Whale Watching in Iceland

Do you want to watch whales jump in and out of the sea? Do you want to capture the moment on camera and in your memory forever? Where could you possible go to see whales? — in Iceland, of course. When it comes to whale watching, Iceland is where you need to come.

Iceland is the ideal country to watch whales swim in their natural habitat due to the freezing waters. The water remains cold in the summer. Summer is the season when several marine mammals come to frolic in the waters, putting on a show for curious tourists such as yourself.  The best time for whale watching in the country is from April to October with the peak seasons being June, July, and August.

The Types of Whales You Will Encounter

In the summer months, you will encounter several familiar mammal species that Iceland’s waters are famous for harboring. You will see Minke, Humpback, Orca, and Blue Whale. You can see the whales in both the Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean. Here is a little more insight on the most common types of whales you will get to see swimming in the ocean:

Minke Whale

  • Measures seven to eleven meters
  • Weighs eight to ten pounds
  • The most common whale in Iceland
  • Can be seen in North and South of Iceland

Humpback Whale

  • Measures thirteen to seventeen meters
  • Weighs twenty to forty tons
  • Can travel to great distances
  • Can live up to ninety-five years
  • Can be seen from Húsavík and Reykjavík

Blue Whale

  • Measures twenty-five to thirty meters
  • Weights 150 to 200 tons
  • Largest known animal to have lived on the earth

Fin Whale

  • Measures twenty to twenty-eight in length
  • Weighs 70 to 120 pounds
  • Can live up to ninety years with some whales, living up to 140 years

Orca or Killer Whale

  • Measures six to nine meters
  • Weighs three to nine tons

Going Whale Watching


Usually, tours to see the mighty whales swimming in the water begin from the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavík, departing from the Old Harbor. Tours also depart from smaller towns, situated north of the country such as Húsavík, which is a fishing village. The small size of the vessels makes the whale watching tour even more personable.

If you are looking to experience a more scenic and calm experience, you should take whale watching tours that begin from Eyjafjörður and Skjálfandi bays. However, the starting point of the tour does not matter one bit because the real goal here is to see some amazing whales diving in and out of the water with great speed and fluidity.

Another surprise waiting for you down at the ocean will be the opportunity to see other mammals in their natural environment that share the ocean with the whales such as white-beaked dolphins, seals, porpoises, sharks, and a variety of different sea birds. Some sea birds you will encounter include gulls, Arctic Terns, and gannets.

Other Possible Events that Can Occur While Whale Watching


If you are visiting the country in the winters, you will get the added bonus of seeing the flawless dance of the Northern Lights, snowcapped mountains, and sunsets. One downside of visiting Iceland in the winter is that whale watching tours only occur in the day and are less frequent that they are in the summer.

If you want to watch a whale in action, you should visit Iceland. Iceland is the perfect country where chances of you coming across a whale showing off its swimming skills are high. Sometimes, it can take hours for you to see a whale, but be patient because you will definitely see one.


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