Best time to travel to Reykjavik

Whale Watching in Reykjavik 2024

Observe gentle giants in their natural environment all year round

Best time: April–October (all year)

Whale Watching
Whale Watching

Iceland has a well-deserved reputation as the premier whale watching destination in Europe. Therefore, whale watching has become a must for any trip to Iceland. Minke, humpback, killer whales, harbour porpoises, and white-beaked dolphins can be spotted near the coast of Iceland all year round. The peak of whale watching coincides with the high tourist season from April to October, due to warmer temperatures and generally more pleasant weather. In the summer, whale-watching tours are often combined with puffin watching.

In Reykjavík, whale-watching tours depart daily from the Old Harbour in downtown. There are several operators to choose from. Boats depart at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. Many boats offer WiFi, warm drinks and snacks. Tourists can see over 20 species of Cetacea around Reykjavík including the orca, minke, humpback, and blue whales.

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

Practical info

Where is the departure point for whale watching tours in Reykjavik?

Those planning a whale watching tour in Reykjavik should head to the Old Harbour in downtown at least 30 minutes before departure where many boat operators offer a range of tours departing from 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The location is convenient, allowing visitors access to local restaurants and cafes after the tour. Whale watching tours let visitors see various types of Cetacea, including minke, humpback, and orca whales, among others, with puffin watching available on many tours. Show more

What species of whales can tourists expect to see during whale watching tours in Reykjavik?

Reykjavik provides a unique opportunity for whale watching enthusiasts to see over 20 species of cetaceans, including porpoises and white-beaked dolphins, among others. Species seen can vary depending on the season and location. Apart from seeing the whales, tourists can also learn about Iceland's nutrient-rich waters and the whales' behavior. Whale watching tours in Reykjavik are often combined with puffin watching, with the best time to go whale watching being from April to October. Show more

Are whale watching tours in Reykjavik combined with puffin watching?

Yes. Many whale watching tours in Reykjavik are combined with puffin watching tours, giving visitors an opportunity to see both the whales and puffins up close. The peak season for such tours is from April to October, although puffins can be seen between early April and late August. Other seabirds that tourists may encounter during such tours include kittiwakes and gannets. Show more

What other locations around Iceland offer whale watching tours?

Other locations around Iceland, including Ólafsvík, Akureyri, Hauganes, and Húsavík, offer whale watching tours. Húsavík is known as the whale watching capital of Iceland and offers visitors a chance to see blue whales, while a visit to Akureyri provides tourists with a chance to see humpback, minke, and killer whales. These lesser-known locations offer a more exclusive whale watching experience compared to Reykjavik, providing a chance to interact with these majestic creatures. Show more

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