Reykjavik Faxafloi Bay

Beautiful scenery of Reykjavik’s coastline

The Faxafloi Bay

Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, is situated along the Faxaflói Bay.

Across the water you can see the Akranes peninsula, the Esja mountain in the Northeast, and even the famous Snæfellsjökull glacier, about 120 km to the North. The bay is famous for its nature and its varied and impressive wildlife.

The old harbor is located in the city center. Just beyond the harbor, the small islands and nearby coastline are home to a number of bird species, including the largest puffin colonies in Faxaflói.

Whales and other wonderful creatures

For centuries, Faxaflói bay has been an important fishing resource for the people living along its shores, and it remains so to this day.

As well as for whales, the bay’s clean seawater is rich with a variety of fish species. One of the smallest, the sand eel, is the main prey for sea birds, many other species of fish, and also for the big baleen whales, such as the minke or humpback, which can weigh up to 40 tons. At only 10–12 cm (4–5 inches) in length, imagine the amount of tiny sand eels needed to fill up one stomach of this size. Yes, life in the wild can be hard for these tiny fishes! They try to avoid being eaten by burrowing into the sand, and they are therefore mostly found where there is a sandy seabed.

Meet the puffins!

Sailing through the puffin colony that lies just beyond the harbor, it is easy to feel in touch with nature, as you watch these enthusiastic seabirds collect and carry sand eels to their nests in the summer time. A little further out into the bay is the perfect place for whale watching, especially when the whales come for a fish feast, which usually lasts the whole summer and into the autumn months, if conditions are stable.

Every tour is unique

Seasonal changes greatly affect the wildlife population in the bay area, which means that there is no “typical” whale watching tour. Every one is simply a unique experience. There is no telling what you might come across!


The mountain (914 m (2,999 ft)), is a popular recreation area for hikers and climbers. Esjan is made from basalt and tuff and is a volcanic mountain range. The oldest part of the mountain range is 3.2 million years old.


Faxaflói Bay has served as a rich source of food for Icelanders for a millennia. In the olden days, fishermen went out in small, open row boats to fish along the shoreline. Today’s fishermen have to go further out to sea in order to fish due to the larger size of modern boats, but Faxaflói is now the most popular whale watching area in Iceland.


Snæfellsjökull is a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano with a glacier covering its summit. Sometimes it is visible from the bay area even though it’s at a distance of 120 km.

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