Paddle in the Wild of Hornstrandir | 6-Day Kayak Tour

Paddle in the Wild of Hornstrandir | 6-Day Kayak Tour
Arctic Foxes are unafraid of people in Hornstrandir, as the Nature Reserve in the Westfjords have practically no human inhabitants.
Kayaking through the Westfjords will provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve by foot.
Camping in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords is a beautiful way to connect with the nature.
A boat will take you from the more travelled parts of the Westfjords to the deserted Hornstrandir Nature Reserve for your kayaking and camping tour.
A reasonable level of fitness is required to take a kayak tour through Hornstrandir in the Westfjords.
Your guide will provide all food on this kayak tour of the Westfjords, through Hornstrandir.

Explore the remote and beautiful Westfjords and Hornstrandir Nature Reserve from a kayak. This six-day adventure should not be missed by those who want to see untouched nature and bountiful wildlife, who love outdoor activities such as sea-kayaking and camping.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience will show you the best of the beautiful glacial fjords of Jökulfirðir in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, as well as Ísafjarðardjúp Bay. These two areas are considered to offer the best sea kayaking in Iceland, due to the incredible surrounding mountains, totally wild landscapes, and beautiful seascapes.

You'll come across countless birds as many species spend the summer in the area, including puffins, as well as plentiful seals. There is also a great chance to spot whales, dolphins and porpoises in the water, as well as Arctic Foxes on land. The latter are particularly curious in Hornstrandir, as it has long been abandoned and they have no fear of people here.

This trip is intended for people with some kayaking experience in generally good physical condition, so that everyone will be to be able to enjoy the trip in full. Nights will be spent in good and comfortable tents or else in certain buildings, and your guides will prepare and sort all meals for you.

Paddle through the wild Westfjords on this great adventure. Check availability by choosing a date.

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: All year
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Activities: Kayaking, Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Cultural Activity, Bird watching
  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Minimum age: 18 years.
  • Languages: English, Icelandic
  • Highlights: Westfjords, Hornstrandir, Ísafjarðardjúp, Ísafjörður
Pickup information:
    Aðalstræti 17, Ísafjörður

    Please be at the tour start location in good time before departure. If you need assistance finding it, seek guidance in your Hotel's reception or contact your tour provider directly.

    • All food and cooking gear

    • Tents

    • Transfer to and from airport

    • Boat/car transfer on first and last day of the trip

    • Kayaking gear (boat, paddle, dry-suit top and bottoms, life jacket and dry bags)

    • Flights

    What to bring:
    • Please see the recommended equipment list after booking

    Good to know:

    Due to the potential of adverse weather conditions, the itinerary of this tour is subject to change.

    Daily itinerary

    Day 1 - To Hornstrandir

    Enjoy the sense of victory that comes after a long kayaking experience in the Westfjords, when you reach a new, beautiful spot in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

    This tour begins when you take a domestic flight from Reykjavík to the capital of the Westfjords, Ísajörður. From the harbour here, you will take a speedboat over to the settlement of Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

    One you arrive, you will go for an exploratory paddle to get a taste of what is to come, as well as to start to appreciate the bountiful wildlife. You will also see a little history, by visiting  the old ruins of a whaling station in Hesteyrarfjörður.

    You will have dinner and spend the first night indoors, in a building called 'the Old Doctor's House'.

    Day 2 - To Kvíar

    Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is not only the remotest part of the Westfjords, it is one of the remotest parts of Europe.

    After a hearty breakfast, you will pack our boat and start the voyage of the day to Kvíar Farmhouse in Kvíadalur Valley. The route will take you along spectacular coastline and across the fjords of Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður.

    There is a good chance to see both whales in the ocean and white tailed eagles in the cliffs along the coast.

    You will make landing on the beach beneath the farmhouse in Kvíar and make yourself at home. This farmhouse is the only house in the valley and was built in 1921 and lived in until the family moved away in 1948, seeking easier life in Ísafjörður.

    You'll have a nice dinner and head for the warm and cozy sauna that's situated next to the house. All in all today, you will travel 15 kilometres.

    Day 3 - Lónafjörður Fjord

    Lónafjorður is the most beautiful fjord in Hornstrandir, and maybe all of the Westfjords, and best seen by kayak.

    You'll leave most of the gear in the farmhouse and go for a beautiful paddle into Lónafjörður Fjord on day three, which to many people is the most beautiful fjord in Iceland. It is totally unspoiled with no sign of human presence.

    The fjord is a haven for birds and a huge seal colony can be found in the small bay of Sópandi.

    You'll follow the whole coastline and enjoy a long day paddling, before going back to the farmhouse for the sauna, to soothe your sore muscles before dinner and bed.

    Day 4 - The fjords of Drangjökull Glacier

    Camping in Hornstrandir in the Westfjords will connect you with the incredible landscapes more than any other experience.

    You'll pack your boat again on the morning of day four, and leave Kvíar. Your first task is to paddle across the bay to the South side near Höfði to get a good look at Leirufjörður Fjord with Drangjökull Glacier in the distance.

    Leirufjörður, also called the Silt Fjord, is your next destination. The name of the fjord explains itself; clay and silt visibly travels down the glacier river from Drangajökull Glacier.

    You then head along the shoreline towards Grunnavík Bay. En-route is a nice rock arch that you can pass under on high tide. There is also a good chance to spot porpoises close to the coast, especially if the sea is calm. In Grunnavík there are a few summerhouses and a nice church that we can take a look at, but tonight you will camp on the beach.

    Overall today, you will travel about 20 kilometres.

    Day 5 - Ísafjarðardjúp Bay

    Kayaking under the midnight sun in the Hornstrandir region of the Westfjords.

    Today, you'll head out of the Jökulfirðir fjord system and into the huge bay of Ísafjarðardjúp. You'll pass many beautiful waterfalls that people rarely have a chance to see, since they are so inaccessible by foot.

    You'll continue along the coast of Snæfjallaströnd, and camp either in the beautiful cove in Ytraskarð (20 kilometres from your starting point) or by the breathtaking Möngufoss waterfall (24 kilometres from your starting point), all depending on conditions and the group.

    Day 6 - Aedey and Vigur Islands & Return Journey

    Puffins nest in Hornstrandir and other parts of the Westfjords from May to September.

    Your first stop on the last day of kayaking is the island of Æðey. The island is inhabited by one family during the summer months and is a nice place to relax and enjoy the life on the island while ashore. The waters and cliffs around the island are covered with puffins and other sea birds. 

    After visiting the island, you'll do a long crossing (9 kilometres) to the island of Vigur. The birdlife on the island is amazing and the farmers have raised special rock walls for the eider ducks to nest. Puffins are also found all over this island.

    The beautiful and colourful houses here are very picturesque and the small coffee house is a great place to recharge after the journey. After about two hours on the island, you'll get going again for the last leg of the trip. Depending on the weather, you'll paddle about 6 km to Hvítanes or to the village of Súðavík if conditions are good, where a car will pick you up and drive you back to Ísafjörður.

    You'll arrive in Ísafjörður in time for the afternoon flight to fly back to Reykjavík.

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