Only about a half-mile off Reykjavik in the Kollafjordur fjord is Akurey Island (Puffin Island). This site is known for housing the largest puffin colony of the fjord’s six islands, and also features cormorants, black guillemots, eider ducks, seagulls, kittiwakes, arctic terns, and Northern fulmars. The little puffin birds nest on the island in the burrows they dig for safety and warmth, and tourists flock to the nearby area to catch a glimpse. The puffins nest in the same site to breed year after year, laying a single egg in late April or early May and then feeding the fledgling for a month or two before deserting the nest.
Akurey is uninhabited, which is why it has become such an important place for nesting seabirds, despite how close it is to downtown Reykjavík. Most puffin watching tours depart from Reykjavik's Old Harbor; look for the Ægisgarður pier. Special tours dedicated to seeing the puffins in their natural habitat cruise by Lundey island as well, and have an expert guide on board to narrate interesting facts about the native bird life.
Bring your zoom lens for great puffin photos.Dress warmly, it's chilly on the water even in the Icelandic summer.Many whale-watching boats pause at Akurey to see the puffins and their nesting burrows from on board.
How to Get There
Akurey is only accessible via boat; visits to the island are often combined with whale-watching cruises in modern seagoing vessels, RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), or replicas of traditional Icelandic sailboats.
When to Get There
Atlantic puffins spend most of their lives at sea but come to land to breed and nest in Iceland between early April and September every year.
Puffin Spotting and Whale Watching
Aside from the ‘puffin express' tours that focus just on the black and white birds, many other tours combine a stop at Puffin Island with a whale-watching excursion. During the same season (April through October), minke, blue, orca, and humpback whales can be seen in abundance.