Hornstrandir Hike - IMG447

Backcountry backpacking at its best!

Photo: Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir
Photo: Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir
Photo: Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir

Tour type: Backpacking trek with camping and staying in huts




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Adult: Contact us

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What's included: Guide, food for 5 days, transportation, boat transfer, tents and hut fees

Duration: 5 days

Accommodation: Mountain huts and tents

Meeting point: Starts and ends at the domestic airport in Reykjavik

Group size: Min 4, Max 12

Language: English

Walking per day: 3-7 hours

  • Tour Description

    Highlights of the Tour

    • Immense cliffs
    • Remote wilderness
    • Arctic flora and foxes

    Rugged mountains and endless number of jagged cliffs shaped by weather and wind are what distinguishes the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the northern part of the Westfjords. The area has been mostly uninhabited since the mid-20th century and today it is an untouched wilderness where the arctic fox roams freely and the cliffs are home to millions of seabirds. This area has been a hiker’s paradise for a long time, the views from the sheer cliffs that rise straight from the ocean and the fragile fauna make you feel like you have made your way to the edge of the world. Sometimes banks of clouds create unique spectacles when they hang at the cliffs´ edges. On this tour we hike from the beautiful village of Hesteyri to the bays of the northern coast along cliffs and over mountain passes. One of our destinations is Hornbjarg cliff, the northern most tip of the Vestfirðir peninsula and one of the biggest bird colonies in Iceland. This tour takes you to an area that is remote, mystical and mostly untouched. Backcountry backpacking at its best! 

    Included: Guide, breakfast (4), lunch (5), dinner (4). Transport. Boat transfer to Hesteyri and from Veiðileysufjörður. Accommodation: Tents and huts. Flights: Reykjavik - Ísafjörður - Reykjavik

    In the summer of 2017 this tour will not be on fixed dates, only available on demand for groups. Contact us for more information.

  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1: Reykjavik-Ísafjörður-Hesteyri-Hlöðuvík
    You meet your guide in the morning at the domestic airport in Reykjavik. The flight to Ísafjörður in the Westfjords takes 35 minutes.. We are transferred to the harbor where we hop on to the boat which takes us over the Ísafjarðardjúp to the fjord of Hesteyri (approx. 60 minutes ride). On the way we have a good chance to spot whales. In the abandoned village of Hesteyri we start our hike to Hlöðuvík.  Hesteyri used to be a lively village due to the whale station in its vicinity. The last inhabitant however left the isolated place in 1950. We start our hike along the fjord and up to the pass of Kjaranvíkurskarð. We enjoy the view back towards the Hesteyrarfjord and soon enough towards the bay of Hlöðuvík . We descend towards the shore at Kjaransvík where we turn east and continue past the mountain Álfsfell. We have to ford one river before we reach the houses of Hlöðuvík. Here we spend our next two nights.

    Hiking: 5 -7 hrs total, distance ~14 km. Ascent: 400m, descent: 425m 

    Day 2: Hlöðuvík – Hælavíkurbjarg - Hlöðuvík
    We start our hike from Hælavík start to climb the local mountain of Skálakambur (327 m). From there we descend down to Hælavík bay, where we can see the ruins of an old farm.  We hike along Mávatjörn (the pond of the seagulls) and then turn uphill untill we reach the top. By then we have reached the cliffs of Hælavíkurbjarg, one of the biggest colonies of seabirds in Iceland. We hike alongt the cliff, turn for a moment up to the hills of Axlir and then continue along this massif cliffs. Every now and then we stop and carefully look over the edge... We reach the cliffs highest point, Festaskaðatind (530 m) before we turn back down towards Skálakambur and back down to Hlöðuvík.

    Hiking: 8-10 hrs total, distance: 15km, ascent: 510m, descent: 530m 

    Day 3: Hlöðuvík – Hornvík
    Today we start to climb up to Skálakambur (327m). After a zick-zack climb we put down our backpacks and enjoy the view over the Hælavík bay, the surrounding mountains and the hut where we stayed. We continue towards Atlaskarð where we find a cairn, called Atladys. It is very important that everybody puts 3 stones into the cairn, so Atli doesn´t get furious and to insure a good continuation of our trip. If the weather allows we take a detour to Hvannadalur. We leave the bags behind and go along a small path to a narrow ridge Langikambur which reaches down into the sea and where we can enjoy the view over to Hornbjarg. We take the same path back to our rucksacks and continue down to the ruins of the house in Rekavik. We pass by the impressive formations of Stapi in Tröllakambur and finally reach our next camp in Höfn in Hornvík bay. It is a very remote place and often there is a good chance to see wild foxes in this area. 

    Hiking: 5-7 hrs total, distance: 10km, ascent: 510m, descent: 530m 

    Day 4: Hornvík – Hornbjarg – Hornvík
    Today we explore the Hornvík area and hike to the most northern part to the Hornbjarg.

    Hornbjarg is one of the largest bird cliffs in the world. We find different species of auk family (Alcidae) like the puffin (disambiguation), Brünnich´s guillemot (Uria lomvia), common guillemot (Uria aalge) and other related birds. We hike along the bay to the North where we can peek down into the high cliffs and listen to the screams of millions of birds. We hike to the peak of Miðfell through lush vegetation and continue towards Múlinn. We hike along the cliffs and finally turn back to our camp by passing another waterfall. 

    Hiking: 5-6 hrs total, distance: 15 km, ascent: 580m, descent: 580m 

    Day 5: Hornvík-Veiðileysufjörður-Isafjördur-Reykjavik
    Today we leave the Nature Reserve of Hornstrandir. We hike South and soon start our climb towards the pass of Hafnarskarð (519m). We enjoy the fantastic views back over the valley and the Hornbjarg. We follow the cairns down to the Veiðileysufjord. There used to be three farms and a whale station was built by Norwegians in 1897. The station was moved to the Feroe Islands in 1903. Here we are picked up by our boat and brought back to Ísafjörður. Again we can enjoy the views over the fjords, partly covered with snow. The boat ride takes a little bit more than 1 hour. From Ísafjörður we take the plane back to Reykjavík where the tour ends at the domestic airport. 

    Hiking: 4-5 hrs total, distance: 12 km, ascent: 570m, descent: 570m

  • Gear Lexicon

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  • Map

For availability and more information about this tour please contact us.