The puffins of Mykines

Visiting the remote and sparsely populated island of Mykines is a truly special experience. Arriving by helicopter, set off through the village of multicoloured houses and head up the steep path towards the islet of Mykineshólmur. Towards the top of the hill, you will start to see and hear them.

Atlantic Puffins spend half of the year in the open ocean. Every spring, 125,000 pairs return to Mykines to breed. They nest in large colonies, with each pair laying a single white egg in burrows dotted along the clifftops.

The black and white plumage of the Atlantic Puffin provides camouflage from aerial and sea predators respectively.

In spring, their beaks and feet turn bright orange – it’s thought that this shows potential mates how experienced and healthy they are.

To sit silently and watch the puffins on Mykines is an incredibly beautiful experience. You will feel utterly alone on this tiny speck in the North Atlantic Ocean, which is both exhilarating and terrifying.

The lighthouse on Mykineshólmur was built in 1909, access is provided by a 40 metre footbridge across the ocean. The best thing about the hike is that you get to see the puffins on the way back too. Mykines is like no other place on earth – savour every minute before it’s time to take the boat back.

Posted by Matt Murray

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