Birding in Iceland

Northeast Birding Trail

Northeast Birding Trail

With this map we will guide you along the Birding trail through Northeast Iceland, from lake Mývatn to Langanes peninsula. Although we start at lake Mývatn you can of course join the trail anywhere along the route. It should take between 3 and 7 days to cover the bird trail, depending on the level of interest and your time frame. Covering the entire trail is well worth it in terms of the variety of both the birdlife and the landscape.

The best time for birdwatching in the area is from mid May to mid June. Most of the breeding birds can still be found in the area in July, although many are more secretive by then. This text focuses on birdwatching in the months of May through July. The area’s specialities, such as Barrow’s Goldeneye, Harlequin Duck, Gyr Falcon and Rock Ptarmigan, are found in the area all year round and can be even easier to observe in winter than summer. Up to 80 species of birds can be seen along the trail, depending on the season and the time spent searching for birds.

The text describes the trail with reference to the Birdtrail map. It includes 31 numbered sites which are considered to be the most interesting places to stop. The text also mentions sites between the numbered sites where a stop is likely to be rewarding. However, interesting birds can turn up almost anywhere on this route. The text focuses on where to find the scarcer birds; some common species are hardly mentioned as they are very easy to find in many areas.

The roads along this trail are mostly paved, but there are still gravel roads at Melrakkaslétta, Langanes and Bakkaflói. A general 2WD vehicle should be sufficient to drive the trail, even though a 4WD vehicle is recommended for the seabird cliffs at Langanes. A telescope is always useful when birdwatching in Iceland, but binoculars will suffice in most places.

The official website of the Birding Trail in North east Iceland is

Northeast Iceland Birding Trail Map

View the Birding Trail map for North East Iceland


Perceptibility chart

Perceptibility Map of Northeast Iceland Birding Trail


Ásbyrgi canyon

Ásbyrgi is one of the wonders of nature, a well forested horse-shoe shaped canyon in Oxarfjordur. Asbyrgi is a part of Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, within the Vatnajökull National Park. The Jökulsárgljúfur site of the National park reaches from highway 85, by Ásbyrgi south to Dettifoss, covering an area of 120 km2. Informative visitor's centre, shop, golf course and camping site are located by Ásbyrgi.
Many hiking tracks are in the vicinity of Ásbyrgi. Ásbyrgi canyon is part of the Diamond Circle explore the Diamond Circle


Höfði is a rocky promontory which reaches into the waters of Lake Mývatn. The view from here is good, giving a vista of the lake's coves and inlets, besides being an excellent site for bird watching. Kálfastrandarvogur bay laps the shores of Höfði and is famous for its unusual lava formations both off and onshore and these rocky outcrops, named Klasar and Kálfastrandarstrípar, have done much to earn Kálfastrandarvogur and Höfði their reputation for being among the most beautiful areas around Mývatn.

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