Things to consider

  • December and January are the most popular times to visit since this coincides with the Antarctic high season
  • The longer daylight hours of high summer offer the best opportunities for extended landings – and more penguin chicks
  • Trips departing in November and March often offer greater freedom to explore as there tend to be fewer vessels navigating the islands
  • The shoulder months at the beginning or end of the season with slightly shorter days can have great colour and light conditions for dramatic photography

Seasons in the Falkland Islands

Spring

A group of gentoo penguins on nests of pebbles on a sandy beach at Saunders Island in the Falkland Islands

Gentoo penguins nesting on Saunders Island

A small number of expedition cruise ships visit the Falkland Islands in October, with South Georgia, before the Antarctic season gets going. This is the start of spring with gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper penguins all arriving to tend to their nests and mate. By the time November arrives there is a full complement of penguins to be seen and black-browed albatrosses are sitting on their nests. Upland geese will have already hatched their eggs to produce adorably fluffy goslings. Inland, listen out for songbirds in full voice, and plenty of buttery yellow flowers on the gorse bushes.

Daytime temperatures typically hover around 50–55ºF (10-13ºC), but as the days get longer, the warmth of the sun begins to edge the mercury higher. 

Summer

Close up of a black-browed albatross colony on the cliffs at Saunders Island in the Falkland Islands

Black-browed albatrosses on the nest at Saunders Island

December to January are the most popular months to visit the Falkland Islands, as these coincide with high season in Antarctica. The penguin colonies will be full to bursting with chicks (it’s worth remembering that due to their unusually long breeding cycle, you can see king penguin chicks throughout the year here). The new year also sees the arrival of the first sealion and fur seal pups. The chance of southern right whale sightings in Falkland Islands waters increases during these months. 

Daytime temperatures average around 60ºF (15ºC), but when the sun is out and the wind drops you might reasonably expect temperatures up to the mid-70sºF (25ºC).

Autumn

A rockhopper penguin undergoes its annual moult on Bleaker Island in the Falkland Islands

A rockhopper penguin undergoing its annual moult on Bleaker Island

March sees the close of the visitor season as it does for Antarctica and South Georgia. The days begin to shorten but there are still good wildlife experiences to be had. Penguin chicks are mostly fledging at this time and starting to investigate the sea, which is the cue for the adults to begin their own moult ahead of their return to sea where they’ll spend the winter. King penguins and a significant number of gentoos remain on the islands. Black-browed albatross chicks take rather longer to mature and can be seen on their nests waiting patiently for their parents to return with a meal.

Seal and sealion pups are also preparing to take to the sea – for the most part the adults have already taken to the waters.

Daytime temperatures are around 55ºF (10-12ºC), but colder wetter winds are constantly on the horizon to presage the arrival of the austral winter.

Swoop Says background image

Paul says

Whatever time of year you visit the Falkland Islands you can still experience four seasons in a single day. I've been wearing a t-shirt one moment and then rushing to put on warm waterproof layers when a cold wet wind blew in from the sea the next.

Paul Clammer Guidebook Editor

Plan your your trip to the Falkland Islands

A view of Christchurch Cathedral in Stanley on the Falkland Is;ands, with its arch made of blue whale jawbones

Stanley

The pocket-sized capital of the Falkland Islands is full of history and easily explored on foot by visitors from expedition cruise ships. 

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