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 Iceland

Kayak the Glacial Fjords of Iceland

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This is our four-day luxury sea kayaking adventure in the heart of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve (north-western Iceland). Spectacular kayaking and wildlife during the day and comfortable accommodation during the evenings. A great combination of comfort and adventure for those with some kayaking experience.

Itinerary

Day 1: Kayaking Along Stunning Cliffs from Hesteyri to Kvíar

After travelling from Reykjavik to Ísafjörður, we meet at our base in Mávagarður C at 8am* for last-minute checks before departing from the harbour in Ísafjörður on our passenger ferry at 9 am. Our destination is Hesteyri, which is the biggest settlement in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. After loading up our kayaks and safety briefing, we head across the fjord towards the old farmhouse of Kvíar, our accommodation and base for the trip.

After our lunch break, we get going again and paddle across the fjord of Veiðileysufjörður enjoying the beautiful scenery from another angle. We then take a short break somewhere along the shoreline and stretch our legs before the final push to Kvíar. That last stretch of shoreline is magnificent with many waterfalls coming down from the snowmelt on the mountain tops and thick vegetation. After landing in Kvíar, we get settled in the house, relax in the sauna and enjoy a well-deserved dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Distance: 17 km

*We meet at 5 pm on the evening before for a briefing, if you’re unable to be here the day before departure, please let us know in advance.

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Day 2: Scenic Paddle into Lónafjörður fjord

We leave most of the gear in the farmhouse and go for a beautiful paddle into Lónafjörður fjord which, according to many, 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 of paddling. In the afternoon we return to the farmhouse for sauna to soothe sore muscles and another delicious dinner.

Distance: 20 km

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Day 3: Venture into the beautiful fjord of Leirufjörður

After a hearty breakfast and a good amount of coffee, we get back on the water and aim for the beautiful fjord of Leirufjörður. Drangajökull Glacier looms in the background and the water of the fjord is a milky colour from the silt coming from under the glacier. There is much to explore and it's easy to land anywhere in the fjord and go for a short hike. We get back to our cosy home in Kvíar before dinnertime.

Distance: 20 km

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Day 4: Farewell - Ferry Transfer to Ísafjörður

Our passenger ferry picks us up from Kvíar Lodge in the morning around 11 am and we head back to Ísafjörður. Please note that the guide may be staying at Kvíar to continue the kayak journey with other guests (talk to us if you are thinking of extending your adventure). The crew on the ferry will take good care of you and make sure safely arrive back to Ísafjörður.

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What's Included

Included
  • All meals during the trip.
  • Three nights' accommodation in a comfortable lodge.
  • Ferry transfer to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and back.
  • Kayaking gear (see FAQs).
  • Professional guide.
Not Included
  • Travel to and from Ísafjörður prior to and after the trip.
  • Food on the first day until the trip departs.
  • Personal medical and travel insurance.
  • Personal equipment and clothing.
Have a question?

If you have any questions about this trip or want to speak with an expert, get in touch.

We're ready to help.

Team Images
Team Images
Team Images

Rated 5.0

1 verified review

Matt
Matt

(Aug 2023)

Our three-night kayaking trip (Glacier Fjords Kayaking) with Borea was absolutely brilliant. Guided throughout by the enormously professional Lukas, everything from start to finish contributed to a genuinely outstanding tour. The team were proactive and helpful to get us ready, answered all our questions and made sure we were set. Whilst we were very lucky to be by ourselves with Lukas, the other guides from Borea who passed through Kviar were super friendly and always interested in how we were getting on. Lukas was very knowledgeable about the area - he clearly had a genuine passion for the region and it showed; everything from the wildlife (foxes, eagles, seals, birds) to the geology, people and history. The kayaking itself was reasonably challenging - generally 15-20km a day - and Borea are right to recommend that some prior kayaking experience is sensible. The weather was good to us, and we felt safe when out on the water in a range of different conditions. Lukas always explained ahead of time what decisions he may need to make and we always felt part of the process. It was obvious how seriously Lukas takes his guiding responsibilities to match the conditions, activity and guests well. We definitely got out of our comfort zone, but always in the right way! Kviar was a lovely place to stay - it was genuinely remote and exactly what we wanted. Given its off-grid location, it was very well equipped and offered a great base. The food was excellent, the coffee was always available and we were consistently set well each day. As well the kayaking, we managed a couple of short walks around Kviar to stretch our legs, as well as making the most of the sauna (the recommendation of three repetitions of the sauna then the river dip is definitely worth doing!) A fantastic and challenging trip - outstanding work by Borea and Lukas in particular. If you’re up for something unique and want to see one of the most beautiful parts of Iceland from a different perspective, we can wholeheartedly recommend this tour, and Borea Adventures as a fantastic outfit to go with.

