Mykines Island, part of the Faroe Islands, is amazing and if you’d like to see the Mykines puffins for yourself, this article is for you!

*This article was written by BTTM team member Alicia Glassmeyer*

Mykines Island – A Puffin Lover’s Paradise

We think Atlantic Puffins are some of the most adorable birds around. That’s why we were so excited to have our chance to see them on Mykines Island while visiting the Faroe Islands. This destination is still largely unknown to many people. We want to help you learn how to see these beautiful sea birds while protecting them and their island nesting habitat.

Atlantic Puffins

You don’t have to be an avid birder to adore Puffins. These seabirds, often called “the clowns of the sea” are so beloved for their colorful beaks and clumsy antics. Puffins are part of the Auk family of birds. They live a large part of their life at sea during the winter months. In late spring into summer, they head back to their nesting grounds on coastal cliffs in the North Atlantic. 

Puffins thrive in cold water environments. Unfortunately, their breeding success is in peril, especially during warm-water years which are becoming more frequent with climate change. Their colonies are also vulnerable to predation by humans, rats, and domestic animals like cats. This is why protecting their habitat from these threats is crucial.

Atlantic puffin on Mykines Island
Atlantic puffin on Mykines Island

Mykines Island

Mykines (pronounced mee-chin-ness) is the westernmost island of the Faroe Islands, an 18-island archipelago located midway between Iceland and Scotland. This island is very remote and as we learned from our guide here, there are only 9 full-time residents. You will not see cars or big hotels here. But, you can have the most memorable experience of your life here, just keep reading and we’ll tell you how!

Puffins seem to be the main draw to Mykines, it’s certainly what made us visit. But we fell in love with it for so much more. There is the Mykines Lighthouse, two small cafes, an adorable village with turf-roofed homes, a gannet colony, gorgeous views, tons of sheep, and lovely people. Our guide and host, Oda, runs GoLocal where she leads puffin and sunset tours and, in our opinion, is the only way to experience this island. 

Pro Tip: Use local guides whenever you can and support small businesses when you travel. You learn so much about your destination and you meet the most amazing people!

Mykines Island
Mykines Island

Getting To Mykines Island

Getting to Mykines Island is not easy. The big first hurdle is getting to the Faroe Islands. For us, traveling from Denver, took 3 flights and nearly 20 hours of travel. Is it worth it? Absolutely! There are two options for travel to Mykines: a ferry or a helicopter. We chose to take the Mykines ferry because it is less expensive and the helicopter to Mykines is truly meant for locals who use it as a means of transportation from their homes to the capital city, Tórshavn.

The Mykines ferry ride is roughly 45 minutes and departs from Sørvágur, near the airport, on the island of Vágar. You will pass by many of the Faroe Islands’ major natural attractions such as Dranganir, Tindhólmur, and Gásadalur on the journey. There is seating available below the deck, but we recommend you enjoy the view from the top. Even during the cool rain on our return trip, the views were spectacular! Visit Mykines.fo for ferry information and schedules. The Mykines ferry ride can often be very rough due to large waves. If you tend to get seasick, be prepared.

Although we did not take the helicopter to Mykines, if you are interested in that option, visit Atlantic Airways to learn more. They offer a “Vágar from above” flightseeing tour, which will allow you to see the same sights.

On the ferry to Mykines Island
On the ferry to Mykines Island

Arriving On Mykines Island

When you arrive at the harbor on Mykines Island, there will be a lot of stairs to climb to access the village and trails. There is a public restroom in the village for tourists and two very small cafes with limited menus. There is also a small fee that visitors must pay to hike on the island. We were able to purchase it from someone standing at the trailhead when we arrived.

cliffs of Mykines Island
The beautiful cliffs of Mykines Island

Weather On Mykines Island

The weather here can change rapidly and you should be prepared for cool temperatures, rain, and wind. During the summer, average high temperatures are 51.2°F (10.7°C) and average low temperatures are 45.8°F (7.7°C). To keep warm and dry we used Columbia hiking shoes, Apricoat jackets, and a Lowepro camera bag.

Sunset And Mykines Puffins Tour

There is not a lot to do on Mykines Island other than hiking and bird watching unless you just really want to experience some peace and relaxation on a remote island in the Northern Atlantic. Our recommendation for the perfect visit to Mykines is to take the Sunset and Puffin Tour with Oda at GoLocal.

She offers dinner, lodging, and breakfast at a cute home in the village and you will have a very small group tour experience after the other tourists have left the island on the last ferry. This is where the magic happens. You spend hours walking above the village along the gorgeous cliff tops with thousands of Mykines puffins that are returning from their day gathering fish at sea.

Note: It is very important to stay 2 meters away from puffin nests and remain on the trails when visiting the island. Always remember to leave no trace!

Puffins inhabit Mykines Island from May through August. Our tour took place on the last day of July and we were so lucky to have beautiful weather. There was one other couple on our tour and they were lovely. Oda is the best host and she cooked us a lovely dinner of fish, fruit salad, potatoes, and a delicious dessert.

After dinner, we began gradually climbing up above the village to the cliffs while Oda filled us with knowledge of the island. We even met a woman who made some of the delicious lamb sausages we would have at breakfast the next day. We had a very quick rain shower that left us with the most beautiful double rainbow we have ever seen right over the coastal cliffs. Then, we spent the evening admiring and photographing puffins. At the end of the day, we watched a beautiful sunset over the Atlantic while sipping hot chocolate.

While it is possible to view puffins on your own on a day trip to the island, we highly recommend booking with Oda. She will safely guide you on the trails most tourists miss. She will also tell stories, take photos of you, and help you avoid nests to keep the Mykines puffins safe!

Double rainbow
Double rainbow!
Sipping hot chocolate while watching the sunset
Sipping hot chocolate while watching the sunset

Final Thoughts On Mykines Island And The Mykines Puffins

If you find yourself planning a trip to the Faroe Islands, do not miss the chance to see Mykines puffins for yourself! You can see more images from our tour by checking out our Faroe Islands Wall Art collection or by watching this video! If you have been to Mykines Island, we would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

About The Author: Alicia is a photographer from Colorado. She loves camping, dogs, and cake. Check out her Instagram for more amazing photography.

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Mykines Island, part of the Faroe Islands, is amazing and if you'd like to see the Mykines puffins for yourself, this article is for you!