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Puffins on Runde Bird Island

Runde Bird Island

A windswept island in the Norwegian Sea, Runde is known for its abundant bird population. Between February and August, more than half a million sea birds live here, including storm petrels, auks, kittiwakes, gannets, and fulmars. You also have a good chance of seeing puffins — more than 100,000 pairs of them arrive in April to nest, leaving around the end of July. This private tour gives you the opportunity to spend the day exploring Runde’s bird population and learning more about the island’s remarkable natural and human history.

With a private driver-guide, you’ll reach the island via a two-hour journey that takes you through traditional villages, over scenic bridges, and on a ferry. Once on the island, you’ll be able to hike along the rugged coast, admiring the wheeling flights of the more than 230 bird species that live here, as well as the seal colonies that flourish along the shore. Your guide will explain the complicated ecology at play on this small but vital island, as well as help you identify species and spot nests in season.

You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Ålesund by your private driver-guide before heading south towards the island. The scenic route gives you time to appreciate the country’s rugged southern coast from roads, bridges, and a ferry. Once on the island, you can hike along the well-maintained walking trails to enjoy the sea views and admire the birdlife.

Runde Island itself is small — only 6 km (just under 4 miles) in diameter — with just 150 permanent human residents. However, it’s one of the most important avian nesting sites in Norway. It would take too long to list the many species of sea birds that come here to nest, mate, or simply to fish in the rich waters off the coast, but some of the most charismatic include white-tailed eagles, gannets, razorbills, and murres.

The star of the show is, of course, the charmingly comical puffin. Vast flocks of nesting pairs arrive here in April, laying their eggs in shallow impressions along the rocky coast. Your guide will lead you to outlooks that provide good views of the birds. You may also see the sleek forms of seals hunting in the waters or sunning themselves on the beaches.

The island is also known as the site of the wreck of the Akerendam, a Dutch ship that foundered off the coast in 1725. Its cargo of gold coins still attracts divers who’ve given Runde the nickname ‘Treasure Island’.

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Audley Travel specialist James

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Other experiences in Ålesund

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

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