A popular stopover for many Antarctic cruises, the Falkland Islands offer a remote and spectacular travel experience. The islands, located 380km off the southern tip of South America, consist mainly of the East and West Falklands. Known for not only their incredible biodiverse ecosystem but their tumultuous past, there is much to discover on these islands. Read on to find out why the Falkland Islands should be on your bucket list and what you can’t miss when visiting…
Whether you are a birder, a whale watcher, both or neither, the Falkland Islands will have something for you! Watch killer whales, dolphins and South American Fur seals navigate the chilly waters, while Southern elephant seals lounge on the rocky shores.
A popular attraction of these islands is the penguins. Home to five species, including the Macaroni and the King penguin, you simply can’t miss seeing these fascinating creatures! If you’re keen to see the iconic King penguin, make sure to take a trip to Volunteer Point. This area is home to a large breeding colony as well as other species of penguin.
Sometimes referred to as a “Little Britain”, Stanley, although small, is a unique and colourful town. Reminiscent of a quaint British town, Stanley is home to just 2,000 people. However, there is much to see! Be sure to visit the Christ Church Cathedral (the southernmost Anglican cathedral!) and the impressive whalebone arch outside it, constructed in 1933 from the jawbones of two blue whales. It is a testament not only to the British administration it commemorates but the sheer size and power of these beautiful animals.
With a long history dating back to the first confirmed sighting of the islands in 1600, the Falkland Islands have a tumultuous past. Argentina and Britain disputed the claim to the territory for many years. This tension culminated in 1982 with the Falklands War. Explore the island today and you will find evidence of this history wherever you look.
Visit the 1982 Liberation Memorial, commemorating those lost in the Falklands War, and venture further back in time at the Battle Memorial. The Stanley cemetery also offers a unique insight as it is the resting place of some of the first settlers of the island. The Historic Dockyard Museum encapsulates the fascinating history of the Falklands and is considered a must see when in Stanley. See recreations of shops, homes and buildings that once existed on the island. The museum also hosts maritime exhibitions and natural history displays.
The Falkland Islands have served as a resting place for many ships. This is due to their position near both Cape Horn and what is dubbed “the Roaring Forties” (the area of latitude where strong winds prevail). The Lady Elizabeth, declared unseaworthy after battling fierce weather in 1912 can be seen in Whalebone Cove. A fascinating look into the life of sailors and the conditions they faced, these wrecks hold many stories. Be sure to see the Protector and Jhelum shipwrecks if you’re interested in delving further into maritime history. Incredibly, the Jhelum was grounded in 1870 and parts of it can still be seen today…
Get Out of Town
Many visitors just explore the East Falklands. However, we recommend also exploring the stunning rugged landscape of the West Falklands. Enjoy discovering a network of walking trails along the shore, across the cliff tops or through the countryside. The west island is also home to three species of penguin, as well as the beautiful black-browed albatross. A great place to see these majestic birds is Pebble Island. For a taste of history, visit Saunders Island, the first British settlement in the Falklands.
The Falklands are a truly unique place, home to an abundance of wildlife and an incredible and at times turbulent past. Whether you visit this archipelago on a cruise or on a personally crafted itinerary, these islands are truly a must see.