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2-Day Hornstrandir Hike - Hornvik - BA-02

Explore the crown jewel of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Come and experience the unforgettable beauty of the most pristine corner of Iceland on this wilderness hike through the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve!


Duration: 2 days

Pick-up: 8 AM

Available: June-August

Age limit: 16

Difficulty: Moderate

Tour Highlights:
  • Scenic boat rides around Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
  • Hornvík Bay
  • Hornbjarg bird cliffs
  • Hafnarskarð Mountain Pass
  • Veiðileysufjörður fjord
  • Very high chance of seeing wild Arctic foxes
  • Millions of sea birds nesting on the cliffs
  • Chance of seeing whales and dolphins during the ferry ride
  • Comfortable base camp with a kitchen tent

Included:

  • Boat rides to and from Hornstrandir
  • Guided hikes on both days
  • Accommodation in made-up 2-persons tents
  • All meals from the start of the hike
  • Use of heated kitchen tent

Not included:

  • Transfer between Reykjavik and Isafjordur
  • Breakfast on the first day
  • Dinner on the last day
  • Personal medical insurance
  • Personal equipment and clothing

Meeting location:

Aðalstræti 17, Isafjordur (450 km / 280 mi north of Reykjavik). The office building "Borea Adventures" is located 100 meters (1 min walk) from Hótel Ísafjörður.

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Many hikers consider Hornstrandir to be the most impressive hiking location in all of Iceland. With the number of trails that can be found all over Iceland, that is saying a lot!

The spectacular Hornbjarg cliffs

The spectacular Hornbjarg cliffs

This remote nature reserve was once inhabited, but the last human residents left about 60 years ago. Because of the harsh conditions and remote location, these humans never built any villages here, living off of what they could collect from the water and bird’s nests.

Since the humans left, the plants and animals in this remote location have been able to flourish and prosper. The picturesque cliffs are home to millions of nesting birds while the local Arctic foxes have become friendly and curious. The lack of natural enemies here means that the adorable foxes approach humans without fear.

An arctic fox posing for the photographer near our campsite

An arctic fox posing for the photographer near our campsite

During this two-day trek, we’ll create unforgettable memories while exploring the most magnificent corners of this untouched nature reserve. Since it’s only possible to reach Hornstrandir on foot or by boat, we’ll get there by sailing around the largest part of the Hornstrandir peninsula. This will allow us to admire the beauty of the coastline from below before we have the opportunity to hike along the exciting Hornbjarg bird cliffs from above.

Our boat in Veiðileysufjörður bay

Our boat in Veiðileysufjörður bay

We’ll spend the night in two-person tests that will be waiting for us at our base camp. After a day spent hiking, there’s nothing better than arriving at a heated kitchen tent full of delicious local food. The next day, we’ll hike from Hornvík Bay to Veiðileysufjörður fjord through the most pristine sections of the Westfjords. Included in this hike is the ascent up to a rugged mountain pass that will offer us unforgettable panoramas from the top.

The tents

The tents

The heated kitchen tent

The heated kitchen tent

Look into the tent - it's so cosy

Look into the tent - it's so cosy

Over two days, we’ll hike 14.3 mi. (23 km) with an elevation gain of 2950 ft. (900 m). This trek is ranked moderate/challenging and is suitable for experienced hikers. You’ll have to take your own physical fitness and hiking experience into account before deciding if this hike is right for you.

If you’re ready for the hike of a lifetime, come with us for this one-of-a-kind adventure in the wilderness!

The path leads along the cliff edges

The path leads along the cliff edges

Day 1 - Hornvík bay and Hornbjarg cliffs

We’ll start our adventure with a brief chat in our Isafjordur office, located at Aðalstræti 17. This is when you’ll get a full overview of the tour and have the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have before we head out. Our passenger boat, Bjarmi, will leave from Ísafjörður harbor at 9 am.

Day Highlights

  • 3-hour boat ride to Hornvík Bay
  • A good chance of seeing whales, seals, and Arctic foxes
  • Hornvík Bay
  • Hornbjarg bird cliffs

Included

  • Lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation in two-persons tents
  • Heated kitchen tent
  • English-speaking hiking guide
More about day 1.

The boat ride to Hornvík Bay will take 2–3 hours, during which we’ll enjoy the views of the jagged coastline and wild fjords while sailing across the water. Now uninhabited, these bays were once the home to humans who survived by harvesting the land and fishing in these waters.

The last humans deserted this peninsula about 60 years ago, leaving the remote area to the wildlife that was specially adapted to survive in the harsh conditions. This uninhabited peninsula is now a natural wonderland where the local flora and fauna have had the unique chance to thrive. Birds, seals, Arctic foxes, and plants live here in tranquility.

Our boat ride will end at Horn, an old farm in Hornvík Bay. From here, we’ll follow the path that goes along the Hornbjarg bird cliffs. This is a magnificent way to begin our two-day hike. This is a moderate hike, the path is easy to follow with a gradual ascent.

The view from the higher elevations is simply stunning. A short hike will bring us up to the edge of the cliffs. From there, we’ll simply have to follow the remarkable coastline along to Hornbjarg, rising up 1312 feet (400 meters).

When the weather cooperates, the view over the edge of the cliffs is spectacular. When you carefully peer over the cliffs and see the ocean below while the jagged coastline continues on ahead, you’re definitely going to be impressed.

To make this even more memorable, whales can sometimes be seen in the ocean, either jumping or surfacing for air. At the same time, don’t forget that these are bird cliffs and the sight and sound of thousands of birds will surround us as they go about their busy – and noisy – lives, in blissful ignorance of us human visitors.

The path will continue on, passing through scenic locations and photo-worthy viewpoints. After filling our cameras with as many photos as they can handle, we’ll end our exploration by descending into the valley. Our camp will already be set up there.

After a day spent hiking, arriving to find your dinner ready and waiting is truly a luxury. The heated kitchen tent will keep us warm and help dry our gear while we socialize and enjoy our well-deserved meal. Afterward, we’ll head off to sleep in cozy two-person tents that will already be set up as well.

Hiking distance: 12 km (7.5 mi)

The view from our campsite over the Hornbjarg cliffs

The view from our campsite over the Hornbjarg cliffs

Day 2 - Hafnarskarð Pass and Veiðileysufjörður fjord

The second day will start with a hearty breakfast and a bit of fresh air, while we gather energy for the hike ahead of us.

Day Highlights

  • Hafnarskarð Pass
  • Veiðileysufjörður fjord
  • 1-hour long boat trip to Isafjordur
More about day 2.

After taking leave of Hornvík Bay, we’ll head toward the mountain. The hike to Veiðileysufjörður fjord will start at sea level, rising up 1640 ft. (500 m) to Hafnarskarð Pass. Regardless of the season, this path is often covered with snow. There’s no need to worry, though. Your guide will be there to offer any assistance that you might need.

During the climb up to the mountain pass, we’ll stop at a number of viewpoints that offer scenic views over the bay. In good weather conditions, this view is astounding. Once we have made it up to the mountain pass, the path will descend all the way down to the shore. We’ll now leave the bay behind and spend the remainder of the hike looking over the equally gorgeous Veiðileysufjörður fjord along the way.

At around 5–6 pm, we’ll board our boat for the return trip to Ísafjörður. After about an hour, we’ll be back on land, but not without one last opportunity to take in the wild coast of Hornstrandir from the comfort of the boat.

Hiking distance: 11 km (6.8 mi)

Looking over the cliffs in nice weather

Looking over the cliffs in nice weather

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