Wildlife Tours

Best Wildlife Tours in Iceland

Choose from Iceland's largest selection of wildlife trips. See puffins, whales, and seals along the coast, and arctic foxes and reindeer among nature.
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Immersive Wildlife Tours in Iceland

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Iceland's untamed wilderness through wildlife tours that unveil the country's unique animals in their natural habitats. Iceland's diverse landscapes serve as a sanctuary for wildlife, from the fertile surrounding ocean to the flourishing wetlands, valleys, and remote areas. 

One of the best wildlife experiences in Iceland is whale watching. The country's waters are home to numerous species of whales and dolphins, including humpback whales, orcas, minke whales, harbor porpoises, and white-beaked dolphins. 

Whale watching tours in Iceland, often departing from coastal towns like Reykjavik, Akureyri, and Husavik, take participants on boat excursions to witness these majestic creatures breaching and feeding in the North Atlantic Ocean. Knowledgeable guides provide insights into the whales' behavior and biology during these memorable outings.

Puffin watching is another popular wildlife tour in Iceland. The country hosts one of the world's largest puffin colonies, with millions of these charismatic seabirds nesting on cliffs and islands along the coast. Tours, often available from locations like the Westman Islands and Dyrholaey, offer the chance to get up close to puffin colonies during the breeding season. 

Arctic foxes, Iceland's only native land mammal, inhabit the remote and rugged regions of the country. Specialized wildlife tours take participants to areas like Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords, where the chance of spotting these elusive creatures is higher. 

Other thrilling wildlife tours in Iceland are seal watching, horseback riding, reindeer safari, and seabird watching. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a wildlife tour in Iceland?

Wildlife tours are excursions that allow you to spot wild animals in their natural habitat in Iceland. These fun tours can either be day trips or multi-day trips. Wild animals that you may be able to spot in Iceland include puffins, seabirds, whales (including orcas), dolphins, horses, reindeer, seals, and foxes.

On these guided wildlife tours, experienced and knowledgeable guides will take you to the best places to view wild animals.

What are the top three wildlife tours in Iceland?

One of the best wildlife tours in Iceland is this three-hour whale-watching tour with transfer from Reykjavik, rated an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars by over 250 travelers. This tour costs roughly 120 USD.

Another top-rated wildlife tour in Iceland is a traditional whale-watching boat tour from Husavik, with an average of 4.5 stars by over 200 travelers. This tour costs approximately 82 USD.

This whale-watching excursion from Akureyri, meanwhile, is rated 4.5 by more than 90 nature lovers. This boat trip is around 99 USD.

What is the cheapest wildlife tour in Iceland?

One of the cheapest wildlife tours in Iceland is this puffin-spotting tour from Reykjavik. This one-hour tour costs about 73 USD and is rated an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars by over 35 travelers.

This cheap wildlife tour in Iceland's Snaefellsnes Peninsula allows you to see marine mammals on the fertile waters of the Breidafjordur bay. It costs less than 100 USD and is rated an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars by over 50 adventurers.

Are wildlife tours in Iceland worth it?

Yes, wildlife tours in Iceland are often considered worth it for nature enthusiasts. The value of these tours depends on individual interests, budget, and success of sighting. But for those who appreciate wildlife and the beauty of Iceland's wilderness, these experiences can be enriching and memorable.

Are wildlife tours in Iceland guided?

Yes, many wildlife tours in Iceland are guided. Knowledgeable guides provide valuable insights into the behavior, biology, and habitats of the wildlife you encounter, enhancing your overall experience. These are also commonly offered in the English language.

Will I learn about the animals on my wildlife tour in Iceland?

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

Can I take pictures during wildlife tours in Iceland?

Yes, most wildlife tours encourage photography, and the natural beauty and unique encounters make for excellent photo opportunities. Be sure to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the moments. Sometimes, guides will even share tips on the best way to photograph the animals.

Can I get very close to the wildlife during these tours in Iceland?

Tour operators prioritize the safety and well-being of both participants and wildlife. While some encounters may offer close views, it's essential to respect the animals' natural behaviors and follow the guidelines provided by your guide.

Do wildlife tours operate year-round in Iceland?

Wildlife tours are available year-round, although the best time to spot specific wildlife varies by species and season. It's advisable to check with tour operators for availability and seasonal schedules.

For example, puffin and seabird watching are only primarily available during summer, from May to August.

Are there age restrictions for specific wildlife tours?

Some tours may have age restrictions due to safety concerns or the nature of the activity. Be sure to check with the specific tour operator to confirm age requirements for the tour you're interested in.

Do I need to bring any specific equipment or clothing for wildlife tours in Iceland?

While many wildlife tours provide essential equipment like binoculars and specialized clothing and safety gear for the conditions, it's advisable to come prepared with suitable clothing for the weather. This may include warm clothing, waterproof equipment, and sturdy footwear.

Additionally, if you have specific wildlife-watching equipment, such as high-quality binoculars or cameras, bringing them along can enhance your wildlife-watching experience. It's always a good idea to check with the tour operator for any specific equipment recommendations based on your booked tour.

Will I see an arctic fox on a wildlife tour in Iceland?

Most likely not. Arctic foxes are reserved and generally stay away from people. Despite being the first mammals in Iceland, even predating humans, spotting one in the wild is quite rare.

However, if you join a dedicated Arctic fox watching tour in Iceland, you can maximize your chance to see these shy animals. These tours are only available in remote locations such as the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords region.

Do wildlife tours in Iceland offer hotel pick-up?

Some wildlife tours in Iceland offer hotel pick-up. Whether the tour includes this or not will depend on the specific tour you choose. If you have selected a wildlife tour with hotel pick-up, you will be picked up from your accommodation. Hotel pick-up is a very convenient option, which can save you time.

This scenic eight-hour horse riding and whale watching day tour includes hotel pick-up. Other wildlife tours offer pick-up from well-known pick-up points in popular cities and towns like Reykjavik or Akureyri.

Meanwhile, other wildlife tours have meet-on-location starting points. Fortunately, these locations, such as Reykjavik’s Old Harbour, are easy to locate.

Do I get dropped off at my hotel after my wildlife tour?

Some wildlife tours offer hotel pick-up and drop-off. This will depend on which wildlife tour you choose. If you choose a wildlife tour that includes hotel pick-up, you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel.

If you choose a wildlife day tour that starts early in the morning and finishes late in the evening, then hotel pick-up can be a very convenient option. It will save you time as you do not need to travel to another pick-up point.

Hotel pick-up/drop-off can also be added to many wildlife tours if not included in the original fee. Hotel drop-off can be added to the lava tunnel and whale watching tour, for example. Please note that there will be an additional charge for this.

Is lunch usually included in wildlife tours?

Lunch may be included in some wildlife day tours. This will depend on which specific wildlife tour you decide to book. You should check the tour description before you book to see if lunch is included.

If lunch is not included in the wildlife tour, then you will be able to bring a packed lunch. You may also have the opportunity to buy lunch from a local cafe or restaurant. On some tours, there will be lunch stops and coffee breaks where you can get a hot drink.

Are there any ethical considerations for wildlife tours in Iceland?

Yes, ethical wildlife tourism practices are essential. It's crucial to choose tour operators that prioritize the welfare of the animals and adhere to responsible wildlife viewing guidelines. During your tour, always observe wildlife respectfully and avoid disturbing their natural behaviors.
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