Is whale watching in Iceland worth it? Our top tips and tour recommendations

Whale watching in Iceland

Whale watching in Iceland is certainly one of the most popular activities related to the country’s unique aquatic environment. Iceland’s strategic location at the confluence of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, combined with its unique geothermal activity, makes it a thriving hub for marine biodiversity.

Apart from whales, visitors can see seals, dolphins, porpoises, and various seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes. Nevertheless, whale watching remains a popular attraction in its own right.

What is whale watching?

Whale watching is a recreational activity where people go on boat tours to observe whales in their natural habitat. This activity has gained popularity in many parts of the world, including Iceland. Visitors can see several species of whales, such as humpback whales, minke whales, and orcas, in the surrounding waters.

Typically, whale-watching tours are led by experienced naturalists who provide information about the whales’ behavior, habitat, and the importance of conservation efforts.

These tours offer a close-up view of the whales and their natural environment. This provides visitors with a unique and unforgettable experience.

Is whale watching in Iceland worth it?

Whale watching in Iceland is an unforgettable experience and is definitely worth it.

The sight of these gentle giants of the ocean is awe-inspiring and humbling. It’s a unique opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, and to appreciate the beauty of the Icelandic landscape from a different perspective.

The excitement of spotting a whale breaching or blowing water from its blowhole is unmatched. The experience is made even better by the expert guides who provide interesting information about the whales and their behavior.

If you’re looking for an adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime, whale watching in Iceland is definitely worth it.

Which are the best places for whale watching in Iceland?

Iceland has several places that are popular for whale watching, but some of the best spots include Husavik, Reykjavik, Akureyri, Dalvik, and Grundarfjordur.

Husavik | Whale watching in Iceland

Port of Husavik
Port of Husavik / image by XtianDuGard from pixabay

Husavik, located on Iceland’s northeast coast, is considered the “Whale Watching Capital of Iceland.” It has several tour operators that offer tours to Skjalfandi Bay, where visitors can see a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, minke whales, blue whales, and orcas.

Recommended tour | Whale watching in Husavik

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Look no further than the Husavik Original Whale Watching tour! This incredible tour will take you on a three-hour journey into the waters off the coast of Husavik, where you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet.

During the tour, you’ll get up close and personal with humpback whales, minke whales, and even the elusive blue whale. Plus, you’ll also have the chance to spot playful dolphins, adorable puffins, and other marine life that call this part of Iceland home.

But this tour is more than just an opportunity to see marine life – it’s also an educational experience. The guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge of the ocean and its inhabitants with you. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this incredible ecosystem.

Furthermore, don’t worry about staying warm – the tour company provides warm overalls to keep you cozy in the chilly Icelandic weather. They also offer hot drinks and refreshments to keep you energized throughout the tour.

Reykjavik | Whale watching in Iceland

Reykjavik | Whale watching in Iceland
The capital of Iceland / image by sollus from pixabay

Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city, also offers whale watching tours departing from its Old Harbor. These tours go to Faxafloi Bay where you can see humpback whales, minke whales, and white-beaked dolphins.

Recommended tour | Whale watching in Reykjavik

When in Reykjavik, you can embark on this exciting and scenic whale-watching tour! You’ll get the chance to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal as you sail around Faxaflói Bay, surrounded by the stunning Icelandic scenery.

The experienced and knowledgeable crew will provide interesting information about the whales, dolphins, and other marine life that you might encounter. With comfortable seating and warm overalls provided, you can relax and enjoy the ride while keeping an eye out for the incredible wildlife.

This tour is perfect for anyone looking to witness the wonders of nature in Iceland and create unforgettable memories.

Akureyri | Whale watching in Iceland

Akureyri | Whale watching in Iceland
The town of Akureyri

Akureyri, located on Iceland’s north coast, is another popular whale watching spot. Tour operators here offer tours to Eyjafjordur fjord, where visitors can see humpback whales, minke whales, and blue whales.

Recommended tour | Whale watching in Akureyri

We strongly suggest this whale-watching tour, which lasts for three hours. The trip commences with a scenic drive along the coast of Eyjafjörður fjord, where visitors can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and the sea.

Once on board, we were greeted by the friendly crew who provided us with a brief introduction to the whales we might encounter on the tour. The anticipation built as we cruised out to sea, the cool breeze and salty air invigorating our senses.

And then, we spotted them – the magnificent creatures of the sea. The thrill of seeing humpback whales breach and dive right in front of us was beyond compare. We also had the pleasure of seeing playful dolphins and curious seals in their natural habitat.

The experience was not only entertaining but also educational. The knowledgeable guide on board shared fascinating facts about the whales and their behaviors, enriching our understanding and appreciation of these beautiful creatures.

Dalvik | Whale watching in Iceland

Dalvik, a small town in North Iceland, offers whale watching tours to nearby fjords where visitors can see humpback whales and minke whales.

Recommended tour | Whale watching in Dalvik
Whale watching in Dalvik
The harbour of Dalvik / Remarksman

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Iceland’s marine life with the Dalvik Whale Watching Speedboat Tour. This tour provides an exhilarating way to observe Iceland’s magnificent marine creatures.

The tour takes you to the best whale-watching spots in Dalvik, where you’ll have the opportunity to see various species of whales up close, including humpback whales and orcas. The guides on the boat will provide you with interesting information about these incredible creatures and their habitat.

But that’s not all; the tour also takes you to remote locations that are not accessible by land, giving you a unique perspective of the rugged coastline. With the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, you’ll feel truly alive and invigorated.

So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience that combines adventure and natural beauty, the Dalvik Whale Watching Speedboat Tour is an absolute must-try.

The best time to spot whales in Iceland’s waters

Is whale watching in Iceland worth it?

The best time to go whale watching in Iceland is during the summer months, from May to September. This is the peak season for whale sightings, and you are more likely to spot various species of whales during this time.

The weather during the summer is also relatively mild, with calm seas, making for a more enjoyable and comfortable experience. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable. It’s always a good idea to check the forecast before booking a whale watching tour.

Prepare for the unexpected: Tips for whale watching in Iceland

If you plan to go whale watching in Iceland, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • Dress warmly and in layers, even during the summer months, as the weather can be unpredictable and cold out on the water.

  • Bring a camera and binoculars to capture photos and better views of the whales.

  • Listen carefully to the safety instructions given before boarding the boat. Be sure to always follow the rules and guidelines set by the crew.

  • Be patient, as whale sightings are never guaranteed, and it can take time to find them. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t spot any right away.

  • Respect the whales and their natural environment. Keep a safe distance from them and avoid making loud noises or sudden movements that could disturb them.

  • Be prepared for some waves and potential sea sickness. If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider taking motion sickness medication before the tour.

  • Book your tour with a reputable and licensed operator that follows responsible whale watching practices and supports conservation efforts.

Iceland’s Whales Await: Final thoughts

Is whale watching in Iceland worth it?

Whale watching in Iceland offers a unique and exciting adventure for travelers. With breathtaking views of the fjords and snow-capped mountains, the tour promises an unforgettable experience. It is essential to plan ahead and choose the right season, as well as be prepared for the weather conditions. Following the tips provided can help maximize the chances of spotting different species of whales, including orcas and humpbacks. Whether you are a nature lover or seeking an exhilarating activity, whale watching in Iceland is a must-do for any visitor.

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