Atlantic puffins in Iceland

Ingólfshöfði (a difficult name to pronounce) is the destination not to be missed for bird lovers.

Ingólfshöfði, an Icelandic toponym literally meaning "Ingólfur's residence", is a cape of Iceland measuring 75-meter-high and is an ancient island of the Atlantic Ocean. The site is the supposed place of the first berthing of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first permanent settler of Iceland, in the 9th century.

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Why go to Ingólfshöfði?

I must admit that I love history but what I love the most is birds: Ingólfshöfði is a wonderful natural reserve where many birds nest, including the largest colony of great skua, but also puffins, black-legged kittiwake and northern fulmar.

Ingólfshöfði, a Puffin Paradise Near Skaftafell !

How to get to Ingólfshöfði?

Just a 30 minute drive away from Skaftafell National Park (find my article on Skaftafell here), Ingólfshöfði is only accessible by car (yes, there is no bus yet!) - for a car rental click here.

After you leave Skaftafell nature reserve, continue on the ring road (road n°1) towards Höfn and turn on the well identified road "Ingólfshöfði". In the other direction, from Jökulsárlón or Höfn, take the ring road to Reykjavík / Vík then turn left to "Ingólfshöfði" (in both directions, signs with puffins are clearly visible, which obviously helps!). Link to google maps.

Ingólfshöfði is only accessible by booking a tour with a guide. The visit lasts about 2h30. Book in advance, tours are limited to 40 people to preserve the island. More information click here.

Visiting Ingólfshöfði

The cape is only accessible at low tide crossing the eastern end of Skeiðarársandur... this is the epic part of the tour: a tractor ride!

Ingólfshöfði, a Puffin Paradise Near Skaftafell !

The crossing takes about 30 minutes before reaching the cape.

There, on the cape, there is a real ballet of birds. To be sure to see a maximum of birds, and especially puffins, you will have to try to go there preferably on a rainy day, the puffins love the rain and go to sea on sunny days.

Ingólfshöfði, a Puffin Paradise Near Skaftafell !

The guide will warn you but... beware of your head, the great skuas are quite aggressive (of course, we are walking on their territory!) 

Just walk on the path with your hand or a hiking pole (or a stick) over your head and stay with the group.

Ingólfshöfði, a Puffin Paradise Near Skaftafell !

Few tips to remember!

- Do not forget to book your visit, especially in July and August!

- Prefer a rainy weather without much wind: when it's sunny and hot, the birds are at sea and when it's windy, they take shelter in the cliffs). The weather is quite capricious in Iceland...

- Do not forget to take warm, windproof and waterproof clothes: the guide will take you to the cape by tractor and the trip will last 30 minutes (so 1 hour return trip). Remember that you can possibly be rained on!

- There is no restaurant or accommodation near Ingólfshöfði, bring snacks and water with you, as the visit takes 2.5 hours.

- Do not book if you can not walk for more than 2 hours! The walk is easy but you have to go up and down a dune of black sand.

Have a nice trip / Góða ferð!

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