The cliffs of Látrabjarg : the birds paradise

Written by Sandrine Published on 01/12/2016
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Need in the extreme west of Iceland, the Látrabjarg cliffs form an ideal ecosystem for wildlife. Each year, millions of birds find refuge and nest on the 400-metre high vertical wall, making it a privileged place to observe seabirds, and in this case the famous Puffin.

Westfords End Road

The cliffs of Látrabjarg are situated at the end of a 46 km long gravel road, but can be reached by all types of vehicles. At the bottom of the Patreksfjörður fjord, leave Highway 62 and proceed to Highway 612. The road turns into a path after a few hundred meters. After 8 km, after passing close to an old boat wreck which ran aground below, you will arrive at the crossing with the 614. This road leads to the beautiful beach of Rauðisandur​. Don't hesitate to make the detour!

Highway 612 continues for a few more kilometres along the fjord, and then forks inland. From this point, you will still have 27 km to go. The road is long with many potholes, but the landscapes revealed along the way are pleasant.

Finally, the sea reappeared. A large sandy beach with clear sand borders the small village of Breiðavík. The cliffs are still a little further away. The road leaves the beach and now takes us to the altitude. The last part is on the side of the wall, and then leads to a car park at the tip of the peninsula.

Walk along the cliffs

From the car park, panels tell beautiful stories and a path leads to the top of the cliffs. After a short walk of a few minutes, we finally arrived.

The impressive cliffs are revealed, stretching for almost 14 kilometers! They stand out from the deep blue of the ocean and green meadows. Their black rock is speckled with whitish stains. Birds are no longer distinguishable from droppings, and the smell is not long in reminding you that you are at a nesting site.

The trail runs alongside the sea and offers an unobstructed view of the ocean. This way, you can stroll around as much as you like and increase your chances of making great shots. But you don't have to go very far to see the bird colonies.

Bird paradise

Thousands of birds have made their home here during the warm season.

To ensure that you can see them, you need to come from late spring to early August, when the birds then migrate to warmer regions.

The cliffs are renowned for their many species. Among them are the puffin puffins, the Northern Gannet, the gull Tridactyle, the Guillemot, or the little penguin where about 40% of its world population is concentrated here!

As the place is still very wild, the birds don't seem to care about the dozens of photographers waiting for them with their lenses. Thus, it is in all naivety that some specimens will come to you without fear, sometimes even a few centimetres away. This is a unique opportunity to make great shots! You can also discover them in this article: Shooting puffins to the cliffs of Látrabjarg

But beware because they can become very aggressive if they feel their offspring are threatened.

Attention, danger!

The site has hardly been developed, except for the first few metres after ascent, making it a fragile and potentially dangerous place. There is no protection to prevent you from approaching the edge of the cliffs. Faced with erosion, rock sections are only waiting to be removed, as can be seen from the numerous cracks visible near the edge.

Be vigilant and stay away from the edge even if it is tempting to get closer to birds.

The translation may not be accurate. If you detect any errors, please let us know , and we will correct them immediately. Thank you and sorry for this inconvenience. Sandrine & Flo

Our opinion
Flo's review

The cliffs of Látrabjarg are a must for lovers of photos, animal or not. The beauty of the rocky plumb, the sparkling sea, the fauna, everything is there to realize dream shots.

Plan 2 or 3 big hours and a few gigabytes of space on your SD cards, you won't be disappointed!

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