Climbing Sólheimajökull
Ice Climbing
A humpback breaching is a majestic sight
Activity

Whale watching

A humpback breaching is a majestic sight
Climbing Sólheimajökull
Ice Climbing

Few places in the world offer the opportunities for whale watching comparable to those off the Icelandic coastline.


Whale Watching in Iceland

Available
All-Year
Location
North

Iceland is the perfect location for whale watching. The cold waters off the coast play host to a diverse marine life. During the summer months in particular, the shores become a veritable feeding ground for multiple species of large marine mammals, giving visitors a chance to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Whale watching excursions are available widely around the country. Daily tours depart from the Old Harbor in Reykjavík, as well as from a few small towns in the north of Iceland, especially from Húsavík, a sparsely populated fishing village about an hour north of Akureyri.

Whale watching excursions are available widely around the country.

Húsavík in North Iceland has in some ways pioneered in whale watching, domestically and even internationally, known for using traditional or environmentally friendly ships in their tours. Most excursions in Iceland are small and personal. Tours in the Skjálfandi and Eyjafjörður bays in particular are isolated, calm and scenic.

No matter where you depart from, the tours offer a rare and stunning opportunity to observe whales in their natural environment alongside white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises, seals, basking sharks, and various sea birds—including puffins, Gannets, gulls, Arctic Terns and others—depending on the season.

Breaching humpback up close and personalPhoto by Elding
White Beaked Dolphin makes an appearance outside ReykjavíkPhoto by Special Tours
Snapping a photo before the fluke goes underwater!Photo by Elding

Optimal time for Whale Watching

The best time to watch whales in Iceland is from April until September, when over 20 species of Cetacea can be observed. Other species can be sighted too, for example the white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and basking sharks. While whale watching tours are less frequent during the day in the winter months they come with the with the added bonus of beautiful and stark scenery; snowcapped mountains, sunsets, and possibly even the chance to see the Northern Lights.

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