Storstappen Island, Norway

Just west of the North Cape lies the Gjesvaestappen island chain, a designated nature reserve and birdwatcher’s paradise. These hilly, grass-covered islands – of which Storstappen is the largest — are home to some of Norway’s largest colonies of cliff-breeding seabirds, including 100,000 puffins, 10,000 black-legged kittiwakes, and 5,000 razorbills. Great cormorants, European shags, gannets, and thick-billed Murres are among the other nesting birds spotted here, as are predatory white-tailed eagles. While visitors are not allowed to set foot on Storstappen, your Zodiac excursion will take you up close to its puffin-covered cliffs. Witnessing the parade of seabirds overhead with its constant cacophony of cries, flapping wings, and splashing plunge-dives is one of Nature’s great thrills.