One country on earth that can boast of nature’s unending blessings is Iceland. Forest reserves and sanctuaries established in Iceland not only aid ecological balance but also contribute to the beauty of the country. Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is one of the many reserves in Iceland that adds to the richness of the land of fire and ice. Situated in the Westfjords, the nature reserve is peppered with stunning scenery and boundless green lands that would fascinate you.
Boundless Beauty of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Located in the north-west of Iceland, Hornstrandir was established in 1975, and is one of the most isolated places in Iceland. There are no hotels, or even roads in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. You can find a few small cabins when hiking around the area. Fishing and hunting of birds were the primary professions that locals adopted before the establishment of the nature reserve. Hornstrandir covers a total area of 580 square kilometers. The magnificent nature reserve is full of cliffs and flowering lands. In winters, snow-capped mountain ranges are sure to mesmerize you. For those who want to immerse themselves in the vegetative and floral beauty of Iceland, Hornstrandir is a perfect place. In Hornstrandir, there are almost 260 different categories of flowering ferns and plants. While some of these are native to the entire Westfjords, some flowers are unique to Hornstrandir. Arctic Fox, which are Iceland’s only native mammal, are found here in numbers. Make sure you carry your camera to capture their beauty. The birdlife here, which is also quite vibrant, will have you notice arctic terns, puffins, and black guillemots.
Explore around Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
There are many marvels to explore in the vicinity of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Drangajökull, the lowest-lying glacier of Iceland, is located to the southwest of Hornstrandir. It is renowned for its sheer aesthetic beauty and abundant wildlife. Though it is one of Iceland’s smallest glaciers, Drangajökull will offer you some amazing scenes that you would cherish for life. Covering the area of 200 square kilometers, Drangajökull is in the northernmost part of Iceland.
Taking a detour to the Westfjords is also an excellent idea. Explorers from across the world consider Westfjords a paradise for its natural treasures. Unfolding as a peninsula to the northwest of the Icelandic mainland, the Westfjords are a huge area. With almost 3,000 inhabitants, the town Ísafjörður serves as the capital of the vicinity. You can visit fishing villages in the fjords if you want to try your hand at fishing and befriend locals. Making acquaintances with the locals is always a good idea as they pass genuine information which can majorly save your time in navigation. Other nearby places include Dynjandi Waterfall, which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. It is just at a height of 100 meters. Látrabjarg Bird Cliff is also a good spot to cover in your tour around the Westfjords.
Best Season to Visit Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Summers are considered perfect to plan a tour to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The days are long and chilly in summers. The sun stays up for a long while so you can cover many small spots in your tour which are worth watching. If you specifically want to experience snow, then winters would be a good option for you, however Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is not that accessible in the winters. Pack your essentials accordingly. Make sure you pack snacks as that would be helpful for long tours. There are no roads in Hornstrandir, so you can not simply drive there. Most trips to Hornstrandir depart from Ísafjörður. Hikers who have planned a personal tour can also take boats from Norðurfjörður. Keep a check on the weather forecast as the climate can take turns anytime in Iceland.
Places to Stay around Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Camping grounds, guest houses, and hotels are easily available in Ísafjörður. There are no hotels or guesthouses in Hornstrandir, but it is possible to camp there during the summer. Hótel Horn is an amazing place to stay; they offer a restaurant and complementary breakfast. Hotel Reykjanes is a space where you can sit, relax, and absorb the natural beauty. Rooms are available on a shared basis. Camping grounds are also available to lodge but not recommended in winters as they can be excessively cold at night.