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FAQs

Before you go

This trip is a medium-difficulty trip and is suited to those with some experience in kayaking. The longer distances require good strength and technique which takes some practice. If you are looking for something a little easier, consider the 'Kayak & Wild Camp the Icelandic Coast' trip.

You fly into Reykjavic (the capital city of Iceland) and will arrive in Keflavik International Airport (KEF) about 40 minutes away from the city centre. From there, you will need to head to Reykjavik domestic airport (RKV) for a connecting flight to Ísafjörður. You can take the Fly-Bus between the airports and most of the time you can continue on the same day. From this domestic airport, there are 2-3 daily 40-minute flights to Isafjordur. Check out Air Iceland Connect for schedules and special offers. You can also rent a car and drive to Isafjordur. The drive, over mountain passes and through fjords is an adventure in itself! It’s about 440-500 km depending on which route you take. A new road via Arnkötludalur opened in 2009 which completes the asphalted pathway the whole way, and kills the old myth of bad roads in the Westfjords! The drive will normally take you 5-6 hours. A new tunnel opened in September 2020 under the infamous mountain pass between the fjords of Arnarfjörður and Dýrafjörður. That tunnel makes it much easier to travel through the Westfjords all year round and shortens the route up the west coast. For accommodation in Reykjavik, there are many options of hotels and guesthouses that we can book for groups. Please ask us for individual bookings. We strongly recommend you spend a few extra days visiting the West Iceland Fjords and other parts of Iceland. We’re happy to help you arrange a few days in the area or give you good tips about exciting things to do while in Iceland.

The minimum age to join this trip is 16 years, with a responsible adult.

We are typically arriving in Ísafjörður around 1 pm. However, weather conditions may occasionally necessitate rearranging the tour itinerary, potentially leading to a later arrival in Ísafjörður. For this reason, we highly recommend booking accommodations in Ísafjörður or nearby towns for the night after the trip, ensuring you have flexibility in your travel plans.

Remember the less you bring, the easier it is. There’s plenty of space in the kayaks if you pack wisely. - Thermal base layers, at least two sets of tops. - Wool or fleece thermal mid layer. - Hiking pants. We don’t recommend cotton as it is cold and takes a long time to dry. - Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking onshore. The lighter – the better. - Wool/fleece hat. - One pair of warm gloves for camp. - 2 to 3 pairs thick wool/synthetic socks. - Light hiking shoes for strolls in and around camp. - Sun glasses. - Sunscreen and after sun cream. - 1 liter water bottle. - Personal medical kit i.e. band-aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, sea-sickness tablets etc. Don’t forget your personal medication which you may need (e.g. Asthma inhaler, even if you don’t always need it). - 2 x Drybags* - Binoculars are nice to have for watching wildlife. (optional) - Don’t forget your camera! *We use dry bags to keep our personal gear dry, especially sleeping bags. We have a small selection of dry bags which you may use but you should bring at least two of your own. Test it to make sure that all of your gear fits inside! We supply all paddling gear and clothing. However, feel free to bring your own if you have it available, your personal gear is guaranteed to fit perfectly and may be more comfortable. If you are bringing your own gear; we recommend good dry pants and top with rubber cuffs or at least a 3mm neoprene wetsuit with a windproof top. A full dry suit is best but can be pretty warm and cumbersome on sunny days but great to have if things get rough. Footwear should preferably be neoprene boots with ankle support and thick soles to negotiate the rocky shoreline safely. Neoprene gloves, mittens or pogies are great at keeping your hands warm. We use neoprene wetsuits on our trips. However, you can upgrade to a dry suit if you would prefer.

