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Puffin Paradise: Discover the Best Places to See Puffins in Iceland's Westfjords

The Westfjords of Iceland is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to witness the fascinating spectacle of puffins in their natural habitat. If you're a nature lover or a birdwatching enthusiast, you won't want to miss out on the opportunity to see these charming little birds.

Puffins are unique seabirds that belong to the family Alcidae, which also includes auklets, guillemots, and murres. These birds are distinguished by their colorful beaks and are known for their clumsy, waddling gait on land. Puffins have black and white plumage, with bright orange feet and a distinctive triangular beak. They spend most of their life at sea but during the breeding season, they come to land to nest in large colonies on cliffs and steep hillsides. Puffins have an average lifespan of 20 years, and they typically mate for life.

The Westfjords region is home to several good spots to see puffins, including three impressive bird cliffs: Látrabjarg, Hornbjarg, and Hælavíkurbjarg.

Látrabjarg, located on the westernmost point of the Westfjords, is the most famous of the three cliffs. It is the largest bird cliff in Europe and is home to millions of seabirds, including puffins. The area is accessible by car during the summer months, making it a popular destination for tourists and birdwatchers alike. The 14 km long cliff offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding coastline, and you may also spot other bird species such as razorbills, guillemots, and kittiwakes.

Hornstrandir is another fantastic location to see puffins up close, and it can be accessed by boat from the town of Isafjordur. Two bird cliffs, Hornbjarg and Hælavíkurbjarg, are located by Hornvík in the Hornstrandir nature reserve. Hornbjarg is a towering cliff rising to 534 meters above sea level, and Hælavíkurbjarg is slightly smaller but equally impressive. During summer months, scheduled tours go from Ísafjörður to Hornstrandir, so make sure to check the boat schedules from Borea Adventures and Sjóferðir.

In addition, the island of Vigur is also a great place to see puffins. This small island is home to a large puffin colony and is accessible by boat from Isafjordur. Book a tour to Vigur.

No matter which location you choose, seeing puffins in the Westfjords is an unforgettable experience. The time to see them is during the summer months, from May to August. During this period, the puffins are nesting and rearing their chicks, making it the perfect time to observe their behavior. If you're lucky, you might even witness the adorable sight of puffins carrying fish in their beaks to feed their young.

In conclusion, the Westfjords of Iceland is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature and wildlife. The three bird cliffs, Látrabjarg, Hornbjarg, and Hælavíkurbjarg, offer some of the best opportunities to see puffins up close and personal. Plan your trip between May and August, and don't forget to bring your camera and binoculars.