Rich waters and abundant wildlife:
Iceland is a great place for wildlife watching and in Faxaflói bay you'll find a variety of seabirds and marine mammals that feed on the rich feeding grounds provided by ocean currents in the area that create excellent conditions. The long period of light during the summer even provides the right environment for plankton and krill, making it a diverse and abundant bay.
Currently, we know of over 90 different species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the world, collectively called cetaceans.These range from the largest animal that has ever lived on our planet the blue whale to the smallest the hectors dolphin. Around 23 of these species have been known to frequent the surrounding oceans and seas of Iceland.
Landscape and landmarks on the horizon:
Faxaflói bay is Iceland's largest bay, stretching about 60 km. long and 90 km. wide. It is situated in south-west Iceland, connecting Reykjanes peninsula to the south and Snæfellsnes peninsula to the north. The areas surrounding the bay is home to the majority of Iceland's population, with the capital to the south-east and close to 230.000 people living in the greater Reykjavík area.
In such a large bay, there are many things to see on the horizon - anywhere from cityscapes, to mountains and volcanoes!
- Reykjavík city
- Viðey island
- Mt. Esja
- Akranes headland
- Snæfellsnes peninsula
- Keflavík inlet
- Fagradalsfjall Volcano (currently inactive)
- Mt. Keilir
Faxaflói, the whale sanctuary:
Iceland is an incredible place to go whale watching, in fact it has been dubbed one of the best locations in Europe. Whale watching provides a unique interaction with the wildlife in our waters and it helps build the local tourism industry as it is currently one of the top attractions in Iceland. Our little island has become a very important whale watching destination and hundreds of thousands of guests from all over the world join our tours each year.
Unfortunately whaling has been taking place near whale watching areas in the past, which threatens the animals that we may otherwise encounter on your tours. Elding has actively fought against whaling in Icelandic waters ever since it was sadly resumed in 2003 as 'scientific whaling' and again in 2006 as commercial whaling. Our opposition is based on economical, socio-cultural and animal welfare principles. We believe that greater interests are being threatened by the current whaling scheme and we fear for the impact it may have on whale watching in the future.
In 2017, the whale sanctuary line in Faxaflói bay was thankfully expanded. This means that no whaling can take place in the eastern part of Faxaflói Bay, from Garðskagaviti lighthouse on Reykjanes peninsula, to Skógarnes headland on Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Did you know?
- Our research shows that we have been viewing the same individuals for many years. It is devastating to think about the animals we will never see again on our tours..
- Only 2% of Icelanders say they eat whale meat on a regular basis? Help us end whaling by choosing whale friendly restaurants during your stay and by signing the meet us don't eat us petition.
Learn more about the whales in Faxaflói bay:
Ísland er frábær áfangastaður fyrir bæði hvalaskoðun og fuglaskoðun. Ferðirnar okkar einblína aðallega á sunnanverðan Faxaflóa, rétt utan við Reykjavík. Hafstraumar flóans skapa góðar aðstæður fyrir ýmsar fæðutegundir og langvarandi sólarljós á sumrin veitir smágerðu svifi rétt umhverfi sem skapar fjölbreytni í flóanum. Áhöfnin vinnur náið saman með farþegum við að koma auga á dýralífið sem gerir hverja ferð spennandi og einstaka.
If you're a first time whale watcher it is perfectly normal that you don't exactly know what to look for, but you should know that whale watching with Elding is a team effort and everyone on board is encouraged to help out. There are a few tips and tricks that can help you identify signs of whales and dolphins from a distance, and a few things to keep in mind when venturing out into open seas.
What is the best time of year to see whales in Iceland? This is a frequently asked question we get a lot from our passengers when they join our tours. Surprisingly, such a simple question is not so easy to answer. It all relies on food availability at our shores and there are many factors that might influence where and when whales can find it.
Nothing beats a good DSLR camera with a good zoom lens for wildlife photography, but not everyone has the funds, luggage capacity or photography interest to have such equipment - and that's ok. If it's just memories you're looking for then a phone will most likely be all that you need. However there are a few things to keep in mind.
BOOK YOUR TOUR FROM REYKJAVIK
This is the original whale watching tour from Reykjavík! Join our highly enthusiastic and experienced team in the search for whales, dolphins and birds of Faxaflói bay! Most common wildlife encountered are humpbacks, minkes, dolphins and porpoises.
An exhilarating premium tour starting from the Old Harbour in Reykjavík, with daily departures from 1 Apr - 31 Oct. A personal, small group tour with only 12 person per boat, a specially trained wildlife guide and a certified RIB boat captain.
Read our whale diary for updates:
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Due to unfavourable weather conditions, we were only able to sail at 09:00 today. Although we did see a minke whale, some harbour porpoises and a humpback whale, they were all tricky to follow. We therefore offered all our passengers complimentary tickets!
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Today's encounters included close ups of humpback whales with some breaching, minke whales (one even breached 10x) and a pod of very playful white-beaked dolphins that breached all around us!