Travelling in Hornstrandir

Horn Blóm


Travelling in Hornstrandir in early Summer


The Icelandic Environment Agency wishes to point out the following.


People who are visiting the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in early summertime must keep in mind:


- The rules of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve ask that everybody has to report themselves to the agency (Hornstrandir local office in Ísafjörður) if travelling between 15th April and 15th June. The reason for this is that we need to have an overview of people travelling in the area because the nature is fragile at this time and cannot sustain much impact from tourism. The snow is melting and the whole area is very wet, the ground is also still frozen and the weather is cold. It is not recommended for large groups to travel during this time due to the greater impact they have.


- The traveller must realise that there are very few, or indeed no other people in the nature reserve at this time. At this early point in the season nothing is known about the conditions in the area or the state of the emergency shelters (radios for example).


- There can be a lot of snow in the mountain passes and sometimes it can be impossible to pass through them (high vertical snow drifts for example). The river crossing points can easily change over the winter time and the state of the trails is unknown.


- Take care using the camp sites as though the site may be very wet, the vegetation, particularly withered grass may be very dry (take care with your cooking stove). Most of the latrines doors may be weighed down with heavy timber, ensure the timber is replaced and the door is secured before you leave. Take all items with you and leave no trace in the area. If you are hiking on wet trails leave as little impact as possible.


- It is important to take care when in the vicinity of nesting birds or fox dens. Don´t stay in the area and don´t leave anything (particularly food). The wildlife is very sensitive at this time and can easily be disturbed and frightened.


- Sometimes Polar Bears may be in the area having arrived on drift ice from Greenland. Be aware of this, check your surroundings and look for any indications of Polar Bear tracks. If you notice that there is a Polar Bear in the area please report it as soon as you can, and keep your distance from the Polar Bear.


- The Ranger visits to check the nature reserve in May. It is recommended to visit the area after  the Ranger has carried out his checks and is in a better position to give current advice.


Hornstrandir nature reserve - guidelines


The Hornstrandir nature reserve was established in 1975.  This was to protect the area´s nature. We must all work together to minimise the impact on the area and it´s natural environment, so it can retain its value and provide visitors with an enjoyable experience.


- Respect the flora and fauna. Use walking paths where such exist and camp within marked areas. All driftwood and/or rocks that are brought to the campsites should be returned to its original place at the end of your stay. The latrines or toilets should be kept neat and tidy.


- Please remove your rubbish from the area when you leave. Burying, burning or leaving it behind, placing it in latrines or toilets is not allowed.  Leave no trace of your stay.


- Plan your stay carefully. Necessary equipment includes waterproof clothes, good walking boots, a rain- and windproof tent, a map of the area, food and cooking equipment.


- Permit must be obtained before lighting camping fires or bonfires. Cooking equipment and disposable barbeques should be used with care.


- Pets are best left at home. However, if they come along, keep them on leash and under control. Ensure you remove their droppings.


- The largest part of the Hornstrandir nature reserve is privately owned. Please respect the privacy of the house owners in the area.


- There is limited telephone coverage in the area. Some places have GSM reception. Radios can be found in emergency shelters.


- Only use the emergency shelter if you truly have to, for example if the weather is really bad, someone is ill, equipment has been lost etc. Leave the shelter as you found it. It is a good habit to sign your name in the emergency shelter guest book, including your travel plans. 


From the 15th of April until the 15th of June each year, all travel within the nature reserve must be reported to the Hornstrandir information office in Isafjordur (tel 591 2000).




A must know for people planing to travel around Hornstrandir