When you decide to travel to Iceland, there’s a huge number of activities to do and things to see. One of the most popular ones is to take an excursion on a boat to see our friendly mammals in the sea. Whale watching in Iceland is a great way to get close to Icelandic nature and supports the country’s wildlife. We’ve got around 20 species of cetaceans that return to our waters every year. Are you thinking of taking a whale watching tour in Iceland during your trip? Read on to find out more.
We’ll cover important topics like when Iceland whale watching season is, where to go whale watching in Iceland, and how much tours cost.
When is Iceland Whale Watching Season?
If you’re thinking of doing a tour or excursion you might also be wondering the best month for whale watching in Iceland. Whales start to return to Iceland as early as April and the last ones leave by October. Peak season comes at the height of summer and of the tourist season. June, July, and August are your best chance to spot whales in Iceland.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping to do whale watching and the Northern Lights in Iceland, I’ve got some bad news for you. These two very typical Icelandic outdoor activities take place at opposite times of the year. Iceland whale watching season is in the summer and Northern Lights season is in the winter. That being said there is a small window where the transitional periods overlap.
As I mentioned before, you do have the chance to see whales in Iceland as late as October. The Northern Lights start in mid to late September, so if you come at the end of the month you might be able to catch a glimpse of both the whales and the lights. This is not a guarantee, but it’s probably your best chance to see both (if that’s what you’re really after).
Húsavik: The Best Whale Watching in Iceland
If you ask people to tell you where to go whale watching in Iceland, everyone will give you the same answer. Húsavik is considered Iceland’s whale watching capital. This is thanks to the large and varied number of species that swim close to its shores every June, July and August. If you want the best whale watching in Iceland, come to this seaside town in the northern part of the island.
Húsavik is also part of the larger Diamond Circle route. If you’re planning on doing this fantastic sightseeing circuit, this is a great starting point and a base for exploring the area.
Taking a Whale Watching Tour Iceland
It’s natural that when you come here you will want to do a whale watching tour in Iceland. Because we’re surrounded by water on all sides, you’ll be able to see these beautiful creatures just about anywhere you go. Additionally, there will be some sort of tour operator running excursions even in small towns. Many visitors wonder about whale watching in Iceland around Reykjavik harbor.
I would have to say Elding is my recommended company for a whale watching tour that leaves from Reykjavik. They are a local family-owned company with an interest in sustainable tourism. They want to help protect the country’s most precious natural resources. They’re classic whale watching tour, which lasts from 2.5 to 3.5 hours, costs 10990 ISK for adults. Children ages 7-15 years are 5495 ISK, and children up to 6 years old are free.
And of course, there are the Húsavik whale watching tours. Given that this is considered the best place to go whale watching in Iceland, there’s going to be a lot of companies. We recommend the one through visitaskja.com. The cost of the tour is 9950 ISK for an excursion that lasts 3 to 3.5 hours. For children, it’s 4200 ISK.
Preparation For Your Iceland Whale Watching Tour
The excursions get you out into the water for several hours at a time. You’ll be on a boat so of course, remember to take any anti-seasickness medicine about 45 minutes before leaving the shore. You may very well get sprayed or splashed with water, so it’s a good idea to bring your waterproof rain jackets and if possible waterproof pants and shoes. Lastly, you will also want to protect your camera or any other electronic equipment that you plan to use during your day out.
Whale Watching in Iceland: Everything You Need to Know
Taking a whale watching excursion in Iceland is definitely something that needs to be on your to do list. It’s an exciting way to spend the morning or afternoon and is a family-friendly activity. Another great bonus is that you’ll be helping out with conservation efforts to keep Icelandic whales safe. They need to be protected and being a part of the whale watching industry will help you do your small part. Pack some Dramamine, bring waterproof clothing as preparation. Have a great time while you enjoy spending time with the whales in Iceland.