Whale Watching

Faxaflói Bay is a prime whale-watching area (though visitors headed to Húsavík on the north coast should probably wait and head out from there). The smaller and less dramatic minke whales are the most common sightings, but you stand a good chance of spying humpback whales, harbor porpoise, white-beaked dolphins, and orcas. From May to mid-August, whale tours also stop at Lundey Island, a puffin nesting site (see below). Trips last 2.5 to 3 hours and leave from Ægisgarður, the easternmost pier of the old port.

All the tour companies are reputable, but a solid choice is Elding (tel. 555-3565), the largest operator, boasting a high whale-sighting success rate. If no whales are seen, you are given a complimentary ticket for another tour that’s valid for 2 years. Tickets are 10,990kr adults, 5,495kr children ages 7 to 15, and free for children 6 and under. Boats depart June through August at 9am, 10am, 1pm, 2pm, and 5pm (also 10am and 2pm July through early Aug) and January through May and September at 9am and 1pm. The price includes warm overalls and raincoats, plus admission to the “Whale Exhibition” with a simple exhibition on marine life in Faxaflói. Most boats have a play area for kids. If you want to throw in some sea angling with your whale- and puffin-watching, Special Tours (tel. 560-8800) combines all three activities for 20,390kr, with departures May through September at 1pm and 2pm. They will even grill your catch for you as your sail back.

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Puffin Watching

West of Reykjavík, the small islands of Lundey and Akurey are home to some 50,000 puffins during breeding season. Many whale-watching tours include a puffin stop; but both Elding (tel. 555-3565) and Special Tours (tel. 560-8800) offer shorter, less costly tours for puffin fanatics, and their boats are better designed for drawing close to the bird cliffs. Tours last 1 hour and leave from Ægisgarður pier at the old port. Tickets are 5,990kr for adults, 2,995kr for children 7 to 15. Boats sail May to mid-August, three times daily between 9am and 3pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.