accommodation at our comfortable basecamp
- Professional guide
- 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
We meet at our office in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street) at 8am 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 9am.
After about an hour scenic boat ride over fjords and along mountain cliffs, we will be dropped off at the head of Veiðileysufjörður fjord. We begin by hiking along the valley floor to Hafnarskrað pass where the view opens up over the bay of Hornvík. The hike takes us up to 500 meters and is on a path most of the way. The last part up to the pass is usually covered with snow and is a little steep. Our guides will be there to help every step of the way. We descend down to our basecamp in the bay and enjoy Icelandic roasted lamb for dinner. The night will be spent in comfortable tents and we supply the tents, mattresses and sleeping bags.
Distance: 11 km
We will wake up early to a hearty breakfast before circumnavigating the edge of the magnificent Hornbjarg bird cliffs. During the hike you will experience looking down the 400 meter cliffs (if you dare) to see kittiwakes taking a bath in the lake under the cliffs, thousands of birds soaring the edge, Arctic Foxes searching for food on the beach and enjoy the magnificent view over this isolated and pristine place. We then make our way down to the beach for a boat pickup around 1 pm. We then make the 2-3 hour boat ride back to Ísafjörður. We arrive back in town at approximately 4pm, in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavík.
Distance: 10 km
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 entire 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 21km in total and we hike trails most of the way, however, there are rough sections of the trail, including loose rocks and snow. We start at sea level and the highest point is approximately 500m on the first day and approximately 400 on the second day, so we gain around 900m in elevation over two days.
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.