3-Day Hornstrandir Traverse

Starting from:
Season: 1st Jun-10th Sep
Duration: 3 days
Difficulty: Challenging
Min/Max: 2-10 participants

A trip to the Hornstrandir nature reserve is like stepping into another world. This is Iceland at its most remote and inaccessible, as the area has been completely uninhabited since the 1950s and can only be accessed by boat or on foot.

The sheer basalt mountains which stretch from the sea to the sky; divided by deep fjords, secluded alcoves and valleys; are a hikers dream. The sea cliffs are populated by over 50 different bird species and the arctic fox wanders around in its natural environment unafraid of humans. Inland the crawling glaciers of the last ice age have hewn ancient mountain passes and lakes into the rugged peninsula.

Explore this place of magnificent untouched beauty and wildlife with our experienced guides while staying in a comfortable base camp in Hornvik.

Day 1 - Sailing & Hornbjarg cliffs

We meet at 9 am for a briefing, where we will answer any questions and make final preparations. We depart by passenger ferry from Isafjordur harbour at 10 am. The ride to Hornvík Bay takes between 2 and 3 hours and en-route you can see the whole coastline and bays that are carved into Hornstrandir. All these bays were once occupied by our ancestors that harvested the land and fished the waters.

We land under the old farm of Horn and shoulder our daypacks for a hike up to Hornbjarg bird cliffs. Our first stop is the very tip of Horn where the view over the whole bay is breathtaking. We continue along the grassy slope next to the cliff’s edge up to Mt. Midfell. The last part is a pretty steep slope but nothing to be worried about. You’re in safe hands. We then drop down to Middalur valley where we get a good look down the sheer face of the cliffs. This is where the hard men in Hornvik bay used to rappel down hemp ropes to collect eggs. Each summer they collected thousands of eggs to eat during the long winter months.

We continue to the small lake in Middalur where whooper swans reside during the summer and kittiwakes come in hundreds to bathe in the lake each day, a pretty impressive sight. Next, we walk over the ridge of Múli and start the last leg of today’s adventure, climbing the peak of Kálfatindar (535 m). The climb is pretty steep when we get closer to the top but the trail is pretty good. You will be rewarded with a great view over the whole north coast of Iceland, Drangajökull glacier and a big part of the cliffs. What a great highlight of the day. We then start our descent to our camp where our personal gear will be waiting and a well-deserved dinner.

Day 2 - Explore Hornvik creek

After a hearty breakfast, we start on today’s hike by heading over the Kyrskard pass and down to the lighthouse in Látravík, where we eat our lunch and enjoy the rugged scenery. We continue along the cliffs and through Almenningar pass where we stand again at the edge of the cliffs. We get another view over the whole of Hornvík bay as we head down Innstidalur valley and down to the coast. The next stop is Drífandi waterfall, where stories of polar bear encounters will be told. Polar bears sometimes swim or drift all the way from the east coast of Greenland to these bays and struggle for survival where nothing can be hunted. We’ve now done a good circle and will be rewarded with a delicious dinner!

Day 3 - Glacier fjords & Sailing

We take an easy morning and then say final goodbye to Hornvik and our friendly foxes, shoulder our bags and traverse over to the fjord of Veiðileysufjörður in the south of the peninsula. The hike takes us up to 520 meters and through Hafnarskarð Pass. From there we get a good view over to the south and see our final destination way down in the fjord. There is usually some snow in the pass, but we take it easy and enjoy the midsummer snow. Then we follow the path down to the fjord where the boat will pick us up around 6 or 7 pm, we then make the journey back to Ísafjörður which takes around an hour.

The above itinerary is subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the group.

Private tours can be arranged on request.

- Boat ride to and from Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
- All food
- Accommodation at our comfortable basecamp
- Professional guide

To bring:
- Warm outdoor clothing including hiking pants and warm upper layers; please avoid cotton as it keeps you cold when wet and takes a very long time to dry
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Hiking boots - please use waterproof high-top hiking boots, which provide ankle support
- Hat and gloves
- Small backpack
- Personal medical kit i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, seasickness tablets etc.
Don't forget your personal medication, which you may need (e.g. asthma inhaler, even if you don’t always need it)
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen and after sun cream
- Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife (optional)
- Water bottle
- Sleeping bag liner and pillow cover

And don't forget your camera!

Please note that we provide the tents, sleeping bag, mattress and pillow and you will not need to carry any of this with you. However, you will need to bring your own sleeping bag liner and pillow cover.

Remember that everything you bring you will have to carry on your back for the final day of the hike. Try to pack as light as possible while still bringing everything you need.