Falkland Islands


Capital: Stanley

Size: 7,564 km²

Population: 2,500

Currency: Falkland Islands Pound (£FKP), but sterling also legally accepted

Language: English

Visas: Not required by UK nationals.

When to go: The Falklands have a climate comparable to the UK: cool and oceanic with persistent winds. October to April is the best time to visit, when the weather is settled, and migratory birds and mammals return to beaches and headlands. The average temperature in summer (Jan/Feb) is 15°C.

This remote South Atlantic outpost, where penguins outnumber people, is the only part of South America where the currency is the Pound and the British monarch's head appears on the stamps. Windswept they may be, but the islands are a haven for wildlife and a paradise for those who are willing to travel to see them: albatross nest in the tussac grass, sea lion breed on the beaches and orca cruise off the coast.

The Falklands lie about 400 miles east of Tierra del Fuego and are made up of two main islands, surrounded by hundreds of smaller ones. And it is the remoteness that appeals to many. The capital, Stanley, is a small but modern town built around a bay. The SS Great Britain, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's iron-hulled steamer, was rescued from the waters off the coast and the hulks of other sailing ships litter the bay.

Dolphins and whales are common around the main harbour, with nearby Gypsy Cove an excellent site for viewing Magellanic penguins, variable hawks, black-crowned night herons, oyster catchers and many smaller bird species. Further afield the beaches of outer settlements and islands provide a safe haven for breeding southern elephant seals, sea lions, black browed albatross and southern giant petrels.

Other popular activities include trout fishing, battlefield tours, overland 4WD treks and boat trips taking in maritime history and inaccessible tussac islands teeming with wildlife. Road transport is possible via the extensive road network on East and West Falklands, with most major settlements and key destinations also accessible by air using small aircraft.

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Getting there