The must-see animals & birds on a trip to Iceland

Several tours to Iceland for Quilters are scheduled this coming summer, fall and winter. Iceland is an emerging powerhouse of quilting in Europe. Summer is considered the best time to visit Iceland when temperatures are ideal, and the area is filled with birds and animals unique to the country. Fall is also pleasant in Iceland, and winter is suited for those seeking to experience the Northern Lights in the ideal surroundings. 

Iceland has indigenous species of sheep, dogs, and horses. The sheep are known for their resilience, sturdiness, and strongly built. They survive the harsh weather conditions and are occasional breeders. The Icelandic sheepdog moves swiftly through the Icelandic highlands, helping out at the farm. They are affectionate, loving, friendly, and adaptable in the family. The Icelandic sheepdog is alert, intelligent, and has a loud bark.


During summer, some of the attractions to Iceland are the adorable puffins – “The Flying Fishermen of the Sea” and the Icelandic Horses. The puffins are best seen on the Westman Islands, where some of the world’s largest puffin colonies are located. The Icelandic Horses are much in evidence throughout any tour to Iceland. The best experience is the Horse Show at Fridheimar, where their unique qualities are explained.

A glance at “The Flying Fishermen of the Sea” – The Puffin

The Icelandic Puffin, otherwise known as “Lundi” in the Icelandic language, is a seabird that spends almost 60% of its life ravaging the fishes of the Atlantic Ocean. They come to the southern Icelandic shores for breeding.  Over half of the world´s population of the Atlantic Puffin breeds in Iceland, somewhere between 3-4 million pairs each year. Air photographing and counting of the puffins’ nesting burrows has enabled ornithologists to assess that the Westman Island habitat contains 1/5 of the world’s total number of puffins. There are millions of Puffins in Westman Islands, confirming that the Westman Islands in Iceland host the largest puffin colonies in the world.


The ideal time to visit the nesting areas of the Puffins is from late April to July. The female puffin only lays one egg, and both the parents take responsibility for the incubation period. The average lifespan of the puffin is 30 years. Puffins thrive on fish and crustaceans. The food they bring to their nestlings is primarily small fish, especially herring, capelin, sand lance, cod, etc. Crustaceans may include shrimp, mysids, mollusks, and marine worms. Puffins in Westman Islands are a sight to behold. Witnessing Puffins’ behavior in their natural habitat is a rare beauty.

The majestic Horse show at Fridheimar –Meet Icelandic Horses

Icelandic horses are loved and admired by all visitors to Iceland.  Horses were first brought to Iceland by the Vikings, who settled the country in 874 > 930.  For nine centuries, no other horses were brought to Iceland, and now the breed is one of the purest in the world.  Over time the horses were toughened by harsh weather conditions, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters.  They developed into the now famous Icelandic Horse, known for its exceptional strength, sure-footedness, and endurance.

There are over 80.000 horses in Iceland, and there are many interesting facts about them. The Icelandic horses are not as tall as the other horses, but they have a lot of strength. These horses are the only ones in the world who can perform the five gaits. The Icelandic horses are also famous for their eye color. Some of them have beautiful ocean blue eyes.

Icelandic horses can be found in over 40 colors and around 100 variations. There are several equestrian centers in Iceland where horses are bred and sold.  There are riding schools, where young people learn to ride and care for the horses.  Horse races and events, including the Icelandic Horse, are common in all parts of the country. The Fridheimar Farm organizes horse shows to witness the Icelandic horse performing the five gaits.


Iceland is blessed with unique flora and fauna. Trips and tours are organized to Iceland throughout the year. However, some tourists miss witnessing the Puffins and Icelandic horses in the wilderness. A trip to Iceland without attending a horse show and visiting the Puffin nesting grounds seems incomplete.