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Frequently Asked Questions

About Whale Watching & Puffin Tours in Iceland

Whale and puffin watching tours are conducted by boat from ports all around Iceland. Over twenty species of whale and dolphin frequent Iceland’s waters, many of them throughout the year, whereas Atlantic Puffins nest in their millions along coastal cliffs and on islands from April to August.

Though you're not guaranteed to see these magnificent animals, many of these tours have nearly 100% success ratings in terms of sightings.

1. Where is the best location in Iceland to see whales?

There are numerous places in Iceland from where you can take a whale watching tour, including Reykjavík, Akureyri and Dalvík. Iceland’s ‘whale watching capital’ is Húsavík, in North Iceland.

2. When is puffin season in Iceland?

Puffins can be seen in Iceland from early April until September.

3. Is it certain that we will see whales on the tour?

Because we are dealing with wild animals, seeing whales and dolphins can never be absolutely guaranteed. However, most larger crafts are fitted with the latest tracking systems and are in constant communication, thus heightening the odds greatly.

4. What happens if no whales are spotted during the tour?

You can join the tour again for free by contacting the tour's operator and rebooking.

5. Under what circumstances are tours cancelled?

When it comes down to bad weather and heavy seas, we rely on the experience and judgment of the captains. In the end, it is the captain who makes the final call.

6. How should I dress for the whale watching & puffin tours?

It is advised to dress as warmly as possible (it can get very chilly on the boat), and be sure to wear sturdy shoes. There are warm overalls available on the boat should you need them.

7. How long do the tours last?

Whale watching tours last for approximately 3 hours (give or take twenty minutes), while puffin tours are usually 1 hour long.

8. What other wildlife might I see on the tour?

Aside from the whales and puffins, there is the possibility to see porpoise and many different types of seabird species, including northern gannets, shags, fulmars and arctic tern.

9. Will I learn about the animals?

Yes, definitely. Wildlife tours are operated by experienced, knowledgeable and qualified nature guides who will eagerly share interesting information throughout the trip.

10. Are the boat tours dangerous?

Not at all! Passenger safety is of the highest concerns. In the rare event that anything should happen, life jackets and lifeboats are plentiful.

11. Can I smoke on the boat?

No, smoking is prohibited on board for the duration of the trips.

Customer reviews

Read reviews by travellers from across the world

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Husavik Original Whale Watching Adventure

5 average rating | 1 reviews

Husavik Original Whale Watching Adventure

We had a great time with North Sailing trying to see whales! Glad to see the trip is carbon neutral and all the staff is very helpful, that's the reason we chosed this tour. Unfortunately, there was a storm two days before our tour, there were remainings of that storm on the sea and the boat made us sea sick, plus we didn't see any whales haha. North Sailing gave us a voucher valid for life to come back for free until we manage to see whales with them! Great goodwill gesture, you can never predict wildlife after all! We took the tour mid March and people who took the tour a few days ealier were lucky enough to see some whales.

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8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave

4.6 average rating | 15 reviews

8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave

This was a great trip, Francisco at Guide to Iceland was a great help and answered a whole bunch of random questions from us over the course of planning our trip. All of the tours and accommodations went nice and smoothly. We went with the mid-range hotel options and were placed in the Hotel Klettur in Reykjavik which was an awesome location. It was just a 2 or 3 block walk down to the main shopping/dining street and all of the tour buses picked us up right in front of the hotel (as opposed to meeting at a bus stop like it seemed some of the other hotels had to do). Our kids had really pushed for the high-end hotel option, but I think we picked the right one - we didn't fly to Iceland to have a fancy hotel experience after all. We went on 2 over night trips with Troll Expeditions. The buses were nice, though the "south coast tour" involved a lot more time sitting in the bus than I expected (we were driving through a nasty storm both days) but was worth it. I think the only mistake we made was opting for the northern lights by boat trip. We had figured that a boat would have more freedom to move around and find clear skies, but we basically motored out of the harbor and then made a couple of big circles in the same place for a while, all the time socked in by clouds. I think we'll try a mini-bus northern lights tour on our next visit, other travelers generally gave them more positive reviews.

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Puffin & Bird Watching | from Reykjavík's Old Harbour

4.8 average rating | 4 reviews

Puffin & Bird Watching | from Reykjavík's Old Harbour

Puffins are small birds so be prepared to take a camera with a good zoom lens (if taking photos) or ask to borrow one of the binoculars they have onboard!

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8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave

4.6 average rating | 15 reviews

8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave

We booked the 8 day tour with Guide to Iceland and everything was fantastic. Our tours went as planned although in one of the 2 day tours with Troll Expeditions our itinerary and our guides was totally different (the guides was better, more interesting things to see). Also the hotel we were supposed to stay at on the other 2 day trip didnn´t end up being the one we stayed in. We were supposed to stay in Hofn Hotel and we ended up in Fosshotel Vatnajökull, which was exceptional. We were picked up at the time we were supposed to and we had adequate time at all the stops. The buses were comfortable but be prepared for very long days where you spend most of the morning till sunrise and sunset driving in darkness. I was helped by Mita in my booking and she answered all of my questions related to everything so we were very happy all in all with the service provided by guide to Iceland. Highly recommended

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Husavik Traditional Whale Watching

4.6 average rating | 22 reviews

Husavik Traditional Whale Watching

The tour was exceptional! Saw a group of humpback whales in a very near distance. The view was great and our guide was friendly and professional! Highly recommended! 這個行程真的是棒透了! 看到一大群座頭鯨就在船旁邊噴水然後又潛下去好幾次 海上的風景超美而且導遊非常專業 大推!!

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8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave

4.6 average rating | 15 reviews

8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave

We had a few ‘hiccups ‘ in this tour .upon arriving , we didn’t know we have to go and look for the Reykjavik excursion bus to blue lagoon. My friend and I thought , like other tour agents in other country , there will be driver looking for us . So we waited at the arrival area and later we sensed that something wasn’t right so we went to the information counter and asked . We just missed the bus by 3 minutes! The next bus will be in 1.5 hours so we serviced to take a cab to blue lagoon which costs usd100 for 20 mins drive ! Our evening programmer hat very same day was northern light hunting . The driver cum guide is a very responsible guide. He makes us we get to see the best . Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too good , it was cold and wet . We still managed to catch some beautiful lights though not very clear . Personally , we think the northern light hunt tour was too long . From 830pm -1am . We were extremely tired and we have a 8am tour the next morning . Given our jet lag (we flew from Kuala Lumpur) , it was really tough for us . Horse racing Fong tour and golden circle were amazing but rush . We were only given less than 30 mins to have our lunch after horse riding , before another driver sent us to join the golden circle tour. Scenery were fantastic though . Our 2 day south coast tour was amazing and the best of all . The driver Julius is such a helpful, friendly and humurous guide and a good driver. He took very good care of 12 of us . The scenery were out of the world ! Glacier walking, glacier lagoon, black sand beach , diamond beach are all our favourite places ! We had such wonderful time . The 2 day snaefellnes tour wasn’t too smooth at the beginning . We were being slotted into a different tour operator last minute . The is quite a delay in the tour due to the engine of the bus . The driver cum guide is a nice man but he didn’t speak loud and clear enough that those of us sitting at the back couldn’t really hear him , despite a few reminders . The guesthouse we stayed (rjukandi guesthouse I think) is cold. I went to tell the reception and she told me the floor heating was on but we can’t feel in . We have to sleep in our jacket. It was snowing heavily that night and we were both freezing . Breakfast was simple , nothing like the other hotels we stayed . On our last day , we were told to be at bus stop by 8am . We were there since 750am and waited and waited . We were so cautious to make sure we won’t miss the bus this time. Many buses from different tour operator came to pick up customers , but we didn’t see any Reykjavik excursion buses that goes to the airport. (2 Reykjavik excursion buses passed by but didn’t stop) we waited till 850 am and start getting panic as our flight is 1130am . So when a same tour operator bus cane (not going to airport) we asked the driver and she said she will send us to the bus terminal . From there we take a bus to the airport and just managed to check in on time !!!!! Our overall experience in Iceland was great. Scenery and people are amazing and we love it . The only downside is the transport arrangement . It was confusing that we are with different tour operator every day and we had to look for our buses every morning . Despite being very careful , we still miss the bus to the airport ! Iceland is truly a must visit country for everyone . We went home with so many unforgettable memories !

