This tour begins in Ísafjörður (Isafjordur). It is easy for us to help you to arrange accommodation for the nights before and after your tour in both Isafjörður and Reykjavík.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a magical place of untouched beauty with amazing wildlife which thrives unhindered in these no longer inhabited places. The only way to get to these isolated gems is by boat or on foot. This precious preserved area is situated in Vestfirðir (the West Fjords), on the most northernmost peninsula of Iceland which has the remotest coastline in the country.
This area was very sparsely populated until the middle of the 20th century. See the very remote work sheds used by the toughest of Icelandic fisherman, farmers and craftsman in the olden days. Farmer or fisherman it was a hard life within a tight-knit community, farmers were fisherman and the fisherman worked the fields at certain times of year. When times were really hard people found a way to survive, many say the spirit or atmosphere left by these hardy and intrepid folk can still be felt here. One thing is for certain, you cannot help but feel in awe of the generations of people who survived here surrounded by the greatest beauty but also the harshest elements.
You will see dramatic steep cliffs and mountainsides which fall dramatically away into very deep fjords and enormous untouched bays. There are overwhelming cliffs and tons of driftwood carried on the tide all the way from the forests of Siberia. Some of the biggest bird cliffs in Europe can be found here, this is one of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Fifty different species of bird have their breeding grounds here, there are plentiful seals, whales, porpoises and last but not least, the only authentic wild mammal in Iceland, the Arctic Fox. The beautiful wildlife sounds and the movement of the ocean are the only sounds you will really hear, you leave the usual 21st century sounds far behind you! The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is often compared with Fjordland in New Zealand, however, there is one crucial difference, Hornstrandir has not yet been discovered by mass tourism. This explains the nickname “The Lost Fjords” which is, of course, the name we have adopted for this tour!
This trekking tour in Hornstrandir, West Iceland will exceed your greatest dreams and build memories to last a lifetime.
Please note: Please note that the minimum number of participants: 4 persons. Maximum number of participants: 14 persons per guide. If there are less than 4 people in your group, contact us to see if there is a group that you can join.
We meet at our office in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street) the day before departure at 17:00, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations.)
We meet at our office in Aðalstræti 17 (downtown main street) the day before departure at 17:00, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations.
Your guide organizes the meals but assistance from willing participants is warmly appreciated. Forge friendships and be part of the team! We will meet at Ísafjörður harbor. We introduce ourselves and then get organized for the scheduled boat trip to ...)
Your guide organizes the meals but assistance from willing participants is warmly appreciated. Forge friendships and be part of the team!
We will meet at Ísafjörður harbor. We introduce ourselves and then get organized for the scheduled boat trip to the charming village of Hesteyri, the last of the local inhabitants left in the 1950s. We depart from the harbor in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry Bjarmi at 9 am.
The two-hour ferry trip will have delivered us to an experience which is about as far from the modern world as it is possible to get. We will have stepped into a natural wonderland where the only sounds are the bliss-inducing gurgle of mountain streams, the soft swishing back and forth of the ocean waves onto the beach and the myriad songs and sounds of the birds. The only signs of habitation are a few well-maintained buildings used a little in the summer.
Your backpacking really tour begins in Hesteyri when we head up over Hesteyrarskarð mountain pass, on a clear day there will be the most stupendous views all around you. We then make our way down the other side of the mountain to sea level again, we will camp for the night close to an abandoned farm/village at Látrar, Adalvík (Main Bay). Here you will be lulled to sleep by the sounds of nature and breathe some of the purest air in the world.
Distance: 11km (6.75mi).
We break camp and get ready to go. From Aðalvík, we aim to take a little detour, walking the track to the top of the Straumnesfjall mountain to explore an abandoned radar station built in 1953 by the American army. It does not seem to have taken them...)
We break camp and get ready to go. From Aðalvík, we aim to take a little detour, walking the track to the top of the Straumnesfjall mountain to explore an abandoned radar station built in 1953 by the American army. It does not seem to have taken them many years to figure out this is a pretty harsh place to exist in, the station was abandoned in 1960. Perhaps they got bored with the total absence of enemies showing up!
We then set off on our main hike to Fljótavík, a sensational and wild bay a little to the north. Getting to this destination will take us over some interesting terrain, with truly stunning views all the way. We will need to cross a tidal river, Atlastaðaós, naturally this can be a bit of a challenge, not least because the ocean tides will influence things, we need to time our crossing when the tide is not too high. We will camp overnight at Atlastaðir on Fljótavík, close to a ruined farmstead but way out in remote nature. Wandering in rhythm with nature, smelling the salt-tang and listening to the sea birds to replenish mind, body and soul.
Distance 18km (11.25mi).
Today is a day of mountain passes! Our efforts will be well rewarded by the stunningly dramatic scenery along the way. We begin our trek along the green banks of Fljótsvatn, an exceptionally beautiful lake. The very impressive mountains will be on ou...)
Today is a day of mountain passes! Our efforts will be well rewarded by the stunningly dramatic scenery along the way. We begin our trek along the green banks of Fljótsvatn, an exceptionally beautiful lake. The very impressive mountains will be on our left-hand side. We will continue across the mountain range which lays between us and our next destination, the bay of Hlöðuvík. Our overnight camp will be at Búðir, a cove with the ocean in front of us and the grand mountains at our back. Those who would like to can participate in an optional evening walk to Hælavík, an incredibly beautiful bay close to the Sigmindarfell, Álfsfell and Hafnafjall mountains.
