Did you know there are wild reindeer in Iceland? The Arctic island made famous by 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, travelling from neighboring Greenland on floating Icebergs.
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 1770’s, wild Reindeer populations have managed to make Iceland thier 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 sure look the part as they stroll the snowcapped mountains.
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 from as we approached quietly from the distance.
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. You can find the spot on the map below.
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.