Best places to see puffins in Iceland

28 Jan 2020

Best places to see puffins in Iceland

Iceland is the breeding home to more than 60% of the world’s Atlantic puffin population. If you don’t know already, the Atlantic puffins are cute black and white birds with bright orange webbed feet and a bright orange beak. They usually stay in the water, but come to land for breeding and that is when you can see them.

They stay in Iceland from the months of May – August and then return back to the sea. After the breeding season is over they leave by the end of August and their beaks turn from fluorescent orange to a dull gray. Their beak is their most prominent feature and you can spot one from a mile away.


Five Interesting Facts About Puffins

  • The average lifespan of a puffin 20 -25 years
  • Their heaviness is the reason they can dive to depths of 60 metres atleast
  • A female puffin produces one puffling every year
  • Every year the puffins return to the same place to breed
  • The beak changes colours in the winter season

Puffin watching is something you don’t want to miss if you are visiting Iceland, so here are a few places where you can go to see puffins in Iceland.


Popular places to see puffins


This is a protected area and it is closed for a certain period of time during the breeding season. The area however is beautiful, with its black sand beaches. Check the closure dates before planning to go there, but once you do you will see how mesmerising the birds and beaches are. Surely a sight that should be on everyone’s bucket list.


Vestmannaeyjar – The Westman Islands

This island has breathtaking rock formations, with a rich history behind it. The puffins can be seen on the foothills of cliffs, and there are thousands of them. Apart from walking and hiking, you can even take a little boat tour to see these cute creatures.


Borgarfjörður Eystri

The local authorities have worked hard to develop this region for tourists, and this is by far the safest and most convenient place to watch puffins. Close to the puffins are wooden platforms and shelters, so you can see them up close.



Known as one of the largest sea-bird cliff in Europe, it has millions of sea birds but puffins are the main reason people come here. The puffins in this region are very tame and calm and don’t fear humans. This is great as you can get close to them, just be careful because the cliffs are steep and dangerous. Do check the weather conditions before visiting this site as the right weather can turn this place into a beautiful puffin heaven you would never want to come out of!


These are by far the most popular sights to watch puffins and there is a reason for that, every sight has large puffin colonies with the added beauty of the wonderful scenery these places have to offer. If you are visiting Iceland, be sure not to miss out on this activity or these places!

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