The best places to see puffins in Iceland

A lot of our guests are interested to spot some puffins during their travel in Iceland. Therefore, we have decided to create a list of the best places to see puffins in Iceland, in order to ensure that you will encounter some during your trip.

Please have in mind that puffins spend most of the year at sea, coming to land only during the nesting season. They breed in large colonies and Iceland is the breeding home of approximately 8 million birds. That means you have the chance to see puffins in Iceland from early April until mid / end of August each year.

1. Watch Puffins next to Reykjavík

The good news is that you actually do not have to leave Reykjavík to join a puffin tour. First stop is usually the Faxaflói bay right next to Reykjavík. Not far away from the old harbor of Reykjavík, you will find the two islands; Akurey and Lundey, famous for their puffins and other seabirds during this time of year. So, if you don’t want to leave the city but would still like to spot some puffins, there are frequent departures of boat tours around the bay from May till August! On such a puffin boat tour, you will not only visit one of the puffin islands but can also enjoy the skyline of Reykjavík by boat.

2. Where to see Puffins in Iceland – Breiðafjörður Bay in the West of Iceland

Another great spot in Iceland to see the lovely puffins is Breiðafjörður bay, between the Snæfellsnes peninsula and the Westfjords. Our guests who will take the round tour of Iceland including the Westfjords will have the chance to cross the bay on a ferry from Stykkishólmur to Brjánslækur. We advise you to look around while doing so! It is also possible to join a guided boat tour from Stykkishólmur or Grundarfjörður to monitor the cute little birds in their nesting habitat. Please contact our travel agents to get more details about possible tours.

3. Látrabjarg in the Westfjords – one of the best Places to see Puffins in Iceland

One of the best places to see puffins in Iceland is Látrabjarg, the westernmost point of Iceland, located in the Westfjords. Our customers who are travelling to the Westfjords are strongly advised to plan a visit to Látrabjarg, not only for the puffins but the immense beauty of the area as well!

4. Grímsey Island in the North of Iceland

In the north part of Iceland, you can visit the northernmost puffin inhabited place, Grimsey island , the only part of Iceland within the Arctic Circle! If you decide to join a tour from Akureyri, you will not only get a certificate that you crossed the Arctic Circle, but will most certainly see some puffins and other sea birds that can be found in the area. You can either join a tour by boat or go on a sightseeing flight with a stopover in Grímsey island. Read more about the sightseeing flight to Grimsey.

5. Borgarfjörður eystri in the East of Iceland

In the East of Iceland, you will find Borgafjörður eystri, where large populations of puffins nest during summer. The harbour by Hafnarhólmi is among Iceland’s best facilities for birdwatching. On the premises, there is a staircase leading up to a platform where you can get closer to the birds. The Puffin is probably the most common bird in Borgarfjörður eystri. An estimated number of 8,000-10,000 pairs breed at Hafnarhólmi and non-breeding birds also visit the colony later in the summer.

6. Ingólfshöfði in the South of Iceland between Skaftafell and the Glacial Lagoon

The South Coast of Iceland has arguably some of the best places for bird watching, with big colonies of puffins. One of these spots is Ingólfshöfði nature reserve. It is located nearby the famous Skaftafell National Park and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The place is only reachable on a guided birdwatching tour offered daily from May to August!

7. Where to find Puffins in Iceland – Dyrhólaey, close to Vík in the South of Iceland

If you cross the village of Vík with the nearby Dyrhólaey, you have a chance to spot not only puffins, but various bird species. The birdlife in the area during the summer-months is truly very rich. The view from the top of Dyrhólaey is spectacular and you surely would not want to miss it.

8. Watch Puffins in the Westman Islands

Lastly, travelers who have included the Westman islands (“the Pompeii of the North”) in their itinerary while in Iceland, will see not only an island of amazing beauty, historical places and breathtaking nature, but also a large number of birds including of course our lovely puffins that live in the area. We highly recommend this boat tour around the island when visiting Heimaey. The island is relatively close to Reykjavik and you can visit it also on a day tour by plane, starting from the domestic airport in central Reykjavik.

Sotiria Prodromiti
Posted in June 2017

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