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Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is one of Iceland’s last slices of pure wilderness, full remoteness, and unmatched tranquility. Tucked away in the northwest corner of the country (just below the Arctic Circle), Hornstrandir has this unique atmosphere, making you feel like you’re at the edge of the world. And there’s no better way to explore it than by cruising its calm, icy waters. This is a 6-day guided kayaking tour, where you’ll paddle through spectacular fjords, to mighty glaciers and waterfalls inaccessible by foot, all the while spotting adorable puffins, seals, whales, Arctic foxes, and white-tailed eagles, just to name a few. As daylight wanes, settle into comfy guest houses or pitch your tents on the coast or by the waterfalls under starry skies.

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  • Thriving wildlife and close encounters

    No people, no problem—the area is teeming with puffins, Arctic foxes, seals, whales…

  • Unparalleled sense of remoteness

    With the last inhabitants gone in 1950s, Hornstrandir’s exclusivity and solitude is second to none

  • Paddling by day, crackling campfire by night

    Recharge either in cozy guest houses or soak in your surroundings by pitching a tent

Itinerary

Explore Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in Iceland by paddling on the serene sea, allowing you to take in its grandeur. Nestled in the northwest corner of Iceland, this area is considered a top sea kayaking destination in the country—apart from dramatic landscapes, Hornstrandir also offers an unrivaled sense of remoteness and a thriving wildlife. This 6-day kayaking tour includes not only expert guidance showing you these best spots and hidden gems, but also accommodation (guest houses or tents), and all meals during the tour. There’s no better retreat and full body and mind reset than this wilderness tour.

  • Meet your guides for a short pre-departure briefing at 5 pm in Isafjordur, a day prior to the adventure. Meet them at their base Mavagardur C (the grey building), where they will answer any questions you might have and make final preparations.

    If you can’t meet them a day before the departure, let us know in time and we will send all the needed information.

  • Meet your guide and your group in Mavagardur in Isafjordur at 8 am. Board the Bjarmi ferry to Hesteyri, the biggest settlement in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Almost touching the Arctic Circle, you’ll feel peace and serenity as soon as you reach Hesteyri. Pack your boats and after a safety briefing, 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, get going towards Kviar Lodge, where you’ll cross two fjords and encounter numerous waterfalls that cascade off the towering cliffs above you. Make some beach landings along the way to stretch and enjoy the scenery. Return to the Kviar Lodge, get settled, and get the sauna going to soothe sore muscles! This farmhouse is the only one in the valley and was built in 1921.

    Meals: Lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 11 miles / 18 km
    Accommodation: Kviar Lodge

    One house alone in Iceland
  • Day 2: Lonafjordur — the most beautiful fjord in Iceland
    After a hearty breakfast, go for a beautiful paddle into Lonafjordur fjord, which, according to many, is the most beautiful fjord in Iceland—it’s totally unspoiled with no signs of human presence. The fjord is a haven for birds and a huge seal colony that can be found in the small bay of Sopandi.

    Follow the whole coastline and enjoy a long day of paddling with relaxing breaks along the route. Head back to the farmhouse for a rewarding sauna and a delicious dinner.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 12.5 miles / 20 km
    Accommodation: Kviar Lodge

    Small kayaks against steep cliffs
  • After an easy morning and a good amount of coffee, you’ll get going across the bay to the west side of the fjord near Hofdi to get a good look at Leirufjordur fjord with the elegant Drangajokull glacier in the distance. The name Leirufjordur (Silty Fjord) comes from the clay and silt traveling down the glacier river, meaning that the water changes its color from deep blue to brown.

    You’ll have an option to land in the small cave of Kjos and go for a hike up to the nearby headland to get a better view of the glacier, or paddle into Leirufjordur and go for a hike towards the glacier. Paddle back to your cozy home in Kviar before dinnertime!

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 12 miles / 20 km
    Accommodation: Kviar Lodge

    Relaxing at a house after kayaking
  • Pack up and leave Kviar behind. Start your day by crossing the Jokulfirdir Bay and then head along the coastline towards Grunnavik Bay—and discover a striking rock arch that you can pass under at high tide. Keep your eye out for adorable porpoises, close relatives of dolphins! Maybe you’ll even have time to spare and go for a beautiful climb to the top of Mariuhorn (356 m), offering spectacular views over the whole fjord system.

