The unofficial national bird in Iceland, the Atlantic Puffin is a bird that comes to Icelandic coasts during spring and summer for breeding. According to National Geographic, “These birds live most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming. They are excellent swimmers that use their wings to stroke underwater with a flying motion. They steer with rudder-like webbed feet and can dive to depths of 200 feet, though they usually stay underwater for only 20 or 30 seconds. Puffins typically hunt small fish like herring or sand eels. In the air, puffins are surprisingly fleet flyers. By flapping their wings up to 400 times per minute they can reach speeds of 55 miles an hour.”
The puffins are also known as ‘sea parrots’ because of the color of their beaks. But their beak is orange only during spring and summer while during the winter the color fades to a drab gray. National Geographic explains about puffin breeding: “The birds often select precipitous, rocky cliff tops to build their nests, which they line with feathers or grass. Females lay a single egg, and both parents take turns incubating it. When a chick hatches, its parents take turns feeding it by carrying small fish back to the nest in their relatively spacious bills. Puffin couples often reunite at the same burrow site each year. It is unclear how these birds navigate back to their home grounds. They may use visual reference points, smells, sounds, the Earth’s magnetic fields—or perhaps even the stars.”
Almost 60% of the Atlantic Puffin population come to Iceland for breeding and you can see them almost all around Iceland. Famous mostly for whale watching, Húsavík is offering also puffin watching tours. Those tours are operated by Gentle Giants and Whale Watching Húsavík and can be also combined with whale watching tours.
We recommend you those tours:
This Puffins Exclusive express tour will take you to Puffin Island (Lundey) on a RIB boat to see one of the largest puffin colonies in Iceland. This island is only 4,5 nautical miles from Húsavík harbor and with the fast RIBs, you will get there in only a few minutes.
Puffin Island reaches 34 m above sea level and is around 200 m in length and 100 m wide. During the breeding season, thousands of puffins can be found there, close to the rich feeding grounds in the sea around. The island is privately owned by farmers nearby, so you won step on Iceland but the captain will take you as close as possible for a better look. On this tour, you will get the possibility to encounter the “Clowns of the Ocean” close-up.
Those puffin exclusive tours are made upon request. Not recommended for children under 7 years or < 130 cm in height. Not allowed for people with heart- or back problems or pregnant women. A minimum number of six adults required in a standard tour, or you can rent a boat for a private trip. This tour does not include pick-up so you have to be at the meeting point on time for departure. Meeting point: Gentle Giants Ticket Center, Hafnarstétt, Húsavík.
The price for this tour is 8,990 isk.
You can combine a puffin watching with a whale watching tour on a Big Whale Safari & Puffins tour. This tour is operated with speedboats that can cover a larger area in search of wildlife. Húsavík is known for having a 100% success rate of whale watching tours so if you combine it with a visit to Puffin island you will have an unforgettable day!
The tour is 2,5 hours and you will get to see big whales and puffins as the tour includes a stop on Puffin Island. Because wildlife in the bay is the most abundant during the summer months, you will also see other species of whales and birds.
The tour on RIB speedboats is not allowed for passengers with heart- or back problems or pregnant women. Not recommended for children under 7 years or < 130 cm in height.
Prices for this tour are 18 990 isk for adults (13+ years old) and 12 900 isk for children (7-12 years old).
Another puffin-watching tour operated by Gentle Giants from Húsavík will take you to Flatey Island. You will experience the beautiful surroundings of Skjálfandi Bay on board RIB speedboats. Flatey Island is a natural haven for birdlife and is extremely rich and diverse. It, therefore, attracts many people each year. The island offers more than 30 different species of birds during the breeding season. The island is home to the arctic tern and puffins, which you may watch up close. This is a unique opportunity to commune with nature.
This tour is 5-hour long and it is not recommended for children under 7 years old or 130 cm in height. Also, the tour on RIB speedboats is not allowed for passengers with heart or back problems or for pregnant women.
A minimum number of four paying adults is required for the Puffin watching on Flatey Island. If the minimum number is not reached, the operator reserves the right to change or cancel departures, even with short notice. In such cases, customers are offered alternative options or a full refund.
Pick-up is not available for this tour so you will have to be at the meeting point on time for departure: Gentle Giants Ticket Center, Hafnarstétt, Húsavík.
Prices for this tour are 29 900 isk for adults (13+ years old) and 13 900 isk for children (7-12 years old).
Húsavík Original Whale Watching and Puffins
Whale Watching Húsavík offers some amazing combo tours with whale watching and puffin watching.
Combine an unforgettable whale watching tour with a visit to Puffin Iceland. This is a 3,5-hour tour on one of the traditional oak boats where you can discover the magnificent nature of Skjálfandi bay observing whales, dolphins, and puffins along with other sea birds in their natural habitat. Enjoy the smooth, safe sailing of a traditional Icelandic oak ship and treat yourself to a cup of hot cocoa and traditional Icelandic scones.
Pick-up is not available for this tour so make sure you will be on time for departure at the meeting point: Whale Watching Centre – Ticket Office, Hafnarstétt 9, Húsavík, 640. Tour starts at the harbor in Húsavík. Our ticket office is located above the harbor across the street from the church.
This tour includes warm overalls, raincoats, hats, gloves and blankets, hot chocolate and cinnamon buns, a professional guide, English guidance.
This tour is perfect for a family activity, is a 3-hour long tour and prices are: 12 990 isk for adults (16+ years old) and 4 400 isk for children (7-15 years old). For kids under 6 years old the tour is free.
If you are visiting Húsavík during summer, you have to choose such an exciting experience of Puffin watching or combine it with whale watching for a full day of adventures in Northern Iceland.