The Falkland Islands, Islas Malvinas in Spanish, is an archipelago in the South Atlantic, about 400 kilometers northeast of Tierra del Fuego, which is the southernmost point of South America. While many have heard of the long-running sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina, which came to a crisis in the 1982 Falklands War, what has really put the Falkland Islands on people's radars are the wildlife and sub-Antarctic landscapes.
It's a remote destination typically accessed by ship, so when it comes to determining the best time to visit the Falkland Islands, it's imperative that travelers get it right. When potential visitors ask “where are the Falkland Islands” and learn that the islands are 10,000 kilometers from New York, and almost 13,000 kilometers from London, England, it's immediately clear that you must do your research.
Penguins, no doubt curious about this two-legged newcomer to their Falkland Islands beach, approach
a Quark Expeditions guest. Photo: Nicky Souness
How to get to the Falkland Islands
Most adventurers visit the Falkland Islands on organized polar expeditions with seasonal polar operators. In a nutshell, that's how to get to the Falkland Islands—in a manner that's both safe and rewarding. Experienced expedition companies, such as Quark Expeditions which has been exploring the Polar Regions—the Arctic and Antarctic—for 30 years, have the appropriate vessels and crew to navigate the waters and ice of the Antarctic.
And in addition to sorting out how to get to the Falkland Islands, your other task will be to ensure you have the option of participating in onshore experiences, know the best places to observe wildlife in their natural environment, and how to have a truly immersive polar experience. Itineraries such as The Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica: Explorers and Kings include incredible off-ship experiences and guidance by penguinologists, botanists, glaciologists, and other polar experts to enrich your visit.
For many seasoned travelers, it's not merely the best time to visit the Falkland Islands that's so important but, rather, the best time to visit the Falkland Islands and in the most comfortable way possible and with all the amenities of a four-star hotel. That's made possible on Quark Expeditions' new ship Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, 20 quick-deploy Zodiacs, the most off-ship adventure options in the Polar Regions, and superb onboard amenities—including a spa that features a sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Quark Expeditions guests on a Zodiac tour approach Saunders Island, Falkland Islands. Photo: Cindy Miller Hopkins
What should I know about Falkland Island weather?
Because the Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic Ocean, seasons are reversed in comparison with the Northern Hemisphere. That's one of the first things you want to know about Falkland Island weather. For example, the average daily temperature in the Falkland Islands in January and February—the two warmest months of the year—is approximately 11 C with highs reaching about 16 C. In terms of the coldest months, specifically June, July, and August, the low is about 3 C and highs in the range of 5 to 6 C. So, while travelers are able to visit the Falklands as early as October, many seasoned polar adventurers will recommend the November-to-February period as that's when you'll experience the best Falkland Island weather.
And, as a potential visitor, the Falkland Island weather will have a major impact on your expedition in terms of what wildlife you'll see. There will be sea lions, an abundance of penguins, seals, and exotic birds such as albatross, which you can see much more comfortably if you encounter suitable Falkland islands weather versus freezing cold. But bear in mind, you'll be on the coast of the Falkland Islands so you will likely encounter windy conditions regardless of when you go. As always, you will need to dress appropriately. And since voyages to the Falkland Islands are typically included in itineraries to other parts of the region, such as the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia Island, take a look at the recommended packing list for Antarctica to ensure you're well equipped to tackle any manifestation of Falkland Island weather during your adventure.
Best time to visit the Falkland Islands
So, in terms of Falkland island weather, as outlined above, the best time to visit is from October and March. Many past travelers who have firsthand experience in the Falkland Islands say the preferred time could be considered the November-to-February period. It's not merely when the destination is accessible but what you will be able to see at a specific time. For instance, experts suggest the November-to-February period is the best time to visit the Falkland Islands because that's when many species of penguins lay their eggs in this period, and witnessing the hatching of these eggs is unforgettable.
The pristine white beaches are surprising to some first-time visitors to the Falkland Islands. Photo: Nicky Souness
Highlights of Falkland Islands culture
Stanley, also known to many as Port Stanley, resembles a typical English village. Photo: Nicky Souness
Many first-time visitors to the Falkland Island, especially to Stanley (previously known as Port Stanley) are struck by how “English country village” it first appears, with its local pubs, cathedral, and museum. Stanley, as the capital, has a population of about 2,460. The population of the entire Falkland islands is only 3,400. There are many historic and military sites to visit in the area surrounding Stanley. To learn more about Falkland Islands culture, check out our report on “The Top Landing Sites in the Falkland Islands.