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Whale Watching in Reykjavik with ELDING Tours

This post was sponsored by Elding Tours.

During my last trip to Iceland, I had the exciting opportunity to go whale watching in Reykjavik with Elding Tours! With humpback whales, minke whales and harbour porpoises all common species to the area, an Icelandic whale watching tour is a unique way to spend your holiday!

Whale watching Reykjavik

What to expect: 

whale watching reykjavik

whale watching reykjavik

It’s scenic!

We left the Reykjavik old harbour at 1:00pm, sailing past the gorgeous Harpa building. It’s a no-brainer to bring your camera with you on a whale watching tour, but I didn’t expect to get such a great photos of Harpa and the surrounding area.

whale watching reykjavik

It will be busy!

If you would prefer a cozy and warm seat on the lower deck by a window, or a seat on the upper deck, definitely go early! I had to stand on the upper deck the entire time because I showed up right before our departure (but to be honest, I didn’t mind – I had the best view).

You will be cold!

It was a chilly day to begin with and it was even colder on the top deck of the boat, so thankfully Elding provided us super fashionable wind and water resistant jumpsuits to wear. Otherwise I would have been frozen! If you prefer not to wear one, definitely dress warm with a hat and gloves and bring change for a hot coffee or tea served in one of the lower decks.

Despite the cold, I enjoyed standing up top to get unobstructed views!

Whale watching in Reykjavik - the pink backpack blog

You may get sea sick! 

Elding offers non-drowsy, seasick pills at the ticket office and on board. If you are prone to motion sickness, do yourself a favour and take one! When we got further out to sea, we immediately began to feel the choppy waves. It was just days after hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland and Iceland was feeling its residual effects, which made for a bumpy ride. I soon discovered that I had my ‘sea legs’ but unfortunately some other passengers got really sick!

Whale watching in Reykjavik - the pink backpack blog

Whale watching in Reykjavik - the pink backpack blog

You will learn a lot!

As we bounced our way over the waves, our guide Guillaume used a microphone to educate us on the prevalence of the species in the area.

For instance, did you know Iceland is one of just 3 countries (along with Norway and Japan) where whaling is legal? I was really surprised to learn this about such a sustainable country. So where does the demand for whale meat come from? Iceland’s tourism boom has resulted in folks coming from near and far to get the ‘authentic experience’, including local cuisine. Ironically, 98% of Icelanders today do not even consume whale meat.

whale watching reykjavik

whale watching reykjavik

You may not see a whale

Eventually we spotted several dorsal fins popping out of the water, which turned out to be white-beaked dolphins! I wasn’t able to react quick enough to catch a photo of them (every time I would walk to one side of the boat, they would pop up on the opposite side – just my luck)! I remained on the top deck until the bitter end, determined to spot a whale but it just wasn’t in the cards for us that day.

If you don’t see a whale on your tour, don’t be too upset. After all, it’s ultimately out of the guide’s control. Thankfully Elding tours does offer a voucher for another complimentary tour in this circumstance so you can return again for another shot at spotting a whale!

Whale watching in Reykjavik - the pink backpack blog

So all in all, although I didn’t see any whales on my expedition with Elding, I did spot a few white-beaked dolphins, a couple different species of birds and one majestic rainbow! I experienced really good customer service with Elding, so if you are keen to go whale watching in Iceland, I would highly recommend them for a unique outing in Reykjavik!

Have you been whale watching?

Let me know in the comments below!

Like it? PIN it!

Whale watching in Reykjavik - the pink backpack blog

A special thank you to Elding tours for having me!

As always, my content represents travel experiences I have personally tried and approve of.

Thanks for your support.

You may also enjoy:

17 Reasons to Fall in Love with Iceland

Healthy and Alternative Activities to do in Reykjavik

An Easy Day Hike in Reykjavik: ÖSKJUHLÍÐ Hill

What are your thoughts?

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Traveling Cook said:
Very good note. It reminds me of my trip to Iceland. Good pictures
August 9, 2019 at 5:45 pm
Shibani said:
I love guided tours, they're always informative and this is new for me that Whaling is illegal in Iceland (+2 more countries). I know it is difficult to click the whales in their natural habitat like this because they just pop out for a second. I faced this dilemma on a dolphin tour in a part of India and felt bad coming back with no pictures, but it was diffcult anyway :D Nice informative post!
November 19, 2017 at 5:36 am
Sheree said:
I'm so glad to see the whale watching industry taking off in Iceland. As you mentioned, it's one of three nations with a legalised whaling program, which absolutely breaks my heart; luckily, the whale watching industry is becoming more and more valuable worldwide, it already outstrips the value of the whaling industry significantly, so (hopefully!) it becomes a powerful economic argument for the cessation of whaling completely. You seem a lot more understanding and reasonable about missing out on seeing whales - of course, entirely not the tour operator's fault, but I would have thrown a private tanty, seeing whales in the water up close is my number one dream. Thank you so much for sharing this post, I will definitely be looking at Elding Tours if I make it to Iceland!
November 19, 2017 at 1:32 am
Elaine J Masters said:
I have been whale watching with some success and some not. Yes, it can be cold! Looks like a fun excursion though.
November 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm
Anshula said:
Oh, I wanted to go whaling in San Diego but couldn't make the tour. I'm hoping to visit Iceland sometime soon (within the next 6 months hopefully) and will definitely be using the info in this post. I'm glad that Elding gives seasick pills at the ticket office and on-board (super helpful for someone like me who gets queasy at sea).
November 18, 2017 at 11:01 pm