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6-Day Sea Kayaking Tour in Iceland

A Grand Kayaking Trip in the Remote Icelandic Westfjords

Combine coastal and glacier kayaking in Iceland. Find yourself amazed at the pristine scenery and marine wildlife!

Kayaking
Iceland-map-destinations
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Want to do this trip for free? Tag us @arcticadventures on your social media stories and photos during your trip and enter a chance to win a full refund. The winner will be picked once a month!


Paddle just below the Arctic Circle on this skillfully-led sea kayaking tour in Iceland. Explore the beautiful fjords of Jökulfirðir and Ísafjarðardjúp, the top sea kayaking spots in the country. Discover waterfalls that are inaccessible by foot and watch marine animals in their natural habitats. Once you’ve discovered the glacier fjords of Iceland, they’ll stay with you forever!

This kayaking tour includes long water crossings and requires good preparation. For an experienced kayaker, it’s a truly wild adventure!

  • Availability

    Jun. - Aug.

  • Duration

    6 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

    249.900 ISK

Tour highlights
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Jökulfirðir Glacier Fjords
Ísafjarðardjúp Fjord
Drangajökull Glacier
The village of Hesteyri
Slétta Lighthouse
Kvíar Farmhouse
Sauna at Kvíar
Lónafjörður Fjord
Secret waterfalls
Grunnavík Bay
Snæfjallaströnd Coast
Æðey Island
Vigur Island
Birdwatching (puffins, white-tailed eagles, among others)
Seal & porpoise watching
A lookout for whales
Included
All food and cooking gear
Accommodation in comfy houses for the first three nights
Accommodation in tents for the last two nights
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 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 to Bring

Here’s what you’ll need to bring for your grand kayaking expedition:

  • 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 strolls onshore
  • A sleeping bag rated at least  0°C (down bags are the best)
  • A sleeping pad (inflatable pads will easily fit inside the boat)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen & aftersun lotion
  • 1litre water bottle
  • Personal medical kit (and prescription medicine if needed)
  • 2x dry bags to keep your gear dry (We 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 test if all your gear fits inside!)
  • Small binoculars for wildlife viewing
  • A camera for taking epic pictures!

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. 

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.

Pre-Departure

Isafjordur town in Iceland

Ísafjörður, the Westfjords’ largest town to access Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Welcome to Ísafjörður! Also known as the capital of the Westfjords, Ísafjörður is the largest settlement in the region.

For a short pre-departure briefing, meet us at 5 p.m. (17:00) at our base Mávagarður C (grey building). We’ll answer any questions you might have and make final preparations. The briefing shouldn’t take longer than an hour. If you can’t meet us the day before departure, let us know via email and we’ll send you all the needed information.

Day 1 - Hesteyri

Hesteyri westfjords in Iceland

Hesteyri, an old village that was abandoned in the late 1940’s. There you’ll find untouched nature and silence.

Today your sensational kayaking trip in Iceland begins! Meet us at our base in Mávagarður C at 8 a.m. for last-minute checks. Then we depart from the harbor of Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry Bjarmi to Hesteyri, the biggest settlement in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Almost touching the Arctic Circle, Hornstrandir offers peace and serenity.

Once in Hesteyri, drop off your gear at the Old Doctor’s House, a comfy lodging on the northernmost peninsula of Iceland. Then slip into your kayak and start swimming through jaw-dropping Icelandic scenery. Paddle out of the Hesteyrarfjordur Fjord, surrounded by rocky mountains, to the lighthouse at Slétta.

Today’s paddle is short so that you can get used to your kayak. This evening, enjoy a welcoming dinner at the Old Doctor’s House.

Distance: 8 mi (14 km)

Day Highlights
The village of Hesteyri
Hesteyrarfjordur Fjord
Slétta Lighthouse
Old Doctor’s House
Included
All food
Accommodation

Day 2 - Kvíar Farmhouse

White-tailed eagle flying in Westfjords of Iceland

In the Westfjords you can spot white-tailed eagles, who have the widest wingspan of any eagle

Get a good start to your day with a hearty breakfast before we pack our kayaks and head towards Kvíar Farmhouse in Kvíadalur Valley. The route will take you along the picturesque coastline and across the fjords of Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður. You’ll likely see white-tailed eagles and whales in the same day along these shorelines.

After intense exercise, land on the beach beneath Kvíar Farmhouse, where we’ll spend the two upcoming nights. Built in 1921, Kvíar farm is the only house in the valley. The last inhabitants left the house in 1948 seeking an easier life in Ísafjörður. Today the farm feels remote and peaceful, giving space to slow down and contemplate.

After a delectable dinner, relax in the hot sauna situated next to the house.

Distance: 9 mi (15 km)

Day Highlights
Kvíar Farmhouse
Hesteyrarfjörður Fjord
Veiðileysufjörður Fjord
Wildlife watching
Sauna at Kvíar Farm
Included
Meals
Accommodation

Day 3 - Lónafjörður Fjord

Lonafjordur fjord in Iceland

Once you’ve discovered the Westfjords, you may never want to go home

After breakfast, leave all your unnecessary gear in the farmhouse and go for a memorable paddle along Lónafjörður Fjord, considered the most beautiful fjord in Iceland.

