When it comes to whale watching, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. While spotting these magnificent beasts can be difficult, with a little research and know how (not to mention a smothering of good luck!), you could be on your way to watching whales without much trouble!
The Canary Islands are first up on our list of brilliant year-round whale spotting opportunities. Until very recently there were far too many uncaring and incompetent tour operators running through the sea and injuring the area’s cetaceans. Thankful, new regulations put in place in 1996 have meant that there has been a vast improvement in the amount of responsible whale watching opportunities available to the islands’ visitors.
Republic Of Ireland
If you’re looking for a whale watching alternative a little closer to home, then head down to Ireland, where whale watching began in 1984 when a solitary bottlenose dolphin arrived near the coast of County Kerry. The affectionately named ‘Fungie’ dolphin led the way to other species of whale and dolphin making an appearance and now visitors have the chance to see harbour porpoises, minke whales, fin whales, humpback whales and many others.
The Bay of Biscay in Spain is one of the most affordable and easily accessible places to go in Europe to spot a wide variety of porpoises, whales and dolphins. Cetaceans are found here all year round, but it’s important to note that the variety of species one can hope to see throughout the year shifts from month to month. If you’re looking for both lovely weather and great whale watching, head down between June and October.
There are two main whale watching destinations on mainland Norway. The Lofoten Vesteralen Islands are known to be a great location for sperm whales every summer and Tysfjord is popular with killer whales in the winter. Norway is the best place in the world when it comes to snorkelling with these magnificent creatures, so don’t forget your wetsuit for a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Dolphin watching in the Bay near Gibraltar has a sightseeing success rate of 95% so if you’re looking for a certainty and reliability, Gibraltar is the place to go! While whale watching is harder to achieve, Gibraltar offers some great land-based observation points, so be sure to pack your binoculars.
This isolated archipelago lying across the Atlantic between Portugal and North America has got quite the reputation when it comes to great whale-watching opportunities. This stretch of land is perfectly placed in the fact that is surrounded by the seas that are either permanent or temporary homes of a quarter of all known cetacean species.
Alongside packing your binoculars, waterproof camera and passport; don’t forget to get an E111. This little card could make the biggest difference when it comes to dealing with a health related situation when in a European country.