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Whale Watching in Reykjavik

Home > Reykjavik > Animals and Wildlife | Day Trips | Fun Things To Do | Outdoor | Photography
Published May 19th 2021
Iceland is one of the best places in Europe to see whales, with several whale-watching spots around the island. The easiest option is to take a boat trip from Reykjavik, which you can do in half a day.

We booked a three-hour trip with Elding, although there are several operators to choose from.

Tours begin from the Old Harbour. It's a very pleasant walk along the sea road and it's worth stopping to look at the Sun Voyager. This is a famous sculpture that has become a symbol of Reykjavik.

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It's often mistaken for a Viking ship, but apparently it's a dream ship

If you don't feel like walking, Elding has a bus route serving many hotels and bus stops throughout Reykjavik.

At the harbour, we were welcomed onto our boat and issued with a warm coat each. Iceland wasn't particularly cold in July, but it does get windy once you leave the harbour.

The ship was quite luxurious, with a warm lounge, comfortable-looking chairs and a bar. You can enjoy the whole trip without leaving the lounge, but we ignored all the luxuries and headed straight outside to find the best seats at the front of the boat.

It wasn't long before we spotted something, as a couple of dolphins came up alongside and seemed to be following us.

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Shortly afterwards, a minke whale surfaced very close to us.

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The different boat operators work together and share sightings

This is the most common species of whale in Reykjavik's harbour, and there were certainly plenty around. At times we seemed to be surrounded by whales and dolphins and were often trying to look in two or three directions at once.

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Minke whales are around 7 - 8 metres long on average

They usually only surface for a couple of seconds at a time, giving you just long enough to take a photo. If you're lucky you might see a whale leap out of the water, although it didn't happen whilst we were there.

We didn't see anything especially rare, but we were still very satisfied with our whale watching experience. We probably saw at least 6 minke whales, as well as dolphins, porpoises and many different birds.

Visitors sometimes see humpbacks, and there's a chance of seeing puffins in the summer months. There's also a smaller chance of seeing orcas, or even a blue whale. You can check the diary on Elding's website to see all of their most recent sightings.

If you don't see anything, Elding promise to give you free tickets for another tour.

We were fortunate enough to visit before the covid pandemic. Elding have now come out of lockdown and restarted their boat tours, but do check the latest information before you go.
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When: All year
Phone: 354 519 5000
Where: Tours leave from Reykjavik's Old Harbour
Cost: Prices from ISK 11,990 for adults, ISK 5995 for children
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