In our Iceland adventure, the southern coast started to look more barren and wild (to our joy!), filled with dormant volcanoes and ancient lava fields.
Therefore, on the road to Vík, a dwelling with no more than 15000 inhabitants, we took a right next to a few volcanoes to reach the coastline of the Dyrhólaey peninsula. This penisula is known due to its volcanic origin, but moreso due to its puffin colonies which blossomed after the area was declared a nature reserve in 1978.
You’ll notice the mesmerizing black sand beaches all around you and a few tens of meters away from the mainland a huddle of basaltic columns. They are said to be two trolls who where trying to drag ashore a sinking ship during a stormy night, but were turned to stone by the first rays of the sun during the early morning. You can actually see these trolls from the city of Vík itself.
The main attraction however, are the puffins! You must be very careful and maintain the distance without disturbing their habitat. You can only see the puffins in significant numbers in this area from April until September. I have really fond memories of these beautiful birds, I really wanted to see them and the experience was really exciting.
The weather wasn’t great that day, we had a strong, cold, blistering wind which could topple you over and would freeze your fingers on the camera. However, because we don’t have puffins in our home country, we endured all that nature could throw at us and enjoyed watching these extraordinary birds for at least an hour.
I was later surprised to see a Gordon Ramsay video about cooking with puffins. Don’t be surprised if you’ll see that some restaurants serve puffin meat. It’s considered to be a delicacy, but we do not encourage it.
How to get to the puffins
From the Ring Road towards Vík, turn right on road 218 and drive all the way to the end in the parking lot. On the map it’s marked as Kirkjufjara Beach and is the best spot to observe puffin colonies. We intended to buy a tour in Reykjavik, but this saved us some 180 EUR as we saw them for free.