Located right off of the East Coast of Argentina, you will find a quaint group of islands, covering an area of around 2900 square miles. Technically defined as an overseas British territory, the attractions in the Falkland Islands have become a popular destination for those looking to see penguins in the winter months.
The two largest islands in the archipelago, East Falkland and West Falkland, are where you will find the majority of the citizens of the tiny country's population of 3,000 or so residents.
Penguins at Volunteer Point
The reason that most people decide to visit these tiny islands is to get to know the natural wildlife. Some of the best attractions in the Falkland Islands are discovering where the penguins reside.
Located about 2 hours via a bumpy road from the country's capital, Stanley, Volunteer Point is one of the best places to witness the memorable wildlife in the Falkland Islands. The big lure of this East Island destination is by far the King Penguins. While at once they were known as nearly extinct, they found shelter at Volunteer Point. Some 1,200 breeding pairs share a colony here as you will witness them going back and forth between their colony and the beach.
This area is also known as an important habitat for Gentoo and Magellanic penguins. Other native wildlife you will likely spot include steamer ducks and white bridled finches. If you are lucky, you will spot some sea lions. There are multiple well-organized tours offered from Stanley that you will want to check out if you are looking to make the most out of the visit.
If you are lucky, you will get a glimpse of the island's six varieties of penguins-- king, Gentoo, rockhopper, macaroni, royal, and Magellanic. Make sure to bring your camera and keep your eye out on the ground as they can be hidden in plain sight!
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Speaking of the capital, you will want to see this beautiful city first hand. Located on East Island, Stanley holds the island's major population center home to more than 2,000 people. As one of the top attractions in the Falkland Islands, Stanley is home to numerous activities.
Originally constructed on a north-facing slope to maximize this cold climate's exposure to the sun, many of the city's wood-clad homes are painted bright colors making a perfect photo-op sight. As they overlook picturesque Stanley Harbor, this town boasts iconic English décor. This includes bright red phone boxes and a group of old inns.
One could enjoy this city by a walk through the streets exploring the many marine and military monuments. Many of these are dedicated to the Falkland War which was fought between the British and Argentine troops during the 1980s. Other highlights include the Victorian-era police station and the Jubilee Villas. The Jubilee Villas were built in 1887 commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. This city is also home to some unique shopping experiences.
The Falkland Islands are known for their famous leather and woolen goods, so make sure to check the shops out before you leave!
The Historic Dockyard Museum
Part of Falkland's long history, this dockyard is a must-visit attraction in Stanley-- one of the best attractions in the Falkland Islands as a whole.
Since its opening in 2014, this thorough museum focuses on the island's deep maritime history. You will find numerous exhibits and displays containing historic artifacts including ship figureheads and other various items related to fishing. As the island's top industry, fishing has a rich history in this region. Other fascinating things to see include the museum's natural history section. This area includes a collection of bones and fossils with an area dedicated to information portraying their connection to nearby Antarctica.
You will quickly notice that this museum consists of multiple buildings. These comprise a blacksmith shop. a storehouse, and numerous other buildings containing farm equipment, radio and telecommunication equipment, and traditional musical equipment.
If you have extra time at this Historic Dockyard Museum, be sure to check out the interesting displays that focus on the 1982 war with Argentina.
South Georgia Island
Located 862 miles east of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island is one of the top attractions in the Falkland Islands and may not sound that appealing to you at first.
A distant land filled with snow-covered mountains and glaciers, this island actually holds no permanent residents. However, if you are wanting to visit where very few have, this island contains two British Antarctic Research Stations, as well as a museum for guests. The most obvious attraction here is the natural beauty and wildlife.
You will find over two million fur seals that claim the island each summer. This island is also home to half the world's population of southern elephant seals who decide to come here to breed every year. Just like the Falkland Islands, you will notice penguins here too. With over a million penguins claiming this land as their home, you will also see numerous reindeer and over 250,000 albatross.
The South Georgia Island Museum was initially created as a whale museum in 1991, however, it has since expanded to include the entire history of the island. You will notice a fascinating display within this museum illustrating the discovery and exploration of the island, whaling, sealing, and its maritime history. Similar to the Shipyard museum in Stanley, you will also see exhibits featuring the 1982 Falkland war and British presence in this museum.
If you are interested in seizing this rare opportunity, make sure to either book a boat charter or take a cruise in the region as South Georgia Island is very difficult to access.
West Falkland Island
The final one of the best attractions in the Falkland Islands to discover will not come as a small feat. Encompassing over 1,730 square miles, West Falkland Island is characterized by steep coastal cliffs and a hilly interior.
Like the main island we have been discussing, this island boasts diverse wildlife with over 163 plants and 21 different land birds. The main activity for visitors on this island is their popular wildlife adventure tours. The main village in the area is Port Howard. Known for its major sheep farming community, you will find quaint farm guesthouses as well as bed and breakfasts in this town. You can explore Port Howard on foot through a walking tour. Here you will again find a small museum boasting war relics and exhibits illustrating the island's deep sheep farming history.
After exploring the museum, head over to the surrounding hills. Here you will discover the breathtaking scenery. A particular popular hill is Mount Maria, West Falkland Island's third-highest peak. If you are wondering how the fishing is in this area, you will be presently surprised. Port Howard is a popular fishing destination for those looking to fish for trout and other local specialties.
Whether traveling to learn more about the rich history of the area or to try your skills at trout fishing, West Falkland Island will be there for you to explore.
Despite its remote location, the attractions in the Falkland Islands offer plenty of activities and areas to discover. Whether traveling via a cruise ship or an extended stay vacation, I hope you enjoy what very few will ever get the chance to experience.
Make sure to check out our free travel planners and packing lists to ensure you are completely prepared for your adventure!