In olden times both Hornstrandir and Jökulfirðir fjords were populated and had distinctive cultures of their own. Today no one lives in the extensive Hornstrandir area at Iceland’s north-westernmost extreme, which has been declared a nature reserve; cars are banned there and it can only be reached on foot or by boat. A paradise of natural contrasts, alternately barren and harsh or lush with vegetation, teeming with birds and other fauna. Trips need to be organized carefully, and all environmental regulations of this nature reserve carefully followed. Keep in mind that the weather in this region is unpredictable. One can not count on cellular-phone connections, and it is necessary to take along all food and supplies, as well as a good map. Further information can be obtained from Umhverfisstofnun (The Environment and Food Agency), Náttúrustofa Vestfjarða (Western Fjords Natural History Institute) and the Tourist Information Centre at Ísafjörður and Hólmavík.


Northerly cove and setting for historical events on Strandir, the harsh and exposed “backbone” of the West Fjords. Once a major fishing centre which attracted seasonal workers from far and wide, it is still the most flourishing community in the area.


Former fishing centre on Reykjarfjörður, particularly important for herring processing in the 1930s and later, until the stock vanished and operations were abandoned.


Legendary fishing centre at the mouth of Reykjarfjörður, now almost depopulated, but once renowned for its heroic open-boat shark fishermen; 15-18 boats at a time would brave the elements to catch shark for liver oil and its meat, which
was cured. North of the lighthouse are geothermal springs. 

The map for walkers and hikers in Strandir (Strandasýsla) shows 11 main routes and several smaller ones. Two of them

  • Krossárdalur valley to Snartartunguheiði heath. In olden times the route between Bitrufjörður in Strandasýsla and Gilsfjörður was frequently travelled. There are two routes, either the old postal route from Einfætingsgil gully into     Krossárdalur valley, or from Snartartunga into Norðdalur valley and over the ledges at Kleifar, above the farm of the same name, which is the northernmost farm in Dalasýsla district.

  • Djúpavík. The track from the old herring factory leads up a fairly steep gully to a broad ledge, Lægribrún. There is another ledge above it, Hærribrún, and above that towers Mt. Háafell (783 m), the dominant landmark of the fjord. Following the edge of the mountain to the east gives a panoramic view across Reykjarfjörður. The path around the ledge is easy to walk along, but should be left when it turns rougher, and the main road taken to walk back to Djúpavík.

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