Embark on an unbelievable six-day hike through one of the least visited yet most breathtaking regions of Iceland: the untouched Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Any eager to take a camping adventure through some incredible wilderness, exposing themselves to amazing views and an abundance of wildlife, should not hesitate to book this experience.
This once-in-a-lifetime journey begins in Isafjordur, the capital of the Westfjords; you’ll take a ferry through some breathtaking bays to reach your first destination in Hornstrandir. From here, you’ll travel on foot through landscapes it’s hard to believe still exist on this earth.
This region was populated sparsely in history but abandoned since the middle of the last century. Since then, it has become renowned for its magnificent cliffs, endless fields of wildflowers, towering peaks, spectacular beaches, and wealth of wildlife. Arctic Foxes, for example, are found in abundance here and have no fear of people; seabirds nest in their tens of thousands along the shores.
Most notable, however, are the marine mammals; every time you can see the ocean, you have a great chance of seeing seals, porpoises, dolphins, and whales!
Your friendly guides are experts on the region and will provide you with all your camping equipment and meals throughout your journey. They will also give you a briefing and help you with preparations the night before your tour, as you’ll need to be in Isafjordur a day before due to your early departure; if you cannot make this, you can sort it over email.
As this tour is conducted in summer, you will spend it under the Midnight Sun, extending your hours hiking and providing spectacular views at all times.
Hike and camp in one of the world’s most beautiful hidden corners with this 6-day trip to the Hornstrandir reserve of the Westfjords. Check availability by choosing a date.
On the first day of your six-day hike through the landscapes of Hornstrandir, you’ll meet your guides and group and board a boat from Isafjordur. As soon as you start to sail through the magnificent fjords, keep an eye peeled for signs of life in the waters, as whales and dolphins can be found in abundance here.
You will be dropped off in Hesteyri, what was once the region’s largest town; now, it is just a few buildings tailored for travelers with a mystical ambiance. After soaking up the atmosphere, the hike will begin as you make your way through beautiful fields, passing gurgling brooks and a stunning shore to the Hesteyrarskard mountain pass.
As you ascend this trail, you’ll be granted awe-inspiring views over the nature reserve; be sure to keep an eye close by as well, however, in case a curious Arctic Fox should appear. After crossing the pass, you’ll reach Látrar, a sheltered cove where you’ll set up camp, have dinner, and retire for the night.
After a good rest and a hearty breakfast, you depart from Latrar and head to the charming bay of Adalvik.
Conditions allowing, you’ll next ascend a mighty peak called Straumnesfjall to find an abandoned radar station built by the Americans when they had a military presence here in 1953. This base was left in 1960 when operations in the region began to die down, and now is an excellent example of how nature is reclaiming this region.
After your descent, you’ll continue your hike through some beautiful landscapes until you reach the Atlastadaos River. At this point, you’ll have to cross the waters, so your guide will ensure you arrive at low tide to make this easier. Even if the ford is a little challenging, the results are incredibly rewarding; you’ll emerge in Atlastadir, a magnificent plain of wildflowers with a wealth of wildlife and beautiful sea views.
There is no better place to set up camp and enjoy dinner than this special spot. You may enjoy a brief amble here if you are not too tired before retiring.
On day three of your six-day hike through Hornstrandir, you’ll begin by walking along the shores of the breathtaking Fljotsvatn lake. The waters here are beautiful and allow for some of the region’s most unique examples of flora and fauna; several species of freshwater birds, for example, can be found with ease. The longer you trek, the closer you will get to a mountain range you must cross to reach your destination.
The pass through it not only provides an added sense of adventure to your trip but will allow you to achieve some incredible views and panoramas over hidden parts of this region.
Once you reach the opposite side of the peaks, you’ll arrive at the peaceful shore of Hloduvik. If you are tired from your adrenaline-pumping ascent, you can rest up here for the evening. Your guide, however, will offer you an optional evening trek to another beach, Haelavik, where you have a chance to see whales, dolphins, and seals.
On the fourth day of your incredible trip through Hornstrandir, you’ll head to the heart of the region, the gorgeous Hornvik. Getting here, however, will require a full day of trekking through some diverse areas.
Firstly, you’ll ascend the steep ridge of Skalakambur, marveling over the ocean views as you summit the peak. You’ll then follow cairns - stacks of rocks Icelanders have long built to mark paths - to another mountain pass, this one called Atlaskard. After clambering its rocky trail, you’ll circle Mount Kollar and enter the Hornvik area.
Now in the heart of the reserve, you’ll spend your third night surrounded by untouched landscapes and unreal beauty. Again, keep an eye out for Arctic Foxes, and many live in the area!
After a pleasant breakfast on your fifth day, you will head to the most famous and photographed feature of Hornvik, the cliffs of Hornbjarg. This beautiful region has two of the largest bird cliffs in Iceland, both of which you will be able to hike to.
Thousands upon thousands can be seen nesting here in their lifelong couples; you’ll also be able to watch them as they soar out to sea and dive for fish. Because of their numbers, you also have a great chance of spotting foxes sneak through the grasses as they wait for an opportunity to snatch some eggs.
It is not just the wildlife that makes Hornbjarg special, however. The enormous cliff is a monumental feature, with towering walls of ancient rock. These cliffs erode every year due to the Arctic elements, meaning they are forever changing, but the views remain ever as spectacular.
After enjoying this site, you’ll return to your base camp in Hornvik for your final night of camping in the Westfjords.
On your final day hiking through Hornstrandir, you’ll have breakfast, pack up your camp, and begin your last trek. This journey will take you through some beautiful peaks into the breathtaking Veiðileysufjörður fjord. Once you reach the port of Meleyri, you’ll find a boat waiting to take you back to Isafjordur.
On the final leg of your voyage, be sure to put your well-worked feet up and enjoy the last of the views of Hornstrandir, hopefully with a whale sighting as you do. Once you are dropped off, you can continue with the rest of your adventure, knowing you have truly made the most of your incredible holiday.