Best time to travel to Iceland

Whale Watching in Iceland

A tour of whale watching is fantastic because you can both enjoy sailing and see the whales in their natural habitat

Best time: April–October

Whale Watching
Whale Watching
Whale Watching
Whale Watching

From April to October, the city of Húsavík turns into heaven for whale lovers—the coastal area is so full of them. Whales are drawn by fish and so every self-respecting tourist is there to see the miracle. Get a boat and sail into this new exciting adventure.

Be grateful that you are still able to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat since they were endangered due to the active hunting that took place in the area for hundreds of years. Fortunately for both whales and tourists, the cruelty stopped and this great attraction emerged. In addition to this, if you are really excited about whales, visit Húsavík's whale museum. No doubt, it is one of the few whale capitals on Earth!

Other whale-watching locations around Iceland include Akureyri, Hauganes, Ólafsvík, and Reykjavík.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Iceland for whale watching?

The preferable time to embark on whale watching expedition in Iceland is between April to October. As during these months, diverse kinds of whales come closer to the shores to feed on fish. June to August is a peak period for sighting, as the sea is serene and the days are long, making it easier to spot the whales. However, note that spot varies with each tour and depends on the luck of the day. Show more

Where is the best location to go whale watching in Iceland besides Húsavík?

In addition to Husavik, one can have enjoyable trips from other sites like Reykjavik, Akureyri, and Olafsvik. Akureyri is a harbor town situated on the north shore and the second-largest city in Iceland, where numerous whale watching tours take place. Hauganes is another spot that offers tailor-made tours while Olafsvik is situated on Snæfellsnes peninsula provides views to orcas and humpback whales. Show more

How long is a typical whale watching tour in Húsavík?

Husavik whale watching tours last for about two and a half hours, which can necessitate tour operators to make adjustments based on the whales' location. During the first leg of the tour, boats are used to take you to feeding spots where you view the whales from a safe distance. To stay warm during the cold and possibly unpredictable environment at sea, ensure you carry warm clothing since the tours have only heated indoor observation areas. Tourists can grab a cup of coffee or tea offered by the tour operators. Show more

Are there any other marine animals that can be spotted during a whale watching tour in Iceland?

Apart from whales, marine animals like seals, puffins, and dolphins could be spotted during these tours. Puffins are mostly watched during their breeding period between May and June, which occurs mostly on islands across Iceland's coasts. Remember, sightings of these animals solely depend on the tour's time and luck. However, the opportunity to witness some of the marine creatures Iceland has to offer is an experience of a lifetime. Show more

How has the whale hunting ban affected the whale population in Iceland?

Iceland's population of whales has positively responded to the ban on commercial whale hunting, especially the minke whales commonly seen on such tours. These whales have made a robust recovery, showing an increase in their population over the years. Additionally, their migration paths are returning to their normal state, with more sightings each year. This situation implies the whales feel safe, and hence the whale watching tours provide a sustainable replacement to the previous whaling practices while giving tourists an opportunity to have an unforgettable encounter with these magnificent marine creatures. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych