Whales, Puffins & Sails - North Iceland - NS02

Sail on a traditional boat and enjoy the wildlife in its natural habitat

A unique sailing tour combining whale watching, bird watching and a sailing adventure on board one of our two schooners, Hildur and Haukur. On board you will experience the aura and atmosphere of past times by setting the sails or assisting the skipper. The schooners will take you to Lundey, the "puffin Island", as well as to the traditional whale watching areas.

Try something different and life on board a traditional Icelandic schooner.
This tour departs from Husavik village in North Iceland.

Duration: ~3 hours

Departure time: See booking engine

Available: Apr - Aug

Age limit: No limit

Difficulty: Easy / Sightseeing

Map (click here)

Tour Highlights:
  • Sail boat
  • Whale watching
  • Silent sailing
  • Refreshments
  • Warm overalls
  • Birdwatching

Departures:  See the booking system for timing. Please show up 30 minutes before departure.

Meeting location: Hafnarstett, 640 Husavik.
Map to meeting location.
GPS: 66.046185, -17.343439

Included: Expert marine guide, professional sailing outfit, hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls and "the captain's privilege".

Bring with you: Warm clothes, sturdy shoes.

14 500 per adult

Youth (7-15): 6 500 ISK

Children (0-6): Free


Tour Description

sailing midnight sun

Enjoying the midnight sun from the vessel

Skalfandi Bay is a great destination because of the birdlife and scenery. There are two islands in the bay, Lundey (Puffin Island) and Flatey (Flat Island), where a lot of birds nest. Therefore the bird life is colourful and varied with puffins, arctic terns, guillemots, gannets and more frequently being seen during our tours. The beautiful mountains at the western part of the bay, called Viknafjoll, make a visit to the bay even more worthwhile and add something really special to the scenery and atmosphere.

The small islands of Lundey & Flatey are situated near Husavik. Lundey (Puffin Island), rises dramatically from the sea in a series of high, nest-covered cliffs and is a breeding ground for puffins, fulmars and other sea birds. Flatey (Flat Island) lives up to its name, rising only a couple of metres above sea level. It is now abandoned but it used to be inhabited and as recently as 1942 it had a population of more than 100.

schooner whales

The Schooner Hildur with two blue whales close by

This is a unique sailing tour which combines whale watching, bird watching and a sailing adventure aboard one of our two schooners. On board you will be able to experience the aura of past times by setting sails or assisting the skipper as a lee helmsman.

One of the schooners, Haukur or Hildur, will take you to Lundey, the Puffin Island, as well as to the traditional whale watching areas.

A traveller who was very pleased with this trip left the following comment: "To be honest I've been on lots of wildlife tours and not infrequently one sees one blob in the distance which a guide will assure you is a bear/tortoise/condor whatever and that is it. Well, we saw 11 humpbacks on this trip including one that came within a couple of metres of the boat. It really was a thrilling experience and genuinely unforgettable. The crew were very friendly and the provision of all-weather lined suits was very welcome indeed. It couldn't have been a better day. It was also excellent value. The trip lasted about 4 hours and is [affordable] for a family of four which I think is excellent value by anyone's standards."

puffins north iceland

Two puffins enjoying the evening sun

Sailing to the whales' prime feeding grounds takes about an hour. The crew and participants are busy looking out for the telltale signs of a surfacing whale.

Although whale watching tours boast impressive success rates for sightings (95% to 98%), you do have to bear in mind that whales do not appear on cue. Sightings are announced using a 'clock' system, with the stern of the boat at 12 o'clock.

Different whales have different habits and identifying features. The curious minke whale surfaces two or three times in quick succession before executing a deep dive and sometimes may even approach the boat. Humpback whales breach and sometimes roll over, holding an enormous flipper in the air.

Most whales arrive in Icelandic waters in spring (around May) and stay to feed until September, when they return to warmer southern waters for breeding.

In town there is also a civic museum about culture and biology. Among other things, it shows a stuffed polar bear (arrived in Grimsey in 1969) and some ancient boats. Enjoy your visit!