Best time for whale watching in Iceland?


Hey there. I am an avid whale-watching, and was wondering the best time to come to Iceland to see the most species possible. Do I need to leave Reykjavik to get to the best sites? And is there anywhere I can see orcas year-round?



Hi Richard! No, you don’t have to leave Reykjavík to see the whales. In fact, a number of whale watching tours depart from the old harbour just outside the city centre. But in my opinion (since you are an avid whale watcher) you would do well to make your way to the northern town of Húsavík, which is sometimes called Europe’s whale watching capital. In general, you can take tours to see the Icelandic whales year round, but I would say that the best time to go is in summer time when the weather is calm, the air is clear and the whales flock to Iceland’s territorial water to feed. Here’s a little article I wrote on Whale watching in Iceland, it should tell you everything you need to know :slight_smile:


Yes, you can go whale watching from Reykjavík harbour, it’s easy and they go pretty much every day. It’s best to go in spring or summer, both for weather and then the whales are closer to land, so you have a better chance of seeing them.
The best place to go whale watching in Iceland is Húsavík in the north. They have a great chance to see minke whale and humpbacks. I was there last summer, and we even saw a blue whale! Orcas aren’t as common as one thinks, so you’re lucky to spot them.


Hey guys,

Thank you so much for all the advice, the article on whales and whale watching in Iceland was particularly useful. I have now whale watched from both Reykjavík and in the north, and had amazing experiences both times. From Reykjavík, we saw multiple Minke Whales, which was great, but also a humpback feeding all around our boat, which was just magnificent; we were literally watching its throat expand with every mouthful of food, and the scale of it was mind-blowing. To top it all off, we saw a very large school of white-beaked dolphins, some of which had babies with them, which has to be one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. In the North, we saw harbour porpoises, which I have never seen on a whale-watch before, and I think it was six different humpback whales, one of which breached for us. I really can’t compare which was better; both were such unique experiences.

I’m still hoping for the orcas, but not at all disappointed in the other trips just because they didn’t show. I know they can be quite elusive. I am also unbelievably jealous that you got the chance to see a blue whale! I will have to get on every trip I can to settle my burning jealousy.

Thanks again for all the tips, whale-watching in Iceland comes highly recommended from me,



Hello Richard, I will be traveling to Iceland in June and was happy to hear you saw humpback whales. May I ask which company you used?




Hi there Richard, whale watching as a past time is available all year in Iceland, one of the main reasons as to why it is one of the most popular tourist activities in the country. Perhaps a better question, as aforementioned by other users, is where the best whale watching is? Thankfully, tours operators around the country, the most popular being from Reykjavík Old Harbour, Akureyri (“The Capital of the North”) and Húsavík, the latter of which is considered the absolute best spot!


I’ve been whale watching in every kind of weather and I can confirm that it is indeed possible! If you’re going when it’s particularly cold, wrap up warm but also know that all the boats offer warm and waterproof overalls to ensure you stay comfortable!