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Hornstrandir

hornbjarg-001.jpg
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.

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.

Hornvik

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

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.

Fljotavik

Fljótvík is a creek situated between Rekavík bak Látur and Hælavík.

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 are 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, as 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 Bolungarvík and Norðurfjörður.

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.

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.

Bird Watching

Do you want to go bird watching in Iceland? The Westfjords offer some of the best bird watching sites there are. The unique Látrabjarg cliff is one of the best places in Iceland to photograph puffins. Other popular bird watching sites include Reykhólar, Vigur, Grímsey island in Steingrímsfjörður and Hornstrandir nature reserve. 

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.

Others

Doctorshouse in Hesteyri
  • Læknishúsið Hesteyri
  • 415 Bolungarvík
  • 456-7183 (vetur), 899-1515 (vetur), 899-7661 (sumar)

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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