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How about backpacking just south of the Arctic Circle? Hornstrandir is one of Europe’s last frontiers of complete wilderness: even horses have been banned here since it was declared a nature reserve in 1975. Located in the remote Icelandic region of Westfjords, it has everything, from towering basalt mountains with the remnants of ancient glaciers, to deep fjords revealing bays and cliffs created by relentless ocean waves. Not to mention the Arctic foxes wandering tundra fields in the midnight sun. Feeling one with nature is easy at the edge of the world. Forget phone signals and Wi-Fi—this backpacking adventure will let you see the Land of Fire and Ice at its most rugged and beautiful.

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  • Icelandic beauty

    Enjoy the views of dramatic cliffs, basalt mountains, deep fjords, and tundra fields

  • Wildlife galore

    The world’s highest concentration of Arctic foxes and countless colonies of seabirds

  • Off the grid in Iceland

    Full-on backpacking makes it easy to feel you are at the very edge of the world

Itinerary

Embark on a 6-day hiking and backpacking adventure in the untouched Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, located in the far-flung Icelandic region of Westfjords. With an experienced local guide by your side, explore the magnificent fields, cliffs, and mountains of the area. Enjoy all-inclusive meals during the journey, with accommodation in tents and a comfortable base camp. Your hassle-free adventure includes ferry transfers and most camping gear. Uncover the raw beauty of the Land of Ice and Fire with us!

  • Upon your arrival in Ísafjörður, meet your guide and fellow backpackers at the guide shop in town. Go through an extensive gear check and discuss the details of the adventure ahead of you. Afterward, you can spend some time hanging out with your group by going for dinner or drinks—before going back to tour accommodation to get some rest for tomorrow.

    Note: Accommodation for this night is not included in the price of the tour.

    The vedute of the town of Isafjordur, bordered by the ocean and a steep mountain, the largest town of Westfjords, Iceland.
  • Your adventure starts with taking a ferry ride from Ísafjörður to Hornstrandir at 9am. Your group will first make their way to the abandoned village of Hesteyri. By that point, you will have left the modern world behind and entered a wonderland of sounds, from soothing streams to the whisper of the waves by the beach. Start hiking in Hesteyri and head for Hesteyrarskarð mountain pass. From there, make your way down the other side to sea level. Set up a camp and get to know your group even better over dinner before getting some well-deserved rest.

    Meals: Lunch and dinner
    Accommodation: Camping in Látrar
    Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)

    Backpackers enjoying their dinner after a day of hiking in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Iceland.
  • Wake up in the middle of Icelandic wilderness and enjoy a hearty breakfast. From Aðalvík, your group will have the option of a big detour to the top of Straumnesfjall mountain to explore an abandoned radar station built in 1953 by the American army. You will then head over to Fljótavík. To get there, cross the Atlastaðaós river, which can get a bit tricky as it is sensitive to sea tides. Upon reaching your destination for the day, set up the camp and enjoy another delicious dinner before retreating to your tent.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Camping in Atlastaðir
    Distance: 9.3 miles (15 km)

    Backpackers at a high point overlooking an awe-inspiring fjord in Hornstrandir, Iceland.
  • After breakfast, start the day by hiking along the green banks of Fljótsvatn lake. The lake is beautiful and the mountain range on the left-hand side is impressive. Your group will then need to cross a few mountain passes to get across the mountain range separating you from the next destination—Hlöðuvík. Once there, set up a camp and go for an evening walk to Hælavík (optional). Enjoy another evening of delicious dining and great stories from your guide and fellow hikers.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Camping in Búðir
    Distance: 8 miles (13 km)

    An Icelandic hamlet with a couple of houses surrounded by steep mountains, Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Westfjords.
  • After another heart breakfast, head up a steep slope to the mountain ridge Skálakambur and follow a route marked with cairns towards the steep Atlaskarð mountain pass. Once there, your group will go around Mt. Kollur and from there start making your way towards Höfn in Hornvík, the heart of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This is a place of dramatic natural beauty and should not be missed out by anyone traveling in this area. It is necessary to spend more than one day at this awe-inspiring place so we will put up camp there for two nights. Basecamp in Hornvík offers more amenities, so the next two evenings will be more comfortable.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Basecamp in Hornvík
    Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)

