Europe Iceland My Adventures

Why you should do a Whale Watching Tour in Reykjavík

Iceland is known to be a great location for whale watching especially during the summer months. I’ve always found whales fascinating, so this tour was right at the top of my list during our Iceland visit in May. There are tons of tour operators to choose from and we decided to go with Reykjavik Sailors. Their boat is located in the old harbour and they offer 4 tours a day during the summer: One at 9am, 1pm, 5pm and the last tour being at 9pm.

We got on board for the 1pm tour and were greeted by very nice crew members. The boat is split in 3 levels: the top deck for the best views; the indoor saloon to warm up and relax and the lower deck to get changed into the floatation overalls. They got free wireless-internet on board too and if you feel peckish, they offer some delicious snacks.

Reykjavik Sailors boat in Reykjavik,IcelandAt 1pm sharp, we departed the harbour with 15 other people. After a quick safety introduction, a crew member told us all about the different types of whales and what to expect out at the sea. Now we were good to go! The bright red floatation overalls that protect you from the unsettled, chilly weather, were located at the lower deck. First I wasn’t sure if it’s really necessary but once we were outside at the top deck it made total sense. We felt super warm and we’re ready to spot some whales.

Whale watching tour in ReykjavikMost of the 3 hour trip, we spent outside at the top deck. There was plenty of space to move around, so we weren’t just stuck at one spot. It was chilly but I really enjoyed feeling the fresh air on my face. I just love being at sea and looking at the neverending ocean.

on board Reykjavik Sailors in Reykjavik,IcelandFinally, about 1 hour off the coast, we saw our first whale: a minke. All the other tour operators were already there and we started following the whales together. A few minutes later, we saw the tale of a humpback whale. Although they were quite far away, it was amazing to see those incredible animals. It was very exciting to follow them especially because we didn’t know exactly where they will come up again (it could literally be next to the boat). Make sure to set your camera to a “burst mode” so you can take many pictures over a few seconds and do not miss anything. Also try and bring some binoculars so  you can see everything the tour has to offer in greater detail.

whale watching in Iceland

whale watching in IcelandAfter an hour following those majestic animals, it was time to head back to Reykjavík. We went inside to warm up and share that incredible experience. The time was flying and we couldn’t believe that we really spent 3 hours out at the sea.

view over Reykjavik coast, IcelandWould I do the tour again?

Definitely! It’s an amazing experience and very exciting to watch these majestic creatures. Of course, it’s not guaranteed to see any whales, but being out at sea and watching the ocean is worth it alone. Plus, if there are no sightings on the tour you will get another ticket to join on the next available day. The best time to see whales is from April to October, but there’s so much more to discover for example beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises and puffins. Plus, you get an amazing view of Iceland’s coast. Make sure to bring gloves and a wolly head, as it can get very chilly.

I’ve booked the tour through Guide to Iceland – Iceland’s largest online plattform that offers a wide range of tours for the best price guaranteed (otherwise they will refund you the difference). You’re also able to rent a car, book accommodation and get travel information about Iceland, so a great source for your Iceland visit.

Would you do a whale watching tour in Iceland? What would be on top of your list? Let me know in the comments section below.

Whale watching tour in IcelandTotal blogger transparency: I accepted an discount from Guide to Iceland but don’t worry, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    SamH Travels
    17. February 2017 at 7:11 am

    This looks like a great experience. I would love to go whale watching and it’s been on my travel bucket list for years ! Thank you for the info on the website. Have pinned for future use 🙂

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      24. February 2017 at 2:55 am

      It’s an amazing experience and I hope you get a chance to do it soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Barry
    17. February 2017 at 5:00 am

    I still haven’t been to Iceland yet despite growing up in the UK. I’ve seen a fair few whales while living in Australia – but it certainly looks a lot colder in Iceland. Love the red suits BTW!