The local folklore concerning Álfsfell is particularly rich. It is said that this mountain is partially occupied by elves or hidden people. It is also said that a ghost or spirit woman called Ásdís would appear to assist the local fisherman to find the best fishing grounds. There are reports of another ghost, a spirit man named Indriði, who has sometimes been seen in this area. It is impossible to avoid feeling close to the forces of nature and creation in this place, whatever you believe them to be!
Distance 18km (11.25mi).
Today we trek up a very steep section which will take us up onto the Skalakambur mountain ridge, we then follow an old track marked with cairns all the way up to 327 m above sea level at the Atlasskarð (Atlaskard) mountain pass. The most stunning sce...)
Today we trek up a very steep section which will take us up onto the Skalakambur mountain ridge, we then follow an old track marked with cairns all the way up to 327 m above sea level at the Atlasskarð (Atlaskard) mountain pass. The most stunning scenery and magical natural beauty will be all around us. We will skirt around Mount Kollur as we hike towards Höfn in Hornvík, right in the heart of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The natural beauty here is of an unmatched kind, no one who travels to this area should miss out on this. To experience the best of this area we need to spend a little more time, so we will set up camp in this spectacularly peaceful and awe inspiring place for two nights.
Distance 12km (7.5mi).
The beauty of Hornvík is unique and spellbinding and the area is particularly well-blessed with an abundance of birds. Two of Iceland’s largest bird cliffs frame this little bay, Hælavíkurbjarg which rises up from the ocean almost vertically to 4,500...)
The beauty of Hornvík is unique and spellbinding and the area is particularly well-blessed with an abundance of birds. Two of Iceland’s largest bird cliffs frame this little bay, Hælavíkurbjarg which rises up from the ocean almost vertically to 4,500 m and the Hornbjarg cliff which rises to over 500 m. This area is a nesting ground for three American bird species: The Great Northern Diver; Harlequin Duck; and Barrows Goldeneye, and also for an Arctic seabird, the Brünnichs Guillemot. a sturdy auk with a thick bill.
Of course, like the entire Hornstrandir area, Hornvík is very remote and it can only be reached by boat or on foot. We will hike to the Hornbjarg bird cliff where thousands of birds can be seen, and the enormous cliff sculptures fashioned by mother nature will make every human being feel very small, vulnerable and in no doubt that nature is king. Many of our customers say that the hike to the Hornbjarg bird cliff was the absolute highlight of their Hornstrandir trip. At the end of the day we trek back to Hornvík where we camp for the night, enjoying our final evening together in this pristine ocean and mountain paradise.
Distance 16km (10mi).
Today we will pack our tents and gear, hit the trail and cross yet another mountain pass to get to the Veiðileysufjörður fjord. After crossing the mountain range, we descend down to the coast again, following alongside the beach for a while until we ...)
Today we will pack our tents and gear, hit the trail and cross yet another mountain pass to get to the Veiðileysufjörður fjord. After crossing the mountain range, we descend down to the coast again, following alongside the beach for a while until we get to Meleyri. From there we will be picked up by the boat which will take us to Isafjörður. Back to civilization after almost a week in the wilderness! For those eager to wash away the hiking dust, we thoroughly recommend a visit to the Ísafjörður swimming pool, refreshing showers, soothing hot tubs and a swimming pool to stretch any tired muscles. There are a variety of places to go out to eat, where you can relax and go over precious memories of your just completed trek.
*Boat ride from Veiðileysa to Ísafjordur.
Distance 11km (6.75mi).
Those who wish to fly back to Reykjavik may arrange to stay overnight in Ísafjörður and fly back the following morning or later (accommodation and flight costs are not included).
The standard in Iceland is 230V and 50Hz and we use F-type power sockets and plugs, so you might have to bring an adaptor if you are visiting from UK, USA, Canada or other countries using a different voltage, Hz or plugs.
Our tours are split into four different categories that help participants to understand what to expect from the tour. The categories are Easy, Moderate, Challenging and Demanding. Each tour is rated making it easier to find tours that suit you.
For further information about the difficulty ratings and descriptions.
The distances are between 12-16 km a day. We carry all our stuff on most of the days and have to go through mountain passes up to 600 meters elevation. We keep a slow pace and enjoy the scenery, we're not in a hurry! This hike is a wilderness hike, the terrain where we hike is in some parts wet, mossy, rocky, muddy and everything in between, steep and flat. In some parts, there aren't any trails.
First of all, check the weather forecast but keep in mind that the weather in Iceland can be extremely unpredictable, as you may have heard. We have a saying “If you don’t like the weather in Iceland, just wait 5 minutes” which is sometimes disturbingly accurate!
The weather can be anything from sunny to snowy in almost any season although snow is rare during summer time. We do suggest that you dress accordingly. This means in layers, thermal closest to you and waterproof on top. We’ve prepared a guide to help you get ready for your adventures, check out – How to prepare for hiking and trekking in Iceland.
No, please do not wear jeans and sneakers on this tour, it’s not appropriate clothing for this type of tour. Check the list of what to bring to see what kind of clothing is appropriate.
Yes, you do. This is a self-supported backpacking trip but we try to get as many food drops with the passenger boats as possible. We will spend two of the last nights in Hornvík Bay and do a beautiful day trip on day 5 along the magnificent bird cliffs with only lunch for the day. On the last day, you only need to carry your personal belongings. You can even lighten your load for the last day by sending gear back to town with the scheduled boat.
It's not recommended. You're cutting it really tight and if there is a delay in the flight, you will miss your trip. We also plan a meeting at 5 pm the day before and we recommend that you try to make that meeting.