Whale-watching and puffin-spotting tours depart from Ægisgarður, the main jetty in Reykjavík harbour, between Geirsgata and Mýrargata. The two main operators are Elding (Whale watching 9000kr; puffin spotting 5500kr; 519 5000, elding.is) and Special Tours (whale watching 9000kr; puffin spotting 5000kr; 560 8800, specialtours.is), both based at Ægisgarður.
Whale-watching tours leave year-round (up to 12 departures daily depending on season), sailing for Faxaflói bay north of Reykjavík. You’re most likely to encounter minke whales, orcas, humpbacks and dolphins, although, occasionally, blue, fin and sei whales also put in an appearance.
Between mid-May and mid-August (after which the birds head out to sea for the winter months), there are twice-daily tours around the islands of Lundey and Akurey, where puffins gather to breed in the summer. Although it’s not possible to go ashore, you’ll have a great view of the cliffs and grassy slopes which make up the islands’ sides, and the burrows where the puffins live. Remember, though, that puffin numbers have fallen in recent years due to a lack of the birds’ main source of food, the sand eel.