Whale-Watching

Bird's eye perspective the biggest living mammal © Nick Bondarev, North Sailing
Bird’s eye perspective the biggest living mammal © Nick Bondarev, North Sailing

Nestled on the edge of Shaky Bay, the town of Húsavík is globally recognised as one of the best locations in the world from which to watch whales. In fact, there is a higher chance of seeing whales in Húsavík than any other place in Iceland. So, if you’re ever considering where to go whale-watching, our town is without a doubt, second to none. Different companies offer whale watching tours either on traditional oak boats or RIB speedboats.

whale capital

The first scheduled whale-watching tours in the whole of Iceland started here, in the mid-90s, following requests by passing tourists. Since then, the industry has boomed and made Húsavík a household name, often branded ‘The Whale Capital of Iceland’. The most common questions about whale watching are collected and answered in the FAQ.

Whale Species

Altogether, there are 23 species of whale which have been recorded in Icelandic waters. The most typical visitors to Skjálfandi Bay are Humpbacks, Minke and Blue. Due to their playful nature, and the range of actions they perform, Humpback whales are amongst the most entertaining animals to watch at sea. Lucky whale-watchers here may get to see them feeding, breaching (jumping out), slapping (slapping their flippers against the water) or spy-hopping (dipping their head out of the water to see what’s near).

slider whale watching White beaked dolphins are common guests at Skjálfandi Bay © Sarah Arndt, Gentle Giants
White beaked dolphins are common guests at Skjálfandi Bay © Sarah Arndt, Gentle Giants

Another frequent visitor to the bay is the Blue Whale, the largest known animal ever to have existed on Earth. Its tongue alone can weigh the same as an elephant, and its heart the same as a car. To see any of these creatures in the wild is a truly breath-taking sight to behold, but it’s not just size which makes for an impressive trip. If you’re lucky enough to have the smaller white-beaked dolphins ride the bow of the ship, their closeness and cheerful nature can often be the cherry on the top of the whale-watching-trip pie.

Whale Watching Companies

There are four different companies offering whale-watching trips here in Húsavík: Gentle GiantsHúsavík AdventuresNorth Sailing and Salka Whale Watching. All the companies have very friendly, multilingual guides who are passionate about whales, many of them working for the companies for many many years. The local companies are also active participants in the education and research of the whales. Húsavík´s harbor is a hive of activity in this respect, because as well as the four whale-watching companies that use the docks, there is the Whale Museum and the University of Iceland´s research center. There are partnerships between these organizations and the whale-watching companies, with many boat trips containing researchers.

Click on the logos below to learn more about each company and their offers:

Gentle Giants

Húsavík Adventures

North Sailing

Salka Whale Watching