Close Up | Whales, Puffins & Reykjavik Coast

Close Up | Whales, Puffins & Reykjavik Coast
As you can see, the Minke Whale is much closer to the RIB than to the larger whale watching vessel.
Puffins! Puffins! Puffins!!!
You can see a wealth of marine life in the ocean off the shores of Reykjavík city.
Take a whale and puffin watching tour and see some of Iceland's most adorable residents, the Atlantic Puffins.
Get a close up view of the majestic whales on a rib boat whale watching tour.
Snæfellsjökull glacier majestic in the background!
Based on 36 traveller reviews

Marvel over the bountiful marine and avian life just off the coast of Reykjavík with this whale- and puffin-watching tour. Conducted in a RIB boat, this excursion will get as close as possible to the animals, without disturbing their natural behaviour, and is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

Your RIB will be waiting for you at the floating pier by Reykjavík’s Old Harbour. Each boat has just twelve seats, ensuring a personal and intimate experience. After getting into your overalls and life-jacket, you’ll board, strap up, and zip out into Faxaflói Bay.

Before reaching open water, you will be able to marvel over Reykjavík’s coastal landmarks. The most notable of these is the Harpa Concert Hall, an incredible feat of modern architecture, and the Sun Voyager, a beautiful sculpture representing adventure into the unknown.

As you get further to sea, more scenery will unfold around you. You will be able to see the mountainous and verdant Hvalfjörður (Whale Fjord), and the barren and volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula. In particularly clear weather, you will be able to see all the way over to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

The wildlife you seek could appear at any time. The species that frequent Iceland’s waters most regularly are minke and humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises. However, it is not unheard of to see other creatures, such as orcas, pilot whales, fin- and sei whales and the great blue whale (although rare in our waters).

The guide on board is an expert at locating these cetaceans and can tell you all about them throughout the tour. Due to how small your vessel is, these explanations will hopefully go on when one of the marvellous creatures of the deep is mere metres away.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises are not the only highlights of this tour, however. The birdwatching opportunities are also incredible. Dozens of species, such as kittiwakes, fulmar and arctic tern, can all be seen in the sky and water, and you are also very likely to see puffins (during the season 15 May - 15 August) as the puffins are here during that time for their annual breeding season.

After admiring the marine life of Faxaflói bay, you will be whisked back to Reykjavík’s harbour. On the way back you have ample views of the bay’s surrounding areas and the astonishing view of the city from sea.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see some of Iceland’s most beautiful animals!

Check availability by choosing a date.

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Apr. - Oct.
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Activities: Whale Watching, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Bird watching
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum age: 10 years.
  • Languages: English
  • Attractions: Reykjavík, Faxaflói, Snæfellsnes, Reykjanes, Hvalfjörður, Sun Voyager, Reykjavík Harbour
Pickup information:
  • Departure time : 09:00. 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 20:00,

Reykjavík's Old Harbour, Ægisgarður 5

Please be at the tour start location in 30 minutes before departure. If you need assistance finding it, seek guidance in your Hotel's reception or contact your tour provider directly.

  • Expertly guided whale safari in a 12 seater RIB boat

  • Puffin watching from 15 May - 15 August

  • Warm overalls, gloves, goggles and necessary safety equipment

  • Reykjavík views including Harpa Concert Hall, Sun Voyager and more

  • Toilet facilities

  • Refreshments

What to bring:
  • Warm outdoor clothing

  • Headgear and gloves

  • Good shoes

  • Camera

Good to know:

Puffins only colonise Iceland during a limited time (15 May - 15 August) and therefore tours undertaken out of this timeframe are not guaranteed to see them.

In the unlikely event of no whale or dolphin sightings, you will be offered to join a Classic Whale Watching tour on the bigger vessels free of charge.


Verified reviews

Average4.836 reviews
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Our guide Louise (sorry if I get your name wrong) was the best person possible, kind, knowledgeable and exited just like we all were. The weather was great, RIB ride was fun itself and we saw humpback a couple of times. This was definitely the best tour I could imagine.
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Elsa was an incredibly knowledgeable guide and we enjoyed the beautiful ride and views of the puffins. Unfortunately, the weather did not permit us to go look for whales, but the company was very accomodating in moving our tour and refunding the difference.
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We had such an incredible time on our whale-watching tour with Guide to Iceland. The tour was very informative and a lot of fun. The check-in kiosk and meeting point were very easy to find, and there were plenty of amazing restaurants right in the vicinity for breakfast or lunch before or after our tour. And our guide was fantastic. We were able to see many minke whales on our tour, plus a slew of really beautiful and interesting birds. I highly recommend booking this tour with this company.
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Our guide was very informative about the local wildlife and kept us entertained throughout our tour, our driver was also very skilled! We went on a 14:00 trip and the weather was perfect and the water was very calm, although there was a chill when we were moving at speed, the gear they provided helped a lot with this!! We saw Puffins and other seabirds along with Dolphins and a Minke Whale! Would highly recommend!!!
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The tour was superb! Very friendly tour guide with good knowledge of marine life who explained everything to us. Unfortunately we didnt see any whales on the first day with the speed boat, just dolphins which was amazing nevertheless, so we got rebooked for free on the next day for a tour with the bigger boat which was successful as we saw several whales and dolphins!! The experience was amazing. Totally worth to pay more and take the premium tour with the speed boat as you can see the animals from closer and the boat ride is already an attraction in itself
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In Reykjavik, our first attempt by taking RIB was not so successful. So Elding gave us free tickets for watching one more time. We can use it to join any classic whale-watching tour within two years. Then, we joined its tour in Akureyri. Finally, we made it!
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The tour was great! It is so fun to be on the Rib Boat and we met some great people too. We saw whales and puffins and all sorts of other birds. The guide was knowledgeable and excited to be there with us.
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This was a phenomenal part of our trip to Iceland. We were a little nervous about the pricetag, but decided that since we were only in Iceland 3 days, we'd do everything exactly as we wanted to, despite the price. In this case, very much the right choice. Our guide (whose name, I'm ashamed to say, I can't recall) clearly loved what he did. He was extremely knowledgeable and engaged. One of the other tourists on our boat had done quite a lot of whale watching in the past in the United States, and it was interesting and educational to hear them compare whale behaviors. When the Humpback we were watching breached, our guide was just as excited as the rest of us, exclaiming jubilantly, which made the moment feel even more special. Besides the Humpback, we also got very close to a group of Minke whale, one of which seemed to play with us a little. I can't recommend this experience enough, and it's short enough that even if you only have a day or two in Iceland, you can still do it and have time for museums, horses, food, etc. My only warning would be that they aren't kidding when they say the front seat are bouncy! My sister and I sat in the very front, and while I never ACTUALLY came close to falling out of the boat, I definitely felt like I might a few times! If you're looking for a thrill, definitely sit there -- if not, the back is for you! I might not recommend it for someone with back problems, just because even in the back there is a good deal of bouncing around. But that said, even with my being a bit of a chicken up front, I think I'll being seeking out RIB tours for all my future whale watching. The ride was much more fun and intimate than big whale watching cruisers, and the size of the boat allowed us to get so close that I could see a Minke before it even surfaced. A wonderful experience I can't recommend enough.
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Highlight of our week in Iceland! So much fun - out in the middle of the sea, bouncing over the water, racing birds flying along with the speedboat. My teenage son really loved this excursion. We had sightings of about 4 whales and each of them surfaced a few times each. The puffins were right in the water alongside the boat and we also stopped to observe their nesting place on the cliff. Our boat operator and guide were great! Definitely worth doing!
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