Have you heard of the Falkland Islands?
An archipelago of over 700 islands located off the coast of South America, with more penguins than people and a feeling of remoteness that can only be found in the farthest reaches of the world? If the Falklands aren’t already on your radar then I’m here to tell you why they really should be!
I recently visited the Falkland Islands, and whilst I was a little unsure of what to expect, the reality of visiting this wild and rugged island destination absolutely blew me away.
There are so many reasons you should visit the Falkland Islands but I’ve narrowed down my top 10!
1. Accessible Wildlife
If watching wildlife in their natural habitat excites you, the Falkland Islands should most definitely be on your bucket list!
Never in my life have I seen such a diverse and impressive display of birdlife in such a small area.
Even non-birders will be impressed by the sheer scale of seeing hundreds of cormorants clinging to the side of a cliff, albatross swarming together to feed at sea, or king penguin chicks peeking out from beneath their parent’s plumage.
Several marine mammals also call the Falklands home for many months a year. Sea lions laze about on the stony beaches, their young pups sticking close by as they learn about the world. Giant elephant seals haul themselves under the tussock, leaving telltale tracks in the sand.
But what makes the Falklands truly unique is that the wildlife here is amazingly accessible. Largely without restrictions, so long as you follow the country code!
2. Local Hospitality
The Falkland Islanders are notably proud of their homeland and their enthusiasm is contagious.
Everyone I met in the Falklands was extremely welcoming and friendly, going out of their way to make sure visitors made the most of their stay. From the tour driver who waited for me as I dashed into the supermarket so I wouldn’t have to walk home in the rain, to the locals who invited me in for a cup of tea and a chat.
You’ll feel like a local in no time!
3. Walking & Hiking Routes
The Falkland Islands are an ideal place for anyone who loves walking and hiking.
Although short on marked tracks, the beauty of walking in the Falklands is that you can pretty much trek anywhere you please. Even for the orientation-challenged like myself, it’s hard to get lost, especially on the outer islands. Just follow your nose while keeping an eye on the coastline as a reference point for where you are.
There’s something very freeing about rambling through the fields of diddle-dee or over sand dunes, not knowing what stunning scene may meet you around the next corner.
4. Amazing Food
Touted as offering ‘traditional British cuisine’ I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by the food in the Falklands. But that’s exactly what happened!
The home cooked meals ranged from a delicately spiced Indian curry and handmade beetroot ravioli all the way to a flavoursome Moroccan tagine. There was something to please every palate.
The outer islands often utilise the fresh and delicious produce grown right in their own greenhouses whilst the ‘full board’ option normally includes a cooked breakfast, packed lunch (to take exploring) and a delicious 3-course dinner.
You won’t go hungry when you visit the Falklands!
5. Photographer’s Dream Destination
One thing’s for sure – you will not be short of photographic inspiration in the Falkland Islands. The sheer scale and accessibility of the wildlife make the birdlife and marine mammals the ideal subject matter.
If you stay still, you’ll often find yourself attracting a curious penguin or inquisitive caracara right up to your camera lens!
The islands are sparsely inhabited, which allows the natural landscape to really shine. You certainly don’t have to be a pro photographer to capture the unique beauty of the golden rolling hills, the serenity of idyllic hidden beaches, or the drama of waves crashing against the towering cliffs. Even the weathered old buildings can turn a simple scene into a work of art.
6. Intriguing History
Talk to any Falkland Islander and they’ll have a story to tell about the 1982 conflict. It’s impossible to visit these now peaceful islands without realising the impact of the Falklands War – not only on the people but on the landscape also.
You’ll inevitably come across the burnt out shell of an Argentinean helicopter, the fractured remains of a fighter jet, or a meaningfully positioned memorial to lives lost.
Even walking along the waterfront in Stanley you’ll become aware of the consequences of the war. The union jacks flapping in the wind tell of a proud patriotic loyalty to Britain, making it clear where loyalities lie.
7. Unique Landscapes
I’ve never seen anything quite like the landscape of the Falkland Islands.
The unique stone runs flow down the mountains like rivers, creating contrast against the gold-tinged flora that covers much of the hillside. On the outer islands you’ll find postcard perfect sandy beaches, sheer stone cliff faces, pebbled shorelines and rocky promontories – often all on the same island!
No two coastlines are alike.
8. Laid-Back Island Life
There’s something very grounding about visiting such an isolated group of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean.
It’s this isolation that lends itself to the islands embracing a true sense of community. The camaraderie between the locals in the Falklands is something that used to be evident in small towns worldwide but is getting harder to come by.
Seldom does a car pass here without a hand raised off the steering wheel in greeting and crime is almost non-existent.
As a visitor, it’s both refreshing and comforting to witness the way people come together to support and help one another.
9. Penguin Paradise
Despite the wide-ranging display of wildlife, the penguins were my favourite part of holidaying in the Falkland Islands. Watching their antics kept me amused for hours!
You can find five species of penguins in the Falklands – Gentoo, Magellanic, Macaroni, Rockhopper and King.
Gentoo’s can most often be found on the beaches, playing in the surf or huddled nearby in groups, whereas the Magellanic penguins prefer to burrow into the soft peaty earth. You’ll find Rockhoppers perched precariously on the rocky cliff faces (along with the odd look-alike Macaroni) and King Penguins, much like their smaller cousins, the Gentoo, hanging around or on the beach.
In any case, you won’t have to venture far to find the Falkland’s Penguins.
10. Off-Roading Adventures
4×4’s are the vehicle of choice in the Falklands and for good reason!
Roads are few and far between on the larger islands, and non-existent on the outer islands – making it the perfect place to indulge in some off-roading fun.
This is not the type of activity you want to try freestyle though. Conditions can be tricky, and knowing where to locate the gates is an art form in itself! Take a tour with a local driver to get to some of the real hidden gems of the Falkland Islands.
The Falkland Islands are wild, unique and incredibly diverse. They offer experiences like nowhere else and leave a lasting imprint on those fortunate enough to visit.
No, you won’t find multi-storied malls and towering five-star hotels, but isn’t adventure so much more than that?
The Falklands are just waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for?
If you’re considering a trip to the Falklands, you’ll want to check out Nadine’s itinerary – she’s packed in all sorts of inspiration for you!
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