Hornstrandir | Iceland – Travel Guide

- Hornstrandir Travel Guide

 

Situated in northwest Iceland is the natural reserve of the Westfjords, Hornstrandir. There are 220-222 miles of stretched tundra, cliffs, ice, and fields of flowers.

While visiting Westfjords, you can take a tour of the beautiful reserve. You can take it as a 14-day self-drive tour or rent a car and visit it during the day tour.

In the southern part of this area is the glacier Drangajökull.

With its establishment in 1975, this reserve is surrounded by fjords Hrafnfjörður and Furufjörður, ending at Skorarheiði moor.

 

-History

 

The history of this reserve is appreciatively rich and quite different from that of mainland Iceland, a huge credit of it goes to its isolated location. The initial settlers of this place chose fishing and preyed on birds as a means of survival and livelihood. The terrain of this area and the tall, high cliffs made farming difficult for them.

The residents of this place stayed at some considerable distance in between their houses. This made traveling to and fro farmsteads a little less likable and difficult during winters. The sustainability of life thus was low here and one ought to feel alone at times.

Travelers who didn’t fear the law came here with the hopes of starting new lives and boarding ships abroad. Law wasn’t the only thing that they’d to fear, but polar bears too. These bears would sit on ice caps and float ashore now and then. The mini ice age was one of the prime times when these bears used to swim from neighboring Greenland to here during the beginning of the millennium.

 

-Things To Know

 

This reserve is home to many unique species of flowering plants and ferns. Some of them can be found across the entire Westfjords too. Approximately 260 different species of plants can be found here.

The lack of grazing animals makes it possible for all this plenty of plant life to thrive in Hornstrandir. Although the hike here can be a little difficult and challenging because of the presence of knee-high plants stretching out for miles and miles.

There hasn’t been any permanent human settlement in Hornstrandir since 1950. Motor traffic cannot access this area and just a few old buildings and some farmsteads stand here in the name of settlement history. The marvelous arctic fox resides here though and it hunts down birds nesting along the cliffs of Hornstrandir.

Hunting is banned in Hornstrandir. The Arctic fox is free to move around according to its own will, without any fear or threats from human beings. At times it might come across travelers or campers in search of some food.

Another species of mammals that resides here are field mice, although it isn’t very easy to spot them. All bird-watching lovers should look for arctic terns, puffins, and black guillemots. You’ll also find two of the largest cliffs of Europe in this region.

- Activities At Hornstrandir

 

If you want to hike, camp and wander around in this region then we’ll suggest you bring your own tents and camping equipment. Lack of human settlement makes it nearly next to impossible to find any staying accommodations, so one has to prepare for their own survival in the wild here.

While packing your bags, don’t forget the following things- ample food and water, warm layers of clothes, and tough hiking boots.

When in Hornstrandir, one should really not miss the hike to Hornbjarg, to see one of the most epic features of this area, a cliff at the top of the reserve.

To gain access to this area, one should choose the months of summer, namely May, June, July, and August too at times, to organize their trip. Only specially allowed excursions are granted access to this area during winter.

If you’re a wanderer and love adventures, then Hornstrandir should definitely be on your list of places to go.