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Best Places in Iceland for Whale Watching

Embark on your whale watching trip from these 6 Icelandic cities

|May 24, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

Iceland, rich in nature, lures people to try many different activities. One of these includes whale-watching. Find out what are some of the outstanding cities from which you can hop on a boat and see these giants.

One of the popular and often activities that many visitors in Iceland can't wait to experience and enjoy is whale watching. And, of course, who would miss an opportunity to see the biggest mammal on earth? While this activity brings so much excitement, it also helps people learn more about the whales and understand their importance and the problems nature faces.

But where to whale watch in Iceland? What are the chances of actually spotting them? And when is the best time to see them? Continue to read and find out what are the six top places in Iceland with the highest chance of seeing these stunning creatures. Spoiler alert: After reading about these charming cities and towns, you might want to stay here not only for whale watching.

Aerial view of swimming whale in the sea

Best Places to Go Whale Watching in Iceland

Iceland is a hub for whale watching adventures. Check out the favorite places to go whale watching in Iceland:


Whale watching boat tour in Husavik, Iceland

If one of your main goals during your trip to Iceland is to see whales, then you should go straight to the whale-watching capital – Húsavík. The town is located in Iceland's North East, by Skjálfandi Bay. This fishing town is primarily known as the whale-watching hot spot, but it also invites visitors to admire its stunning nature, colorful architecture, and many places, such as Húsavík Whale Museum or the town's wooden church. But of course, many come here to see the stunning whales and usually choose this location, especially during summer, as it provides high sightseeing success rates. In Húsavík, you can spot humpback whales, harbor porpoises, minke whales, and much more. Even history proves this to be one of the best places in Iceland for whale watching as Husavik was where the first whale-watching tour company started operating back in 1995.



Whale watching tour in North Iceland, Akureyri

Among whale-watching locations is Akureyri, the second largest town in Iceland and the capital of the North. With a population of more than 18000 citizens, the town is only 100 kilometers away from the Arctic Circle. It's also situated in the longest fjord in Iceland, Eyjafjörður. Because of this convenient location, many choose Akureyri as the place suitable for whale watching. It can also be considered the best place in Iceland for whale watching as here you can spot minke whales and humpback whales, and if you're really lucky, you can also see bottlenose whales. And for those who are afraid that they won't get lucky to see these mammals, the chances of seeing whales in Akureyri are very high, reaching almost 100% success rate.


Popular location to go whale watching - Dalvik town

Another popular place to go whale watching in Iceland is Dalvik. This fishing town is situated on Tröllaskagi Peninsula, in the Eyjafjörður fjord. Despite its population being only around 1500 citizens, the town attracts many tourists with its beautiful scenery, hiking trails, ski slopes, and of course, whale-watching tours. From here, you'll be able to explore the North Coast of Iceland on a boat and have a unique opportunity to spot humpback whales, minke whales, and even white-beaked dolphins. And if you think that there's nothing more that can surprise you after such a remarkable event, know that there's a whale-watching tour with a beer spa after. What could be better after a long, eventful day than soaking in a beer tub?


Whale watching tour in Iceland's capital - Reykjavik

Iceland's capital is known as a center of urban activities and a spot where travelers can see whales. Many whale-watching tours actually start from Reykjavik, making it more comfortable for visitors to cross one activity out of their must-do things on Iceland's list. It's also smart to combine whale-watching with other fun activities, such as the chase of the Northern Lights. On the whale-watching and Aurora Borealis tour, you'll have a unique opportunity to leave the capital and go to Faxaflói Bay to see humpback whales and minke whales. Later, you'll finish your evening by watching the famous Northern Lights across the Icelandic night sky.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Whale watching in Snæfellsnes, Iceland

Among places that offer whale watching in Iceland is Snæfellsnes Peninsula (also called "Iceland in miniature"), found in West Iceland. The peninsula is famous for its rich and unforgettable nature. It’s also home to Snæfellsjökull, an active volcano with a glacier cap that’s 700,000 years old. One of the top places from which you can set into this fun adventure is Olafsvik. Often, whale-watching tours ensure that you'll get to witness these beautiful mammals as the guides know the best time and place to see the whales. On Snæfellsnes Peninsula, you can spot a variety of these water creatures: blue whales, harbor porpoises, northern bottlenose whales, and sei whales.


Westfjords - calm waters to spot the whales in Iceland

Last but not least, another place to spot whales is the Westfjords. This place is known for its remoteness and countless activities to do. These include hiking, soaking in hot springs, kayaking, bird-watching, and of course, whale-watching. One of the ways you can save some time and increase your chances of actually spotting humpback whales, pilot whales, and minke whales is by going on a tour from Holmavik. Here you'll have a chance to enjoy the calm waters and see many different species of whales and hear all about them from your guide.

Iceland is recognized for its diverse nature, breathtaking sites, and its wealth of wildlife. Whales are among many different species of animals in the land of fire and ice who found their home here. Over the years, many visitors come here to spot them. If you're among those who wish to see the greatness of these mammals for yourself and want to be sure of your success, check out these whale-watching tours in Iceland in the top best cities for this activity.

Which one of these places is already in your plans?

FAQ - Best Places for Whale Watching in Iceland

Which port in Iceland has the best whale watching?

The best place to watch whales is its "capital," Húsavík, which is found on Skjálfandi Bay. Here you can see the famous blue whale with your own eyes.

What month is best for whale watching in Iceland?

The good news is that you can see whales all year round. However, if you're curious to see a particular species, then the best time might vary according to a particular type of whale. The best months to see whales are considered to be from April to September.

Is whale watching better in Reykjavik or Akureyri?

While many listed places are great for whale watching, the best place is the one that's most interesting and convenient for you. Generally, the capital has a larger variety of tours that occur regularly every day.

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