Best Places to Visit in Falkland Islands

Covering an area of around 7,500 square kilometers
in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Falkland Islands – Islas Malvinas to the
Argentinians – encompass some 778 islands. Despite the fact they’re only 483 kilometers
off the coast of Argentina and 12,000 kilometers from England, the islands are a British Overseas
Territory. The two largest islands in the archipelago, West Falkland and East Falkland,
are where you’ll find the majority of this tiny country’s 3,000 or so residents (most
of them of British descent). Despite its remote location – or perhaps because
of it – these cold, hilly islands attract a surprising number of tourists. Served by
direct flights from the UK and South America, as well as visited by many cruise ships, the
Falklands are perfectly situated to tap into the growing demand for tourists visiting the
Antarctic. The Falklands’ main attraction is undoubtedly its wildlife; it boasts numerous
species of birds and marine mammals, along with a number of great tour options that will
get you up close to them. Other popular Falkland Island activities include fishing, trekking,
hiking, climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking. Find the best places to visit with our list
of the top-rated tourist attractions in the Falkland Islands. 1. Stanley Capital of the Falkland Islands, and with
a population of around 2000 it is the smallest and most remote capital city in the world.
Set on a natural harbour, the colourful seaside town has a rich maritime history from the
days when great sailing ships and early steam vessels called on their journeys around Cape
Horn. Some of these ships still lie in the harbour, abandoned after a Cape Horn battering.
Tours or self-guided walks will acquaint visitors with these wrecks as well as the distinctive
architecture of many original buildings and the memorials and monuments that reflect the
military past of the islands. Tourist information including a visitor guide and map is available
from the Jetty Visitor Centre located at the Public Jetty on Ross Road. The bright yellow
building is home to the Falkland Islands Tourist Board. Views of Stanley, with its colourful
roofs, from the harbour make for excellent photographic opportunities and it is always
worth taking time to enjoy a wreck and harbour tour or a Kidney Cove penguin colony tour
by small motorised launch. Often dolphins can be seen swimming alongside the boat, making
this an extra special outing. 2.Pebble Island Pebble Island, at 31 kilometres long, is the
third largest offshore island and is home to the longest sand beach in the Falklands.
Pebble was given its present name in the 1760s after beautiful semi-precious pebbles were
discovered on its western beaches. Today, local artisans use Falkland pebbles to create
unique pieces of jewellery. The landscape of Pebble Island varies greatly from pristine
beaches, moor lands and rocky peaks to an extensive area of ponds and wetlands, and
dramatic coastal cliffs. All of these provide vital breeding habitats for an incredible
list of some 42 resident bird species including some rare and elusive species. The deep ponds
on the east of the island, many of which are within walking distance of the lodge, are
home to Chiloë wigeon, Silvery grebe, Black-necked swan and a multitude of other wildfowl and
wading birds. Many thousands of Gentoo, Rockhopper and Magellanic penguin breed on Pebble Island
each summer. The island is also a favourite spot for many rare avian visitors from mainland
South America and beyond. Marine mammal enthusiasts can enjoy raucous congregations of Southern
sea lion. Pebble Island is also home to several reminders of the 1982 Conflict, including
remains of aircraft destroyed when British special-forces raided the island’s Argentine-occupied
airstrip. 3.Carcass Island Carcass Island is situated in the north-west
of the archipelago. This is one of the most picturesque outer-lying islands. In its 100
plus years of habitation it has had only three environmentally conscious owners and an absence
of cats and rats, making the luxuriant, well established hedges and trees an attractive
home to many small birds, sandy beaches, rolling hills and low cliffs from which you can view
the multitude of sea and shore birds that either breed or feed on and around Carcass
Island. Both the north and south of the island provide great hiking opportunities, taking
in beaches and interesting flora, penguin colonies, and sheltered dunes which make great
picnic spots. 4.Sea Lion Island Sea Lion Island is one of the smallest in
the Falklands archipelago (just 8 km / 5 miles long and just over a mile wide at its widest
point), and the most southerly inhabited island, but it is still a prime destination with the
sheer abundance of wildlife in such a small area making it a must on any Falklands itinerary. There
are over 47 species of bird to be found, including Rockhopper, Gentoo and Magellanic penguins
and one of the world’s rarest birds of prey, the Striated Caracara; this is a haven for
