Traveling to Iceland during the summer months means one thing: Puffin season! After already getting a glimpse of these adorable orange-beaked birds at Dyrhólaey, I was even more thrilled about making the side trip to Borgarfjörður Eystri to get a closer look (without the risk of tumbling over a cliffs edge!) Driving about 70 km east of Iceland’s bigger town Egilsstaðir we finally reached the Borgarfjörður region.
Borgarfjörður eystri is a short, wide fjord known for its large colonies of Atlantic puffins, extensive hiking trails and natural beauty. Home to about 130 people the small, picturesque seaside village of Bakkagerði is one of the most unique and beautiful villages in Iceland.
Borgarfjörður eystri is beautifully surrounded by an imposing 10-15 million year old mountain range known to be some of the oldest in Iceland and form the second largest area of the rock rhyolite in the country.
The region is also the most northernly fjord in the Eastern Fjord region and due to the location can be quite windy which we experienced ourselves while we were walking around town and viewing the puffins.
As we drove into the village of Borgarfjörður eystri we first passed by the old harbour, which was just as small and quaint as you would expect an authentic Icelandic fishing village to be. We stopped to take some pictures of the colorful fishing boats that lined the harbour and were docked ashore.
The high cliffs rising out of the sea were dotted with hundreds, maybe even thousands of puffins that we could view from as close as two meters!
Borgarfjörður eystri isn’t just home to a large puffin colony but is also famous for having some of the best organised hiking paths in Iceland. There is a network of well marked hiking trails that are accessible for all types of hikers, whether experienced or beginner.
Some 27 day hiking routes can be accessed from within the village and even have well established facilities for outdoor enthusiasts to rest along the way.
Tips for Visiting Borgarfjörður eystri:
- Borgarfjörður eystri is located along Iceland’s eastern coast near Egilsstagir and is easy to find on your GPS
- The roads do twist and turn quite a bit but driving there is completely safe. I do recommend a reliable vehicle, as a 4WD is usually best when traveling around Iceland.
- There are about 60 steps to the top of the viewing platform, but you don’t even need to climb to the top to see the puffins.
- There is no fee to go to the viewing platform to see the puffins.
- Near the harbour there is a small cafe where you can grab a quick bite to eat or drink.
- The area is also known for many hiking trails so be sure to check that out if you are staying in town longer than a few hours!