14 days hiking journey

Hornstrandir Nature Preserve


At the end of June 2020, I was ready for a new challenge. During the spread of the new coronavirus at the beginning of the year, I was working back in Switzerland. However, I had the opportunity to go on a spontaneous hiking trip in Iceland for two weeks.

This article shares my journey and what I did to get the most out of it in just fourteen days.

Purpose of the trip

My main goal was to develop new skills during that trip. I had my DJI drone and video equipment to take pictures and footage for YouTube. Besides that, it had to be a physical challenge and meet Icelandic citizens.


The trigger for this trip was the announcement of the Icelandic government. They opened traveling for Europeans again. Unfortunately, it was shut down because of the new coronavirus spread. I booked a return ticket and had one week to prepare for my trip.

It was unnecessary to do an antigen or a PCR test before the flight. Instead, I needed to fill out a health declaration form online.  A PCR test was mandatory at the International Airport in Reykjavik, but it was free of charge! A negative result gave the ability to explore Iceland freely. A positive result involved a second test and home quarantine at a designated accommodation.

I shared this trip also with a friend who was going to join me for the second week to explore Iceland by car. We had a short meeting and settled that we do a multiple-day hike in the famous Hornstrandir nature preserve.

If you plan a hiking trip, you should consider sharing the plan on the website Safetravel.is . Then, in case of an emergency, aid can be mobilized faster.

For the first two nights in Reyjavik, I was able to find a host on Couchsurfing! Most Icelandic folks denied my requests, but I was lucky. A father living with his son in an apartment outside of the city accepted my proposal. They told me how to get there by public transportation. Moovit is the app to check for local buses. I used the Straeto App to buy bus tickets on your phone.

The latest information about camping can be found on CARAVANYA – The Campsite App 

Departure and Arrival

On the morning of the 26th of June, I took the airplane to Reykjavik and arrived in the afternoon. I was surprised that all the coronavirus measures were well implanted at the airport. Before grabbing my check-in luggage, PCR test, immigration, and health declaration were carried out swiftly.

Outside of the airport, I waited for the local bus (Route 55). The bus drove fifty minutes to the final bus stop, “Fjördur.” I interchanged and got off at the stop where my host’s apartment was.

I had dinner with him and shared the first hiking trip that I would start from the camping ground in Borgarnes.

The next day, I went to the city to buy gas cartridges and food. Fjallakofinn is the shop’s name where I got what I was looking for. After that, I bought a SIM Card from Nova at a local store and used the time until evening to explore the lovely capital city.

Back at the host’s apartment, I spent the time with him and his son until it got late. But, unfortunately, in Iceland, it does not get dark during summer. Therefore I had to be careful that I got to bed in time to catch my bus to Borganes around 08:00 AM the next day!

Camping and hike in Borgarnes

I took the bus route 57 from the stop Mjódd at 07:44 AM to Borgarnes. The journey was ninety minutes to Borgarnes. There were few convenience stores to stock up my food rations. From there, it was a fifteen minutes’ walk to the camping ground. The place was simple and had only a few sinks to wash dishes and toilets. At 10:00 PM, the owner came to collect the camping fee for each person. It was 1’500 ISK per person, which is about 11 dollars. Electricity for the vans costs extra. I stayed only for a night.

The location of the campsite on Google Maps

The next day, I left the camping ground at 08:00 AM and walked to the tourist attraction “Langàrfoss.” Then, I took road 533 and hiked until evening as far as I could. I took a few breaks to cook food with my camping gear along the way and in the evening, after 40km, I arrived at a horse farm. I greeted the owner, who was fixing his car in the garage. We had a chat, and he let me pitch my tent. At 09:00 PM, I could finally sit down and share Swiss Chocolate with the farmer. He was living alone there. His wife passed away. He was a tough man looking after all the horses and enjoying the quiet life now—a typical Icelandic farmer. I took my drone, flew around and showed him the pictures on the phone. It was a fun experience but time to rest.

Hitchhike and camping in the West

On the following day, it wasn’t easy to get up. I got muscle pain but I put all my gear into my backpack and walked back to the main road. At 10:00 AM, I started to hitchhike. Two cars stopped, but they did not drive in the direction I wanted to go. My goal was to get to Helissandur. But after forty minutes, a man stopped by and told me he was on the way to Grundarfjördur and was going to drop me in Olafsvik, which was great! On the way, we passed famous landmarks and took a few pictures. He was an ex-pat from France who got a job in Iceland. He loved the North and mild summers. At 03:00 PM, he dropped me at the campsite Ólafsvík.