    Hikers navigating snowy terrain in Hornstrandir, Iceland.
  • Wake up, savor your breakfast and take in the views! Nothing compares to the beauty of Hornvík, surrounded by two of Iceland’s largest bird cliffs. Like the entire Hornstrandir area, Hornvík is very remote and is only accessible by boat or by foot. Today, you’ll leave behind yur backpack and hike to the Hornbjarg cliff (carrying only your lunch!) where thousands of birds can be seen and the massive sculptures of mother nature make human beings feel very small and vulnerable. Many visitors state that the hike to Hornbjarg is the highlight of their Hornstrandir trip. At the end of the day, head back to Hornvík where you spent the last night.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Accommodation: Basecamp in Hornvík
    Distance: 10 miles (16 km)

    Moss-covered, steep, basalt Hornbjarg cliffs with birds flying over them, in Iceland.
  • Today you will pack your tents and gear, hit the trail and cross yet another mountain pass to get to Veiðileysufjörður fjord. After crossing the mountain range, descend down to the coast again, following the beach for a while until your group reaches Meleyri. From there, you’ll get picked up by a boat that will take you to Ísafjörður, back to civilization after almost a week in the wild. This marks the end of your adventure. For those eager to wash off their hiking dust, a visit to Ísafjörður swimming pool is ideal. Others can relax, go out, eat and just enjoy the town.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)

    A street with typical Icelandic-Nordic houses in the town of Isafjordur, Westfjords, Iceland.
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Meet your guides

Rúnar Karlsson
5.00
Rúnar Karlsson
Apart from being the founder of Borea Adventures, Rúnar is also the embodiment of an outdoors enthusiast. With an unparalleled connection to the local landscape, he is your go-to source for navigating the mountains and fjords surrounding Ísafjörður. Rúnar's wealth of local knowledge and outdoor expertise ensures every adventure is infused with authenticity and a touch of daring exploration.
Nanný Guðmundsdóttir
5.00
Nanný Guðmundsdóttir
Nanný Guðmundsdóttir
Meet Nanný Guðmundsdóttir, the dynamic force and soul of Borea Adventures. Born and raised in Ísafjörður, Nanný has an intimate connection with the region, making her the perfect guide for exploring the Westfjords. With a passion for cycling, skiing, and embracing the great outdoors, she thrives on the fresh mountain air that defines the local landscape. Nanný's background as a kindergarten teacher equips her with the skills to seamlessly manage diverse groups, ensuring a harmonious and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Borea Adventures
5.00
Borea Adventures
Borea Adventures is a fully licensed adventure guiding company based in Ísafjörður, the heart of the Westfjords of Iceland. The founders of Borea wanted to let people enjoy their home environment in the same way they had done, and so they created the company. Borea focuses on short day trips as well as exclusive expeditions to remote corners of the Arctic. The team is made up of sailors, climbers, skiers, and sea kayakers that find their inspiration in the unique wilderness that surrounds them. Whether it’s a hiking, cycling, or kayaking experience, you can be sure that each trip has been designed to operate in full harmony with nature!
5.00 (6 reviews)
Hiking in Hornstrandir
GoPlaces221658 (source: TripAdvisor)

I went hiking and camping for six days in Hornstrandir. The landscape is stunning but the weather provides plenty of challenges. I went on my own, joining a group of five. This kind of trip throws people together from all over the world, and our group was up for anything, great fun, and fascinating people who I feel grateful to have met. Max, our guide was superb from beginning to end. Nothing was too much trouble. Very skilled and careful in navigating the environment. Very funny, and lots of excellent stories. He was a true inspiration. This was my second trip with Borea, after kayaking last year. They are an excellent company. I couldn’t recommend them more highly. Their trips are well organised and safety conscious. You definitely need to be properly prepared, and the other reviews have lots of excellent info. I would say, if you have an adventurous spirit, but are looking for the security of the organisation being taken care of, then this is the company for you!

Lost fjords
Aidan O (source: TripAdvisor)

Took this six-day tour last week. There were five others on the trip plus a guide. It was an enjoyable and rewarding experience – great hiking opportunities and amazing sights. Weather is variable – we had three sunny days and three that were not so good. But it never got worse than rain. Best thing to do is invest in a pair of sturdy waterproof boots and make sure you bring enough pairs of socks. Our guide, Max, was very assured in his knowledge of the terrain. He was on top of everything throughout, made sure we had everything we needed and was a great travel companion too. I am delighted I took this trip and would definitely do another with Borea Adventures.

Lost Fjords
Jaime1218 (source: TripAdvisor)

This was the experience of a lifetime. Our group had such a fantastic adventure going through the beautiful (and at times challenging) nature reserve. Max was an excellent guide, we could not have asked for anyone better to guide us and cooked some fantastic meals. He showed great expertise and ease in helping me through some of the tougher bits, and was just a lovely chap all around. Everyone at Borea Adventures were so welcoming and helpful, we could not have asked for a better company to travel with.

Great experience, great hike
Trip M (source: TripAdvisor)

I joined the “lost fjord tour” by Borea Adventures. It was a great experience! Stunning nature, millions of birds, excellent guidance by Örvar who knows a lot about nature and history of the westfjords, incredible light for photography and the best homemade cereal bars I’ve ever had!

The Best and Only Way To See Hornstrandir
Taryl S (source: TripAdvisor)

Very professional and experienced operation. The very best way to see Hornstrandir. Friendly, knowledgeable, helpful guides. Highly recommend

Wonderful
ScottDSlater (source: TripAdvisor)

This is a superb organization, and an amazing place. Simply stunning. An experience we will never forget. Our two day trip was the highlight of our time in Iceland, and the staff of Borea went beyond expectations. We can’t stop thinking about it, and I am ready to go back! It goes without saying, that Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is beyond beautiful. But, we also found the staff of Borea skilled not only in their knowledge of the area and nature, but in their understanding of people. They were very helpful in some of the challenging moments of the hikes.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • A 6-day hiking and backpacking adventure in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
      • All meals during the adventure
      • Accommodation in tents (3 nights) and a comfortable base camp (2 nights)
      • Ferry transfer to Hornstrandir and back
      • All camping gear (except sleeping bag and pad)

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to and from Ísafjörður
      • Accommodations before and after the adventure
      • Hotel in Longyearbyen a day prior to the start of the tour
      • Sleeping bag and pad — can be rented
      • Guide gratuities — optional
      • Travel and medical insurance — recommended
  • To join this guided hiking and backpacking tour in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, you should be in good physical condition and have plenty of hiking experience. The journey involves navigating various challenging terrains while carrying a backpack. Daily distances range from 7.5 to 10 miles (12-16 km), and elevation gains can reach up to 1,970 feet (600 meters), including mountain passes.

    The terrain varies from wet and mossy to rocky and steep, with some sections lacking defined trails. Expect challenging ascents over diverse surfaces, including loose rock, soft ground, and occasional snow, with a total ascent on backpacking days of 1,640 to 1,970 feet (500-600m). While your guide will aim for food and camping gear drops with passenger boats, participants should be prepared for a self-supported journey, which includes carrying a loaded backpack that weighs 33-37 lbs (15-17 kg). That said, you will only carry your daypack on Day 5 and on Day 6 you’ll only carry your personal gear,

    Preparation is key for an optimal experience. We recommend engaging in regular cardiovascular and strength training to enhance endurance and stamina. Hiking on uneven terrain with a loaded backpack is particularly useful. Additionally, it is beneficial to have some basic knowledge of how to pack efficiently and lightly for multi-day hikes.

