Best Whale Watching In Iceland – A whale watching tour in Iceland is a must for many visiting the land of fire and ice. Imagine taking a boat ride to admire the coastline and spot local wildlife. Great learning opportunity and opportunity to take unforgettable photos!
Did you know that Iceland is one of the best places in Europe to observe the largest marine mammals? Tours are available year-round and are popular with both children and adults.
Best Whale Watching In Iceland
Read on to get the most out of the experience before you book an Iceland tour and whale watching activity. We’ve put together interesting facts about these marine mammals (aquatic mammals) and information about the species you can see here.
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Not sure if you should consider a summer trip to Iceland or a winter trip? Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the best times and places for whale watching in Iceland.
You may find your whale watching trip very informative. Marine biologists often guide these trips so you can learn more and ask questions. Some tour operators also offer land fairs before or after the cruise.
On some ships you will also find a children’s playroom with books about whales. So rest assured, it will be a fun learning activity for everyone.
Many species of whales can be seen around Iceland throughout the year. Below is information on which ones you will see most often on your whale watching trips.
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Minke whales are small marine mammals that are generally quite shy. They liked their own friends and couldn’t get close to the boat. Although they are good swimmers, they rarely do aerobatics.
Due to their large numbers in Icelandic waters, they are one of the most common whales seen on your cruise ship. They can be seen near the coast most of the year, but your best bet is in the summer.
Humpback whales are found in all the world’s oceans. They make one of the longest migrations of any mammal in the world. They swim from warm tropical waters where they mate in colder northern latitudes in search of food.
They travel north in the summer, so this is when you’re most likely to see them in Iceland. They are easy to spot on cruise ships because they are very active. They commit more offenses than any other whale.
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The bowhead whale gets its name from the curved shape of its jaw. They are large, round whales that cannot be rushed. Because they live in the polar waters of the Arctic, they swim slowly, conserving their energy.
They love chunks of ice and can break half a meter of ice with their heads to get to the surface. They can be seen in northern Iceland.
The sperm whale, also called the kakalot, is the largest toothed whale ever to exist. On average, they are 11 to 16 meters long. Legendary status defeated by book
Deep water fishing, they can hold their breath for an impressive 2 hours. One of their favorite foods is the giant squid, as it is similar in size to some baleen whales and has teeth.
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The white whale is the most easily distinguished from the crowd by its bright white color. One of his close relatives is the narwhal. The beluga whale and the female narwhal look very similar because only the male narwhal has prominent teeth.
Beluga are nicknamed “sea canaries” thanks to their vocals. They are often heard over the water as well.
In Iceland, you are more likely to see them in the north. They migrate south during the winter months when ice begins to form over the Arctic.
For a closer look, head to the Beluga Shrine in southern Iceland. They welcome ex-captive beluga with the aim of rehabilitating them in their natural habitat.
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Although sightings of blue whales are rare in Iceland, you can’t talk about whales without mentioning these gentle giants.
The blue whale is the largest whale and mammal on the planet. They are also the tallest, heaviest and loudest. They are graceful on the water and it is a privilege to witness them.
They are more likely to be seen in Greenland than in Iceland, but they do occur occasionally in this region.
Iceland is a great place for whale watching. This is thanks to the cold Arctic seas and the warmer North Atlantic waters mixing from the coast. This makes it an excellent habitat for species of small fish, herring, and even squid, making it an ideal feeding ground for whales.
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There are many places to see whales around the island. There are also endless tours you can book, so choosing the best option for you is understandably difficult.
There are two main places to see whales in Icelandic waters: the capital, Reykjavík, in the southeast, and Húsavík, in Iceland’s north. Different types of excursions are available and depending on the area, you can also see different types of whales.
Your decision may also be influenced by the content of your planned itinerary or the length of your visit to Iceland. Read on to discover the best places for whale watching.
The easiest place to see whales in Iceland is the capital, Reykjavik. As the first port of call on most visits to this northern island, it is the most accessible.
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Whale watching tours usually depart from the old harbour, which is a 10-minute walk from the city centre. Convenient location, you can walk from the hotel to your sights.
The most common sightings along Faxaflói Bay are minke whales, humpback whales, white-billed dolphins and harbor dolphins.
With an average visit of three hours, you can combine it with other activities for the rest of the day.
It’s also ideal if you’re in Iceland just for a short getaway. You can always book a trip to experience whale watching from here.
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Another highlight of whale watching in Reykjavík is the natural area along Faxaflói Bay. A bay that stretches from the Reykjanes peninsula to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Admire the beauty not only under the sea, but also above it. The high peaks of the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the distance and the Kirkjufell conical mountain you might recognize
During your visit to the capital, you can also visit the Icelandic Whale museum exhibit. Stand firm on land and find the gentle giants of the sea.
Since whale watching tours in Iceland began in the 1990s, Húsavík has become a popular hub of activity. Originally a fishing village, it has since been called the “Whale Watching Capital of Iceland”. This was thanks to the area with the highest success rate on the island.
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Take a boat to go to Skjálfandi Bay. It has fjord-like features, pulling food into the bay and allowing whales to dive deeper to hunt and feed.
23 species of marine mammals can be seen in Iceland, and all of them are found in northern Iceland. These include humpback whales, minke, white-billed dolphins and harbor dolphins. Blue whales, the largest mammals on the planet, can also be seen visiting the bay.
Húsavík is really a great place to watch whales in their natural habitat. In fact, most summer tours are 100% scenic, so you know you’re ready for an adventure!
If you’re lucky, you may find them not only peeking (hitting their heads out of the water) but also slitting (jumping) and playfully tapping their flippers into the water.
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Húsavík is also home to a whale museum. Located in the city center next to the harbor, you can explore whales and marine ecology in an educational and entertaining way.
Whale watching tours are held all year round in Iceland. So whenever you plan your trip here, you must witness these sea creatures.
If you’d like to plan your Iceland visit around this incredible experience, read on to learn more about the benefits of each season.
Summer is by most people’s standards the best time to come to Iceland for whale watching. Summer visits have two main advantages: the weather and the greater number of whales.
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Temperatures, of course, are higher in summer. The sea is usually colder and you may still want to wear overalls. However, the conditions will be more pleasant than in winter. Less thunderstorms and better prospects for clear skies.
Summer also coincides with feeding season in the North Atlantic. Some whales spend their winters breeding in southern waters and heading north to forage in spring and summer.
You can expect more sightings in the summer as there are more whales and greater species diversity in the area.
You should be able to see minke whales and humpback whales this season. In Reykjavik, the bay is shallow, but further north you can see larger sperm whales in deeper water. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the elusive blue whale!
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