Birding Vestmannaeyjar Islands

Birding Vestmannaeyjar Islands

If you are interested in Birding the Vestmannaeyjar Islands, come and join us at Kaiyote Tours!

Vestmannaeyjar Islands, Iceland

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!

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

  • Travel Dates: May 8 - 19, 2023
  • Group Size:  6 travelers plus guides
  • Trip Length: 12 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $5,350 (based on double occupancy)
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, entrance fees, and Allianz 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:  Vestmannaeyjar Islands (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, we will spend 2-nights in the city.  First stop after leaving the airport is for a traditional Icelandic breakfast offering of fish, cheese, vegetables, meats, breads, cereals, etc. Activities for the day depend on your arrival time. We will spend the morning birding in the Keflavik area. Birds:  Redwing, European Blackbird, Common Raven, Black-headed Gull, Whooper 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, Tufted Duck, Common Snipe, Common Eider, Long Tailed Duck, and Brent Goose.  And in the evening, a stand-up comic show at the beautiful Harpa Performing Arts Center:  "How to become Icelandic is 60 minutes". 

Day 3:  Vestmannaeyjar Islands
It is a beautiful 2-hour drive from Reykjavik to the port of Landeyjahöfn, where we will be taking a 30-minute ferry ride to Heimaey Island.  This ferry ride offers great views of the islands and pelagic bird sightings. The Vestmannaeyjar Islands are one of the best birding spots in southern Iceland and here is where we will see lots of Atlantic Puffins, Manx Shearwater, and other seabirds.   We will spend 3-nights on the island. 

Day 4:  Heimaey Island
Heimaey Island is part of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands and is 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.  There is a great museum here that documents the eruption. 

Day 5:  Heimaey Island
Another full day to visit puffin colonies and explore the volcano and hiking trails. 

Day 6:  Kirkjubæjarklaustur
In the morning we will be taking the ferry back to the mainland and then it is a 2-hour drive to a small village called Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where we will spend 2-nights. We will be spending the day wandering and exploring the Southwest coast. We will visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which has a trail that goes behind the falls. 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 Eurasian Oystercatchers and Black-tailed Godwits can be seen in the coves and along the beaches. And it is a short walk to get close to the Sólheimajökull Glacier.

Day 7:  Kirkjubæjarklaustur
From our hotel in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, it is a 1.5 hour drive to Jökulsárlón: The Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach.  This area of Iceland has the largest glaciers on the island.  There will be short walks to view glaciers, waterfalls, forests, birds, and see the icebergs floating in the bay. 

Day 8:  Hveragerði
From Kirkjubæjarklaustur it is a 3-hour drive to Hveragerði, where we will spend 2-nights. Hveragerði is a geological and birding hot spot, an amazing area to visit and there are plenty of Icelandic horses here as well.  

Day 9:  Hveragerði
Just on the other side of the mountain is the Hengill geo-thermal power plant, which is open to the public, and is a good place to witness geo-thermal energy at work. Hveragerði is an area where very hot water is flowing out of the ground and mixing with the very cold river.  A beautiful 2-mile hike will get you to this area and "swimming" in the river is an option, and an additional mile will get you to the Djúpagilsfoss Waterfall.  There is great birding close to the hotel.  On this day there is an option to ride an Icelandic horse. 

Day 10:  Sandgerði
From Hveragerði we will travel to the Reykjanes Peninsula, via the "Golden Circle", for our last 2-nights.  This area is great for birds and geological sites. 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, Great Black-backed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Northern Gannets, Glaucous Gulls, and sometimes Icelandic Gulls. 

Day 11:  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 12:  Fly Home 
Flights usually leave in the late afternoon, so we will have time in the morning for birding and exploring.  Our place of lodging is about 15 minutes from the airport.  There will be time in the morning for birding.