Of course, we realize that we’re not all made the same and have different needs and desires. We try our best to cater to your needs. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any requirements so that we can plan the food accordingly. You can indicate this on your Trip Form under your booking. For vegan and gluten free, we charge an extra fee of approx. 35€ (5000 ISK) which will be paid directly to us in the office on the first day.

We meet at 5 pm on the evening before departure at our base in Mávagarður C (grey building) for a briefing where we meet each other, answer any questions and make final preparations. This shouldn’t take longer than an hour. If you’re unable to be here the day before departure, please let us know in advance.

On your trip

The Kvíar Lodge offers cozy accommodations with a total of 5 bedrooms. Two of these rooms feature bunk beds, while another two rooms have two single beds each. Additionally, there is one room with a double bed. We prioritize providing guests with private accommodations whenever possible. However, depending on the group size, it may not always be feasible to guarantee complete privacy. Our guides work diligently to ensure convenience for all guests, often assigning couples to private rooms. Facility-wise, the lodge includes one indoor toilet and one shower. There is also an outhouse available on the premises.

You don’t need to be able to roll your kayak Greenlandic style. It’s very rare that people capsize on multi-day trips as the boats are loaded with gear and very stable. We recommend that people take a weekend course to refresh their skills and learn simple self-rescue techniques. The more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy the trip.

The minimum groups size is 2, the maximum group size is 8. We typically have group sizes of 6.

We use plastic sea kayaks. We have both single and tandem kayaks available. We highly recommend using tandem kayaks for our multi-day trips as they are faster, more stable, hold more gear and are a lot more social than the singles! Tandem kayaks are not only for beginners, in fact, experienced kayakers will know that tandems are a better choice for longer trips. However, if you have experience then of course the single kayaks are available.

Our meals offer a taste of Icelandic cuisine and are designed to keep you energized throughout the day. For dinner, we typically alternate between Icelandic lamb and fish, complemented by a choice of two sides. Lunch consists of sandwiches prepared by guests during breakfast, along with trail mix for a quick and satisfying meal on the go. Breakfast is a hearty buffet featuring bread, spreads, meats, cheese, yogurt, and cereal. Some of our guides like to treat guests to delicious pancakes for breakfast as well. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any requirements so that we can plan the food accordingly. For vegan and gluten-free, we charge an extra fee of approximately 35€ (5000 ISK), which will be paid directly to us in the office on the first day.

We provide the following gear; - Kayak - Paddle - Neoprene pants - Dry top - Spray skirt - Life vest - Paddling boots - Paddling gloves - Additional dry bags (we recommend also bringing your own)

The Meeting point for our kayaking trips is in Mávagarður C, close to the Eastern harbour. We meet at 5 pm on the evening before departure for a briefing.

Other FAQs

This trip is perfect for those who love kayaking but are not into camping. You don't need to bring a sleeping bag or mattress. The location in which we stay has beds with mattresses, blankets and bed sheets. Feel free to bring your own if you would prefer though.

Gamla Guesthouse E-Mail: Lobby@gistihus.is Phone: +354 456-4111 Address: Mánagata 5 400 Ísafjörður Hotel Isafjördur E-Mail: Lobby@hotelhorn.is Phone: +354 456-4111 Address: Silfurtorg 2 400 Ísafjörður The Ísafjörður Inn Phone: +354 776-3131 Address: Sundstræti 43 400 Ísafjörður There are several accommodations situated in the charming little towns of Flateyri and Sudureyri, just a 20-minute drive away from Ísafjörður.

Although we usually stick with the described itinerary, this is only a guide and is subject to change depending on the weather, sea conditions and the ability of the guests.

Your head guide is Nicole

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Borea Adventures, based in Safj R Ur.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!

Nicole