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Puffin watching from Ingólfshöfði

Ingólfshöfði cape is a small, isolated island located between Skaftafell and Jökulsarlón, and during the summer it is home to a lot of seabird species (including Puffins) that come to Iceland for the breeding season. The species of birds for which Ingólfshöfði cape is home during summer are the common murre, razorbill, puffins, fulmar, and many other species.

Ingólfshöfði cape has also historical significance. One of the first settlers of Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarsson stayed there on his first winter after moving to Iceland around 874-875 A.D. The name of the cape, Ingólfshöfði, was given after his name. 

The Ingólfshöfði cape is not reachable by car as the terrain is not stable and even a 4×4 car wouldn’t reach it. To get there you can do it only on guided tours as for those tours you will be carried there with a tractor.

The tours are run by a local family. The drive from the meeting point is about 6km over waters, marshes, and sands then you have to hike about one hour and a half to get to the cape. The path is steep at the beginning and as you hike further you will get through rocky terrain, and at the top, you will hike through grass fields. If you are not used to hiking we do not recommend you to go on this tour. 

The tours to Ingólfshöfði have been conducted by the family in Hofsnes since 1991 when the farmer Sigurður Bjarnason had given up traditional sheep farming and had time to try new ways to make a living on his farm. His son Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson started to help his father soon, and then Einar’s wife, Matthildur Þorsteinsdóttir, and their oldest son Aron Franklín. Today the trip is normally done by Einar or Matthildur (Matta) or by one of their neighbors Guðný or Palli or Brynja from the nearby farms.

The Ingólfshöfði cape is 76 meters tall and because of its geographical position near the ocean, the weather is sometimes harsh with rain and strong winds, and even sandstorms. Therefore, you have to dress accordingly for any kind of weather when you go on a puffin-watching tour on Ingólfshöfði cape.


For Puffin watching on Ingólfshöfði cape, we recommend you one of the tours run by the locals:

The Puffin tour includes: A ride on a tractor-drawn hay cart to the base of the cape, and then guided 2-3 km walk to learn history, enjoy the views and nature, and see the birds.

Important notice about the tour: in all trips to Ingólfshöfði guides recommend being careful not to disturb the birds for a long time and to make sure that the birds can continue to tend to their chicks or eggs, you won’t spend a long time close to their nests. It is easy to forget the time when you are making beautiful photographs, so you are asked for good cooperation. The rule that local guides use is that all the photographers stay in view of their guide the whole time, and when they ask the group to move from one side of the cape to the other, everyone listens to them. In the earlier part of the summer, there are about 150 pairs of great skuas and several pairs of great black-backed gulls nesting on the cape, and they need to keep their eggs warm (or their small chicks) so it is not good to stay too long in one place if there are nests nearby.

Note! If you are traveling with children younger than 4 years old you can still do the trip if the weather is OK, but we recommend not to book in advance since the local guides will run the tour in any kind of weather. Just book when you see that the weather forecast is OK for the day you want to go. The same goes if you are quite old or fragile, and not equipped for heavy rain and cold conditions.

The tour price is 9 500 isk. 


The Ingólfshöfði Photo Tour is for photographers. The tour includes a ride with the tractor-pulled haycart to the cape and guidance around the cape to the best photo locations. Therefore, the local guides offer special departures for photographers at 6:45 in the morning in June/July/August 1-2 times a week. The maximum number of people on each trip is 12 persons. They concentrate on photography on this trip, so they don´t spend any time on history and normal sightseeing like on the Ingólfshöfði Puffin Watching Tour. 

The minimum age for this tour is 13 years old and the tour will last about three and a half hours. The price for the tour is 22 500 isk. 

As well as for the Ingólfshöfði Puffin Watching Tour, you have to keep in mind that in all trips to Ingólfshöfði guides recommend being careful not to disturb the birds for a long time and to make sure that the birds can continue to tend to their chicks or eggs, you won’t spend a long time close to their nests. It is easy to forget the time when you are making beautiful photographs, so you are asked for good cooperation. The rule that local guides use is that all the photographers stay in view of their guide the whole time, and when they ask the group to move from one side of the cape to the other, everyone listens to them. In the earlier part of the summer, there are about 150 pairs of great skuas and several pairs of great black-backed gulls nesting on the cape, and they need to keep their eggs warm (or their small chicks) so it is not good to stay too long in one place if there are nests nearby.

We recommend not to book in advance since the local guides will run the tour in any kind of weather. Just book when you see that the weather forecast is OK for the day you want to go. If you are quite old or fragile, and not equipped for heavy rain and cold conditions we do not recommend you to go on this tour. 


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