Paddle in the Wild Kayaking



Experience the best of both worlds, the beautiful fjords of Jökulfirðir glacial fjords in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and Ísafjarðardjúp bay. Both of these areas are considered to offer the best sea kayaking in Iceland. Numerous bird species spend the summer in the area and there is a great chance to spot whales, porpoises, dolphins and seals.

We spend the first three nights in comfortable accommodation in Kviar Lodge and the remaining two nights wild camping on remote beaches. A unique combination which will keep you entertained until the very end!

We paddle under towering cliffs, negotiating the waves and rocks which demonstrate nature’s raw power. We will take time to explore rocky coves and inlets and try our hand at surfing small waves should we encounter any.

The camp to camp aspect of this trip along with the exposure to the open ocean and long open water crossings make to journey more suited to kayakers with substantial experience under their belt. If your experience is limited we suggest exploring other trips such as Wild Camp Kayaking or Glacier Fjords Kayaking.

6 days
16 years
2-6 people

Difficulty level: Challenging / Demanding
Total distance: 114 kms

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


We meet at 5pm on the evening before departure at our base in Mávagarður C (grey building) for a briefing where we meet each other, answer any questions and make final preparations. This shouldn’t take longer than an hour. If you’re unable to be here the day before departure, then just let us know via email and we’ll make sure that you have all the information you’ll need. Here is a map of the meet up location.

Day 1

We meet again at our base in Mávagarður C at 8am for last minute checks before departing from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry at 9am. Our destination is Hesteyri, which was the biggest settlement in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. We pack our boats and after the safet briefing, we make a short paddle into the fjord along the coast to the old whaling station that was operated by Norwegian whalers in the late 18th. century. After a short break and photos, we get going again for the journey to Kviar Lodge where we cross two fjords and experience numerous waterfalls that cascade off the towering cliffs above us. We will make some beach landings along the way to stretch and enjoy the beautiful scenery. After arriving to Kvíar Lodge, we get settled in the house and get the sauna going to soothe sore muscles. The farmhouse is the only house in the valley and was built in 1921 and was occupied by the same family until they moved away in 1948 seeking an easier life in Ísafjörður.

Distance: 18 km

Day 2

We leave most of the gear in the farmhouse and go for a beautiful paddle into Lónafjörður fjord which, according to many, is the most beautiful fjord in Iceland. 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. We’ll follow the whole coastline and enjoy a long day of paddling with relaxing breaks along the route. Back to the farmhouse for a rewarding sauna and a delicious dinner.

Distance: 17-20 km

Day 3

After an easy morning and good amount of coffee, we get going across the bay to the West side of the fjord near Höfði to get a good look at Leirufjörður fjord with the elegant Drangajökull glacier in the distance. The name Leirufjörður (e. silty fjord) explains itself when we see the clay and silt coming from the glacial river of Drangajökull. We have options to land in the small cove of Kjós and go for a hike up to the nearby headland to get a better look at the glacier, or paddle into Leirufjörður and go for hike there towards the glacier. We then paddle back to our cozy home in Kvíar before dinnertime after another great day out.

Distance: 15-18 km

Day 4

Today we‘re leaving Kvíar for the camping portion of the trip. So we make sure we have everything with us for the three days ahead. We start by crossing the Jökulfirðir Bay and then head along the shoreline towards Grunnavík bay. En-route is a nice rock arch that we can pass under at high tide. There is also a good chance to spot porpoises close to the shore, especially if the sea is calm. Sometimes we have time to spare and then we go for a beautiful climb to the top of Maríuhorn (356 m) that offers spectacular views over the whole fjord system. We set up camp near the beach and enjoy a good meal and well deserved sleep.

Distance: 15 km

Day 5

Today we head out of the Jökulfirðir glacial fjord system and into the big bay of Ísafjarðardjúp. We pass many beautiful waterfalls on the way that people rarely experience since they are so inaccessible by foot. We continue along the coast of Snæfjallaströnd and camp either in the beautiful cove in Ytraskarð (20 km) or near the breathtaking Möngufoss waterfall (24 km), all depending on conditions. Campfire on the beach and watch the beautiful sunset.

Distance: 20-24 km

Day 6

Our first stop on our last day is the island of Æðey. The island is inhabited by one family during the summer months and is a nice place to stop, relax and enjoy life on the island. The waters around the island are covered with puffins and other sea birds. Literally! After visiting the island, we do a long crossing (9 km) to the island of Vigur. On this crossing, we have the greatest chances of spotting humpbacks that reside in the bay during the summer months. So listen carefully when the blow! The birdlife on Vigur island is quite amazing and the farmers have raised special rock walls for the eider ducks to nest in. Puffins are found all over the island. The beautiful and colourful houses are very picturesque and the small coffee house is a great place to stop and relax. We then get going again for the last leg of the trip. We paddle to the village of Súðavík, where a car will pick us up. We then make the 20 minute drive back to Ísafjörður. We arrive back in town at approximately 4pm, in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavík.

Distance: 22 km

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