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3-Day Kayak Tour in Iceland

Wild Coastal Kayaking Trip in West Iceland

From glacier fjords to rocky coves, explore Iceland’s most remote places by kayak. Get up close to animals in the wild. Your journey is sure to be a masterpiece.

Kayaking
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For the best kayaking in Iceland, venture to the country’s Western Fjords just below the Arctic Circle. Discover Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, where nature is majestic and crowds are nowhere to be found. See uninhabited fjordlands as far as the eye can see. Photograph waterfalls accessible only by boat. Witness wildlife in its natural habitat. If you’re up for something transformative, then this kayak tour in Iceland is for you.

  • Availability

    Jun. - Aug.

  • Duration

    3 days

  • Duration Overwrite

  • Level

    Challenging

  • Pickup

    No

  • Meet on location

    Yes

  • Min. Age

    18 years

  • Ratio

    1:8

  • Departs from

    Ísafjörður

  • Departs from Overwrite

  • Price from

    124.300 ISK

Tour highlights
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Jökulfirðir Glacier Fjords
Ísafjarðardjúp Bay
Leirufjörður Fjord
Drangajökull Glacier
Grunnavík Bay
Secret Waterfalls
Snæfjallaströnd Coast
Æðey Island
Vigur Island
Birdwatching (puffins, eider ducks, among others)
Porpoise watching
A lookout for whales
Included
Professional guide
Food and cookware
Tents
Ferry and car transfer on the first and last day
Kayaking gear (kayaks and paddles, neoprene pants, a dry top, a spray skirt, a life vest, paddling boots, paddling gloves, and additional dry bags)

Meeting Point Info

  • This 3-day sea kayaking in Iceland tour departs from Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords. The fastest way to reach Ísafjörður is to catch a plane from Reykjavik. There are direct flights from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður 2-3 times every day. The flight time is around 40 minutes.
  • If you have extra time, you can easily reach Ísafjörður by car. Ísafjörður is about a 5-hour drive from Reykjavik. Along the way, you’ll pass beautiful fjords and mountain passes. 

Drop-off Place

  • On the last day of the tour, we’ll drop you off in Ísafjörður around 4 p.m. (16:00), just in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavik. 

Accommodation

  • On this tour, you’ll spend 2 nights camping on remote beaches. We provide comfortable tent accommodation. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag and pad (or rent them from us upon booking).

Practical Info

The less you have with you, the easier it will be to paddle. Our kayaks have plenty of space as long as you pack wisely. That being said, we recommend packing light.

Here is what you’ll need for your glacier kayak adventure in Iceland:

  • Thermal underwear (at least two set of tops)
  • Thermal mid layer (wool or fleece)
  • Hiking pants (avoid cottons as it takes a long time to dry)
  • Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket (the lighter, the better)
  • A hat (wool or fleece)
  • One pair of gloves for camping
  • 2-3 pairs of socks (wool or synthetic)
  • Light hiking shoes for walks onshore
  • A sleeping bag for at least 0°C (down is best)
  • A sleeping pad (thin and inflatable ones are the best)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen & aftersun lotion
  • 1 L water bottle
  • Personal medical kit 
  • Personal medication (e.g. Asthma inhaler, EpiPen)
  • 2x dry bags to keep your gear dry (We also have a small selection of dry bags that you can use but you should bring at least two of your own. Just don’t forget to make sure all your gear fits inside beforehand!
  • Small binoculars for wildlife viewing
  • Camera

What Do We Provide

We provide you with all the necessary kayaking gear and clothing, tents, and cookware.  

However, you’re welcome to bring your own kayaking equipment and clothing. We suggest bringing good dry pants and dry top with rubber cuffs, or at least a 3mm neoprene wetsuit with a windproof top. For footwear, neoprene boots with ankle support and thick soles will work best. To keep your hands warm, bring neoprene gloves, mittens or pogies. 

Note: We use neoprene wetsuits on our kayaking trips. However, it’s also good to have a dry suit if things get rough. You can rent a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and dry suit during the booking process. 