    Once at Grunnavik, you’ll have free time to explore some summerhouses and a church. Set up camp at the beach and spend your night under the stars—your guide will introduce you to minimal impact camping in untouched places.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 12 miles / 20 km
    Accommodation: Camping

    Rock arch in Iceland and kayaks
  • Head out of Jokulfirdir Glacial Fjords and paddle into the big bay of Isafjardardjup. Along the way, discover off-the-beaten-path waterfalls—only accessible to a small number of visitors, as they’re inaccessible by foot. Spend the rest of the day exploring the scenic coast of Snjafjallasetur.

    You will either camp in a spectacular cove in Ytraskard (12 miles / 20 km for the starting point) or by the thunderous Mongufoss Waterfall (15 miles / 24 km from the starting point). Warm up next to the campfire and watch the sunset.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Distance: 12-15 miles / 20-24 km
    Accommodation: Camping

    Camp on a kayak trip in Iceland
  • First stop of your last day is the island of Aedey. The island is inhabited by only one family during the summer months, and it’s a lovely place to stop, relax, and enjoy the views. The waters around the island are literally covered with puffins and other seabirds!

    Then prepare for a long crossing to Vigur, where the birdlife is just as spectacular as in Eider. Farmers of the island even raise special rock walls to help nesting eider ducks, but you’ll also spot puffins. Don’t forget to take pics of Vigur’s colorful houses before relaxing in a small cafe. The last leg of the trip has you kayaking to the village of Sudavik, where a car will pick you up. Arrive back in Isafjordur at 4 pm, just in time for the afternoon flight taking you to Reykjavik.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Distance: 13 miles / 22 km

    Blue waters in Iceland and kayaks
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Meet your guide

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 (4 reviews)
erik584 (source: Trip Advisor)

We had 6 very fantastic days in kayak, seeing lot of whales and some of them very close to the kayaks, and lot og eagles, one dolphin, seals, puffins, arctic foxes, and a very very beautiful nature. We lucky to have a very professional guide, who had a lot of knowledge about the wildlife, and the history of the the area where we were kayaking. And on top of that very service minded. It is one of my best kayak trips ever. I am working for a trip with you next year to Greenland

Kipp M (source: Trip Advisor)

Wow, what a pleasant surprise! I booked a 6 day kayak tour, hoping for the best. And honestly, the best is what I got! All of the paddlers, 4 of us clients and the guide, were competent and prepared paddlers. The tour was wonderful. A combination of tent camping and staying in amazing historical and remote buildings. The setting was what I had dreamed of. Wildlife sightings were abundant. Brendan Jackson, our guide, was safe and knowledgable with out being the least bit stifling. I’d paddle with him anytime! They also lead hikes and backpacking trips, day and half day kayak tours, skiing and Arctic Fox photography expeditions in the winter. I’m sure that there is more as well. Finally, the company is owned by local Icelandic folks and the inclusion of culture and history was a significant bonus on the tour!

Jenny Lacey (source: Trip Advisor)

I did a 6 day kayak trip guided by Sigrun (joined by Anula for the second half of the trip). The guides were clearly highly skilled and looked after us perfectly. They communicated the plan clearly each day and adapted routes and timings to accommodate the skills of the group and changes in weather. They looked after us very well during the whole trip with quality camping and kayaking gear, fantastic food and simply great company. I would completely recommend Borea to anyone planning to visit the area.

Bea H (source: Trip Advisor)

We were lucky enough to have a small group (2) with Gina, our guide. The scenery was stunning. Gina was personable and kind. Kayaks were comfortable, you have a choice of single or double. Highly recommend

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local kayaking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 6-day sea kayaking tour in Iceland
      • All meals during the tour
      • Accommodation
        • First three nights in Kviar Lodge
        • Last two nights in tents
      • Tents and camping equipment (but you need to bring a sleeping bag & mattress)
      • All kayaking gear (kayak, neoprene pants, dry top, spray skirt, life vest, paddling boots, paddling gloves, additional dry bags)
      • Ferry tickets to Hornstrandir and back

    If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know upon booking! Your guides will do their best to cater to your dietary needs.

