Iceland’s extreme northwest corner provides outdoor lovers with the ultimate in untouched nature at Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. There unmarked hiking trails link the beautiful fjords and bays of this uninhabited area.

Bereft of civilization since the 1950s, Hornstrandir is completely off limits to all motorized traffic. This makes it a wonderful location to commune with wild nature. Located on the rim of the inhabitable world, it is both breathtakingly raw and astonishingly rich in vegetation. It is also a known location for sighting the normally elusive Arctic fox.

Where is Hornstrandir Nature Reserve?

The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve was established in 1975. Its boundaries are in the Skorarheidi moor between the fjords of Hrafnfjordur and Furufjordur. The reserve area thus covers the Hornstrandir region, part of the Jokulfirdir fjords (or the rural district of Slettuhreppur) and part of the district of Grunnavi­kurhreppur. The Nature and Food Agency is responsible for the Reserve.

Social changes resulted in the abandonment of all farms during World War II and in the post-war period. The land is mostly private property and the land owners are entitled to its traditional utilization, i.e. eider farming, fishing in rivers and lakes, hunting birds and gathering eggs. Few dozen houses are located within the Nature Reserve, both old, renovated farmsteads and new summer cottages. People often spend the whole summer in these houses, and it is important that tourists refrain from pitching their tents too close to them.

What to do in Hornstrandir?

It is very popular to go on a multi-day hike in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The area is breathtakingly beautiful and travelers will find themselves in the middle of nowhere, with no signal and surrounded by nature on all sides. Many hikers set out from either Adalvik or Hesteyri.

Check out our complete guide to the Westfjords