Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Spotting puffins: here is our map showing the best places around Iceland

By Staff

  • A beautiful bird Few places on Planet Earth offer better opportunities to lay eyes on puffins than Iceland, the home to nearly half of the world’s puffin population. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

While puffin colonies are located all around Iceland, there are a few places where your chances of catching the bird are more likely than others, as shown on the map.

Many puffin visits require you to get over your seasickness and buckle up for an hour or so on a boat, but quite a few good ones can be reached by car. 

Text about each place below the map, clockwise from Kollafjörður bay, West Iceland. 


Prime puffin sighting locations around Iceland

* Kollafjörður in Faxaflói bay 

Two islands, Akurey and Lunday are homes to tens of thousands of puffins. Only a short boat-ride from the city center. 

* Breiðafjörður
A stunning bay in the West of Iceland between Snæfellsnes peninsula and the Westfjords, with countless islands and skerries of all sizes and very diverse birdlife. A top three location for spotting puffins in Iceland. We recommend a boat trip from town Stykkishólmur to islands Þórishólmur and Steinaklettar.

* Ísafjarðardjúp, the Westfjords
The island Vigur is the largest of three islands in the fjord, and a good place to see puffins.

Read more: 5 Things you need to know about Puffins

* Borgarfjörður Eystri, East Iceland
Large puffin colonies on the island of Hafnarhólmi, and the chance to get up-close-and-personal with the birds. There's a special hideout viewing location near the harbour of the town which allows visitors to view a wide variety of unique bird species native to the area. A popular puffin spot is Borgarhólmi which you can reach by car and on foot.  

* Fáskrúðsfjörður, East Iceland
The island of Skrúður is home to the biggest cave on the East Coast of Iceland, as well as a popular puffin colony. It is very possible to climb the island... unless you're afraid of heights.   

* South Coast
Ingólfshöfði South of Öræfajökull glacier, Reynisfjall near Vík í Mýrdal, and Dyrhólaey (also en route to Vík) are puffin colonies on the South Coast. 

* Westman Islands
An island and archipelago of approximately 5,000 people, and the largest puffin colony in Iceland. Up to half of the entire puffin population in Iceland nests in the islands. You can either fly to the Island or take a ferry. Once you're there, you are likely to need to get on a boat to get close to the birds, but if observing from far is your thing, the numbers of puffin will work in your favour.

Read more: The puffin population of Iceland is flying back to shore

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