Overview

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.

Highlights

  • Westfjords
  • Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
  • Kayaking in wilderness
  • Wildlife watching
  • Comfortable accommodation

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.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Small group experience
  • Expert guides
Availability June-Aug
Duration 4 days
Departs From Ísafjörður
Level Challenging
Minimum age 18 years
Ratio 1:10
Accommodation Included
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No

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What's included

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!

Not Included

  • Pick up

Contact us for more Information about this tour

Itinerary

Practical Information

Meeting Point Info

  • This multi-day sea kayaking tour in Iceland departs from Ísafjörður, the largest town in the Westfjords. Ísafjörður is only 40 minutes from Reykjavik by plane. There are scheduled flights from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður 2-3 times every day.
  • If you have extra days, you can also reach Ísafjörður by car. Driving from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður takes about 5-6 hours. The drive isn’t short but it’s incredibly scenic. Along the way, you’ll pass rugged fjords and mountain passes. 

Drop-off Place: We’ll drop you off in Ísafjörður around 4 p.m. (16:00) on the last day, just in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavik. 

Accommodation: On this tour, you’ll spend the first 3 nights at cozy rural houses and the last 2 nights wild camping on remote beaches. 

Practical Info

  • The less you have with you when you’re kayaking, the easier it will be. If you pack wisely, you’ll have plenty of space in your kayak. So pack light!
  • This glacier kayaking adventure in Iceland is designed for experienced paddlers. If you’re looking for gentler kayaking trips in Iceland, we’re happy to offer you Wild Camp Discovery or Glacier Fjords Kayaking, where we take things at an easier pace.

What Do We Provide

We provide you with all the necessary kayaking equipment and clothing

However, you’re welcome to bring your own paddling gear and clothing. We suggest bringing good dry pants and 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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!

FAQ

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.

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

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.

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

We use top of the line plastic sea kayaks.

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.

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.

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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