Hornstrandir Reserve – Westfjords Iceland

Hornstrandir Iceland photo location.

Hornstrandir is a nature reserve in the northern part of the West Fjords. Hornstrandir is perhaps the most remote part of Iceland, and because there are no roads it is not easily accessible. There are boat services from Ísafjörður, Hiking routes and light aircraft services from Ísafjörður Airport.

Remote Nature

Hornstrandir is so remote that the only options for travelers is camping. There are very decent camp sites. Some of them have the very basic services such as toilets and cold water tap. Although there are camping facilities at most of the old harbour areas, don’t expect warm showers. Also, don’t expect to have a phone signal. It is essential to visit these areas well prepared for every eventuality. Go have your shower under a waterfall in this totally unspoilt wilderness.

midnight sun
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Hornvik

For wildlife lovers and travelers who don’t mind roughing it, Hornstrandir is an ultimate escape.  Due to the lack of roads, the main transport is hiking.  Having a boat works well and you can charter one from Isafjordur. If you are unable to hike, then you wont get a lot of landscape photography done.

Hornstrandir hornvik

Hornvik can be overwhelmed by sea mist.  On my trip, we were stranded for a few days because the plane couldn’t fly to us.  In thick sea mist, there is not a lot to see of do.  Make sure you have a comfortable tent and a good supply of cuppa soups.  Realistically, you are limited to what you can carry if you are flying in.  You can take luggage on the plane, but it is stil a mile hie to the campsite from the runway.

Tourist Boom

Although the sudden increase in tourism was helpful for the economy, it was devastating for the area.  Local tour companies were transporting hundreds of poorly equipped bac-packers here.  The used the rescue hut for accommodation which is illegal.

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Photography tips:

be prepared to hike and to be able to carry your gear in a backpack. Hornstrandir has plenty of wildlife such as arctic fox and sea fowl. A long lens could be useful. There is plenty of coast line to explore, but don’t always expect path ways and be prepared to wade occasionally.

The nature is outstanding and worth the hardships. Arctic foxes roam freely throughout the camping areas, unafraid of humans. The nature here is untouched and if you are keen on conservation and hiking, you will meet like-minded people here.

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By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.