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Where to Spot Wild Reindeer in Iceland

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

A short guide to spotting wild reindeer in Iceland.

Did you know there are wild reindeer in Iceland? The Arctic island made famous for its cinematic landscapes and fiery night skies doesn’t get enough credit for its wildlife.

Those looking for unique wildlife might be lucky enough to find arctic foxes, seals, whales, and thousands of Icelandic horses. I was also surprised to find out that polar bears infrequently visit the island, traveling from neighboring Greenland on floating Icebergs.

After travelling extensively in the country, this is my short guide to spotting reindeer in Iceland.

Are Wild Reindeer in Iceland Native?

For those visiting Iceland in Winter, it's hard to believe that any life could have been born there. The harsh volcanic-ice elements are pretty unforgiving. However, after being introduced from Norway in the 1770s, wild Reindeer populations have managed to make Iceland their home.

Although reindeer were introduced all over Iceland, the only animals that have been able to survive were those populations in the East Fjords. Wild reindeer in Iceland are not native, but they sure look the part as they stroll the snowcapped mountains.

Wild reindeer in iceland eating moss

Where can I find Wild Reindeer in Iceland?

For those driving the Ring Road, the East Fjords will most likely be on your itinerary. As Route 1 snakes itself up the coastline, make sure you keep an eye out for herds of reindeer. These guys like to hang out close to rivers, dams, and mounded hills.

While wild reindeer are fairly rare to spot, it's sure an amazing moment when you do. Reindeer tend to group together in herds and are easily spooked. We saw six different herds while we were in the East Fjords, and most of the time they ran as we approached quietly from a distance.

Wild reindeer in iceland running in the snowy hills

Read More: Check out how you can drive Iceland's Ring Road on a Budget.

The Best Town to See Wild Reindeer in Iceland

Seydisfjordur (Seyðisfjörður) is a small township in the East of Iceland located on the southern tip of a fjord of the same name. While there is not much to do in this town, it's worth a visit to witness real Eastern Icelandic local life. It's also one of the best places to see wild reindeer in Iceland.

The road leading to the fjord is perfect for spotting wild reindeer. There are small jagged mountains and picturesque rolling snow hills. Out of the six herds of wild reindeer in Iceland, we were lucky enough to spot two on this road.

Seydisfjordur town to spot some wild reindeer in iceland
Seydisfjordur town to spot wild reindeer in iceland

More Iceland Travel & Adventure Guides

I hope you've enjoyed this short guide to finding reindeer in Iceland's wilderness. Check out some of my other guides below for more adventure travel inspiration!

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.