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Wilderness Kayaking Iceland
Ask an expert where the best kayaking spot is in Iceland and some will say Jökulfirðir and some will say Ísafjarðardjúp Bay. This adventure takes you to both these magnificent places for some truly unbelievable kayaking in the wild.
You’ll have the chance to spot porpoises, whales, and birds. This six-day adventure includes two nights of wilderness campus and three nights in huts in the heart of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.
- Count the stars come out as you camp under Icelandic skies
- Explore the old whaling station in Hesteyrarfjörður
- See the magnificent white tailed eagle
- Enjoy evening saunas to soothe tired muscles
- Visit the largest seal colony in Iceland at Sopani
- Paddle up to 20 kilometres each day
- A chance to see Drangajökull Glacier
- See the breath-taking Möngufoss waterfall (24 km)
- A relaxing coffee break on the island of Vigur on your last day
Your first day includes an exploratory paddle to help you get familiar with your kayak and begin to discover the beauty of the fjords. Every stroke brings more seals, birds, and ecological history. Before heading back to the Old Doctors House for a cosy night by the fire, you’ll have the chance to explore an old whaling station – quiet an eye opening experience.
You’ll see spectacular coast line when you paddle Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður. These fjords are your best chance to spot white tailed eagles. Your second night is spent in an old farmhouse in Kviar, recently repurposed into a ski lodge. Built in the 1920’s in the only house in the valley and offers the perfect setting for some solitude and relaxation.
The next day brings a long paddle through Lónafjörður Fjord where you’ll following the gorgeous coastline all day. The largest seal colony in Iceland can be found here, in Sopandi. You’ll see not just seals, but a ton of bird species as well. Next up is Leirufjörður Fjord with mighty Drangjökull Glacier as your back drop. Today is the day for porpoise and whale sightings. Wilderness camping on the beach is the perfect end to the day.
The adventure winds down with paddles through the Jökulfirðir fjord system as well as the bay of Ísafjarðardjúp. So many stunning waterfalls and coves to explore. There’s also a paddle around Æðey Island (inhabited by one family during the summer months) and the opportunity to see puffins and other incredible sea birds before the final paddle home. This challenging and exciting adventure requires some previous kayaking experience and a fairly good standard of fitness.
Enquire today to learn more about this kayak in the wild adventure.
Departure at 16:00 from Ísafjörður harbour where we take a speedboat to Hesteyri in Hornstrandir. There we´ll bring our personal equipment to the Old Doctor’s House where we will sleep the first night. We´ll go on an exploratory paddle into the fjord to enjoy the nature to the fullest. Birds, seals and rich history is around every corner. First destination is the old ruins of a whaling station in Hesteyrarfjörður, a short distance from Hesteyri and continue into the fjord and get to know our boats. Nice dinner in the Doctor’s House.
After a hearty breakfast, we pack our boats and start the voyage of the day to Kvíar Farmhouse in Kvíadalur Valley. The route will take us along spectacular coastline and across the fjords of Hesteyrarfjörður and Veiðileysufjörður. There is a good chance to see both whales and white tailed eagles in the cliffs along the coast. We make landing on the beach beneath the farmhouse in Kvíar and make ourself at home. The farmhouse is the only house in the valley and was built in 1921 and lived in until the family moved away in 1948 seeking easier life in Ísafjörður. We´ll have a nice dinner and head for the warm and cozy sauna that’s situated next to the house.
Distance: 15 km.
We leave most of the gear in the farmhouse and go for a beautiful paddle into Lónafjörður Fjord, which by many people is the most beautiful fjord in Iceland. Totally unspoiled with no sign of human presence. The fjord is a haven for birds and a huge seal colony can be found in the small bay of Sópandi. We’ll follow the whole coastline and enjoy a long day paddling. Back to the farmhouse for sauna to sooth sore muscles and tasteful dinner.
Distance: 18-20 km.
We pack our boats in the morning and leave Kvíar. Our first task is to paddle across the bay to the South side near Höfði to get a good look at Leirufjörður Fjord with Drangjökull Glacier in the distance. Leirufjörður (e. Silt Fjord). The name of the fjord explains itself when we see the clay and silt coming from the glacier river of Drangajökull Glacier. We then head along the shoreline towards Grunnavík Bay. En-route is a nice rock arch that we can pass under on high tide. There is also a good chance to spot porpoises close to the coast, especially if the sea is calm. In Grunnavík there are a few summerhouses and a nice church that we can take a look at. Camp on the beach.
Distance: 20 km.
Today we head out of the Jökulfirðir fjord system and into the big bay of Ísafjarðardjúp. We pass many beautiful waterfalls on the way that people rarely experience since they are so unaccessible by foot. We continue along the coast of Snæfjallaströnd and camp either in the beautiful cove in Ytraskarð (20 km) or by the breathtaking Möngufoss waterfall (24 km), all depending on conditions. Campfire on the beach to watch the beautiful sunset.
Our first stop on the last full day of kayaking is the island of Æðey. The island is inhabited by one family during the summer months and is a nice place to stop, relax and enjoy life on the island while ashore. The waters around the island is covered with puffins and other sea birds. Literally! After visiting the island, we do a long crossing (9 km) to the island of Vigur. The birdlife on the island is quite amazing and the farmers have raised special rock walls for the eider ducks to nest. Puffins are found all over the island. The beautiful and colorful houses are very picturesque and the small coffee house is a great place to stop by and relax.
After about two hours on the island, we get going again for the last leg of the trip. Depending on weather, we’ll paddle about 6 km to Hvitanes or to the village of Súðavík if conditions are good, where a car will pick us up. Drive back to Ísafjörður. We’ll arrive in Ísafjörður in time for the afternoon flight for those flying back to Reykjavík. We urge you to stay at least one night in Ísafjörður and get to know this old and beautiful town. There are many interesting sites and nice walks in the mountains around the fjord that are definitely worth it.
Distance: 20-22 km.
This description gives only a brief overview and might be changed by the guide, depending on weather and other conditions.
Remember that the less you bring, the easier it gets. There is plenty of space in the kayaks if you pack wisely.
- Thermal underwear, at least two sets of tops.
- Wool or fleece thermal mid layer.
- Hiking pants. We recommend no cottons as they take long to dry if wet.
- Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking onshore. The lighter – the better.
- Wool/fleece hat.
- One pair of gloves.
- 2 to 3 pairs thick wool/synthetic socks.
- Light shoes for strolls in and around camp.
- Sleeping bag. Summer rated to at least 0°C. Down is best since it packs better than synthetic.
- At least two dry bags for your personal gear. One needs to be able to “swallow” your sleeping bag. We have some selection of drybags but it’s best you bring at least one or two of your own.
- Sleeping mattress. Thin inflatable one is the best as it fits easily inside the boat.
- Paddling gloves or mittens. It can be cold on the water and warm fingers are a must!
- Kayak shoes/sandals or boots. There is a great selection out there and people´s preferences are very different. Thin neoprene socks and sandals/Crocks, neoprene paddling shoes or paddling boots will all work fine.
- Dark sun glasses.
- Sunscreen / after sun cream.
- Swim suit and towel for the sauna in Kvíar.
- Binoculars is nice to have for watching wildlife.
- Personal medical kit to include personal medication and i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, sea-sickness tablets etc. Don’t forget regular medication you may need (e.g. Asthma, bring your inhaler, even if you do not always need it).
- Small thermos. Preferably 0.5 liters. Optional.
- 1 litre water bottle.
- Don’t forget your camera!
We supply all paddling gear and clothing. Feel free to bring your own if you have it available. With your personal gear, you´re guaranteed that it fits perfectly and is comfortable. We recommend good dry pants with ankle rubber cuffs or 3mm neoprene bibs. Top, preferable with hood and arm rubber cuffs. Full dry suit is for sure best but can be pretty warm and cumbersome on sunny days but great to have if things get rough. Footwear should preferably be neoprene shoes high up on the ankle with thick soles, or neoprene boots. Neoprene gloves, mittens or poagies to keep the hands warm.
- 3-8 September 2017
- 10 -16 September 2017
- 17- 22 September 2017
Price: from 249,000 ISK
- All food
- Three nights in huts
- Tents, cooking gear for two nights
- Transfer to and from airport (only for groups. There is a Flybus service to town. Takes only 5 minutes)
- Boat and car transfer on first and last day of the trip
- Kayaking gear (boat, paddle, dry-suit top and bottoms, life jacket and dry bags)
- Travel to and from Ísafjörður, Iceland unless specifically mentioned in itinerary.
- Food the first day until leaving on the trip
- Personal medical insurance
- Personal equipment
The operator for this great adventure is a fully licensed adventure guiding company based in the heart of the Westfjords of Iceland.
The founders have always recognized the great potential of adventure tourism surrounding their home, yet little was being done to encourage it. They wanted to let people enjoy their home environment in the same way they had done since they were young.
The company was created in 2006 and focuses on both short day trips for everyone and exclusive expeditions to remote corners in the Arctic. It is operated by sailors, climbers, skiers, and sea kayakers that find their inspiration in the unique wilderness that surrounds them. We love that all their guides are local Icelanders and good friends that have designed each trip to operate in full harmony with nature. They have years of experience in all sorts of outdoor activities in Iceland and know the Westfjords like the back of their hand. The company only hires guides with thorough knowledge in backcountry skiing, sea kayaking, hiking and that have great respect for the natural environment.
Wilderness Kayaking Iceland
- Trip Code: AWA364
- Dates: June – Aug
- Price: 249,000 ISK
- Depart: Ísafjörður, Iceland
- Arrive: Ísafjörður, Iceland
- Length: 6 days
- Adventure: A challenging and exciting wilderness kayaking adventure