Come trekking in Iceland
The Hornstrandir nature reserve is a place of magnificent untouched beauty and wildlife. The sheer basalt mountains stretch from the sea to the sky chaotically divided by deep fjords, secluded alcoves and valleys. At the coastline the relentless power of the ocean has molded towering sea cliffs, richly populated by birds. Many of the alcoves and scurries of the coast are home to an abundance of seals. Inland the crawling glaciers of the last ice age have hewn ancient mountain passes and lakes into the rugged peninsula and there the arctic fox wanders in its natural environment.
The Lost Fjords trip is a full on backpacking trip where we are self sufficient, carrying our equipment but get food drops on various places with the passenger boats.
I went hiking and camping for six days in Hornstrandir. The landscape is stunning but the weather provides plenty of challenges. I went on my own, joining a group of five. This kind of trip throws people together from all over the world, and our group was up for anything, great fun, and fascinating people who I feel grateful to have met.
Max, our guide was superb from beginning to end. Nothing was too much trouble. Very skilled and careful in navigating the environment. Very funny, and lots of excellent stories. He was a true inspiration.
This was my second trip with Borea, after kayaking last year. They are an excellent company. I couldn't recommend them more highly. Their trips are well organised and safety conscious. You definitely need to be properly prepared, and the other reviews have lots of excellent info. I would say, if you have an adventurous spirit, but are looking for the security of the organisation being taken care of, then this is the company for you! Kate - Tripadvisor, August 2016
Since the settlement of Iceland up until the middle of the 20th century the area was populated by the toughest people in Iceland. Many of them making their livelihood from crafting unsurpassed vessels for the North Atlantic Ocean. Hornstrandir is now empty of permanent settlers but their abandoned homes and workshops are scattered around the area, nestled deep in the fjords and valleys. You can be sure that trekking through the Hornstrandir will leave you amazed and packed with memories that will last a lifetime.
- Boat ride into the Nature Reserve and back
- All meals except breakfast on day 1 and dinner on day 6
- Tents, cooking gear etc
- Professional guide
- Transport to and from Ísfjörður airport
- All activities described in the itinerary
- Travel to and from Ísafjörður, Iceland unless specifically mentioned in itinerary.
- Personal medical insurance
- Personal equipment
We meet up at our café Bræðraborg around 10:00 for final preparations and briefing. Head down to the harbour to depart at 12:00 noon on our speedboat for a boat ride to the charming abandoned village of Hesteyri. We have now left the modern world behind and are entering a wonderland of sounds, from soothing streams to the whisper of the waves by the beach. We start our hike in Hesteyri and head for Hesteyrarskarð mountain pass. From there we start to make our way down to sea level again. Overnight at Látrar.
From Aðalvík we have the option of a big detour to the top of Straumnesfjall Mountain to explore an abandoned radar station built in 1953 by the American army. They figured out this was a pretty harsh place to live at, so they abandoned the station in 1960. They might also have gotten tired of no enemies showing up, ever. We will head over to Fljótavík. To get to our destination we need to cross Atlastaðaós River, which can get a bit tricky since it is sensitive to sea tides, so we need to aim for low tide. Overnight at Atlastaðir.
We will start the day hiking along the green banks of Fljótsvatn Lake. The lake is beautiful and the mountain range on our left hand side is impressive. We need to cross a few mountain passes to get across the mountain range separating us from our next destination, Hlöðuvík. Overnight at Búðir. An optional evening walk to Hælavík.
Today we head up a steep slope to the mountain ridge Skálakambur and follow a route marked with cairns towards the steep Atlaskarð (327m) mountain pass. We will go around Mt Kollur and from there start making our way towards Höfn in Hornvík, the heart of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This is a place of dramatic natural beauty and should not be missed out by anyone traveling in this area. It is necessary to spend more than one day at this awe inspiring place so we will put up camp there for two nights.
Nothing compares to the beauty of Hornvík, surrounding are two of Iceland's largest bird cliffs. Like the entire Hornstrandir area, Hornvík is very remote and is only accessible by boat or by foot. We hike to Hornbjarg cliff where thousands of birds can be seen and the massive sculptures of Mother Nature make human beings feel very small and vulnerable. Many visitors state that the hike to Hornbjarg was the highlight of their Hornstrandir trip. At the end of the day we head back to Hornvík where we spend the night.
Today we will pack our tents and gear, hit the road and cross yet another mountain pass to get to Veiðileysufjörður fjord. After crossing the mountain range we descend down to the coast again, following the beach for a while until we get to Meleyri. From there we will get picked up by a boat that will take us to Ísafjörður, back to civilization after almost a week in the wild. For those eager to wash off their hiking dust, a visit to Ísafjörður swimming pool is ideal. Others can relax, go out, eat and just enjoy the town for some time.
Guests flying back to Reykjavik can catch a flight the following morning or later.
- Thermal underwear, at least two sets of shirts
- 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 onshore.
- Wool/fleece hat
- One pair of gloves
- 2 to 3 pairs thick wool/synthetic socks
- Hiking boots (Vibram sole). Need to be high up on the ancle for support
- Sleeping bag. Summer rated, around +5°C is enough. Down bags are the best since they are light and pack really well.
- Sleeping mattress. The light inflatable ones are the best.
- Dark sun glasses
- Sunscreen / after sun cream
- About 50-60L backpack That can take all your personal belongings, including the sleeping bag and yo share of food.
- 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 litre water bottle
- ...and don't forget your camera!
1. Do we need to carry our personal gear?
Yes you do. The Lost Fjords trip is self sufficient backpacking trip but we try to get as many food drops with the passenger boats as much as possible. We recommend the Trekking Fjords and Birdcliffs if you're looking for a bit easier hiking trip where we only carry a daypack except one day where we have to carry a bit more.
2. Is it early enough to arrive with the morning plane to Ísafjörður on the day of departure?
Yes, that's enough. Just let us know your travelling plans and we´ll pick you up at the airport. We´ll have a short briefing after the morning plane has arrived.
3. Will there be drinking water available on the trek or do we need to bring a water purifier?
The beauty of travelling in the nature of Iceland (among many other things) is that there is fresh drinking water everywhere. You can literally drink from any stream you find in the wild.
4. How many guides will go on the tour with the group?
Our policy is to have one guide per eight participants. Normally the groups are smaller than eight and never more than 12 except on special occasions when we go up to 16 guests on custom trips.
5. When will you know, if either tour is guaranteed to run?
Bookings seem to be coming later every year, so it's hard to tell. Two months before departure we usually have a good picture about whether the trip will run or not. We normally need a minimum of four guests to run our trips but have made exceptions there.
6. What is the approximate diastance for the daily hikes?
The distances are between 12-16 km a day. We're carrying all our stuff on most of the days and have to go through mountain passes up to 600 meters altitude. We keep a slow pace and enjoy the scenery of course since we're not in a hurry.
7. Is it possible to have single-occupancy
Yes, that's possible. Single supplement is ISK 20,000.
8. What's the average elevevation gain per day?
Daily elevation gain is around 500m. This hike is a wilderness hike, the terrain where we're hiking is in some parts wet, mossy, rocky, muddy and everything in between, steep and flat. In some parts there aren't any trails. Just pure wilderness.
9. What is your cancelation policy should we have to change our plans?
See our booking conditions HERE.