Birding Southwest Iceland Tour

Birding Southwest Iceland Tour

If you are interested in Birding Southwest Iceland Tour, come and join us at Kaiyote Tours!

Southwest Iceland, Land of Fire and Ice

Iceland really is a magical and mystical place. The natural geological wonders, landscapes, birds and ocean life are unforgettable!

Please join us! You will see and experience amazing waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, fantastic birding, eating at the finest restaurants in Reykjavik, walking the incredible landscape of this amazing island, soaking in natural thermal hot springs, sleeping at great hotels, snuggling in cozy cabins, Nordic shopping, Icelandic horses and charming Vikings!

We start out this 10-day trip in Reykjavik. This is a great area for birding, walking the coastal route, art and culture. The next five days we will be taking a road trip along the Southwest coast. This area has amazing waterfalls, a stunning coastline and great hiking trails. We will spend our last 2-days on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Printable Bird List
(This is a checklist of birds that we have seen in the month of May)

  • Travel Dates:  May 11 - 20, every year, dates don't change. 2022 = 6 spots left
  • Group Size:  6 Travelers plus guides
  • Trip Length: 10 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $4,150 (based on double occupancy)
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, park entrance fees and basic travel insurance.
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance.
  • Adventure level:  Easy, please check "Welcome" page for definition

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the “Icelandic Bird Guide: Appearance, Way of Life, Habitat” by Johann Oli Hilmarsson.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds of Iceland.

Map of the travel route here:  Southwest Iceland (opens new page)

For recent photos click here:  Newsletter Archives (opens new page)

More photos can be found here:  Photo Gallery (opens new page)

Basic Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrive in Reykjavik
Flights are usually overnight with early morning at the Keflavik International Airport (KEF).  It is a 45-minute shuttle ride to Reykjavik from the airport. There are many great and interesting lodging places in downtown Reykjavik... we have many favorites. Breakfast is a traditional Icelandic offering of fish, cheese, meats, breads, cereals, etc. Activities for the day depend on your arrival time. Common birds we see in the city are:  Redwing, European Blackbird, Raven, Black-headed Gull, Whooping Swan, Greylag Goose, Arctic Tern and Common Snipe.

Day 2:  Reykjavik 
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is rich in maritime history and close to numerous geological wonders. Options for today are hiking along the peninsula, birding and checking out the shops and museums of Reykjavik. In the harbor and along the peninsula birds we easily see:  Common Redshank, Northern Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Great Cormorant, Common Eider, Long Tailed Duck and of course, Puffins! 

Day 3:  Flúðir
Today we will be visiting Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss and Geysir; known as the “Golden Circle”. This area is crowded, but a must see because the waterfalls and scenery spectacular.  There is also a lot of great hiking in these areas and amazing rivers and geysers. This area is where a lot of Icelandic Horses graze and horseback riding is an option, but not included in the tour price.  Just outside of Geysir are the Haukadalur woods, which is one of the largest forests in southern Iceland. We will be visiting this forest for birding and walking. From here it is a short and wonderful drive to the town of Flúðir where will be staying at the Flúðir Hotel. The Flúðir has a very nice hot springs tub garden. Dinner will be at the hotel.

Day 4:  Vestmannaeyjar Island
It is a beautiful drive from Flúðir to the stunning waterfall named Seljalandsfoss and many stops and birds to see. This is one of the most beautiful areas in Iceland. We will visit Seljalandsfoss, which has a trail that goes behind the falls.  In the late afternoon, we will be taking a 30-minute ferry ride to Vestmannaeyjar and staying on Heimaey Island.  This area is one of the best birding spots in southern Iceland and here is where we will see lots of puffins and other seabirds.   

Day 5:  Vestmannaeyjar Island
Heimaey Island is part of the Vestmannaeyjar Island group of islands and a very special place.  We will have a full day for birding and for walking and watching birds on Heimaey Island.  In 1973, there was a volcanic eruption on the island and nearly half the town was destroyed. 

Day 6:  Kálfafell
In the morning we will be taking the ferry back to the mainland and then it is a 2.5-hour drive to a small village called Kálfafell.  We will be spending the day wandering and exploring the Southwest coast. There are amazing cliffs and rocks along this southern coast. We will visit the Skógar waterfall and museum. This area also has beautiful sand beaches where Puffins and Oystercatchers can be seen in the coves.  It is a short walk to get close to the Sólheimajökull Glacier.  We will spend 2-nights in the Kálfafell area.

Day 7:  Kálfafell
About a 1.5-hour drive from Kálfafell is the amazing Glacier Lagoon, where small icebergs break from the glacier and float out to sea.  There will be a stop at the Skaftafell Nature Preserve for birding and sightseeing.  

Day 8:  Reykjanes Peninsula
From Kálfafell it is a 4-hour drive back to the Reykjanes Peninsula and we will make numerous stops along the way for birding and sightseeing.  There will be a stop at Lake Hafravatn, which is a good area for Whooper Swans and Rock Ptarmigans. The Hengill geo-thermal power plant, which is open to the public, is a good place to witness geo-thermal energy at work.  On the Reykjanes Peninsula we will be staying at an area that is close to the coast and ponds for excellent birding.  Here we will easily find Rock Ptarmigans. 

Day 9:  Reykjanes Peninsula 
In the morning we will be visiting the wonderful and amazing thermal pool called the Blue Lagoon for a swim and a soak. We will be staying at the edge of the Reykjanes Peninsula which is an excellent birding location with numerous geological sites. Reykjanesfólkvangur is a large nature preserve to protect flora, fauna and geological areas.

Day 10:  Fly Home 
Flights usually leave in the late afternoon, so we will have time in the morning for birding and hiking.  Our place of lodging is about 15 minutes from the airport.

Please note:  The lodging described in this itinerary is always our first choice based on availability. Details of this trip are a little vague as it is VERY flexible. Destinations throughout the trip are based on the desires, ability and goals of the group.