This is a guest post by Niels of Whale Watching Tromso.
Due to my profound love for the gentle giants of the ocean, no trip to Norway is complete without a whale-watching tour!
Having worked as a zookeeper and wildlife manager, my passion lies in protecting whales, dolphins, seals, and manatees. Especially during my trip to Norway in 2017, the beauty of Norwegian fjords and landscapes left me in awe. But what attracted me most was the vast marine wildlife of the area, including different types of whales and seals, king crabs, puffins, and more.
However, in this article, I will be focusing on the glorious water mammals — whales.
Hi, I’m Niels Thomas, and today, I’ll share my experiences and expert tips to ensure you enjoy the best whale safari in Norway. From the best whale-watching spots to the top whale-watching tour agencies, I aim to help you plan your next Norway adventure with a deeper connection to these magnificent creatures.
Why is Norway such a good whale-watching destination?
Norway’s coastal waters are home to a diverse range of marine species, including various types of whales, such as sperm whales, humpbacks, orcas, and fin whales. This abundance of marine life creates excellent opportunities for observing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
Moreover, the Norwegian coast benefits from nutrient-rich waters, particularly during certain times of the year when massive schools of herring and other small fish migrate through these areas. This attracts large numbers of whales seeking food sources.
Not to forget, the unique fjords and coastal geography of Norway offer sheltered areas for whales to feed, mate, and raise their young. As such, Norway has developed a well-established whale-watching industry with experienced guides and specialized vessels equipped for safe and informative excursions.
In fact, some operators are so confident about spotting whales that they are willing to refund the full amount in case of a no-show!
What Month Is Best For Whale Watching In Norway?
The ideal month for whale watching depends on the Norwegian region you want to visit and the whale species you are interested in. That said, generally, the whale-watching season in the country spans from late October to mid-January.
Orcas grace the waters from late October to mid-January, while humpback whales can be spotted between October and March. On the other hand, porpoises gather in Northern Norway during the summer months. Additionally, the Svalbard Islands offer sightings of blue whales, minke whales, fin whales, and belugas between May and September.
Certain locations even permit year-round Norwegian whale watching. Notably, the Vesterålen Islands host a plethora of marine mammals throughout the year.
What Are The Best Whale Watching Spots In Norway?
The Lofoten Islands
For year-round whale watching in Norway, the Lofoten Islands are a must-visit. I recommend opting for a reputed wildlife sightseeing cruise to encounter the gigantic marine mammals. However, winter presents more opportunities to spot humpback whales and orcas, while porpoises and sperm whales are more commonly seen in the summer.
The Vesterålen Islands
Experience year-round Norwegian whale watching on the Vesterålen Islands, particularly on Andøya, known as the “Whale Kingdom of the North.” Throughout the year, you may witness various whale species departing from Andenes or Stø.
The Svalbard Islands
To witness captivating beluga whale sightings in Norway, head to the Svalbard Islands. Specifically, the Isfjorden fjord attracts blue whales, fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales, and belugas between May and September.
Whale watching in Tromsø is a must, and you’ll be able to find numerous tour options. The best time to visit Tromsø for a whale encounter is from November to early February. During this period, you may be accompanied by orcas, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises in your adventure!
Top Whale-Watching Tour Agencies
One of my favourite tour/water activities by Brim Explorer is the Tromsø: Whale Watching Tour By Hybrid-Electric Catamaran. It guarantees an unforgettable experience for whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. The captain turns on the silent engine while nearing the whales to ensure a serene experience without disturbing the whales in their natural habitat.
I also appreciate the knowledgeable guide on board who provides insights about these magnificent creatures and the local ecosystem.
Green Gold Of Norway AS
If you’re looking for day tours from Tromsø, check out Green Gold of Norway’s Whale Watching In Magic Skjervøy. This inflatable boat trip is a must to witness orcas and humpback whales while soaking in the beauty of the Kvaenangen Fjord. While commuting from Tromsø to Skjervøy, you can enjoy magical sightings and call it a day with complimentary refreshments.
World Sea Explorers
Embark on a unique journey from Svolvær as you set sail to witness the midnight sun illuminating the picturesque Lofoten Islands. This Lofoten Islands Midnight Sun Sailing Tour is guided by experts, so rest assured of your safety. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins swimming beneath the glowing Arctic sun!
Interestingly, you can even learn how to sail the boat under the guidance of a knowledgeable sea captain and crew.
How Long Is Whale Watching Norway?
After boarding the boats, the tour may take around 45 minutes to reach the whales, but this can vary due to the whales’ quick movements and unpredictable locations. That said, the overall length of most tours and safaris spans 2-5 hours, depending on the whales’ distance from the shore and the time required to locate them.
However, you must remember that adverse weather conditions can affect the schedule of the tour. In rough seas or poor weather, the boats might not be able to operate at all.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Norway for whale watching, especially in the winter, I recommend keeping a few days free in your itinerary. This accounts for the possibility of poor weather leading to the postponement or cancellation of the tour/safari.
How much does it cost to go whale watching in Norway?
The cost of whale watching in Norway depends on various factors like the time of the year, region, the type of boat you choose, etc. Accordingly, prices range from $150/£111/€125 to $225/£166/€188 (approx) per person.
Such packages usually cover commuting to the location, a knowledgeable guide, and light refreshments. Anything cheaper than this may require you to buy refreshments on board.
Moreover, some tours may include other activities, such as watching the Northern Lights, which may be much more expensive.
Norway offers an unparalleled whale-watching experience where travellers can marvel at the grandeur of these majestic mammals in their natural habitat. And thanks to the country’s responsible tourism practices, visitors can embark on eco-friendly adventures and learn about marine conservation.
So, plan your adventure today and get ready to explore the world of whales in Norway!
Thank you for reading! If you found this post useful, I’d be grateful if you would consider using the affiliate links below when planning your travels. I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This will help me to keep this blog running. Thanks for your support – Lauren.
Hotels – Booking.com
Hostels – Hostelworld
Cheap flights – Skyscanner
Travel insurance – World Nomads
Outdoor gear – Decathlon / GO Outdoors
Cycling gear – Chain Reaction Cycles
Alternatively, you could buy me a coffee to say thanks!