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      24. February 2017 at 2:57 am

      Haha, it was freezing cold but the red suits kept us warm 🙂 Hope you get a chance to go to Iceland soon – it’s an amazing country!

  • Reply
    ThriftyTrails
    17. February 2017 at 4:26 am

    Thanks for the “burst mode” tip, I always forget about that. I’ve never been whale watching but I want to! It looks fun! By the way, I have the same beanie but in a different color haha.

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      24. February 2017 at 3:01 am

      Haha, I love this beanie 🙂 It was amazing to watch these majestic creatures from the distance – hope you get a chance to see them one day!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    17. February 2017 at 1:26 am

    I would love this. I did one in Alaska and saw Humpback and Orcas, it’s so amazing isn’t it? I’ve been wanting to visit Iceland and this is just another reason for me to go . Thanks for sharing your cool adventure.

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      24. February 2017 at 3:03 am

      That’s amazing, would love to go to Alaska to do a whale watching tour! Iceland is an incredible country with so much to see and do – hope you get a chance to go soon!

  • Reply
    Shona Grant
    15. February 2017 at 5:34 am

    This looks fantastic! I have a fascination with whales and managed to see orcas in Alaska, but I’d love to see whales In Iceland. Love the idea of the suits too!

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      24. February 2017 at 3:07 am

      That’s amazing, love to go to Alaska one day! Haha, the suits were massive but kept us warm 🙂 It was such a great experience, hope you get a chance to go to Iceland one day!

  • Reply
    Travel Lexx
    13. February 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Another magical experience in Iceland and I am so glad that you got to see these beautiful creatures, even if from a distance! Would be amazing to visit Iceland and do this tour! Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      21. February 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you! Just being out there was a great experience and seeing them was just incredible. Hope you get a chance to see them one day too!

  • Reply
    Garth
    12. February 2017 at 10:59 pm

    What an amazing experience! I love Reykjavík and Im sure well be going back again soon (we’ve been 3 times already!) definitely have to try this trip!

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      16. February 2017 at 11:27 pm

      Wow, that’s a lot but I understand why 🙂 It’s such an amazing country and I would love to go back too!

  • Reply
    Oana
    12. February 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I am so jealous, when we visited Iceland in March it wasn’t the whale season so we haven’t booked any tour. I am dying to see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, hope to get to see it soon as we missed this opportunity in Tenerife as well due to bad weather. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      16. February 2017 at 11:23 pm

      That’s a shame but now you have a good reason to go back to see more 😀 I didn’t see the northern lights whilst we were there, so def. have to plan another trip to Iceland 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)
    11. February 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Love this…I am so ready to go to Iceland and will take this Whale Watching Tour. Will pin this for later since Iceland is on the top of my bucket-list 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      16. February 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Iceland is beautiful in so many ways – hope you get a chance to go soon. You’ll have an amazing time!

  • Reply
    Scarlett Begonias
    11. February 2017 at 1:11 am

    This is magical. We would love to go whale watching in Iceland one day! Adding it to the list. 🙂

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      16. February 2017 at 11:17 pm

      I hope you get a chance one day – it’s an amazing experience seeing these majestic creatures in the open ocean!

  • Reply
    Anna Schlaht
    10. February 2017 at 5:40 pm

    So fun! We saw these tour operators while walking along the Old Harbour in November, but unfortunately it wasn’t seasonable to go out. 🙁 Thankfully, we’ve been whale watching before (in the US). Such a good time–seeing whales up close like this is an experience you remember for a lifetime. I love the idea of wearing suits, though; it can get cold and wet.

    Thanks for sharing! We’ll remember this next time we go to Iceland (hopefully in the summer months). #feetdotravel

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      24. February 2017 at 3:14 am

      That’s a shame that it wasn’t the season to go out but I’m glad you saw them back in the US. Haha, I first thought I don’t need the suit but they are extremely thick and def. keep you warm and try! Hope you get a chance to go back during the summer months – I have to head back during the winter to see the northern lights 😀

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