The Falkland Islands, with just around 3,000 residents mostly of British descent, are mostly centered on the two largest islands: West Falkland and East Falkland. Despite being quite remote, these chilly and hilly islands surprisingly attract a good number of tourists. Direct flights from the UK and South America, as well as visits from cruise ships, make it easy for travelers to reach this archipelago, which is strategically located for those interested in Antarctic exploration.
The main draw of the Falklands unquestionably lies in its wildlife. The islands are home to various bird species and marine mammals, offering numerous exciting tour options to observe them up close. Aside from wildlife encounters, popular activities on the Falkland Islands include fishing, trekking, hiking, climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking.
Discover the finest places to explore and exciting spots of interest as we list the top tourist attractions in the Falkland Islands.
Volunteer Point - The Penguin Paradise
Situated a two-hour drive away from Stanley, the capital, Volunteer Point offers an incredible wildlife-watching experience. The main highlight here is the king penguins. Once on the brink of extinction, there are now around 1,200 breeding pairs in this colony, making it their home. This East Island location is also a vital habitat for Gentoo and Magellanic penguins.
Keep an eye out with your binoculars for other native wildlife, including steamer ducks and white bridled finches, along with the playful sea lions. To make the most of your visit, consider joining one of the well-organized Volunteer Point tours. These tours handle all the logistics, providing an intimate group experience (usually limited to four people), and you’ll have a knowledgeable expert by your side to answer your questions while you enjoy observing the king penguins in their natural habitat.
Christ Church Cathedral and the Majestic Whalebone Arch
The charming Christ Church Cathedral, the southernmost Anglican cathedral globally, was consecrated in 1892 and should be at the top of your must-visit list in Stanley. Designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield, it’s one of the rare stone buildings in the Falkland Islands.
In the cathedral’s grounds, you’ll discover the unique Whalebone Arch. Crafted from the massive jaws of two colossal blue whales in 1933, it was erected to commemorate a hundred years of British rule. Standing beneath these impressive bones is indeed a humbling experience - and a perfect opportunity for a memorable Falklands selfie.
Cemeteries and Monuments
Stanley’s old cemetery is a treasure trove of fascinating tombstones, each with inscriptions that offer a glimpse into the lives of the early pioneers. The north side of the cemetery is home to the Cross of Sacrifice, a memorial honoring the Falkland Islanders who lost their lives in both World War I and World War II.
Another significant military monument is Victory Green, a memorial dedicated to WWII and the site of an annual parade on the Queen’s Birthday. Here, you’ll also find the mast of the SS Great Britain, the world’s first iron-hulled passenger ship. After spending years stranded offshore in the Falklands, it was eventually restored and put on display in Bristol.
In addition, there’s the Battle Memorial located on the Government House grounds, commemorating the historic sea battle that occurred here in 1914 between the German and British navies, marking one of the early naval conflicts of World War I.
Stanley is also home to the 1982 Liberation Memorial, a poignant tribute to the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during the Falklands War.
West Falkland Island and Port Howard
Moving to West Falkland Island and Port Howard, this sprawling island covers around 4,500 square kilometers and is characterized by its steep coastal cliffs and rugged, hilly interior. Similar to East Falkland, it boasts a rich biodiversity, featuring 163 plant varieties and 21 types of land birds, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
The primary settlement on this island is Port Howard, a thriving sheep farming community that offers a range of reputable accommodation options, including charming farm guesthouses and cozy bed and breakfasts.
Exploring Port Howard on foot is a delightful experience. A walking tour here includes a small museum showcasing war relics and exhibits related to sheep farming. It also serves as a convenient starting point for exploring the surrounding hills, with Mount Maria, the island’s third-highest peak, being a popular hiking destination. Fishing enthusiasts will also find Port Howard appealing, especially for its trout fishing opportunities.
As you embark on your journey, explore the finest places and exciting attractions, including Volunteer Point, the realm of king penguins, and the captivating Christ Church Cathedral with its awe-inspiring Whalebone Arch. Delve into history at the cemeteries and monuments that pay homage to the islands’ past, and venture to West Falkland Island and Port Howard, where breathtaking landscapes and outdoor adventures await. The Falklands promise an unforgettable experience for the intrepid traveler.