Please Note

The itinerary of this tour is just a guideline and is subject to change depending on weather conditions and the ability of the group.

Day 1 - Leirufjörður Fjord & Drangajökull Glacier

Man kayaking near Drangajökull Glacier

Velkominn! Your kayaking trip begins! For a short briefing, meet us at our base in Mávagarður C (grey building) at 7 a.m. We’ll answer your questions, hobnob, and make final preparations. Then we depart from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry Bjarmi at 8 a.m. Our destination is Kvíar Farmhouse in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Note that your guide may already be at Kvíar with another group. If this is the case, another member of our staff will brief you before handing you over to the ferry crew, who will safely take you to your guide at Kvíar.

Upon arrival at Kvíar, pack your kayak and start paddling through the remote Icelandic wilderness. Enjoy views of the Jökulfirðir Glacier Fjords. Get excited. Your first task is to kayak across the bay to get a good look at Leirufjörður Fjord with gigantic Drangajökull Glacier in the distance. Leirufjörður is also called Silty Fjord because silt travels here down a glacier river from the ice cap. 

Then head along the shoreline towards Grunnavík Bay. Along the way, discover a prominent rock arch that you can pass under at high tide. As you kayak close to the shore, watch for cute porpoises, close relatives of dolphins. Porpoises are among the world’s smallest marine mammals!

Harbour porpoise surfacing

Once you reach Grunnavík, it’s time for a well-deserved rest. Take your time to explore the area on foot. There you’ll find a few summerhouses and a lovely church. Later, enjoy dinner inspired by nature. 

Tonight we set up a camp and sleep on the unspoiled beach. 

Distance: 11 mi (18 km)

Day Highlights
Kvíar Farmhouse
Leirufjörður Fjord
Drangajökull Glacier
Grunnavík Bay
Porpoise watching
Included
English speaking kayak guide
Transport to Kvíar Farmhouse
Warm dinner
Tent accommodation

Day 2 - Ísafjarðardjúp Bay & Secret Waterfalls

People kayaking in Isafjardardjup

After breakfast, slip into your kayak and paddle into the big bay of Ísafjarðardjúp, perhaps the best place to kayak in Iceland. This vast fjord is just breathtaking. Kayaking here offers paddlers eye-popping views of flat-topped mountains. It’s also one of the few places to kayak and see whales at the same time.

Along the way, discover rarely seen waterfalls that will beg for your attention. Only a small number of people visit these off-the-beaten-path cascades as they are inaccessible by foot. You don’t want to forget your best camera!

Then continue along the coast of Snæfjallaströnd, the northeastern shore of Ísafjarðardjúp. Depending on weather conditions, we’ll camp either in the silent cove in Ytraskarð (12 mi/20 km from the starting point) or near the amazing Möngufoss Waterfall (15 mi/24 km from the starting point).

Distance: 12-15 mi (20-24 km)

Day Highlights
Ísafjarðardjúp Bay
Secret Waterfalls
Snæfjallaströnd Coast
Ytraskarð Valley
Möngufoss Waterfall (depending on weather conditions)
A lookout for whales
Included
English speaking kayak guide
All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Tent accommodation

Day 3 - Æðey Island, Vigur Island & Birdwatching

Bird watching on Vigur Island

After a hearty breakfast, kick off the last day of your sea kayaking tour in Iceland. Your first stop is the island of Æðey. Also known as Eider Island, it takes its name from the hundreds of eider ducks that nest on its shores. The waters around the island are also home to countless breeding puffins, Iceland’s most photographed birds.

Puffins flying in Westfjords of Iceland

Then do a long crossing (6mi/9km) to the island of Vigur. This is a place where you can enjoy incredible scenery and local birdlife. Spot arctic terns, eider ducks, puffins, and guillemots. In Vigur, you’ll also find Iceland’s only windmill, as well as the smallest post office in the country, where you can mail your postcard. An onsite coffee house is a great place to relax over a cup of coffee.  

Next hop back into your kayak and paddle to the village of Súðavík, where a car will be waiting for you. A 20-minute drive will take you back to Ísafjörður. Arrive back in town around 4 p.m. (16:00). That’s the end of your epic kayaking in Iceland adventure!

