Seeing Puffins in Iceland

Did you know that over half of the world's population of the Atlantic puffin breeds in Iceland, somewhere between 3 - 4 million pairs a year?

Puffins can be seen in Iceland from early April until September each year. 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. Many puffin visits require you to join a boat tour, but quite a few good ones can be reached by car.

Our favourite requires a diversion to the West-fjords region, out to the most western point of Iceland, the Làtrabjarg cliffs. West Fjords are the least inhabited part of the island with entire abandoned villages and rough roads. Be prepared for lots of photos stops, as the scenery is breathtaking.

The puffins here have never been harvested so are not shy of humans. They seem to be actually posing for photos! You need to be careful however, as the puffins nest in tunnels under the grass on the cliff and these can collapse. Be sure to also visit the Dynjandi waterfall whilst you are out there.

Other spots to visit puffins in Iceland:
  • **Kollafjörður in Faxaflói bay, near Reykjavik **

Two islands, Akurey and Lunday are homes to hundreds of puffins. You can visit these islands on short boat-rides from Reykjavik city centre, however you don't land on the islands.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Our independent self-drive itineraries in Iceland can be modifed to allow for some puffin searching.