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Isafjordur (the starting point in Iceland)
      • Sleeping bags and air mattress— available to rent at an additional fee
      • Dry suit — neoprene suit is included in the price, but you can upgrade to a dry suit at an additional fee
      • Accommodations prior to and after the tour
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • This Iceland kayaking tour is best suited for experienced paddlers, as you will be going through areas which can be exposed to strong winds and a moderate swell. Add to that the fact that you’ll be covering around 20 km (12.5 miles) per day, 7-8 hours a day, six days in a row, and it’s clear that this tour really is reserved for experienced and fit kayaking enthusiasts.

    If you can’t roll a kayak, don’t despair! It’s very rare that people capsize on multi-day trips as the boats are loaded with gear and very stable. Still, it’s recommended that people take a weekend course to refresh their skills and learn simple self-rescue techniques. The more prepared you are, the more you can relax and enjoy the trip.

    If you’d like to see our other kayaking tours in Iceland, check out our 3 and 4-day kayaking tours in the Westfjords.

  • Your guides will provide you with plastic sea kayaks, either single or tandem. It’s highly recommended you use tandem kayaks on this trip as they’re faster, more stable, hold more gear, and a lot more social than the singles!

    Tandem kayaks are not only for beginners, in fact, experienced kayakers know that tandems are a better choice for longer trips. Still, if you’d really love to have your own kayak, your guides can definitely provide you with one.

  • The less you bring, the easier it is! There’s plenty of space in the kayaks if you pack wisely.

    Here’s a list of clothing you need to bring:

      • Thermal base layers — at least two sets of tops
      • Wool or fleece thermal mid layer
      • Hiking pants
      • Waterproof and breathable pants & jacket for hiking onshore — the lighter, the better
      • Wool/fleece hat
      • One pair of warm gloves for camp
      • 2-3 pairs of thick wool/synthetic socks
      • Spare clothes for layering

    Here’s a list of other personal items and gear you need to bring:

      • Sleeping bag rated to at least 0°C — down is best since it packs smaller than synthetic
      • Sleeping mattress — a thin, inflatable one is best
      • Light hiking shoes for strolls in and around camp
      • Sunglasses
      • Sunscreen and aftersun cream
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Toiletries (hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Personal medical kit (band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, sea-sickness tablets, personal medication)
      • Four dry bags — your guides can lend you some, but best to bring your own and make sure all your gear fits inside
      • Binoculars — nice to have for watching wildlife, but it’s optional
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)
  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this Iceland kayaking tour, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
      • It takes a minimum of 2 people for this tour to operate, while the maximum is set at 8.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Iceland kayaking tours can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors older than 16 may be permitted to join the tour on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

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

  • To get to Isafjordur, the starting point of your tour and the largest town in the Westfjords, first you have to get to Reykjavík. After flying into Keflavik Airport (KEF), you’ve got two choices on how to reach Isafjordur—either by car or by plane from Reykjavík.

    If you have enough time, driving from Reykjavík takes 5-6 hours and it is an incredibly scenic drive. You can also reach Isafjordur by plane—there are scheduled flights 2-3 times every day from Reykjavik to Isafjordur and it takes around 40 minutes. Once you get to Isafjordur, ferry and/or car transportation are included in the price of the trip.

    Keep in mind that you should arrive in Isafjordur a day prior to the start of the tour. You’ll meet your guides at 5 pm at their base in Mavagardur C (grey building)

    Once there, you will meet your guides at their base in Mavagardur C at 8 am. As the first day of the tour is a full day and you have to be there at 8 am, make sure to arrange your flights and pre- or post-tour accommodation accordingly.

  • 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 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

  • A 25% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 1 month (30 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. If the Client cancels the tour…

      • More than 60 (sixty) calendar days prior to departure, Client will be charged a 25% (twenty-five percent) cancellation fee of the total trip amount.
      • 59-31 (fifty-nine to thirty-one) calendar days prior to departure, Client will be charged a 50% (fifty percent) cancellation fee of the total trip amount.
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund.
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