Join this two-week voyage across the North of Iceland and sail to the Arctic Circle as you journey from Isafjordur to Akureyri. Experience the sights and sounds of northern Iceland from the deck of a beautiful, traditional tall ship.
Sailing this remote region on a small tall ship such as this enables you to appreciate the peace and quiet of this wonderful wilderness. Sail in and out of different fjords and stop off to explore on foot and see some of the country’s unique flora and fauna up close.
Starting in Isafjordur in the North West of Iceland you’ll sail to the huge wilderness that is Hornstrandir Nature Reserve (inaccessible by road) and then onwards to Akureyri in the north.
Sail to the Arctic Circle
Sailing from Isafjordur to Akureyri there are many places of interest to visit including Hornstrandir, Hesteyri, Hornvik with its sea bird cliffs, the Puffin Island of Drangey and the island of Grimsey 30 km off the Icelandic North Coast, where you’ll not only hit the Arctic Circle but also have the chance to spot the whales that frequent the area .
- Spot Arctic foxes which are no longer hunted and roam freely
- See the sea cliffs which are home to many birds including Razorbills, Guillemots, Puffins and Kittiwakes
- Take a dip in a natural hot pool at Nordurfjordur
- Sail into the Arctic Circle
- Spot Humpback whales feeding on the rich plankton waters
Why We Love This Adventure
- Chance to visit Iceland's remote Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
- Spot Blue Whales, Puffins and Arctic Foxes
- Combine exploration by ship with stops on land to explore by foot
Isafjordur is a small expedition like town. In summer it is frequented by cruise vessels and sometimes busy, but mostly it is a small town with enough supplies but only a handful of cafes and restaurants.
Akureyri where this voyage ends, is a bigger city, with nice town centre and lots to do.
Both locations have an airfield you can fly to, or a car rental drop-off if you would rather drive from Reykjavik. This takes a whole day, but the route to both Isafjordur and Akureyri are very scenic.
Isafjordur, the starting point of this two-week voyage across the North of Iceland via the Arctic Circle to Akureyri. 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. Through out this time the fishing industry has been the main support for the inhabitants of Isafjordur and the rest of the WestfjorIsafjordur is the jumping stone into Icelands wilderness.
Sailing into the Isafjardardjup it is very likely you will be met by some of the many Humpback whales feeding on the rich plankton waters. Hesteyri could be the first stop of this voyage. This abandoned village used to house over a hundred people, most working in the nearby whaling/herring factory. The old doctors house is now used as a dormitory and serves some of the best pancakes! Most of the other picturesque houses are used as holiday homes.
Hesteyri lies in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The reserve was largely abandoned in the 1950’s when living in the area proved to be too harsh. The farmers/fishermen used to live off the land and sea. Poor summers produced too little hay for them to support their live-stock, while the ocean was unforgiving to those brave enough to venture out. In 1972 the area became a nature reserve allowing the 260 flowering plants and ferns to grow back to their former and original state! The fauna also made its comeback. Arctic foxes are no longer hunted and roam freely. The sea cliffs are home to many birds including Razorbills, Guillemots, Puffins and Kittiwakes. Gyr falcon and Eagles are king of the sky, while Snow Buntings, Red Shanks, Snipes and many more dwell in the meadows.
Rounding cape Ritur on the way to Hornvik, one of the highlights of the voyage. Hornvik is the most NW’ly tip of Iceland. It is made up out of towering sea cliffs, dropping straight down into the Greenland Sund. This is where we are most likely to run into the Arctic fox. This cunning creator torments the birds nesting on the cliffs. The walks up to the horn are truly rewarding and covered with unforgettable and unspoiled views over the hills and out at sea.
Leaving Hornvik, the North coast offers some weather permitted anchorages in uncharted waters. This is the true adventure, sailing in to un-explored fjords walking up to the very glacier that shaped them. Drangajokull is the main shaper of the landscape in the nature reserve. The ice cap sits at nearly 1000 mtr. The glacier is no longer calving but her greatest extent is still present in the form of terminal moraines at the mouth of each fjord.
Possible stop overs
Nordurfjordur marks the end of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. In what better fashion could we rejoin civilization as to enjoy a refreshing visit to the hot pool. Looking out over the Greenland Sund, this might be the best in Iceland. Djupjavik in Reykjafjordur might be a next stop. The old herring factory is now open as an art gallery.
The Puffin Island of Drangey is the next highlight. Sailing in to Skagafjordur the mysterious shape of Drangey and its unmistakable sea stack soon become obvious. Drangey is the setting for Grittir’s saga. The Island used to be the giants hide out after he was exiled from the main land. Or so the story goes. Now it is a favorite nesting place for many sea birds. One of them in particular, the Puffin. They have their nests in the many barrows al over the Island. This is the place to get a Puffin up close for the perfect picture.
Setting sail for Siglefjordur the change in landscape soon becomes clear. The table mountains are swapped for the higher and sow covered peaks to the east. Siglefjordur lies safely in the fjord bearing its name. It is an all weather harbor and used to be the Herring capital of the world. The maritime museum has a great photo collection on the fisheries of the past. We use Siglefjordur as a last stop for Grimsey, the Island on the Arctic circle.
Grimsey - Arctic Circle
30 NM of Greenland Sund separate this basalt rock from the main land. Iceland’s most Northern out-post consisting of a tiny fishing community and a lot of Puffins! Sailing to Grimsey it is very likely to see some of the worlds largest sea mammals. The cold water brought down by the East Greenland current is plankton rich and this attracts these great creatures. The rare Blue whales are spotted here every year! The Arctic circle (which shifts every year) has its own statue and is hard to miss. When walking up to the circle you pass a little pool of water where it would be very possible to spot some Phalarope dancing on the water.
Hrisey is a good last stop before Akureyri. The Island at the mouth of the Eyjafjordur is the summer retreat not only for urban Akureyri but also for the Rock Tarmigan. These birds come down from the hills and nest on the Island in the spring. They are relatively tame and it is not rare to see the parading the towns streets in the afternoon. Hrisey offers some great day hikes accompanied by splendid views over and into the fjord.
Akureyri is the last port of call. It has a buzzling little town and convenient airport. It makes it a good place to explore Iceland even further, by car bus plane or boat!
Price€2660 (special price 15-25 years old €2310)
- Accommodation in a 2 person (shared) bedroom, ensuite
- Full pension
- 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 Duration14 days
Start LocationIsafjordur, Iceland
End LocationAkureyri, Iceland
Minimum Ageunder 15, please contact us
Average Group Size12/16
The ship has 2 person bedrooms. Traveling alone these are shared bedrooms, traveling with two you can choose to share the room together. The rooms 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 travelers.
Meals are prepared by an on board cook. The cook 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.
Your transport to and from the ship will have to be arranged by yourself. Flights can be booked to Iceland international Airport, from there you can drive a car to Isafjordur or Akureyri. Or you can fly from the local smaller airfield. Between airfields you will have to take a bus or taxi.
The ship will transport you from Isafjordur to Akureyri.
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!)
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 also speak Dutch 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 offer sailing clothes on board, you will 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
- 26 Jun 2018 – 09 Jul 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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