Whale watching in the Azores

“The Azores is one of the world's top spots for sighting an abundance of whales and dolphins - and this is our top selling tour. Guided by a cetacean specialist company, who have a 99% success rate of seeing dolphins and whales when at sea”


3 to 5 whale watching trips | Chance to see blue whales | Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island or Horta, Faial Island | Expert marine biologist guide on boat | Optional: add on island tours - explore the stunning island by jeep, hiking and nature walks | Bathe in volcanic hot springs and see bubbling hot geysers | Get active with kayaking, mountain biking and paddle boarding on the islands stunning lakes

Description of Whale watching in the Azores

With so many species of whales and dolphins surrounding this archipelago, this is one of the best places in the world to witness these marine mammals up close, with sightings on 99 percent of whale watching trips to sea. April to September is peak whale watching season in the Azores, with spring and early summer the best time to spot the blue whale – the mightiest mammal on the planet.

In May and June, baleen whales including blue, sei, fin and humpback whales pass through these waters on their annual migration to their summer feeding grounds in the north Atlantic. They may also be spotted here in July and August. Resident sperm whales, pilot whales and orca are frequently seen along with several species of dolphin, manta rays, sea turtles and sea birds; this is one of the world’s most diverse and abundant gatherings of marine life!

Our tours

Whale watching in the Azores can be done on the main island of Sao Miguel (direct flights from the UK) or the remote islands (transit via Lisbon), and you can choose to take three or more dolphin and whale watching boat tours during your holiday. Although we have set departure dates, these are not group tours; each guest can plan their time independently. You have a whale watching itinerary which you can add island tours as you wish. The boat operators are highly knowledgeable and skilled in tracking and observing the whales, while marine biologists onboard the boats are on hand to answer any questions and give audio visual presentations about these incredible species. We use a range of boats, from large catamarans which are more comfortable and stable, with high vantage points and onboard toilets, to rigid hulled inflatables (RIBs) which are smaller, nippier and put you right in the thick of the action. You’ll certainly feel the sea spray!

One of the reasons that whale watching holidays in the Azores are so successful is because of the Vigia – land based lookouts who can spot the whales up to 30km away and direct the boats towards them.


Our guests have a choice of great value, 4**** accommodation in great locations within walking distance of the marina and boat base. Facilities include swimming pools, gyms, saunas and WiFi. Breakfast is served buffet-style, and discounts are available for children sharing with their parents. In the evenings, you can stroll around town and try out the superb Azorean and international restaurants.

Your guide

Your whale watching tours in the Azores are all hosted by local guides as well as a marine biologist – all speak excellent English and have plenty of experience leading these trips in the Azores. Formal (audio visual talk by marine biologist at our boat base by the harbour) and informal (on the boat) presentations and talks on the local marine life will be offered by your guides. You will learn a lot about dolphins and whales from these stimulating, educational presentations. This combines well with seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Other activities

Away from the boat, your time is your own. We can also book tours for you to explore the rugged inland landscapes of the Azores such as adventure jeep tours, hiking trips and bird watching excursions. Bathe in volcanic hot springs and see bubbling hot geysers. Get active with kayaking, mountain biking and paddle boarding on the islands stunning lakes. This is an independent holiday, so indulge yourself as you wish!

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1: Transfer to your hotel from the airport, free time to settle in and explore the town. If you have time, you can make your own way to the boat base to meet the team and discuss your whale watching schedule. Itineraries are flexible, below is a suggested itinerary only as you can choose additional activities as mentioned above.
Day 2: Take a 10-minute walk to the boat base for an audio-visual briefing on the Azores’ whales and dolphins. Morning or afternoon boat trip.
Day 3: Morning boat trip to watch whales. Spend the afternoon snorkelling in a lagoon or relaxing on the beach.
Day 4: Morning boat trip to watch whales. In the afternoon, take a jeep tour around the island’s forests and lakes, or hike to famous spots in the island’s history.
Day 5: Breakfast. Whale watching (morning or afternoon) activity or full day excursion to the geo thermal heart of the island. Bubbling hot mud, spouting geysers, see the steam rising from the rocks and sample the local cuisine cooked underground. Visit to the local botanical gardens close to the hotel. You have the opportunity to visit the vineyards with an exceptional wine tasting activity
Day 6: Morning boat trip to watch whales. Optional half day excursion to “The Fire Lake” the biggest geo thermal crater on Sao Miguel with dramatic views from the highest point of the island of the north and south coasts from the top. Visit the hot thermal waterfalls where you can bathe in hot springs set in lush rainforest. Before going back to the city, you will visit a liquor distillery to sample the local tipple.
Day 7: For your final day, you may like to get active with a trip up to the blue and green lakes to our activity centre where you can do some kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking or hiking. Alternatively, you may want to relax by the hotel pool and wander around the charming town.
Day 8: After breakfast, you may have time for a bit of souvenir shopping in town before being transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700