Distance: 14 mi (22 km)

Day Highlights
Æðey Island
Vigur Island
Súðavík Village
Puffins, eider ducks, and other seabirds
Included
English speaking kayak guide
Breakfast and lunch
Transport back to Ísafjörður

What is the best kayaking trip to spot whales?

Whales are often spotted in Ísafjarðardjúp Bay. This tour is a great option if you want to gain up-close views of these gentle giants.

What types of kayaks do you use?

On our kayaking tours, we use plastic sea kayaks specially designed for journeys on coastal waters. You can choose between a single kayak or a tandem kayak. We highly recommend using tandem kayaks for this 3-day tour as they are faster, more stable, and hold more gear. Besides, tandem kayaks are a lot more social than our single kayaks. 

Contrary to popular opinion, tandem kayaks are not only for beginners. In fact, experienced kayakers know that tandems are a better choice for longer trips. But if you’re an experienced paddler who likes his own company, we have a single kayak just for you!

I don’t have much experience in kayaking but I’m in very good physical shape. Can I participate in this tour?

This 3-day kayaking tour is designed for experienced paddlers. We’ll kayak in areas that can be exposed to strong winds and moderate swell. Long open water crossings and wild camping also add an extra challenge to the trip.

If you have limited kayaking experience and still want to take a multi-day sea kayaking journey, check out our 3-Day Sea Kayaking Trip in Iceland where you can go at an easier pace.

I'm an experienced kayaker but I can’t roll. Is that a problem?

No. You don’t need to be able to roll your kayak Greenlandic style on this tour. Very rarely do people capsize on multi-day trips since the boats are loaded with gear. We recommend that you take a weekend course to refresh your skills and learn simple self-rescue techniques. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll get out of your kayaking trip!

Will I sleep in a tent during this trip?

Yes. We provide tent accommodation on both nights of the trip. All you need to bring is your own sleeping bag and mattress. If you’re not up for wild camping, check out our 4-Day Glacier Kayaking Tour in Iceland where you’ll spend the nights in comfortable houses.

Do you cater to special dietary requirements and food allergies?

Yes. We’re more than happy to accommodate any requirements you may have. Please let us know in advance if you have any special dietary needs or food allergies so that we can plan accordingly.

I don’t own everything that’s on the gear list. Can I rent gear from you?

Yes, you can rent a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a dry suit from us. You can rent these items during the booking process.

What should I wear on the kayaking tours in Iceland?

We recommend that participants wear warm outdoor clothing, for example, a fleece or wool sweater and pants. You should also bring a change of clothing and swimwear.

How experienced do you have to be to do the kayaking tours?

No prior kayaking experience is required for the tours as our professional guides will teach the technique on location.

How fit do you have to be to do the kayaking tours?

Our kayaking tours are all listed at a level easy or moderate so most people should be able to do the tour. Just keep in mind that the activity is an outdoor nature activity so some physical strength is needed.

Is there a guide with you on all of the Arctic Adventures kayaking tours?

All our kayaking tours are operated by experienced and certified professional 4 star BCU sea kayak guides.

What kind of kayaks do you use for the tours?

We use top of the line plastic sea kayaks.

Are the kayaks stable? Can they tip over?

Our kayaks are very stable and easy to use.

Yes, they can tip over, although they are very stable and it happens rarely. If they tip over the guide has the necessary equipment and ability to quickly tip them over again.

If the kayaks tip over participants don’t have to worry too much, all participants get life jackets and neoprene suits so they will stay warm even if they fall in.

Are cameras and personal belongings permitted on the kayak?

Taking a waterproof camera is a great idea when going on a kayak tour. However, it is not recommended to take too much on this day tour as there is really no need for it.

 

 

 

I can’t swim, is that a problem when doing the kayaking tours?

Although you don’t need to “swim” while sea kayaking, we recommend that you can. People that can’t swim tend to panic when they are in the water. You have to be comfortable with floating in water.

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Price from: 124.300 ISK

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