Tucked away in the South Atlantic Ocean, on the Patagonian Shelf, this remote archipelago lies 483 kilometres off the coast of South America. Made up of more than 700 islands and covering an area of over 12,000 square kilometres, the Falkland Islands are truly unique.
Also known as Islas Malvinas, the Falkland Islands are caught up in a governance controversy as both Argentina and the United Kingdom claim the islands. It is currently a self-governing British Overseas Territory with a population of nearly 3,400 people, mainly consisting of native-born Falkland Islanders.
As part of the Antarctic Zone, the Falklands are a fantastic stop on the way from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. Here, you’ll get your first taste of the extraordinary wilderness and incredible wildlife of this magical region. You’ll have the islands all to yourself as you venture through landscapes void of roads and people, instead filled with an abundance of animals.
The Falklands are particularly renowned for the astounding bird life with petrels, geese, hawks, falcons, ducks (including the Falkland Flightless Steamer duck), the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world, and the Striated Caracara (Johnny Rook), a rare bird of prey found only on the Falkland Islands and Cape Horn.
It’s also a haven for penguins, with five species of penguin found here, including a massive colony of around 400 king penguins.
With an array of rich islands to discover, we recommend starting with Carcass Island and Saunders Island for some of the best wildlife viewings. You can spot huge colonies of seals and sea lions and even orcas, killer whales, dolphins and porpoises off the cliff-lined coast.
To get back to human civilisation, head to the charming capital of Stanley. With 2000 residents, Stanley is home to more than 80% of the Falklander population. Stroll the streets filled with colourful houses, red phone boxes and friendly pubs, or walk along the harbour, where you’ll find an array of historical buildings and monuments.
For more history, venture to Darwin & Goose Green in the East Falkland area. You’ll see the Goose Green battle site of the Falklands War, the British and Argentine cemeteries and the War Museum, all remnants of the Falkland's tumultuous history.
A land of hardy people, rich history and desolate landscapes brought to life with thriving wildlife, the Falkland Islands offer a spectacular introduction to the Antarctic realm.