Check dates

2018: 23 Jun, 30 Jun, 7 Jul, 14 Jul, 21 Jul, 28 Jul, 4 Aug, 11 Aug, 18 Aug, 25 Aug, 1 Sep, 8 Sep, 15 Sep
Our top tip:
Bring waterproof gear for yourself - and your camera - whichever time of year you choose to travel.
Trip type:
Independent traveller, year round departures with group on boat
Activity level:
Leisurely-moderate, depending on choice of activities.
4* hotel with a pool, gym and sauna. Family rooms available with discounts for sharing. Budget accommodation options also available.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge and budget single accommodation options.
Accommodation, 3 or 5 boat tours, marine biology presentations, guides on boat, airport transfers
Buffet breakfasts included.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Whale watching in the Azores


The way the boats approach the whales follow local regulations to protect the marine life. We only use licensed boat operators who are very sensitive to the well-being of the dolphins and whales. There is a good spirit of cooperation amongst the boat companies and agreements to respect the animals as a priority.

Research is ongoing on the boats, so these trips are helping to build our knowledge of these fantastic animals. Many of the skippers are professional photographers and maintain a comprehensive photo ID database, in particular sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. The more we can learn about the whales and dolphins of the Azores the better we can understand things like their migrations and social structures. All this moves us closer to protecting them and the marine environment in a more knowledgeable, effective way.

Guests are encouraged to send in any photos they have taken on the whale watching trips that can be used in the ongoing photo identification projects. Every trip has a huge emphasis on conservation and sustaining the marine environment so future generations may also have the privilege of seeing marine mammals in the wild.


We only work with local suppliers who employ at least 80% local people which means financial benefits to families here. The land based lookouts whose immense skill at tracking the animals previously earned money from whaling now earn money from tourists - an enormous change that we are passionate about supporting. Many of their adult children now skipper the whale watching boats and work within the small scale tourism.

Our whale watching company offers presentations in local schools to educate the children about the marine life on their doorstep with an emphasis on conservation. They are also planning to host an Azorean Whale Festival to promote the islands as one of the key locations worldwide to see whales. The Dolphin and Whale Connection donates a percentage of it's profits to the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), helping to protect whales and dolphins worldwide.

All the activities we recommend locally are run by Azoreans and are designed to maintain good relationships between visitors and the local people. For example, we sell and promote only local crafts to our guests to support local craft makers and artisans and to spread tourism income to many islanders. Our favourite restaurants are all run by Azorean people, and we do recommend that our visitors try the delicious local cuisine while supporting sustainable local fishermen in particular.

As well as whale watching we offer geological and cultural tours hosted solely by experienced local guides with an in-depth knowledge of their island and its landscape. We support the local vineyards where guests can sample the fantastic Azorean wine and take these locally produced gifts back to people at home.

61 Reviews of Whale watching in the Azores

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2018 by

The anticipation and then the excitement of actually seeing the sperm and pilot whales that honoured us with their presence! Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Jun 2018 by

It fully lived up to our expectations.....Seeing a group of four sperm whales resting together on the surface just in front of the boat Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Jun 2018 by

We were on the cat and a huge gasp went up from everyone on board; a fin whale had swum in front of the boat and opened its mouth out of the water to feed. It was only a split second but that sight is engraved on my memory. My partner didn't see it, he was looking the other way at the time. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2018 by

Going out to sea in a small RIB to watch the dolphins and the whales. An excellent holiday with very knowledgeable marine biologists on board the boats. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2018 by

The Rib boat trip and seeing the Finn whales. Greatly missed out by one day on seeing blue, humpback and whales which would have made it an extra special experience. But they are out there if you’re lucky. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2017 by

Seeing a shark, lots of dolphins and a few whales was the highlight. The land tour of the island was also well worth doing: swimming in natural thermal water, having a traditional lunch, visiting a tea plantation... Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Jun 2017 by

The best experience was the Zodiac boat, when we got up close and personal with a huge pod of common dolphins (including some new-borns) and with three fin whales, who stayed with us for ages, plus flying fish and Cory's shearwaters. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2017 by

We had amazing sightings of a Blue whale and Fin whales and Bottlenose dolphins and Common dolphins and 1 turtle. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Jun 2017 by

Looking for whales and dolphins in the wild when we knew we were so close to them. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 May 2017 by