birdwatchers and photographers. However perhaps by far the biggest attraction is the large
number of Southern elephant seals that breed here, principally on the white sandy beach
at the appropriately named Elephant Corner. Also not to be missed are the Southern Sea
Lions at East Loafers. 5.The Penguins of Volunteer Point
Located two hours by sometimes bumpy road from Stanley, Volunteer Point is a great place
to get in some memorable wildlife watching. The big draw are the king penguins. Once nearly
extinct, some 1,200 breeding pairs share a colony here, although the area is also an
important habitat for gentoo and magellanic penguins. Other native wildlife you’re likely
to spot (bring your binoculars) include steamer ducks and white bridled finches, as well as
sea lions. For those wanting to make the most of a visit, check out one of the well-organized Volunteer
Point tours. In addition to handling all the arrangements, you’ll benefit from a small
group size (just four folks at a time, maximum), as well as a field expert to answer all your
questions as you enjoy seeing the king penguins go about their business. 6.West Falkland Island and Port Howard
West Falkland Island covers some 4,500 square kilometers and is characterized by its steep
coastal cliffs and rugged, hilly interior. Like East Falkland, this island boasts a rich
biodiversity with 163 varieties of plants and 21 types of land birds, and is particularly
popular for its wildlife and adventure tours. The island’s main settlement is Port Howard,
a major sheep farming community that offers a number of accommodation options, including
quaint farm guesthouses as well as bed and breakfasts. Port Howard is a great place to
explore on foot (it has a small museum with war relics and exhibits related to sheep farming),
and a convenient base from which to explore the surrounding hills. Particularly popular
for hikers is Mount Maria, the island’s third highest peak. It’s also a popular fishing
destination, especially for its trout. 7.South Georgia Island
South Georgia Island, also a UK Overseas Territory, is located 862 miles east of the Falkland
Islands. A land of snow covered mountains and glaciers, the island has no permanent
residents, but it does maintain two British Antarctic Research Stations, as well as a
museum. The island’s main attractions are its natural beauty and bountiful wildlife,
in particular the two million fur seals that lay claim to the island each summer. It’s
also where you’ll find half the world’s population of southern elephant seals, who come here
to breed each year. Millions of penguins also inhabit the island, along with approximately
250,000 albatross and numerous reindeer. 8. South Georgia Museum
The South Georgia Museum was originally established as a whaling museum in 1991, but has since
expanded to include the history of the island. Housed in a 1916 whaling station manager’s
house built by whalers from Norway, the museum includes fascinating displays describing the
discovery and exploration of the island, sealing, whaling, its maritime history, and natural
history. It also now hosts exhibits relating to the 1982 Falklands War and the British
military presence. 9.Bleaker Island Characterized by wide sandy bays and sheltered
coves, this low-lying island is easily reached with a 30-minute flight from Stanley. Bleaker
Island is a popular destination offering modern comfortable accommodation with a sense of
isolation. The low silhouette of Bleaker makes it easy to explore on foot and it may also
account for its rich maritime history. In the early part of the 20th century five ships
were lost at Bleaker Island including the French barque Cassard wrecked in 1906. The
island is privately owned and run as an organic sheep and cattle farm which operates smoothly
in conjunction with tourism. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of wildlife in a very
compact area. One highlight of the island is the Rockhopper penguin colony of some 750
pairs situated only a short walk from the cottages. 10.Darwin (& Goose Green) Named after Charles Darwin, who visited the
Islands during his travels, the settlement was established in 1859 as a centre first
for cattle ranching, and later for sheep farming. Today, remnants of Gaucho activity, such as
an original stone corral, can be found in the settlement and surrounding area. When
the site became too small for the thriving settlement, all the farm buildings, the church,
and most of the houses were transferred to Goose Green (just 2km from Darwin). At Goose
Green you can observe the workings of a typical Falkland farm including sheep shearing in
the height of the summer. Goose Green became a household name during the 1982 Conflict
between Britain and Argentina, and guided tours of the San Carlos, Darwin and Goose
Green area can be arranged. During these tours, you will visit the British and Argentine cemeteries,
memorials including a monument to Col. H Jones and the battlefield sites. A visit to nearby
Bodie Creek Bridge is also worthwhile as it is the world’s southernmost suspension bridge.

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