Information about Látrabjarg

Puffins call Latrabjarg in the Westfjords home.

The Látrabjarg cliffs in the Westfjords mark both the westernmost point of Iceland and Europe. Hosting millions of birds, it is Europe’s largest bird cliff, 14 km (9 mi) long and 441 (1,444 ft) high.

It takes around six hours to reach Látrabjarg from Reykjavík, so it is recommended that visitors travel there as part of a wider trip around the beautiful Westfjords.

Birdwatching at Látrabjarg

Látrabjarg is home to a wide variety of birds, in large parts thanks to the shelter and seclusion the cliffs provide as nesting grounds. 

It is not only the variation of species that makes Látrabjarg such an awe-inspiring place and undoubtedly one of the world’s best birdwatching locations; the sheer volume of individuals is staggering, with some estimating over five million nesting here in summer.

The main species are Skuas, Arctic Terns, Guillemots, Eider Ducks and Razorbills. Of course, however, the stars of the show are the Atlantic Puffins.

A puffin in Iceland in summer looking out to sea.

At least a million puffins nest here, often very near to the top of the cliff. As they are protected here, they have very little fear of people, and will let them within feet for some great photo opportunities.

You should not, however, get too close to puffins for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they nest on sheer cliff faces, so a slip could send you falling. Secondly, puffins burrow rather than nest, making the surface of the cliff edge even more unstable; even if you caught yourself before tumbling, you could still crush an egg or a chick. Thirdly, puffins are socially aware animals, and if one flies off in a panic, it is common for all others to follow, spoiling the moment for everyone and putting chicks and eggs at risk.

Be aware the puffins can only be found at Látrabjarg from May until late August.

The Rescue at Látrabjarg

In 1947 Látrabjarg was the site of a famous act of heroism, in the form of a dramatic rescue. The British trawler Dhoon capsized, like so many other boats have, beneath Látrabjarg. Only twelve of its crew members survived the tumultuous, rocky ocean, pulling themselves up at the base of the cliffs.

They would have no doubt died of hypothermia, if not for the fact that they were seen by local farmers. Though 190 metres (632 feet) above them, with time of the essence, the farmers knew exactly what to do.

For generations, Icelanders had scaled down the cliffs of Látrabjarg on ropes to collect eggs and feathers, a practice that continues to this day. The farmers, therefore, put their harnesses on, scaled down, and pulled all twelve sailors to safety.

 

Services near Látrabjarg

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Látrabjarg

Breiðavík

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by: Jóna Þórunn. Breiðavík is a beach in the Westfjords, near the very popu...

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Patreksfjörður

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Emstrur Located in the Westfjords of Iceland, Patreksfjörður is a charming village of approximately ...

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Rauðasandur

Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Photo Credit: Evgeniy Metyolkin Rauðasandur is a beach in the Westfjords, famous for having red and golden rath...

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Rauðisandur Beach

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit:  Nojhan.  Rauðisandur (Red Sands) is a 10-kilometre red sand beach found in the south of Icel...

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Tálknafjörður

Between Patreksfjörður and Bíldudalur is the village of Tálknafjörður, in the southern region of the Westfjords. Despi...

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Bíldudalur

Surrounded by layered, flat top mountains, Bíldudalur is an attractive fishing village settled on the fjord, Arnarfjörður. This fjord-...

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Arnarfjörður

Arnarfjordur is the second-largest fjord of the Wesfjords and is known as one of the most beautiful of the fjords, due to its diverse landscape, majes...

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Hrafnseyri

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by TommyBee Hrafnseyri is an old town in the Westfjords that dates back to the Settlement Era and has link...

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Kirkjubólsdalur

Kirkjubolsdalur is a valley in the Westfjords. The river Kirkjubolsa runs through the valley. The valley  is a good hiking or biking trail, as i...

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Þingeyri

Þingeyri is a village in the Westfjords of Iceland, found coastally on the Dýrafjörður fjord. Þingeyri has a populati...

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Dýrafjörður

  Dyrafjordur is one of the fjords comprising the Westfjords and is situated between the fjords Arnarfjordur and Onundarfjordur. Dyrafjordur b...

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Breiðafjörður

Breiðafjörður is a nature reserve and bay between the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords in west Iceland. Geography of Bre...

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Dynjandi

Dynjandi (meaning ‘Thunderous’) is a series of waterfalls in the Westfjords and the largest of its kind in the region. Dynjandi is parti...

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Öskjuvatn

  Oskjuvatn is a large crater lake in the Askja caldera in the Dyngjufjoll mountains, north of Vatnajokull glacier. Oskjuvatn is Iceland's s...

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Hellissandur

Photo above from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Chensiyuan Hellissandur is a village dating back to the 16th Century, found on the northwesternmost ...

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Skarðsvík Beach

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Ulrich Latzenhofer.  A golden sandy beach found on the northwestern tip of the Snæfellsnes P...

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Flatey

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Kolbrún Ragna. Flatey ('Flat Island') is just one of the thousands of islands that dot Brei&...

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Flateyri

Flateyri is the largest settlement in the 2km deep fjord, Önundarfjörður, in the Westfjords, Iceland. It's populations is still...

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Saxhóll

 Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Diego Delso.  Saxhóll is one of the most popular craters on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, f...

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Ólafsvík

Olafsvik is a fishing town of just over a 1000 people, located on the west side of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.  Economy and services Olafsvik h...

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