    Keep in mind that you will walk at a slow pace and take regular breaks, allowing you to fully enjoy scenery. You will also have a guide by your side to encourage you, teach you all the necessary backpacking skills, and keep everyone safe.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 50-60L)
      • Lightweight synthetic hiking jacket
      • Waterproof hiking jacket
      • Waterproof hiking pants
      • Warm hiking socks (at least three pairs)
      • Wool thermal tops (at least two)
      • Wool thermal underwear (at least one pair)
      • Waterproof, high-top hiking boots hiking boots, which provide good ankle support
      • Water shoes and gaiters
      • Hat and warm gloves or mittens.
      • Sleeping bag (rated to at least 0°C)
      • Sleeping pad (thin and inflatable one is best as it easily fits inside the backpack)
      • Personal medical kit (band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, seasickness tablets, personal medication, etc.)
      • Sunglasses, sunscreen and after sun cream
      • Binoculars (for watching wildlife) — optional
      • Water bottle (1L capacity is enough)
      • Hiking poles — optional
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Bring comfortable clothes that you can move in. Remember that everything you bring, you will have to carry on your back the first four days. Try to pack as light as possible while still bringing everything you need, but not everything you may want.

  • You can rent a backpack, sleeping bag, and ski and avalanche equipment from your guide for an additional fee if you don’t want to bring your own. You can contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Your guide provides sturdy two-person tents and therefore you are expected to share with one other person. If you would like a tent to yourself after each daily hike in Hostrandir, it can be arranged for an additional fee— just select this option during the booking process.

  • Arctic Fox sightings are frequent during any Horstrandir hike. Due to hunting restrictions in Hornstrandir, these animals exhibit reduced timidity around humans, allowing for close encounters at times. However, the fact remains that they remain wild animals. While close encounters are probable, sightings cannot be guaranteed during this guided Hosrnstrandir hiking and backpacking adventure.

  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For this group adventure, the maximum number of participants is 12.
      • It takes a minimum of 4 people for this tour to operate.

    Hiking and backpacking in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve can be arranged for larger or private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to Ísafjörður, the starting point of the adventure, most people fly into Keflavik International Airport (near Reykjavik). From there, most people take another, 40-min flight to Ísafjörður Airport. Another option is renting a car and driving to Ísafjörður, which would take you around 6 hours.

    Participants should arrive in Ísafjörður at least one day before the Hostrandir hiking and backpacking trip begins (Day 0 in the itinerary). On that day, you will meet your guide and fellow backpackers at the guide shop in Ísafjörður (Aðalstræti 17) at 5pm for a pre-trip briefing.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in Westfjords, Iceland, please refer to Iceland’s foreign travel advice.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Iceland, the “Land of Fire and Ice”, has forever lived with volcanic activity. Minor and major eruptions have occurred every few years since the island was formed. Some of Iceland’s appeal, aside from sheer natural beauty, surely stems from this very fact.

    However, every new eruption, such as the recent Reykjanes Peninsula fissure, will make some travelers, tourists, and adventurers uneasy, especially given the fact that sensationalist media is not immune to misinformation and speculation.

    Since we work with a number of expert local guides in Iceland, we thought we’d share their input and fill you in on what’s actually going on.

    First of all, air traffic has not been affected. Flights to and from Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík Domestic Airport are operating as they always do.

    Second, the effects of volcanic activity have been localized, with some roads closed, and all services in Iceland are operating as usual. Reykjavik, the capital, is around 40 km (25 miles) away from the volcanic fissure, and life there is as normal as ever.

    And third, trips offered by 57hours are taking place much further away, and are thereby even less likely to be affected by the volcanic activity, being perfectly safe for adventurers. Naturally, the authorities (and guides) are monitoring the situation and doing everything possible to keep both local residents and visitors safe and well informed.

    In case you have any additional questions or dilemmas, feel free to get in touch with either your guide or 57hours. For more information, please visit:
    https://safetravel.is/
    https://www.visiticeland.com/article/volcano-info

    Or watch the video with Dr. Matthew Roberts from the Icelandic Meteorological Office explaining the recent volcanic activities in Iceland:
    https://youtu.be/QA3-BXYuYrw?feature=shared

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

    • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
    • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
    • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
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