Europe is a great destination for all sorts of travel and adventures, and getting out on a boat is a fantastic activity. Whale watching excursions are popular in many countries and locations around the continent, and here are some of the best places in Europe to see whales in the wild.
With snow-capped mountains, a rugged coastline, fjords, and gorgeous views from the sea, Iceland is a paradise destination for outdoorsy adventurers and whale watchers. If you’re visiting Iceland for the first time, book a whale-watching tour for an unforgettable experience that will get you up close and personal with species like Orcas, Minke Whales, Humpbacks, and Blue Whales, which can be spotted from all around the island country. Head to Iceland during the summer season, from April to September, for your best chance at seeing whales in the wild. Some of the top destinations within Iceland for whale watching include Husavik and Akureyri.
Scotland is a wonderful destination to enjoy a whale watching tour. With countless islands and inlets to explore, it’s home to some of the best locations for whale spotting in the whole world. During the summer months from May to September, you’ll have the best chances of seeing Orcas, a variety of dolphin species, Minke Whales, and porpoises. Many tours only run during the summer season, as the likelihood of seeing whales later in the year decline as whales migrate south for the winter. If you’re headed to Scotland with the goal of seeing whales, you’ll want to visit cities like Oban, the Isle of Mull, Orkney, and Shetland during the summer season.
Norway, and particularly the city of Tromso, is spectacular for whale watching and a must-do for travelers exploring the country. You can see these massive animals swimming around your boat underneath the green glow of the northern lights, undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime. Whale watching in Norway on a whale safari by boat will take you around the gorgeous coastline of Norway, in and out of fjords and around small islands, showing the Nordic country from a new perspective. Enjoy sightings of Fin Whales, Humpback Whales, and Orcas, to name a few.
If northern Europe is too cold and you’d prefer to see whales and dolphins in a warmer climate, there are great destinations in the more tropical regions of Europe to go whale watching.
The Canary Islands (Spain)
The Canary Islands, and especially Tenerife, are a fantastic warm-weather destination to spot whales and dolphins in the wild. This cluster of islands off the coast of Morocco is home to a variety of resident whale species that you can see swimming freely at any time of year. Book a whale-watching catamaran cruise in Tenerife and explore the southern parts of the island, seeing dolphins and whales swim and play in the waves around your boat. Most tours include lunch and drinks, and you’ll stop for a snorkel in some stunning bays.
The Azores (Portugal)
Right in the middle of the Atlantic, midway between continental Europe and North America sits the incredible archipelago of the Azores. Owned by Portugal, it’s an amazing destination for whale watching and seeing cetaceans in the wild, up close on a little RIB or a motor yacht. You’ll see whales and dolphins on day excursions from popular coastal towns in the Azores like Ponta Delgada or Angra do Heroísmo.
Want to learn more about whale watching around the world? Check out our guide here.