Untouched by human beings, Lónafjörður is a wild place where nature rules. As you kayak through calm waters, keep your eyes peeled for a variety of marine life, including seabirds and seals. A large seal colony can be found in the tiny bay of Sópandi.

Today enjoy a long day of paddling as you follow the coastline around Lónafjörður. The scenery is like nothing you’ve ever seen!

Cap off the day with a delicious dinner and a soothing sauna at Kvíar.

Distance: 12 mi (20 km)

Day Highlights
Lónafjörður Fjord
Seal watching
The bay of Sópandi
Sauna at Kvíar Lodge
Included
Meals
Accommodation

Day 4 - Fjords of Drangjökull Glacier

Drangajokull glacier

The region’s sole ice cap, Drangajökull Glacier, is a fascinating sight

This morning, pack your boat and leave Kvíar behind. Today you experience the delight of kayaking in the background of Drangajökull, the northernmost glacier of Iceland.

Paddle across the bay to get superb views of Leirufjörður Fjord with the enormous Drangajökull Glacier in the distance. Leirufjörður is also known as Silty Fjord because clay and silt travel here down a glacier river from the ice cap. That’s why water here changes color from deep blue to brown. 

Next, head along the coast towards Grunnavík Bay. Along the way, discover a striking rock arch that you can pass under at high tide. As you kayak along the shore, keep an eye out for adorable porpoises, close relatives of dolphins.

At Grunnavík, you’ll have free time to explore a few summerhouses and a lovely church. Tonight we set up camp and sleep on the unspoiled beach. Your guide will introduce you to minimal impact camping in pristine places. Let’s enjoy natural wonders and leave no trace!

Distance: 12 mi (20 km)

Day Highlights
Drangajökull Glacier
Leirufjörður Fjord
Natural rock arch
Grunnavík Bay
Purpoises
Included
Meals
Accommodation

Day 5 - Ísafjarðardjúp Bay

Flat-topped mountains and brilliant blue waters of the Westfjords

Flat-topped mountains and brilliant blue waters of the Westfjords

Today you head out of Jökulfirðir Glacial Fjords and paddle into the big bay of Isafjardardjup, the greatest fjord in the Westfjords of Iceland. Along the way, discover off-the-beaten-path waterfalls that will steal your heart. Only a small number of visitors can see these secret cascades as they are inaccessible by foot.

Spend the rest of the day exploring the scenic coast of Snæfjallaströnd. Depending on conditions and the group, we’ll camp either in the gorgeous cove in Ytraskarð (12 mi/20 km from the starting point) or by the pounding Möngufoss Waterfall (15 mi/24 km from the starting point).

Spend the night around warming campfires and watch the sunset. 

Distance: 14 mi (23 km)

Day Highlights
Ísafjarðardjúp Fjord
Off-the-beaten path waterfalls
Snæfjallaströnd Coast
Ytraskarð Valley
Möngufoss Waterfall
Included
Meals
Accommodation

Day 6 - Æðey & Vigur Islands

Kayaking gear on the shore of Vigur island

Feel light and proud as you reach the end of your journey

Today is the last day of your kayaking tour in Iceland. We’ve prepared a special wildlife-themed itinerary for the day. Your first stop is Æðey Island (Eider Island), which takes its name from thousands of eider ducks that nest upon its shores. Cliffs around the island are also teeming with puffins, Iceland’s most iconic seabirds. Binoculars will certainly come in hand!

After visiting Æðey, prepare for a long crossing (6mi/9km) to the island of Vigur. Here the birdlife is just as spectacular as on Æðey. Farmers of Vigur even raised special rock walls to help nesting eider ducks. The island is also home to dozens of puffins. Don’t forget to photograph colorful houses of Vigur before relaxing at a small coffee house.

Then prepare for the last leg of the trip. Kayak to the village of Súðavík where a car will pick you up and drive you back to Ísafjörður. Arrive back in town at 4 p.m. (16:00) just in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavik.

Distance: 13 mi (22 km)

Day Highlights
Æðey Island (Eider Island)
Puffins, eider ducks, and other seabirds
Vigur Island
The village of Súðavík
Included
Meals
What is the best kayaking trip to spot whales?

Whales are often spotted in Ísafjarðardjúp Bay. So this tour is certainly a great option if you would like 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 multi-day tour as they hold more gear and are faster and more stable. Besides, tandem kayaks are way more social!

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 multi-day kayaking trip 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.

But no worries, kayaking fans. If you have limited kayaking experience and still want to take a multi-day sea kayaking journey, check out our Wild Camp Discovery where you can take 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 and very stable.

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 need to sleep in tents on this trip?

Yes, you’ll sleep in tents for the final two nights of this tour. We provide tents so all you need to bring is your own sleeping bag and mattress. If you’re not up for wild camping, check out our Glacier Fjord Kayaking where you’ll spend the nights in comfortable houses.

Do you cater for special dietary requirements and food allergies?

Yes, we cater to people with special dietary needs or food allergies. We’re more than happy to accommodate any requirements you may have. Please let us know in advance if you have any food-allergy needs so that we can provide you with suitable meals.

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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