Nature & Wildlife

Nature and Wildlife

The Arctic Coast Way connects you to unspoiled nature which is home for rich wildlife. Whale, seals, and birds have their summer residence in North Iceland. Please help us to have a respectful and sustainable coexistence in these beautiful landscapes. The pure nature invites you to slow down and fill up with energy and it is an unforgettable experience to meet and watch animals in their natural environment - the most rewarding wildlife encounters are those where the animals are not disturbed and behave naturally.

There is one simple rule: .

The Icelandic vegetation is extremely sensitive due to cold temperatures, short summer season and poor soils. Once the plants and mosses are damaged it takes many years to recover and causes soil erosion! Please be careful during hikes to not damage vegetation and stay on marked trails.

Leaving the road is off-road driving and forbidden by law. Click here to read more about driving on the Arctic Coast Way.

Don´t leave any trash! Please take it with you to the next village and ask the locals for the next trash and/or recycling place! Even fruit skins like a banana peel cannot be thrown in nature because in the cold temperature the rotting takes extremely long. Read more about his on the website of the Environmental Agency. 

Some simple rules help to give you a great and sustainable experience to watch and meet the Arctic animals in their natural habitat and behavior:

  • Respect all signs that close areas for wildlife protection.
  • No feeding. Using food as an enticement to bring wildlife closer can be very harmful to them.
  • Be patient. Encounters should be on the animals’ terms. If an animal moves away do not follow it.
  • Take extra care during sensitive times of the year in places where animals may be breeding, on nests or with their young.
  • Never approach young animals that are alone.
  • Do not come between adults and their young.
  • Don´t use flashlights, especially not for close-ups.
  • Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites.
  • Give a special awareness during hikes in springtime (April, May, June) as many nests of breeding birds are on the ground hidden in the grass or in the sand.
  • Eider duck colonies are commonly protected by farmers during nesting season (April – June). You should not enter private property without the owner’s explicit permission.
  • During springtime (April, May, June) birds are often on or close to roads. Drive carefully and lower speed accordingly.
  • Limit the distance between yourself and resting seals to a minimum of 50 meters. This distance should be increased to 100 m during pupping, weaning and moulting periods of the anticipated species.
  • Pups are often left alone whilst their parents hunt for food. Do not approach an abandoned pup and keep your distance to a minimum of 100 meters.