The Best Whale Watching Holidays – Azores Islands, in Portugal

The best Whale Watching and Swimming with Dolphins location in Europe, and a beautiful Adventure playground in a very top sustainable islands holidays destination.

2 to 3 hours away from most European airports, and 4 to 5 hours away from Canada and the US lies the westernmost point of Portugal and Europe. An archipelago of 9 islands located right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, each island with its very unique natural and cultural features. A paradisiac and exotic scenario of the great Blue, with luscious velvet green craters of extinct island volcanoes that now form sculpted fairy-tale worthy lakes, waterfalls, naturally heated spring water pools, beautiful volcanic dark sand beaches, and a great variety of Nature’s monuments and Wildlife. Some believe these islands to be what remains of the ancient civilization Atlantis!

Map Location: Where are the Azores

The World’s Greenest Holiday Destination

Things to do and Places to go to

The Azores islands experience is known for the tranquility, and genuine laidback quality of life of its people, with a twist of Adventure, a widespread variety of Food & Wine festivals, and summer Music festivals.

There are World-class Adventure activities for everyone, at sea and inland from Nature Photography to Golf, Canyoning, Kayaking, Hiking, Mountain Biking, uncrowded Surfing, Rock Climbing, Sailing, Paragliding, Diving, Bird Watching and of course best Whale Watching, and Swimming with Dolphins!

Main Natural Attractions not to be missed are the craters of Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), Furnas , Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire), the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, in the main island of São Miguel – rated 4 of the most incredible natural wonders in the World. Don’t forget to visit the surrounding volcanic beaches and natural spring heated water pools!

The Weather

The Azores climate is moderate sub-tropical, with mild average temperatures year-round ranging from 15ºC/60ºF in the Winter, to 26ºC/80ºF in the high Summer.

You’ll be glad to know that there are no dangerous animals or night dominating mosquitoes.

How to get there

You can get to the Azores islands using most holiday travel agents, or with your own travel arrangements. You can book your flight online from the US and Canada with Azores Airlines, and from UK & Europe with Azores Airlines, EasyJet or Ryanair to São Paulo II Airport in the capital city Ponta Delgada, main island São Miguel. Flights and rates vary thru the year, so be sure to book ahead!

Where to Stay

Sunny Vila Franca do Campo is 15 minutes away from the airport in Ponta Delgada, and is known for it’s coastal living, excellent restaurants, beautiful terrace views, and for having most of the best leisure beaches in the Azores Islands. Accommodation in the area goes from rental Houses and Villas, to Marina Apart-hotels and Beach Hotels, away from the city buzz and 15 to 30 minutes away from the best attractions and activities the island of São Miguel has to offer. Please contact us if you need any advice.

Excellent local products are Cheese, Wines, Brandies, Fruit, and food in general (whether you prefer Beef, grilled Seafood or Vegetarian), homemade linens, woolen goods, lace, pottery and general craftsmanship.

Best time of the year to Watch Whales and Swim with Dolphins in the Azores Islands?

Anytime – we see 24 different species every year, 4 of which are resident, and we keep a 98% success rate and average 3 species of cetaceans encountered per tour.

It is important to understand that, although we have data collected in the Azores since 1993 and our lookouts guarantee sightings almost every time, it is difficult to anticipate the distribution of species throughout the year since they depend on ocean food productivity, species migrationing patterns, sea currents, wind, species dispersal, and visibility conditions.

Whale facts & Whale Watching Seasons in the Azores Islands

Year Whaling activities ceased
First official Whale Watching trip
Cetacean Encounters Success Rate
Cetacean Resident Species
Species spotted every Year
Average Species per Tour

Winter Season

Resident Species (Yearlong)

Sperm Whales, Common Dolphins, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins.

Occasionally: Stripped Dolphins, Beaked Whales – Blainville’s Beaked Whales, Gervais Beaked Whales, Sowerby’s Beaked Whales, True’s Beaked Whales and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales.

Main Season

In the Spring – Giants

Ballen Whales – Blue Whales, Sei Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales.

Occasionally: Orcas (Killer Whales).

In the Summer – Pods

Short-finned Pilot Whales, Bride’s Whales, Northern Bottlenose Whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins.

Occasionally: False Killer Whales.

Latest Statistics