Whales swim around Iceland all year long. They are most visible from April to October in the oceans around Reykjavík. During these months, you will see mainly humpback whales, porpoises, dolphins and minke whales. For spotting orcas you’d better visit between April and May.
If you want an even greater experience, I recommend to come between late May and July and from August to October.
From May to July is the period of twenty-four-hour sun. During August until October it looks like the sky is on fire because of the bright red sunsets.
It is difficult to identify an exact place. After all, whales, dolphins and killer whales swim where they want. Different tour operators are in close contact with each other and with the Coast Guard. Because of this they have the best locations of the whales every day. On a whale safaris you have on average a 90% chance of seeing whales.
A lot of tours give a kind of guarantee. If you don’t see whales on your tour, you can arrange a new tour with them and that without paying extra.
There are three possibilities to see the whales.
If you are very lucky you can see whales swim past at the quayside in Reykjavik. If you would like to see the giants of the sea a little closer, it’s best to book a tour.
If you don’t really like wind or getting wet, your best bet is to book a trip on a cruise ship or a sailboat. These boats carry quite a lot of passengers but are also very big. You can roam freely on these boats and if it gets too cold, you can still hide inside and warm up.
If you don’t mind a little splash and wind, you can get on the smaller RIB boats. These military inflatable boats are a lot faster than the sailing ships and bring you a lot closer to the animals.
Book a tour
To make sure you can go on a whale safari it is necessary that you book in advance. The season for whale watching is quite short and a lot of tourists want to experience this amazing excursion. Over 25% of the tourists who come to Iceland, want to go whale watching.
Fortunately, there are a lot of different tour operators where you can book. However, these operators don’t want to chase the whales and they prefer to sail with fewer boats. Like this, they make sure that the whales will also return to the Icelandic waters the following years.
Tickets cost about 65 dollars per person, depending on what you want of course.
Combination Tours are often cheaper. So search carefully before you book.
An overview of some good whale safaris and combination tours can be found on this page.