Whale watching in Iceland – Where to go

Where to go whale watching in Iceland

Whale watching in Iceland has in recent years become very popular activity for visitors and several operators around the country offer tours to see these majestic animals in their natural environment. We are often asked questions like where to go whale watching? when is the best time seeing the whales? and what whales can I see in Iceland? So we are going to answer those questions in this short post.

whale watching in Iceland
Where to see whales in Iceland

Whale watching tours are operated from the capital city Reykjavik, Vestmannaeyjar islands of the south coast, Husavik  Akureyri and Dalvik in the north and Olafsvik on Snaefellsnes peninsula by eleven different companies. So the question is where to go? well the simple answer is where there is room for it in the itinerary. It is highly popular to add whale watching to our self drive tours and based on our itineraries we most often recommend either whale watching in Husavik or in Reykjavik.

When to see whales in Iceland

The best time of year to see whales around Iceland is from April to October with the peak season in June, July and August. In Husavik tours are operated from end of March to the end of November but whale watching tours from Reykjavik are operated all year. The time of day doesn’t seem to have any affect on the likelihood of spotting the whales. In the summer whales and/or dolphins were seen on about 98% of the tours operated by our partners and if no whales are seen you can go on another tour so it is very unlikely that you won’t see anything.

What whales can expect to see

There is a bit difference between the North and South which whales you can expect to see. The season you travel is also a factor as well as conditions each day but here below are examples of whales and dolphins you can see in Iceland

Minke Whale

The Minke Whale, or Hrefna in Icelandic measures from 7-11 meters and weighs in at 8-10 tons, is the most common whale around the country and in fact the world so it is likely that you will see them on your tour in either north or south.

Humpback whale

Humpback Whale or Hnúfubakur in Icelandic, measures from 13-17 meters and weighs from 25 – 40 tons. The Humpback travels great distances each year to get to Iceland’s coast or about 8300 km one way and can expect to live up-to whopping 95 years. It is more likely to see the Humpback from Husavik than Reykjavik.

Blue Whale

The Blue Whale is the largest know animal to have lived on earth measures from 25 – 30 meters and weighs from 150 -200 tons, to put its size in perspective the heart is the size of a small car.

Fin Whale

The Fin Whale is about 20-28 meters in length and weighs 70 -120 and as the Humpback it has a high life expectancy and can live up to 90 years and some found are believed to have reached 140 years of age.

Orca or Killer Whale

The Killer Whale is a part of the dolphin family they measure from 6-9 meters and weighs 3-9 tons. The world most famous Killer Whale is probably Keiko who starred in the movie Free Willy.

other notable whales and dolphins include sperm whale, Sei Whale, Pilot Whale, Harbour Porpoise and  White-beaked Dolphin but there are over 85 different species that have been spotted around Iceland so the list is long.

Whale watching tours

As mentioned before it is easy to add a whale watching tour to your Iceland holiday package just contact us at tour@tour.is and we will work out where it is best to add a whale watching tour to your itinerary.

If you are staying in Reykjavik you can look at the whale watching tour from Reykjavik we offer departing from Reykjavik Harbour or the whale watching combination tours below.

Whale watching and the Golden Circle Combines whale watching with Iceland’s most popular sightseeing tour the Golden Circle

Whale watching and the Blue Lagoon takes you whale watching and to one of Iceland’s most visited attraction the Blue Lagoon where you can relax in the warm waters after being out at sea.

Whale watching, the Blue lagoon and Keflavik Airport is a great choice for those who want to use their time in Iceland to the fullest on their departure day and go on Whale watching, visit the blue lagoon and then get dropped of at Keflavik airport for their flight back home.

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