Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: North Iceland – Mývatn Birds & Puffins in the Arctic Circle


North Iceland – Mývatn Birds & Puffins in the Arctic Circle

Highlights include…

  • Peak time for birds in Iceland
  • Puffins in the Arctic Circle
  • Grímsey Island
  • Lake Mývatn & breeding ducks
  • Opportunity to photograph birds from a hide
  • Colourful geothermal areas
  • Volcanic phenomena
  • Sunrises and sunsets in dramatic locations
  • Sigurgeir’s famous bird museum
  • Midnight sun
  • Goðafoss Waterfall
  • Fabulous spring flowers
  • Two flights across Iceland


This is a brand new two base bird trip dedicated to photographing the birds of North Iceland. After several years running bird photography tours in Mývatn area, a world renowned breeding area for ducks and otherworldly landscapes, we have decided to extend our tour to Iceland’s Arctic Circle region where we will additionally focus on the Puffins and Sea birds of Grímsey Island. This creative adventure photographing the very best of Icelandic birds starts at the end of May when the birdlife is at its most active and prolific. Migrants have arrived and all are very conspicuous defending their territories. Grímsey Island is possibly Iceland’s best location for photographing the Puffins, located right on the Arctic Circle it is magical to photograph these iconic birds lit by the midnight sun when most other folks are asleep. In Mývatn we will have the opportunity to use hides to photograph the abundant waterfowl and other species. At this time of year the striking features of both birds and Icelandic landscape are enhanced by hours of soft ambient light under the midnight sun.

Some of the birds we hope to see and photograph on this tour:
Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Kittiwake, North Atlantic Fulmar, Arctic Tern, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Harlequin Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Eurasian Wigeon, Teal, Greater Scaup, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Northern Shoveler, Long-Tail Duck, Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Phalarope, Snipe, Redshank, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Gyrfalcon, Black Tailed Godwit, Merlin, Northern Pintail, Oystercatcher, Pink-footed Goose, Raven and others.

Itinerary Reversal!

The content of the following itinerary has not changed but please note that the two locations of Lake Mývatn and Grímsey Island have now reversed in the order we visit them. We will visit Lake Mývatn first and Grímsey Island second.

Brief Itinerary

For full details please download the trip description PDF

Day 1: Flight to Akureyri

Wild Photography Holidays services commence with a flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri where we will meet and transfer you to our first night hotel. Following dinner at our hotel we will have a group meeting, introductions and a trip briefing followed by an image presentation.
Hotel Akureyri (D)

Day 2–4: To Grímsey

This morning we take the short drive to Dalvík (40 mins) to catch the morning ferry (3 hrs) to Grímsey Island, where we’ll be staying for the next three nights. This small island is the best location in Iceland for photographing the Atlantic Puffin. There are enormous numbers of these attractive and comical little birds on Grímsey. This is also a fabulous place to photograph the Razorbill and many other seabirds that nest on the cliffs, for example Kittiwake and Fulmar. Grímsey is the only place in Iceland where the Arctic Circle passes through just a few minutes walk north of our guest house. The seascapes here are fabulous too.
Guesthouse (B,L,D)

Day 5: To Mývatn

In the afternoon (14:00) we return by ferry to Dalvík and drive (approx 2 hrs) to to our comfortable cottages situated right next to Lake Mývatn, Iceland’s fourth largest lake. We may spend some time en route at one of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls Goðafoss. Mývatn is located at the edge of the volcanic zone cutting through the north of Iceland. Mývatn is famed for its birdlife both on and around the lake. In May all migrants have arrived and the birds are very conspicuous, defending their territories. In summer more species of duck have made their homes in the Mývatn region than in any other location on earth, it is a paradise for bird photographers. The River Laxá flowing from the lake is the prime habitat for harlequin and barrow’s goldeneye in Iceland; these two ducks do not breed anywhere else in Europe. Our first evening will be spent investigating some of the locations where we will photograph over the next days.
Cottages Lake Mývatn (B,L,D)

Day 6–8: Lake Mývatn

Over the next two days we will make the most of the long hours of daylight by exploring the best of what this area has to offer both in terms of birdlife and the unique landscape. The area is starkly beautiful, an otherworldly landscape of spluttering mud pots, weird lava formations, steaming fumaroles, volcanic craters, serene pools and breeding birds crazy with hormones. We always do our best to meet our guests expectations. We will concentrate on photographing birds in the landscape, sometimes from a hide.During the times when we are not out in the field our tutors will be helping you to review and process images together with showing you examples of their own work for inspiration.
Cottages Lake Mývatn (B,L,D)

Day 9: Akureyri

After a full day out in the field we will make our way to a comfortable Akureyri Hotel for a final nights celebratory dinner together.
Hotel Akureyri (B,L,D)

Day 10: Flights

This morning we will enjoy breakfast together before we transfer you the short distance to Akureyri’s domestic airport for your flight to Reykjavík.

Internal Flights 2020

We will travel on an evening flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri on Day 1. The exact flight times for 2020 haven’t been announced yet, but it will be around 18:00. In order to make the connection you will need to book your international Iceland flight to arrive no later than 13:00. However if you prefer to play it safe, you can choose to arrive the day before. We are happy to book an extra night in a city hotel for you, but this isn’t included in the trip price.

Joining Arrangements and Transfers

There will be one single transfer meeting the internal evening flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri. This flight is included in the price of the holiday. The flight departs from Reykjavík’s domestic airport around 18:00 and you will need to be at the airport at the latest 45 mins before. If you prefer to stay in Reykjavík the night before this flight, we can arrange a hotel for you, although this is not included in the price of the holiday. It is totally possible to travel from most European airports to make the internal Iceland connection in the same day. The flight to Akureyri takes around 45 minutes and departs from Reykjavík’s domestic airport which is close to the BSÍ Flybus Terminal. Return Flybus tickets are included in the price of this holiday and will be sent to you in advance of your arrival. It is important that you let the office know the times of your international flights well in advance of your arrival in Iceland. The journey into Reykjavík takes about forty five minutes. If you plan to fly through to Akureyri the same day that you arrive in Iceland, then you will need a flight that arrives in Keflavík International Airport by no later than 13:00 on Day 1. On Day 10 the group will fly back to Reykjavík after breakfast on an early morning flight from Akureyri to Reykjavík’s Domestic airport. If you wish to catch a homeward flight on this day you would be advised by ourselves to make it for the afternoon. Please contact the office for advice if there is anything that you do not understand.

Flybus Airport Transfer

The Flybus is included in the price of this holiday and it is the most convenient way to get from Iceland’s international airport to Reykjavík and back. The coach takes you to the BSÍ central bus station. There you will be directed to a smaller bus that will take you to the domestic airport.

What’s Included

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Two flights REYK-AEY-REYK
  • Flybus transfers
  • All meals
  • Transport and ferries
  • Photographic tuition
  • Transfers to and from Akureyri Airport

What’s Not Included

  • International Flights
  • Drinks and snacks extra to meals
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Insurance


We will be using a variety of accommodation. In Akureyri we will stay in a comfortable hotel surrounded by trees close to the domestic airport and fairly close to the city centre. Our accommodations outside Akureyri are chosen for their locations and proximity to great birdlife and landscapes. In Mývatn we stay in attractive 2 bedroomed or single bedroomed cottages by the lake. The single cottages are limited so enquire at the time of booking. The two bedroomed cottages are spacious with a shared bathroom, small kitchen, inside and outside sitting area. In Grímsey we stay in a large house very close to the Bird cliffs. We will have shared bathrooms.

Complete Itinerary and Full Details

This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and more details can be found in our trip description PDF
It is important that you read this full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.