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Animals + wildlife in Iceland | Where and When to find them

When you’re coming to Iceland, chances are the animals in the wildlife are not going to be exactly your primary focus, but I mean, who can resist those adorable puffins or the Icelandic horse?!

Hey, team Iceland. My name is Jeannie, and you are in the right place if you need any information about your Iceland trip planning because I am your tour guide. Today, I want to talk to you about the animals and the wildlife that you can find throughout Iceland, so that you can make sure when is the best time to see them, where they can be found, and what kind of animals are in Iceland in the first place. If this is your first time on my channel, then go ahead and hit that subscribe button because every week, I give out brand new Iceland videos filled with tips and tricks and awesome facts for the Iceland planner such as yourself. Let’s get into it.

Icelandic Horse

First up is obviously, the Icelandic horse. Now, the Icelandic horse has been a very big part of the Icelandic tradition for many, many years. It’s been used from everything from like farm work to horse shows and just general riding pleasure. You’re going to be able to see the Icelandic horse a lot of places around Iceland, and chances are you’re going to see them everywhere.

One thing to know is that all of the horses in Iceland are owned by someone, so there aren’t any wild horses in Iceland. With that being said, always be really, really respectful for taking photos and petting the animals and things like that because I would say that not all horse owners would want you just coming up to their friends and petting the horse, so always be respectful in those situations. My recommendation if you do want to see, touch, feed, and take a photo with an Icelandic horse is to book yourself a tour, so they can make sure to get all of the photos and petting in that you would like.

Where to see Puffins

Next up is going to be the puffins, a.k.a. the cutest bird that you’ve ever seen. I know that a lot of people are wanting to see the puffins in Iceland with very good reason, so I have a fun fact for you. Did you know that the puffin is monogamous? It makes my heart so happy to hear this. As if they weren’t awesome enough already, now, they just like love one other bird for the rest of their life. Huh, awesome. The puffins start arriving in Iceland anywhere between April and May, but the best time to see puffins is between June until August. You can find these beautiful birds all along the cliffside of Iceland, which is pretty much the whole island. Places that you can find them most concentrated are going to be in Vestmannaeyjar, Borgarfjörður Eystri, and Látrabjarg cliffs in the West Fjords.

Whale Watching in Iceland

A common activity that people want to do when they’re traveling to Iceland is whale-watching, so the most common whales that you’ll find around Iceland are the minke whale and the humpback whale. The best whale season is from April until October with the peak prime whale watching season being between June until August. If you want to see whales, I highly, highly recommend booking a tour because it is possible sometimes to see them from the shore, but if you really want to get a full experience and even up close and personal to some whales, then you’re going to want to book a tour. The best places to experience the whale watching culture is number one in Húsavík. Húsavík is the whale watching capital of Iceland, so it’s not too far off the main road, and it is hands-down the best place to do whale watching. Other main places that run whale watching tours are out of Reykjavik, Dalvik, and Akureyri.

Arctic Fox

Up next is the Arctic fox. The Arctic fox is actually the only native mammal in Iceland, and these little creatures are also quite adorable but the only thing is they don’t really like people, so it’s pretty difficult to spot them. However, you could see them pretty much year-round if you’re in the right place at the right time, and then they’re not too afraid and running away from you. However, easy spots that you can see them is in the West Fjords especially in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and also in Thórsmörk, I’ve seen quite a few of them running around near the volcano huts. You can also spot seals at different places around Iceland. Seals can be found year-round but of course, the most common places to see them are Jökulsárlón, the Vatnsnes Peninsula, and also Hvammstangi has a whole seal museum, so that’s a very popular area in North Iceland to be able to see the seals, and then also learn all about them.

Reindeer

I don’t know about you, but I am personally with reindeer. They’re like a regular deer 2.0. I think that they’re so cool with their big beautiful bodies and their antlers, and I just think that they’re a really cool animal. This is totally Scandinavian. The reindeer actually were imported from Norway in the 1900s, so this is not a native animal, but they can be found in different parts of Iceland. It’s also quite difficult to spot the reindeer. I don’t see them all the time, but the areas that they’re most concentrated are definitely in East Iceland, and then parts of North East Iceland as well, so be on the lookout for your reindeer.

Sheep

Last, but certainly not least, is the sheep. Sheep can be found everywhere in Iceland. You are going to see them grazing along the countryside and like hiking up the cliffs and crossing the roads. You’ll just see sheep everywhere if you are traveling between May to September. Sheep are a huge part of the Icelandic culture as well, so they’re going out on the mountainside, and they’re drinking the water, and they’re eating the grass, and they’re just getting really, really healthy vitamins in their body and the sunshine and everything like that. Then, in September, the farmers round them up, and they bring them back to the farms to get slaughtered and to use the wool and everything like that, but in the meantime, between May to September, enjoy the beautiful sheep because they’re so cute, but also be very careful when you’re driving because they will be crossing the roads, and sometimes, you’re not expecting it.

That, my friends, is your Iceland animal information for the week. I hope that this helped with your trip planning and getting excited for exploring Iceland and taking all those beautiful photographs of the animals. If you like this video, make sure to give it a thumbs up, and don’t forget to hit subscribe. I will be back next week with even more helpful Iceland planning tips.

Happy planning!

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