The camping ground owner was very welcoming, and it was well equipped. There was a kitchen and fast Wi-Fi. That was a considerable improvement compared to Borgarnes. I got a discount for only using a small space with my tent and stayed three nights there! It was the perfect place for me. I could rest a bit and edit pictures and footage on my laptop. Fortunately, it was also hardly visited because of the pandemic.

I hiked to the top of the village and visited the nearby waterfall. Unfortunately, there is only one convenience store, named “Kassinn,” nearby to buy groceries.

From Ólafsvík, I took all my gear and walked along the coast to Helissandur. I stayed two nights at the campsite in Helissandur and did more hikes in that area. The campsite’s owner was the same and the common area was similar to the one in Ólafsvík. These were the only places where hot showers were not limited and did not cost extra.

The location of the campsite on Google Maps

In Helissandur, my friend called me to pick me up in his car in two days. So I hitchhiked from Hellissandur to Grundafjörd. A fisherman was on the way early in the morning who picked me up on the road. I asked him if there was a decrease in fish. He said there is always fish in Iceland and nothing has changed so far. Fish is big business for them. He was in his fifties and looked similar to the farmer in Borgarnes.

In Grundafjördur the quality of the campsite was terrible. Shower cost extra, and no discount for solo backpackers. There is a swimming pool area where you can pay and take a shower.

Hornstrandir Nature Preserve

At 11:00 AM, my travel buddy picked me up with the rental car. We drove to the campsite in Ísafjördur. Late afternoon we went to the West Tours travel agency to book a seat on the boat, which would depart the next day around 05:00 PM Hornstrandir. Back at the campground, we cooked dinner and went to bed.

The location of the campsite on Google Maps

On the following day, we explored the village and went shopping for groceries for our hike. We parked the car next to the harbor and at 04:00 PM, we board the ship only with our backpacks. Our starting point in Hornstrandir was at Hesteyri, where a rubber boat picked us up from the boat. We had a short chat with the ranger, who asked about what kind of route we would take. Then, we hiked until 10:00 PM and stopped at an official camping place to pitch our tents. Then, we took a rest until 04:30 AM.

I recorded the hike on my smartphone with the app Hiking Project.

For more details on the whole hike across the Hornstrandir Preserve, check the following links:

Hornstrandir Route (Section 1)

Hornstrandir Route (Section 2)

Hornstrandir Route (Section 3)

Hornstrandir Route (Section 4)


For our three-day hike, the schedule was tight. On the last day, we had to be in Hornvik, where the boat was waiting for us to return to Ísafjördur. We used all the food rations. My stomach hurt on the way back to the city. It was calculated too briefly. We went to a restaurant to eat two meals for lunch in the town. That was a fantastic adventure!

Hornstrandir Nature Preserve

Ring Road by car

We followed the Ring Road to the North, East, and South of Iceland for the rest of the week. On the last day, we rent an Airbnb apartment in Reykjavik to relax and drink Einstöck beer.

The best hot pots we found in Reykir – Grettislaug. The campsite was nearby, and there were only a few tourists. We spent an entire day because the owner operates a pub called “Grettis Café.” That was a blast and great to charge all devices and edit footage and pictures we took. They also have Wi-Fi.

The location of the campsite on Google Maps

Expenses for 14 days


US Dollars

Returnticket Zurich Reykjavik (Check-In luggage)


Bus from Airport to city Reykjavik


Local buses in the city Reykjavik


Meals at restaurants


NOVA SIM Card and Datapackage


Additional camping gear bought at the Fjallakofin store in Reykjavik




Hornstrandir Map


Hornstrandir Ferry




JetBoil gas gartridge


Petrol for the car









*We used camping grounds and couchsurfing. On the last day I
booked with my travel buddy an apartment on Airbnb to clean up and catch my
flight at 07:00 AM.


I am satisfied with the trip to Iceland. It was phenomenal and the right decision to make this journey. The pandemic had the positive effect that hardly tourists were represented. Hostels, Hotels, and campsites were empty.

A few times, the schedule for the hikes was too tight. It took me too much time to prepare my drone and camera to take pictures. I ended up not using it. I have to take a more time and organize it better for future challenges. Doing the editing work back in my hometown or the last days in the capital city would have been wiser.

If you enjoy what I am doing, support my platform and enjoy exclusive content.

Leave a comment