Wildlife locations

5 recommended locations. Species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Grundarfjordur

Grundarfjordur lies on the north shore of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, a two hour drive from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Set on the shore of a half-moon bay, the town is backed by beautiful mountains, including steeple-shaped Kirkjufell, and provides the perfect location for whales watching trips to observe orca.

  • Where: Snaefellnes Peninsula
  • Ideal for viewing: Orca, Atlantic puffin, Eider duck, Fulmar, Purple sandpiper
  • Excellent for: Whale watching

Husavik

Situated on the north coast of Iceland, on the shores of Skjálfandi Bay, is the small fishing town of Husavik. Known as the whale watching capital of Iceland, the surrounding waters boast humpback, minke and sometimes even blue whales, as well as white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises.

  • Where: Norðurþing Muncipality
  • Ideal for viewing: Humpback whale, Minke whale, White-beaked dolphin, Harbour porpoise, Fulmar
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Whale watching

Mývatn

Mývatn is situated on a lake which was formed during a massive eruption 2,300 years ago. Today the area is known for the huge numbers of waterbirds that visit in the summer, including tufted duck and greater scaup, and for the fascinating volcanic features that surround the lake.

  • Where: North Iceland
  • Ideal for viewing: Tufted duck, Harlequin duck, Barrow's goldeneye, Red-breasted merganser, Greater scaup
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Birdwatching

Reykjavik

Iceland's capital and its largest city, Reykjavik sits on a coastline consisting of peninsulas, straits and islands. This colourful city lies on the southern shore of Faxa Bay, whose waters are often visited by humpback and minke whales, as well as puffins, Arctic tern and other seabirds.

  • Where: South-west Iceland
  • Ideal for viewing: Humpback whale, Minke whale, Atlantic puffin, Common eider, Tufted duck
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Whale watching

Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a 90km stretch of coastline comprising a world of diversity and inludes the Snaefellsnes National Park at its western most end. Friendly towns and villages, spectacular mountains, a multitude of bird species nesting on treacherous cliffs and superb whale watching opportunities.

  • Where: Borgarfjörður
  • Ideal for viewing: Orca, White-beaked dolphin, Arctic tern, Kittiwake, Rsven
  • Excellent for: Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Wildlife trips

Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans merge, this island nation has the world’s northernmost capital city. The sparsely populated interior consists largely of a plateau covered by mountains and glaciers, with areas of intense volcanic activity, and the surrounding seas are rich in marine life.

3 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Orcas & Northern Lights

Join this short group trip to experience the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula, heading out on boat trips for close up encounters with large groups of orca. Iceland's rugged beauty is complemented by excellent bird watching, and there are excellent chances to view the northern lights at night.

  • When to go: Jan-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 5 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £1,121 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Humpback Whales in Summer

This varied self-drive itinerary explores the remote fjords and natural wonders along the north coast of Iceland, visiting Husavik - Europe's whale watching capital – to see humpbacks and minke whales, the incredible Dettifoss waterfall and the volcanic features of Lake Mývatn.

  • When to go: May-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 8 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £1,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Spitsbergen, Greenland & Iceland

Sailing amid awe inspiring scenery of fjords and glaciers, this comprehensive itinerary starts in Spitsbergen, home to the world's highest population of polar bears. Continuing across the Greenland Sea, orcas and dolphins follow in your wake, and there are chances to see walrus, Arctic hare and musk ox.

  • When to go: Jul-Aug
  • Duration exc. flights: 13-14 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £4,740 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

When to go

Although it may not seen an obvious time to visit Iceland, January and February are the months to see orcas off the Snaefjellsness Peninsula on the east coast.

Seasons

  • Summer

    Jun to Aug: Endless days as the sun barely sets. The lowlands are carpeted with wild flowers. Peak season for outdoor activities.
  • Autumn

    Sep to Oct: Days remain long, temperatures start to drop
  • Winter

    Nov to Mar: Killer whales (orcas) come to the fjord off Grundarfjordur to feed on herring; prime time to see the aurora borealis.
  • Spring

    Apr to May: Migrant birds return; over 200 species nest, including puffins, so great birdwatching. Lakes and rivers full of fish.

Wildlife events

  • Aug to Apr: Aurora borealis visible.
  • Jan to Mar: Killer whales feed off herring in fjord off Grundarfjordur.

Accommodation

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