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4-Day Glacier Kayaking Tour in Iceland

Explore Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in Westfjords aboard a kayak

Want to kayak in Iceland’s remote areas but prefer not to camp? Join this camping-free kayaking trip in Hornstrandir. Meet local wildlife and stay in comfortable accommodation.

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This 4-day tour is perfect for those who want to combine Iceland’s rugged and wild backcountry with a comfortable stay in abandoned farms and houses from the past. During the day we travel light and enjoy calm ocean waves. At night we immerse ourselves in Icelandic food, a hot sauna, and a cozy bed. On the tour, you’ll explore the rugged coast of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, spot an occasional seal popping its head out of the water, and maybe even meet an arctic fox.

  • Availability

    Jun. - Aug.

  • Duration

    4 days

  • Duration Overwrite

  • Level

    Challenging

  • Pickup

    No

  • Meet on location

    Yes

  • Min. Age

    18 years

  • Ratio

    1:10

  • Departs from

    Ísafjörður

  • Departs from Overwrite

  • Price from

    137.300 ISK

Tour highlights
Westfjords
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Kayaking in wilderness
Wildlife watching
Comfortable accommodation
Included
All meals from the pickup in Isafjordur
Three nights' accommodation in comfortable houses
Ferry transfer to Hornstrandir and back
Kayaking gear (kayak, paddle, neoprene pants, dry top, spray skirt, life vest, paddling boots, paddling gloves and additional dry bags)
Professional guide

What to Bring: 

  • Thermal base layer
  • Wool or fleece thermal mid-layer
  • Hiking pants
  • Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking onshore
  • A pair of warm gloves
  • 2 to 3 pairs of thick wool/synthetic socks
  • Swimsuit and towel for the sauna at Kvíar
  • Light hiking shoes for strolls around the houses
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Personal medical kit
  • 2 x Drybags
  • Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife
  • Don’t forget your camera!

Practical Information: We use our own drybags for gear and sleeping bags. You should also have at least two dry bags for your own belongings. We supply all paddling gear and clothing, but feel free to bring your own if you have them. 

Pickup and Drop-off: This is a meet on location tour. We will pick you up in Isafjordur and take you to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve by boat. You will be dropped off at the same harbor after the tour. You should arrange transportation to and from Isafjordur.  

Pre-departure: The day before departure, everyone is invited to meet up at the base in Mávagarður C for a briefing. We’ll answer all your questions regarding the trip and accommodation. The meeting shouldn’t last for longer than an hour. If you can’t make it, email us a day before and we’ll send you all the necessary information via email.

Day 1 - Hesteyri and Sletta Lighthouse

The tour starts when we meet you at our base in Mávagarður C at 8 a.m. for last-minute gear checks. After that we catch the ferry and depart for Hesteyri. Hesteyri once was the biggest settlement in Hornstrandir, but after the fishing crisis at the beginning of the 20th century, the village was completely abandoned. The last person moved away in the 1950s, leaving only a doctor’s house, a school, and a small church bell behind.

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Now most of the abandoned buildings are used as summer houses by travelers and locals alike. We will be staying at one of them, the doctor’s house. Once we reach the shores of Hesteyri, we drop off our belongings at the house and get ready to paddle along the fjords to the nearby Sletta Lighthouse.

Abandonded doctor’s house in Hesteyri

We won’t paddle a lot. The first day of the tour is all about getting to know your kayak and refreshing paddling techniques while also exploring the Icelandic waters. After a quick paddle, we’ll have dinner at the doctor’s house and settle in for the night.

Kayaking in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Day Highlights
Hesteyri
Sletta Lighthouse
Old doctor’s house
Included
Accommodation at the doctor’s house
Meals after departure

Day 2 - Kvíar Farmhouse, the Fjords, and Wildlife

Hornbjarg Cliffs in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

After a hearty breakfast at the doctor’s house, we set out on our paddling adventure. Today we will paddle around 9 mi (14 km) towards Kvíadalur Valley and farmhouse. Along the way, we’ll pass some of Iceland’s most beautiful scenery: Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður Fjords. We’ll stop for brief breaks to take pictures without disembarking the kayak. There’s also a high chance to see whales and white-tailed eagles, both residents of the surrounding waters.

Arctic fox in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Our day’s voyage will end at the beach beneath the hill on which Kviar Farmhouse stands. The farmhouse was built in 1923 by a family that lived in the house up until 1948, right before Hornstrandir Nature Reserve was completely abandoned. The building of the farmhouse was a hard, difficult, and vigorous project, especially without the tools and appliances we have these days. It took two years to build it and after more than 20 years, the family was heartbroken when they had to leave the house.

Kviar Farmhouse before the renovation

The farmhouse was renovated in 2012 and now is ready to host travelers from all over the world. We will have a mouth-watering dinner and head to the sauna afterward.

Renovated Kviar Farmhouse

Day Highlights
Kvíadalur Valley and farmhouse
Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður Fjords
Kviar Farmhouse
Included
Accommodation at the Kviar Farmhouse
All meals

Day 3 - Lónafjörður Fjord and Sópandi Bay

On the third day of the tour, we’ll leave our belongings at the farmhouse and head out to explore fjords and wildlife. The farm is nestled not too far from Lónafjörður Fjord, said to be the most beautiful fjord in Iceland. As we paddle past it, incredible views of Hornstandir Nature Reserve open up from the ocean. As usual, we’ll stop to take some pictures.

Happy people on a kayaks in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Soon we approach Sopandi Bay, home to an abundance of birds, a seal colony and arctic foxes. We will paddle along the coast, meeting the wildlife and taking pictures of the scenery. The total distance for the day is12 mi (20 km).

Day Highlights
Lónafjörður Fjord
Sopandi Bay
Wildlife Watching
Included
Accommodation at Kviar Farmhouse
All meals

Day 4 - The Final Day

At around 9 a.m. a passenger ferry will pick us up from Kvíar Lodge and take us back to Ísafjörður. On our way back to Isafjordur, you might not be accompanied by a guide as sometimes they have to stay back and get ready for the next adventure group. Worry not, as the crew on the ferry will take great care of you!

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag and a mattress?

No, you don’t. Both locations at which we will stay overnight have beds with mattresses and we will provide you with sleeping bags.

How do I travel to Ísafjörður?

You can fly or drive to Isafjordur. There are flights to Isafjordur from Keflavik airport in Reykjavik. If you choose to drive, you can rent a car at Keflavik airport. Isafjordur is around 307 mi (495 km) away from the airport.

What kind of kayaks do you use?

Our kayaks are plastic sea kayaks. For this tour, you can use a single or a double kayak.

My kayaking experience is limited but I do a lot of outdoor activities and consider myself in good physical shape. Do you think I'm fit to participate in this trip?

The trip is marked as challenging and you do need some kayaking experience, but you won’t embark on adventures you can’t do and you’ll always have a guide by your side.

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

Please let us know ahead of time if you have any dietary requirements and we can plan your meals accordingly.

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: 137.300 ISK

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