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Best Whale watching tours in Iceland

Find in this blog which are the best whale watching tours in Iceland

The summer season is great for whale watching, as the wildlife in the bay is at its highest peak. This is the time when the minke whales are at their most abundant, along with the white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises and humpback whales.

The most common whale species encountered on our tours are the minke whales, humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises. Occasionally we see other species such as killer whales, fin whales, sei whales and long-finned pilot whales, however, they are not as common. The whales are most abundant in summer, giving us a great chance to enjoy and understand them in their natural environment. Each year continues to surprise us however with the variety of whales we see in winter, and as our research shows, more and more whales are staying in the area all year round.


There are five areas in Iceland from where you can join a whale watching tour and next I will write about the pros and cons of each location.

Whale watching tours from Reykjavik

Pros

-It is an accessible area as many tourists prefer to visit the capital city and to stay there a few nights;

-You can combine whale watching tours with other activities and enjoy a full day of activities;

-It is a different activity for those who are on a city break in Reykjavik;

-It is not far from Keflavik International Airport;

-You can enjoy whale watching tours in midnight sun;

-There is a variety of tours with different boats;

-You can enjoy the exhibition ‘Whales of Iceland’ right near the old harbour which is the meeting point for almost all whale watching tours from Reykjavik.

-You can see also birds on a whale watching tour as they are coming to the Icelandic coastline during summer;

Cons

-No one can guarantee that you will see whales on the tour;

-The capital area is crowded and the waters in the bay are choppy because of the boat traffic;

-The weather can be difficult sometimes and tours may be cancelled;

-It may happen to not see many species of whales;

-Boats pollute the water;

-Boats can produce disturbance and the whales can abandon the area;

-There are some limitations for the RIB boat tours such as age and height limitation (10+ years old and 150cm height) and also pregnant women or those with back problems cannot participate;


Whale watching tours from Húsavík

Pros

-It is the place with the highest rate of success of seeing whales on tours;

-You can enjoy a tour that is using an electrical boat with zero carbon emissions;

-The waters in northern Iceland are calmer and there is less boat traffic;

-You can see more whale species than in Reykjavik because of the amount of food that can be found in the waters;

-You can also combine whale watching tour with other tours available from Húsavík;

-You can see also birds on a whale watching tour as they are coming to the Icelandic coastline during summer, especially on the north coast;

You help local communities grow economically;

Cons

– Húsavík is located in North Iceland and it is not as accessible as Reykjavik, being so far away from Keflavik International Airport;

-Many tours from Húsavík are operated with big boats that are slower, hard to turn around and you cannot approach the whales from such a big boat;

-There are some limitations for the RIB boat tours such as age and height limitation (10+ years old and 150cm height) and also pregnant women or those with back problems cannot participate;

-The boats pollute the water;

-The weather is much harsher in the north and sometimes this may determine the cancellation of tours;


Whale watching tours from Akureyri, Hauganes, Hjalteyri

Pros

-These areas are located along the Eyjafjörður which is the longest fjord from Iceland and there lives the Eyjafjord Humpbacks Whales;

-The waters in Eyjafjörður are calm and marine life is more abundant there;

-The whale watching tours are 100% successful in this area;

-There can be covered a larger area for tours as the waters are calm;

-You help local communities grow economically;

-It is an educational activity that makes people be aware of protecting marine animals and their environment;

-Usually, when the boat arrives in an area with whales, the captain is turning off the engines to enjoy the whale watching in silence and also to not disturb the whales;

-The weather is more enjoyable as the whale watching is inside the fjord, far away from ocean cold winds;

-You can see also birds on a whale watching tour as they are coming to the Icelandic coastline during summer, especially on the north coast;

-Inside the fjord waters there is plenty of food so the whales will stay in the area;

Cons

-Despite the fact that the weather is milder in the fjord, the geographical location close to the Arctic Circle will determine lower temperatures;

-Big boats can disturb the whales and determine them to abandon the area;

-There are some limitations for the RIB boat tours such as age and height limitation (10+ years old and 150cm height) and also pregnant women or those with back problems cannot participate;


Now that you know the pros and cons of each location, it is your decision on which whale watching tour is the best. Try a whale watching tour don’t forget to share your experience with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages.