Iceland's Flora and Fauna
Discover the unique flora and fauna of the island
Lichens, mosses, lupins, umbels, angelica, moor weed, bananas – wait! Bananas? Yes, the flora of Iceland holds some surprises. In addition to numerous endemic species (that are native only here), the plant life of the island in the North Atlantic offers numerous treasures that one would hardly expect here.
In addition, there is also an exciting fauna to discover. Iceland is home to countless birds, such as the famous puffin, which looks like a bird in a suit. Ancestral species also include a variety of fish, insects, seals and polar foxes. We will accompany you on your journey through animalistic Iceland.
Iceland: World of animals
The species-rich Icelandic fish population is an important economic pillar of the island. The fishery industry is thriving and providing profitable exports all over the world. But also in tourism, sea life plays a role: "Whale Watching" is a must for all Icelandic visitors.
We can organize your whale watching in the bay of Reykjavik or in Husavík, in the north of the island. In cooperation with several renowned local companies you have the opportunity to observe minke whales, porpoises, humpback whales and white-beaked dolphins!
Travelling the realm of the birds
The excursion boats are always accompanied by a flock of seabirds. The most famous among them is the puffin. Ornithologists are particularly enthusiastic when visiting the Myvatn Lake Region in northern Iceland, where numerous species of duck are native. For bird lovers, a detour to the bird cliffs, which provide unique natural spectacles in the south of the island, is also extremely appealing.
Attention: Especially during the breeding season, many regions of the island often have access restrictions in certain regions! Near the coast, it may happen that nesting seabirds attack cars and trucks if they feel disturbed. In case of an attack: Hold a stick straight over your head to look bigger and make an orderly retreat!
Fluffy animals in Iceland
Among Iceland's four-legged animals, Icelandic horses and sheep are probably the best known. Although both first came to the island with humans, there are now about 77,000 horses and about 470,000 sheep - that is 1.5 sheep per inhabitant. However, the arctic fox was there long before the settlers and had to share its territory originally only with the seals that are still encountered in the north of the island.
Today, around 3,000 reindeer live in the eastern highlands. They come from 13 Norwegian specimens, which were brought to the country in 1771. Although they hoped for a rapid reproduction of these animals, for hunting, the stocks have never attained an economic importance.
Flowers and plants of Iceland
The exposed location just below the Arctic Circle, the long winter, the volcanic activity under the island - all this has given Iceland its very own flora. Even though it is less species-rich than elsewhere else in the world: To call Iceland "barren" or even "poor" would be a far cry. There are:
- around 450 flowering plants
- about 600 mosses
- more than 500 lichens
- Proof of up to 1500 mushroom species
Once upon a time large forests had prevailed on the entire island - various natural catastrophes and not least the clearing to produce pastureland drastically reduced these stocks.
Interested parties should not miss a visit to the botanical garden of Akureyri. 400 species of Icelandic plants can be found here - surrounded by more than 6,000 species from all over the world. Also, a trip to Hveragerði pays off, a small township east of Reykjavik: Here you will find numerous greenhouses heated with geothermal energy, in which, among other things, the northernmost banana plant in the world!
The Icelanders produce much of the vegetables eaten on the island in these greenhouses. 90% of the harvest is produced south of the Golden Circle in Fludir. Thanks to the unique climate in the greenhouses, the vegetables are often tastier than those from the mainland - which is especially true for peppers!
Unique natural worlds
Immerse yourself in the Flora & Fauna of Iceland and send us a no-obligation holiday enquiry.Request here