Whale Watching


Observe graceful giants in their natural habitat on a relaxing whale watching cruise. Whale Watching is one of the most popular activity among tourists in Iceland.

You’ll have a whale of a good time! The Atlantic Ocean surrounding Iceland is abundant in marine life and whale watching is a rewarding wildlife experience from the sea. Success rates of seeing the world’s largest mammals in their natural habitat are much greater than 95%.

What whales are there to see in Iceland?

The clean, unpolluted waters surrounding Iceland are rich in marine mammals and are close to whale migratory lanes. There are thousands of whales just off its shores and you do not always have to be on a whale watching boat to see them; sometimes just looking out to sea from the shore will reveal a whale’s back breaking the surface. Husavik in northern Iceland is the undisputed favorite area for whale watching although Reykjavik offers the opportunity for year round tours.

The most commonly spotted species are minke, killer, fin, sperm and sei whales, white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises and the enormous humpback whales. The most treasured sighting is the enormous blue whale, which is the world’s largest mammal and has a heart the size of a small car.

The best places to go whale watching

The most popular spot for whale watching is from Husavik in the North Iceland, which is regarded by many as the ’Whale Watching Capital of Europe.’ Cruises are made on a quiet, old-fashioned oak boat and on shore there is an exhibition center dedicated to the many species of whales that sport in the bay.

Whale watching tours, which last from a few hours to most of the day, depart from several other locations in Iceland such as Reykjavik, Breiddalsvik in the East, Ólafsvík in the West, and the Vestmannaeyjar Islands in the South.

What to expect on a Whale Watching tour?

First of all, despite the fact that there are many whales in the waters around Iceland, there’s always the off chance that you don’t spot a whale. But don’t worry, most tour operators have not only experienced local whale spotters aboard each ship, but also know where to find the whales. Also, many tour operators offer a free ride on another tour if there isn’t a whale spotted on your first.

It’s also worth noting, that these tours are on sea and the sea isn’t always clear and still as secluded mountain lake. If you are prone to sea sickness, make sure to take the necessary precautions. It also helps a lot that all the whale watching tour boats offer great outdoor areas and just being outside, feeling the wind on your face and breathing fresh air can work miracles on sea sickness.

There are many different species of whale in the waters around Iceland. Some are large, like the humpback whale, others are smaller, like the minke whale or the white beaked dolphin. Seeing a whale is always a thrill, no matter its size. Just experiencing the gentle giants in their natural surrounding is a breathtaking experience. However, it can get cold out there, especially early in summer or late fall, so make sure you dress accordingly and bring your camera along.