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.
Jun. - Aug.
Meet on location
Departs from Overwrite
- Tour highlights
- Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
- Kayaking in wilderness
- Wildlife watching
- Comfortable accommodation
- 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
- 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.
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.
- Sletta Lighthouse
- Old doctor’s house
- Accommodation at the doctor’s house
- Meals after departure
Day 2 - Kvíar Farmhouse, the Fjords, and Wildlife
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.
- Kvíadalur Valley and farmhouse
- Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður Fjords
- Kviar Farmhouse
- 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.
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).
- Lónafjörður Fjord
- Sopandi Bay
- Wildlife Watching
- 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!
No, you don’t. Both locations at which we will stay overnight have beds with mattresses and we will provide you with sleeping bags.
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.
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.
Please let us know ahead of time if you have any dietary requirements and we can plan your meals accordingly.
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.
Operated by our trusted partner
Price from: 137.300 ISK