Top 5 Places To Spot Puffins In Scotland

Shutterstock © Spot Puffins In Scotland like these two. Two puffins, one standing and one sat on the grassy hillside within some pink sea thrift.

It’s puffin season! Discover some of the prime places to spot puffins in Scotland

Puffins are particularly fond of the Scottish coastline and its islands, which provide ideal breeding grounds.

This makes Scotland a haven for puffin enthusiasts, offering some amazing photo opportunities.

Here are some of the best places for puffin spotting in Scotland!

 1. Isle of May

Located in the Firth of Forth, the Isle of May is a renowned National Nature Reserve. It’s the of the largest puffin colonies on the east coast and the island is accessible by boat trips from Anstruther and North Berwick. Visitors can enjoy close-up views of puffins along with around 200,000 other seabirds.

When: the best time is around end of April until June

2. Lunga, Treshnish Isles

Part of the Inner Hebrides, Lunga is the largest of the Treshnish Isles and a prime spot for puffin watching. The island is particularly special because puffins here are known to be quite tolerant of human presence, often allowing visitors to get remarkably close, making to the perfect places to spot puffins in Scotland. Boat tours to Lunga typically depart from Mull, Oban, and other nearby locations.

When: the best time is around mid April until early August

3. Staffa

Famous for its stunning basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave, Staffa is also a great location for seeing puffins. During the summer months, the island’s grassy slopes become home to many puffins. Boat trips to Staffa are available from Mull and Iona, offering a combined experience of natural wonder and wildlife spotting.

When: the best time is around April until early August

4. Faraid Head, Durness

Situated in the far northwest of Scotland, Faraid Head offers spectacular coastal scenery and a lesser-known puffin colony to spot in Scotland. The remote location ensures a more tranquil puffin spotting experience. Puffins here can be seen nesting in the cliffs and burrows, accessible by a scenic walk from Durness.

When: the best time is around May until July

5. Handa Island

Managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Handa Island off the northwest coast near Scourie is another excellent destination. The island supports a diverse bird population, including a significant number of puffins. Visitors can take a boat from Tarbet to explore the island and its abundant wildlife.

When: the best time is around mid-May until July

Tips for when going to spot puffins in Scotland

  • Bring binoculars and keep your distance: Puffins are usually found in burrows or on grassy clifftops, so binoculars allow you to view them without disturbing their nests.
  • Be patient: It might take some time before you spot a puffin, so make sure you have set aside enough time to wait around for a while.

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