Best Value Whale Watching Trip from Reykjavik
Embark on an incredible and affordable whale watching excursion from Reykjavik. This ocean adventure grants you a fantastic opportunity to see a wealth of marine and bird life, without taking considerable time away from your holiday.
The vessel you will be traveling in is perfect for spotting whales. It has three separate viewing platforms as well as an indoor saloon equipped with a café, so you can enjoy a hot drink or light refreshments throughout the journey.
You can organize a pick-up from your accommodation for a small cost, or else meet at the departure point most convenient to you: from Reykjavik Old Harbour.
Once everyone has boarded, you will head straight out into Faxaflói bay, where the creatures of the deep are waiting. En route, in clear weather, you will get some fantastic views of the nature surrounding Reykjavik—the sight of the whole Reykjanes and Snæfellsnes peninsulas are stunning to behold.
Summer is the peak season for whale-watching, as it is the prime feeding time for the whales and migratory seabirds such as puffins can be seen. That being said, the winter months still regularly yield excellent results; just expect to see less bird-life.
The four main species you will be searching for are the Minke Whale, the Humpback Whale, the white-beaked dolphin and the harbour porpoise; each of these creatures is unique and fascinating. That is not to say these are the only creatures you may see, however; Fin Whales, Killer Whales (or orcas), Pilot Whales and even Basking Sharks are known visitors in Faxaflói Bay.
You will spend three to three and a half hours on the water, searching for and marveling over the marine life. Your experienced guide can answer any questions you may have; and will tell you about each creature as you see it.
If the weather means this tour is cancelled, or if you are very unlucky and there are no sightings, you get to go again, free of charge, until you see a marine mammal.
So do not hesitate to book; grab your chance to see the majestic animals of the deep at an affordable price! Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: All year
- Duration: 3 hours
- Activities: Whale Watching, Boat Trip, Bird watching
- Difficulty: Easy
- Languages: English, Icelandic
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.
Faxafloi is a large bay in the southwest of Iceland, located between the peninsulas Snaefellsnes (to the north) peninsula and Reykjanes (to the south).
The main fjords of the bay are Borgarfjordur, Hvalfjordur, Kollafjordur and Hafnarfjordur. Some of Iceland's largest towns are located by the bay and Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, lies on its southeastern shore.
Faxafloi bay is popular for whale- and birdwatching, sea angling and has great fishing grounds. In Kollafjordur is Videy Island, featuring the Lennon/One Peacetower, Richard Scerra's 'Milestones' and other attractions, along with great birdlife. The mountain ring seen from the bay, among which Snaefellsjokull glacier may be spotted on clear days, is particularly beautiful.
Starting time : 08:00 12:00,
Pick up starts 60 min before departure.
Please be at your pickup location in time for your departure.
Disclaimer for pick ups
Pick-ups must be booked with a minimum of one hour before the tours departure time, all pick-ups booked after that will be discarded.
Guided boat tour
Warm flotation overalls
Heated indoor cabins with toilet facilities
Wi-Fi on board
Seasickness tablets available
Pick-up (available for extra charge, please specify during booking)
Snacks and beverages for sale on board
What to bring:
We recommend wearing good footwear and warm clothing.
Good to know:
Whale Watching tour depart from
Hlésgata Vesturbugt at 9:00 and 13:00
Please be at the meeting point at least 10 minutes before departure.
Pedro Miguel Carvalho
Nice tour to do. I didn't´t see the whales but they said I have 2 years to do the tour again and I don´t need to pay anything next time. I recommended this tour, no doubts.
Pleasant boat ride. No whale sightings.
So good that we saw the whales. Although I felt dizzy but later I was fine because the 3-hour trip is not that long. :)
Was a fantastic experience even though we didn't see any whales, John our host was awesome and I got to chat with him about Iceland, and the culture and learned a lot about whales and dolphins. Although we didn't see any whales, we did see a bunch of dolphins which my son really liked and just the fact of being on a boat in the ocean with some really cool scenery and great hosts made us happy and we loved the experience. I would recommend going on the tour, but just go into thinking that seeing a whale is a bonus.
Unfortunately We could not see anything because of the bad weather.Most pf the people got seasick because of the waves.I beleive that they tried to do their best and also offered to attend on an other trip.Check the weather before going.
The sailors are so nice and funny! Although the weather was not good and the whale didn't show up in the end, I still felt excited about this trip (Except for my dizzy on the boat... ).
The trip went as well as I hoped: whales weren't spotted but they gave us an opportunity to come back free any other time. I couldn't. We went on a terrible day; weather was right before one of the worst days of the year. The guides told us whales/dolphins leave when storms come. That would have been handy to know, so if you're reading this now: check the weather before you book! The guide himself was great, Spanish-Icelandic and fluent in English, he made the trip entertaining and made it obvious they were actually trying to find the whales. Also, we saw a rainbow there. THAT was a good photo!
Great time with Reykjavik sailor, not that much people as others' so you would have better view. We saw several whale Dolphins, really exciting. We would go further to H city if we had more time.
We spotted two dolphins and three whales. Great! The crew provided us with lots of info on the characteristics and the behaviour of these animals. Really interesting.
We managed to go when the sun was shining in Reykjavik. Spotted playful dolphins and 2 whales. Sadly we only came across the whales towards the end of our tour. A great day all round.
I loved this boat trip! We saw several whales, even though the conditions were not 100% perfect. We saw a minke whale and two humpback whales, and also quite a few dolphins! I liked how we were a very small group of people on the boat, so we could friendly chat with our guide and each other. We had a great time together! Our guide was a biologist who knew a lot and was happy to share his knowledge. I'd recommend Reykjavik sailors to anybody wanting to meet the great mammals!
We saw some incredibly large and majestic mink whales on this tour. The water was still and the weather was great, which is unusual for Iceland. I can highly recommend this trip!
Was seasick but still had a great time!
Could not have been bette! This as one of the greatest traveling experiences I've ever had. The tour guide and the crew are so nice, welcoming and diligent. It was perfect, do not miss this tour.
I arrived around my pre-booked time but was told the boat broke down. And there was nobody working in the small place beside the boat. No notice neither about the situation. I was asking around and people told me where to find their office which was about 5 minutes walk from the boat. I didn't realize it was such an accident. A lady who was working there told me to come the day after because I had a tour to join in the next day. When I went there after one day, was told there wasn't any tours going on. I was very angry and disappointed by their unprofessional behavior. They were really sorry and because I was leaving the next day so not a chance to go on that time. So they paid me to go whale watching with another neighbor company. But because that day was very rough and we didn't see any whales. Very very disappointed. Also tourists need to notice, they don't use any sona things to tract these animals so it is really something depends on your luck.
I wound up missing the boat and it was my only opportunity during my visit to Reykjavik to take that tour. The operator needs to provide a map showing the detailed location of where the boat will be docked. "Behind Harpa Concert Hall" is too obscure - that is a big area with lots of different boats.