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Photograph courtesy of Explorers’ Corner
Into the Arctic Circle

At first glance, the fjord-y, fragmented northwest corner of Iceland looks like a country apart. And in some ways it is. It was here, in the Westfjords, that medieval outlaws came to board ships bound for unknown lands, and where winter conditions still keep neighboring farmers from visiting one another. Today, intrepid hikers are starting to explore the region’s signature draw, Hornstrandir Nature Reserve; next summer, Explorers’ Corner will become the sole outfitter to approach it just as the Vikings did—by sea. The itinerary is flexible by design: Campsites can change depending on the whims of the group, and you’ll have the option of hiking to snowcaps, poking around the remains of Viking farms, and watching puffins and goosanders from your kayak. Despite the 66° N latitude, summers are mild in Hornstrandir, with temps approaching the mid-60s, and 24-hour sunlight makes for a constant yellow-pink sky. Just a year or two ago, ten days in the Arctic Circle would have cost a small fortune, but post–Icelandic bankruptcy, it’s far more affordable—30 to 40 percent less, according to Explorers’ Corner owner Olaf Malver.

Outfitter: Explorers’ Corner;
Price: $2,490 ($$)
Length: 10 days
Departs: June–July

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