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7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

4.9 average rating | 28 reviews

7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

My husband and I joined this 7 days tour in Oct 2017. This was a memorable and awesome trip to us and we did enjoy all the highlights in the ring road. We would like to express heartfelt thanks to our guide - David who took good care of us. He is funny, passionate and always wants to show us the best of Iceland. He tried his best to show us the beautiful scenery of Iceland as much as possible during our trip with limited daylight in Oct. Apart from the scheduled spots, David would arrange to let us explore extra hidden places. That's great and we enjoyed a lots. He also shared interesting stories and history of Iceland with us, that added much more wonderful memories to our trip. I would definitely recommend this tour to those who have limited time but still want to explore Iceland as much as possible, with their excellent guide David.

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Best Value Whale Watching Trip from Reykjavik

4.2 average rating | 38 reviews

Best Value Whale Watching Trip from Reykjavik

Cool to see a lot of mink whales despite me and my girlfriend took this tour off-season (october). Very friendly crew and cool that they have fullbody warm cloth to everybody.

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7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

4.9 average rating | 28 reviews

7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

The sceneries are just stunning. There were so many to highlight. I would like to send my special thank to our tour guide - David, he always presented us the most authentic side of Iceland. He was very thoughtful for all the arrangements. And he also went an extra mile to take care of us. He is the star. We enjoyed the tour very much. Thank you David.

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Whale Watching Tour from Reykjavik

4.5 average rating | 43 reviews

Whale Watching Tour from Reykjavik

A great experience to join this tour, though I was unable to see a big one, luckily I could see a few appear up to the service for 2-3 seconds , that's really depends on your luck. The guides in the boat will share a bit their whale watching experience n inform you the direction once they see the whale. It is enjoyable but may not be a good one for those who will hv sea sick easily

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7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

4.9 average rating | 28 reviews

7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

I am very happy for this Iceland travel with your company, and will come again, with you guy again!

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7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

4.9 average rating | 28 reviews

7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

I definitely love this 7 day tour with our guide David. David is a really competent and passionate guide who truly wants to show us the beauty of Iceland. He was very flexible and allowed us to spend more time in the places that we were interested. He took good care of us and listened to our needs. He is also a good photographer and took great pictures for us! Overall the trip is well planned and basically includes all the places I wanted to go. I highly recommend this tour to those who go to Iceland for the first time.

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7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

4.9 average rating | 28 reviews

7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

I have just finished this 7 days tour guided by David. He is a fantastic tour guide who shared a lot of information about different spots and even stopped at extra sites for us to explore more about Iceland. He is also very kind and funny, making the tour very enjoyable. Nicetravel also responded promptly for any inquiry via E-mail. Definitely recommend this tour. 100/100!

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My mom and I had David as our guide for a September trip. He was very flexible, allowing us to spend more or less time in certain places as well as stopping if we wanted to pet horses or take pictures. His excitement for the places we visited and their history was contagious. He added a personal touch to the trip by giving us an opportunity to stop at some of his favorite places as well. Overall, the sightseeing and activities kept the tour busy and enjoyable. Recommended to those who want to see a great deal of Iceland in 7 days.

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7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

4.9 average rating | 28 reviews

7 Day Guided Ring Road Tour | Explore the Circle of Iceland

Now waiting at the airport writing this review. It's my first time to Iceland. I'm traveling with my dad and in order to save us time and trouble, I decided to sign up for this 7-day tour which basically covers all the highlights along the ring road. Our driver Davis is such a nice guide that he gave us enough time at every single stop and even added extra stops whenever he could. My dad and I cannot enjoy the tour more and I'll definitely be back in winter to see ice caves, and with David again!

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