The popularity of the puffin as an item to view has increased considerably in recent years. Before tourism exploded in Iceland very few people paid much attention to the puffin apart from those who hunted the bird. Particular attention was on the other hand given to the puffin in the Westman Islands south of Iceland, where it was a “national sport” to hunt puffins at a particular time of the year. The puffin hunting in The Westman Islands is an ancient tradition. Although the small bird is found in thousands in cliffs by the shore and islands around the Iceland, the puffin was considered to be just another bird.
Tourism and popularity of puffins
As tourism started to grow, visitors wanted to see the puffin out in nature. Apparently, people found the small bird quite likable and loved the colorful and relatively large beak. Some tourist stores also started to sell the puffin as a kind of national figure which made the bird quite visible on the main shopping street in Reykjavík. The puffin is also a very photogenic bird, and everyone loves taking their photo. In the recent “selfie revolution” many tourists even try to get near the puffin to add them into their selfie. And for a reason, as the puffin is often quite easy to approach and don't become extremely intimidated unless you get very close.
Good places to see and spot puffins
The easiest way to see a puffin is probably in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. In the fjord Kollafjörður, two islands, Akurey and Lundey (Puffin Island) and tours are offered from the Reykjavík harbor. Another great way to see puffins is a tour with Sæferðir in Stykkishólmur sailing the large bay Breiðafjörður. If you are traveling the Westfjords Látrabjarg is a place you will see puffins, and in the East Region of Iceland a tour from Djúpivogur village to the island Papey is an excellent way to see and photograph puffins.