Falkland Islands map & highlights

There are few places in the world that are as camp as the Falklands. That’s because when you visit, you will either be staying in Stanley, the capital, or ‘in camp’, meaning ‘the countryside’. And there is a lot of countryside, with two main East and West Falkland Islands and 776 others. Travel by ferry between some, although the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) is the preferred transport mode for most to see the white beaches of Sea Lion Island, for example. Discover peninsulas packed with penguins, waters awash with whales, and colossal coastal grasslands brimming with birdlife. There is also a settlement named after Darwin’s visit, who must have had a field day when he dropped by.
Bird watching

1. Bird watching

Apart from penguins, there are over 200 species of birds on the Falklands archipelago, meriting 22 protected Important Bird Areas. The important bits include: two thirds of the world's black-browed albatrosses are here; the islands are critical habitat for striated caracara and tussac birds; and there are two endemics, Cobb’s wren and the Falkland flightless steamer duck. And a million bleedin’, sorry, breeding, penguins.
Bleaker Island

2. Bleaker Island

Spend a few days exploring this far from bleak island. It is rather beautiful and flatter than most, the highest elevation being 27m. On the long white beach of Sandy Bay, gentoo penguins hang out on its north end and Magellanic penguins at the south, with a load of seabirds in between. You couldn’t stage it all more beautifully. There are a couple of houses to stay at; neither of them bleak.
Carcass Island

3. Carcass Island

Unlike the name, this island is brimming with live birds, penguins and so much more. It was actually named after HMS Carcass which visited in 18th century. There is one lodge to stay at, a welcoming farmhouse. An Important Bird Area, species include the endemic Cobbs’s wren, tussock birds and black throated finches. Hike the island’s wild rocky ridges, beaches or cliff walks, keeping an eye out for Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins.

4. Darwin

Charles Darwin visited spot during his 1830s zoological survey on the Beagle's second voyage. Now remote and sparsely populated, its history ranges from 19th century cattle farming gauchos to early 20th century Scottish sheep farmers and, most recently, the nearby Battle of Goose Green during the 1982 Falklands War. A ten-week war in a landscape that still feels utterly unchanged by time.
Pebble Island

5. Pebble Island

So called because of the multicoloured pebbles on its eastern beaches, this is a settlement with one lodge on it, but you can easily spend a few days here just blissing out in tranquil, natural surroundings. From sea cliffs to kelp beds, aircraft wreckages to giant petrels, mountains to wetlands. And of course, colonies of rockhopper, gentoo, Magellenic and macaroni penguins.

6. Penguins

Five species of penguins totter around the Falklands, with nearly 500,000 breeding pairs. And yet, do a Falklands word association and people come up with ‘war’ and ‘sheep’. Try king, gentoo, rockhopper, Magellanic and macaroni. Much cooler names, and much friendlier vibes. There was a much excitement when a lonesome northern rockhopper turned up in a colony of southern ones recently. A hybrid chick was the happy outcome.
Port Howard

7. Port Howard

This is a private settlement and vast sheep farm that takes up much of West Falkland Island. Occupied by over a thousand Argentinean troops during the 1982 war it has a fascinating history, and a small museum in a Nissan shelter. Today it is home to half that many sheep and only 20 human residents. It has plenty of sea trout too, the Rivers Warrah and Chartres being popular fishing spots.
Sea Lion Island

8. Sea Lion Island

One of the most southerly islands, a 40-minute flight from Stanley, it is also home to the Falklands’ only purpose built tourist lodge – the southernmost British hotel in the world. It is also habitat for sea lions, and a top breeding spot for elephant seals. Less obvious, but equally prolific are the ground nesting birds that thrive in the wildflower filled grasslands. You won’t miss the penguins, dolphins and orcas though.

9. Stanley

The capital, on the largest East Falkland Island, and home to the majority of islanders, it is also the landing point for many of the ships en route to Antarctica. There is a quaint Anglican cathedral to visit, and you will gain great insight into island heritage in this Atlantic anomaly at the Historic Dockyard Museum, with exhibits ranging from the life saving telephone exchange, to the life taking Falklands War.
Volunteer Point

10. Volunteer Point

What’s the Point? The islands’ largest colony of king penguins, plus a full on party of gentoo and Magellanic penguins too, all hanging out on this 2km white sandy beach to the north of Berkley Sound. That’s the point. Take a tour here with an expert naturalist guide, plus a good driver. The penguins can waddle and wade their way across the coastal grass and boglands, but humans need a 4x4.
West Falkland Island

11. West Falkland Island

This island represents what the islanders mean by ‘camp’. On the Falklands, you either live in Stanley or ‘in camp’ which means in the countryside. Stay on one of the large farm settlements here, hike up the highest peak of Mount Adam, go whale or penguin spotting at Port Edgar, or go trout fishing on the Warrah or Chartres Rivers around Port Howard. This is camp with bells on.
West Point Island

12. West Point Island

Popular for daytrips by boat from Carcass Island, bird lovers come to seek out the black-browed albatross. Indeed, this private island was once called Albatross Island and the bird’s presence is one of the reasons why it is an Important Bird Area. Imperial cormorants, turkey vultures, Falkland thrush and striated caracaras are other regulars. It is also home to the Falklands’ highest sea cliff, Cliff Mountain, at 381m.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Falkland Islands or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Falkland Islands] [Falklands Countryside: nomis-simon] [Bird watching: Chris Pearson] [Bleaker Island: Antarctic96] [Carcass Island: David Stanley] [Darwin: John5199] [Pebble Island: Ed Dunens] [Penguins: Moonshiner69] [Port Howard: Christopher Burns] [Sea Lion Island: Chris Pearson] [Stanley: David Stanley] [Volunteer Point: Chris Pearson] [West Falkland Island: Liam Quinn] [West Point Island: David Stanley]