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Iceland Whale Watching Holidays

We’re proud to have pioneered whale watching in Iceland back in 1993, when we became the first company to operate a whale-watching boat trip. It’s a truly spectacular destination for encountering these majestic, captivating creatures.

During summer, you can watch humpback whales breaching in the golden light of the midnight sun. And in winter you can see pods of orca hunting herring against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. Over 20 species of cetacean are found in the seas around Iceland. The varieties most commonly seen range from the diminutive harbour porpoise and white-beaked dolphin to orcas, minke whales and gentle giants like the sperm, fin, humpback and blue whale.

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Year round opportunities

Peak season for whale watching is April to September when you stand a good chance of witnessing the acrobatic antics of humpback whales. Blue whales are also regular spring and summer visitors, particularly off the coast of North Iceland in top whale watching locations like Skjalfandi Bay and Eyjafjordur.

“I’m amazed at the number of whale species you can see in Iceland.  Some are resident, others migratory, arriving via a mid-Atlantic whale highway to where the cold East Greenland current and the warmer Gulf Stream meet.  The resulting upwelling of nutrient-rich water creates an open-all-hours snack bar for whales and dolphins and outstanding whale watching opportunities for us.”

Cathy Harlow, Iceland Guide

During winter whale watching in Iceland focuses on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west of the country where orcas gather to feed on large shoals of herring, typically between January and March. In the more southerly coastal waters, you can spot whales year round, with excursions operating from Reykjavik harbour. No matter, which season you choose to search for cetaceans, you’ll also be able to enjoy the added spectacle of large flocks of seabirds, stunning scenery and sublime, ever-changing Arctic light.

Ways to travel

Our close ties with the tourist industry in Iceland allows us to offer dedicated whale watching holidays led by expert teams of guides and naturalists. Our popular, Orcas & Aurora holiday lets you search for killer whales by day off the coast of Grundarfjordur and the northern lights by night.

Independent travellers can also enjoy whale encounters with excursions threaded into our diverse collection of summer self-drive holidays. At Husavik, ‘Europe’s Whale Watching Capital’, you have the added charm of setting out in a sailing schooner or a beautifully restored oak fishing boat, while from Reykjavik fast and fun RIB boats add an extra thrill!

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