This sail and hike in Iceland trip explores the Westfjords region including Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, a remote area without roads and inaccessible except by sail, foot or ski. This huge isolated, unspoiled area of tundra, cliffsides, flowering fields and ice is a nature lover's dream and perfect for those looking for a wilderness escape.
Sail and hike in Iceland on this wonderful voyage into the Westfjords. Setting of from Isafjordur you will enter a larger fjord system, the Isafjardarjup. At the center of all these fjords lies their maker. Like a spider in its web, the glacier Drangajokull is sitting at just under 1000 mtr and watches over its liquid counter parts below.
The main destination during this week is Hornbjarg and its towering bird cliffs. It is home to many sea birds during the short and intense Icelandic summer. Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Fulmars are the main inhabitants. They are fair game for the Arctic fox and her cups. Always luring and risking their own lives to secure an evening meal. The walks up the cliffs are breath taking. It gives a great view into the Greenland Sund and over the bay and mountains to the East.
The fjords in Hornstrandir which are the main focus besides Hornbjarg, are the Hesteyrarfjordur, Veidileysurfjordur, Lonafjordur and Hrafnfjordur.
Why We Love This Adventure
- Explore this remote unspoilt region on a small sailing ship
- Great combination of sailing, hiking and relaxing
- Perfect for those looking for a wilderness escape
Many of the fjords you’ll sail into do not have a name but from Hesteyri the next fjord to the right on this map is called Veidileysurfjordur, then Lonafjordur and Hrafnsfjordur.
The itinerary for this trip will be flexible and dependent on the wind and weather. Several fjords will be visited with time to explore on foot.
Isafjordur, the capital of the Westfjords lies safely behind a sand spit. Helgi Magri Hrólfsson first settled here in the 9th century after seeing its potential. In later years, the town became important to the Danes as a trading post. Throughout this time the fishing industry has been the main support for the inhabitants of Isafjordur and the rest of the Westfjords. For this voyage it is the gateway to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
A fast area largely abandoned in the 1950 and left to look after its self. There are no roads, making a ship, the only possible way into the reserve. The people who used to live here cultivated small pieces of land to support their cattle with hay during the darker months. And although during summer many birds and eggs where taken from the bird cliffs, fishing was the main income for the people of the Hornstrandir area.
After the abandonment, the flora slowly started to recover its former and original state. The now 260 flowering plants and ferns are a good summer hide out for the arctic foxes who made their own recovery. A hand full of houses abandoned and restored are the last reminder of the little civilization once present.
Veidileysufjordur is slightly tricky to get in to with the natural dams formed by old glaciers (spits), but it is well worth it! All the way in and around the corner you will find an amazing anchorage at the bottom of a melting ice mass. The hike up along this icecap starts off hard but once on top, you can look around on a big plateau and maybe even spot some Arctic foxes.
Lonafjordur starts wide and high and ends in two different anchorages. Excellent fjord to explore with the dinghy and go see more then 10 different waterfalls! If there is hardly any wind for sailing, a hike from Lonafjordur can be made to Veidileysufjordur where you will be picked up by the dinghy to bring you to the ship.
And then Hrafnsfjorfur, deep and at the foot of the glacier Drangajokul. Anchoring all the way in the back it seems like there is nobody and nothing else in the world then just the ship, de crew and almighty nature. Round rock boulders rest on hardly anything on top of the high cliffs and the tiniest Snow Bunting might start it rolling with the movement of a wing. On shore an amazing hike can be made along several waterfalls and over a small bridge – there for your convenience! And take your bathing suit as you will encounter a lake on top of the cliffs that is filled with Ice water clear as could be.
Beyond the lake, you can look down into a quiet green valley that ends straight into Furufjordur which is open to the Greenland Sound – or Denmark Straight.
- Accommodation in a 2 person (shared) cabin, ensuite
- All meals
- Coffee and tea
- Blanket, sheets, pillow and covers
- 3-4 crew members guiding the group
What's Not included
- Soda and alcoholic drinks
- Paid excursions ashore
- Transfer to and from the vessel
- Visa if needed
- You can not wash clothes on board
Trip Duration7 days
Start LocationIsafjordur, Iceland
End LocationIsafjordur, Iceland
Average Group Size12 p.
The Tecla has 2 person cabins. If travelling alone you’ll be paired up with someone to share with. If traveling as two you can choose to share a cabin together. The cabins on board have a small sink, an ensuite toilet and shower and enough space to store your luggage.
The living area is a shared kitchen / common room where you can get cosy on the couch reading a book, or play a game with your fellow travellers.
Meals are prepared by an on board cook who makes a varied menu throughout your stay on board. If you have any allergies, please inform in advance to make sure your needs can be met. The meals on board include a breakfast with mostly porridge, bread with savory and hearty spreads, coffee, tea and juice. Lunch is normally something warm like a soup or oven treat, with a bread spread. Dinner can be anything between a spaghetti bolognese and a Sunday roast. In between meals there will be snacks, some healthy, some sweet.
You will need to arrange your own transport to and from the ship. During the voyage any transfers ashore will be arranged by the ship.
Transport to Isafjordur is easiest by plane. There is a small airstrip close to the town, a bus will bring you to and pick you up at the Isafjordur Hotel prior to flying. Connecting between the international airport in Reykjavik and the local smaller airport for the flight to Isafjordur is done by taxi or bus. This will take up to 45 minutes and you must transport your own luggage.
Another very nice way of travelling to the ship is renting a car and driving to Isafjordur, along the coastline. This is especially recommended for those travelling together. The drive is between 5 to 7 hours.
This Trip is Suitable For
- All ages
- All nationalities
- All levels of sailing experience (even if you have never sailed before, this can be an amazing voyage!)
This small piece of the land of ice and fire gives you so much beauty and respect for nature. Sailing on a relatively small boat, you’ll move quietly along the shores, exploring, discovering and rediscovering a coastline with so much to offer.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the language spoken on board?
The ship’s crew is mainly Dutch, but sometimes international. The language spoken on board is English. The crew on board does speak Dutch, English and German.
I am traveling with someone. Can we book the same room?
Yes, as long as there are two person rooms available, you can book your voyage on board and say you are traveling with someone. You will be placed in the same room.
What kind of clothes do I need?
The ship does not provide sailing clothes on board, so you’ll have to bring your own waterproof clothing. This does not have to be a sailing suite, waterproof and warm clothing will suffice. Please be prepared for some rainy days, but also for some sunny days
Dates & Availability
- 19 Jun 2018 – 25 Jun 2018
An old Herring drifter (Logger) built in 1915, the ship is 28 meters long over deck (38 meters overall) and takes 16 trainees on her voyages. No previous sailing experience is needed and experienced and new sailors love her equally.
A family of four professional sailors have owned and run this vessel since 2006 and sail her with true passion. Built for the North Sea she’s a fast sailor and her rigging is as traditional as it gets.
We love that the boat’s appearance is kept as traditional as possible yet combined with modern techniques and equipment. Everyone on board is part of the informal sail training program that is designed to get the best out of everyone whether you join for 2 days or a longer ocean crossing.
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