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Hornstrandir

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Hornstrandir

This territory of the Arctic fox has been uninhabited since the 1950s. As isolated as it was then, it attracts the casual half-day visitors and serious gore-tex hikers alike. Its main attractions are three. First, the bird cliffs surrounding the bay of Hornvík, are a magnet of gigantic proportions. On the eastern side of the bay the cliff reaches a height of more than 500 metres, and the birds are teeming. Second, as there is no infrastructure and the tourists few in relation to the sheer size of the area, the sense of remoteness is strong. You can hike days on end without seeing a single person. The nature is pure and the tranquillity unmatched. Third, dwas the area is a haven for the Arctic fox (think hunting-ban and bird-packed cliffs), the chances of spotting one are high.

Most tours, especially day tours, depart from Ísafjörður. Hikers wanting to go on their own can also take boats from Norðurfjörður.

Adalvik

Adalvik cove faces the open seas, being the outermost cove in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The cove is rather big, with about 5 miles between the impressive mountains that surround it. Both sides fall steeply into the ocean and there is a considerable lowland area within the cove. North of Adalvik is Straumnes and Straumnesfjall mountain. Further in the cove is Latrafjall mountain.

Haelavikurbjarg

Haelavikurbjarg, between coves Hornvik and Haelavik, is a 521 m high sheer cliff. It is named after Haell, a freestanding rock in the sea just off the coast. Above the brink is a valley called Hvannadalur. Below the valley are two beautiful freestanding dikes, Langikambur and Fjol, in the sea, with a small cove named Kirfi in between them. Not far away is the third dike, Sulnastapi, standing in the sea close to the cliff.

Hornbjarg

Hornbjarg is the signature cliff towering at the top of Hornstrandir nature reserve. Green lush hills suddenly cut off by sheer cliffs dropping over 500 m straight down into the ocean below.

Hornvik

Hornvik is surrounded by the cliffs of Hornbjarg to the east and Haelavikurbjarg to the west. West side of Haelavikurbjarg is Hælavík cove.

Arctic Fox

The Arctic fox is the only truly native land mammal in Iceland. It got stranded on the island after the last Ice Age and lived on birds, bird eggs, berries, seaweed and all sorts of other stuff. Over the millennia the Icelandic Arctic fox has become genetically unique: the Vulpes lagopus fuliginosus subspecies. They are white in winter and grey in summer. The Hornstrandir nature reserve in the Westfjords is the only place in Iceland where the Arctic fox is completely protected from hunting; which means they are a common sight and unusually tame.

Latravik (Hornbjarg)

Látravík is a small creek in the south east of Hornbjarg. In the creek lays Hornbjargsviti, or the lighthouse of Hornbjarg which used to be a manned weathersation as well. Now all the equipment is manual and no people live in the area all year long. During summertime Hornbjargsviti is a guesthouse for travellers in the area and is a great pitstop on the way to or from Hornbjarg.

Straumnes

Straumnesfjall is a mountain above Aðalvík in Hornstrandir. From the village of Látrar there is an old road that leads you up to the mountain. During the years of 1953-1956 the American army built a radar station on top of the mountain and serviced the army for about 10 years. Now there are only wrecked houses, roads and flatlands that used to serve as an airport that tell the story of the American army in Hornstrandir. The Army built a new radar station on top of mount Bolafjall, above the town Bolungarvík, which served the army until it left iceland in the beginning of this century. Now all the radar stations in Iceland are owned by the Icelandic Coast Guard. Radarstöðin á Bolafjalli, ofan Bolungarvíkur, var byggð til þess að taka við af þessari stöð og er hún enn í notkun en er rekin af Landhelgisgæslu Íslands eftir að herinn fór af landi brott. Many people in Hornstrandir got a job connected to the american army, and you can only imagine what Hornstrandir area would have become if the station did not shut down. We leave the thougt for you to think about when you're in the area.

Hesteyri

Hesteyrarfjordur is the westernmost fjord of the Jokulfirdir area, surrounded by rocky mountains and steep screes. Lowland is rather limited. At the mouth of the fjord, the Lasafjall mountain rises on the east side and Nongilsfjall mountain om the west side. Inward on the west side one can see Innri-Hesteyrarbrunir and above them Kistufell mountain. The abandoned large farm Sletta is on the west side closer to the fjord’s mouth.

Bolungavik

Bolungavik is a wide and short bay surrounded by high cliff mountains. On the north side is Skardsfjall mountain, 502 metres high, and at its side is Straumnes. On the south side of Bolungavík one can see cliff Bolungavíkurbjarg and further on Drangsnes, but on the west coast the landscape is milder, leading up to the moor lands of Bolungavik.
In Bolungavik there is a guesthouse with sleeping bag accommodations during the summer.

Latravik (Hornbjarg)

Látravík is a small creek in the south east of Hornbjarg. In the creek lays Hornbjargsviti, or the lighthouse of Hornbjarg which used to be a manned weathersation as well. Now all the equipment is manual and no people live in the area all year long. During summertime Hornbjargsviti is a guesthouse for travellers in the area and is a great pitstop on the way to or from Hornbjarg.

Reykjafjordur
Reykjafjordur is a short and wide fjord in northern Strandir. It was abandoned by its last inhabitants in 1959. The buildings have been well maintained and they still stand on the lowland at the northwest side of the fjord. The old farm houses are on a hill just by the ocean and other houses, in which people stay during the summer, are further in the fjord.
A guesthouse with sleeping bag accommodation, summer cottages and a big campsite are operated in Reykjafjordur during the summer. The swimming pool is open for all guests. Reykjafjordur can be accessed by foot or boat. There is also an airstrip for small planes.

Westfjords of Iceland

Towns & Villages

The sparsely populated Westfjords region is home to more towns and villages than you might imagine – and each has its own unique atmosphere and attractions.
Get to know more about them here. 

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