Papey: The Puffin Island

Date 26 June 2022

Papey: The Puffin Island

Papey: The Puffin Island

The small island of Papey is located in the southern part of the Eastern Fjords in Iceland. Located 6 km offshore and accessible from the small port in Djúpivogur, Papey is a natural reserve and completely uninhabited.

Bird watchers know Papey well, as the place is a reference for the kind of local avifauna you don't see elsewhere, especially puffins. Visitors looking to witness these fascinating creatures will always find them here!

The island of Papey

Le bateau pour rejoindre l'île de Papey

Arrival on the island of Papey

The island of Papey is tiny, only 2 km² in size, and relatively flat since its highest point does not exceed 58 m in altitude.

Its name “Papey” comes from “papar” which literally means “Irish monk”, as this small landmass was once inhabited by Irish monks driven from the mainland of Iceland during the colonial era. While several texts from the 12th century seem to confirm this, no archaeological excavations so far have proven the existence of dwellings dating from this period, so it remains a mystery of etymology.

It was in 1726 that Papey reached its population high-point: 16 inhabitants. The island became completely uninhabited in 1948, and all that remains is a small church that dates back to 1902, a farm, a lighthouse and a weather station. The church is well known in Iceland as it is the oldest wooden church in Iceland.

How to get there

Carte de l'île de Papey

The small island of Papey is located off the coast of Djúpivogur in the eastern fjords, about 100 km north of Höfn. Once you arrive in Djúpivogur, as you might expect, you have to take a boat to get to Papey. The port is located near the Framtíð hotel.

The journey is very short since the island is only 6 km from the port of Djúpivogur, so the crossing takes a mere 50 minutes. Excursions are only offered in summer, and the views over the fjords along the way are absolutely magnificent. The boat can transport about twenty people.

Between the departure from Djúpivogur and the return, it takes 4 hours, with departures in the early afternoon at 1:00 PM. So you have about 2 hours to go around the island.

There are 3 price categories depending on what you want, especially if you choose a guide or not:

Category 1 (2 hours of excursion, accompanied by a guide)

  • 12,000 ISK per adult (12 years +)

  • 6,000 ISK per child 5–11 years

  • Free for children aged 0-4

Category 2 (2 hours of excursion, reservation in advance, minimum 10 people)

  • 11,000 ISK per adult (12 years +)

  • 5,500 ISK per child 5-11 years

  • Free for children aged 0-4

Category 3 (1 hour excursion, reservation in advance, minimum 10 people)

  • 10,000 ISK per adult (12 years +)

  • 5,000 ISK per child 5-11 years

  • Free for children aged 0-4

Additional information on excursions to Papey:

Telephone: 478 8119/862 4399/659 1469


What to see in Papey?

Eglise de l'île de Papey

Wooden church on the island of Papey - Leonid

Around the island, local wildlife is thriving and represent the main point of interest for the excursion. The island of Papey is famous for being a a reliable puffin viewing station until the end of August.

In addition to puffins, numerous species of birds nest in the cliffs of Papey such as Guillemots or Black-legged Kittiwakes, for example.

And a large seal colony seems to have taken up residence along the coastline, especially along beaches.

In 1H30, you can easily visit the whole island, taking the time to make frequent photo breaks. The small church of Papey is almost the only construction outside the lighthouse and is therefore well worth visiting as well.

Macareux sur l'île de Papey