Several times seeing Blue Whales starting their deep dive with flukes in the air. We saw Blue whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales galore and a solitary Humpback whale which also did a "flukes in the air" dive. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2017 by

Seeing the fin whales, sperm whales, striped, common and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins was the most memorable moment. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Jun 2017 by

Beautiful island with ideal temperatures for walking, hiking and surfing... Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Jun 2017 by

Superb. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2017 by

I loved everything about my holiday to the Azores but the whale watching is why I wanted to go there, it did not disappoint. I saw a humpback whale, two sperm whales of which one showed the tail when it dived under the water and three fin whales. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 May 2017 by

Great holiday we had three days of storms and still found things to do Read full review

Reviewed on 31 Jul 2016 by

Very good Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2016 by

Best bit: Seeing whales and dolphins Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2016 by

The RIB was great fun and we were lucky enough to see Sperm Whales with a calf and a huge pod of very playful dolphins!! Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Aug 2016 by

The whole trip was an adventure. The boat trips were amazing. We were lucky enough to see 3 different types of dolphin on each trip and a manta ray on one of the trips. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Jul 2016 by

Swimming with the Dolphin's was excellent and so exciting, would, do it again in a flash, only wished I had booked for 5 swims. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Jul 2016 by

Best bit: Seeing wildlife in its own environment but in a non intrusive manner Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Jun 2016 by

Being in the company of a wonderful people and getting to see some amazing wildlife. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jun 2016 by

Nothing was too much trouble. Great knowledge of the countryside and of the whales. Very conscious of safety and not getting to close to the whales. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2016 by

Whale watching-it was amazing to see animals in their natural environment. We saw three of the largest creatures in the world. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by

I was really taken by the Azores, the people and the wild-life. I would happily come again and explore more. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 May 2016 by

Excellent Read full review

Reviewed on 26 May 2015 by

Seeing whales and dolphins in the sea. Fantastic! Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2015 by

One of our best (and in our 60s we have been on some!) Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Aug 2015 by

Very enjoyable, will definitely go back Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Jul 2015 by

This was a fab holiday and experience. To experience these animals in their natural environment was just amazing. We also saw flying fish, turtles, 3 types of dolphins and a fin whale - wow!! Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jun 2015 by

The best parts were the 3 whale-watching trips where we saw many sperm whales and several different types of dolphin, and also a trip to Furnas where we spent an hour or so in the hot pool there. Worth a visit, and the gardens are lovely. Read full review

Reviewed on 16 Jun 2015 by

Most memorable or exciting part of your holiday? Seeing Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean! Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2015 by

Good weather and many sightings of whales; 10 out of 10. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 May 2015 by

Whales, whales and more whales! Fabulous. The tour operators were awesome. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Apr 2015 by

I cannot recommend the team highly enough, they showed great respect for the animals whilst providing a brilliant Whale and Dolphin watching experience. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip; the people, animals and islands were a joy. The travel company were highly efficient and our itinerary was delivered faultlessly. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 May 2015 by

The most exciting part? Seeing Bottlenose Dolphins up close Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2014 by

Fantastic we think it is the best thing we have done so far. The whale watching was spectacular, but the island is also beautiful and unspoilt with great views and lovely walks. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Jul 2014 by

11 / 10 if you wish to see the marine life with environmentally respectful people. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Jun 2014 by

Fantastic, a perfect honeymoon. Such a beautiful place. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2014 by

Simply the best! The accommodation was simple but all that was needed. Everyone else on the group all had the same goal - to see whales and we certainly did. I had a fantastic time and have to admit to having a lump in my throat when I saw my first Blue Whale... Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Aug 2014 by

The most memorable parts were the 5 boat trips - each in different conditions with different dolphin/whale sightings. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Aug 2014 by

I loved to follow whales in their natural environment. The organization provides a low environmental impact whale watching vacation Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Jun 2013 by

I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was my first trip on my own and I was i was quite scared about it all. It was very well organised and the people there were great and met everyone of your needs and exceeded themselves. The company who i booked this through was spot on and there communication with me was excellent. I cannot wait to go again. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jun 2013 by

One of the best holidays I have ever had. It was exciting , humbling, awe inspiring and such an amazing experience .. Unforgettable and just beautiful. The tour operator, the skippers and all the staff were so interesting, informative and very friendly. If you love whales and the thrill of speeding across the ocean and beautiful scenery all in one the this holiday is a must. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2013 by

The encounters with marine life exceeded expectation. Nine species in one week including blue, fin, sperm and false killer whales...Excellent. The encounters were exceptional; the expertise impressive; and we had fun. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2013 by

Well worth the money. We really enjoyed it. Seeing the whales and dolphins so close up was just amazing. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 May 2013 by

Excellent...The whale and dolphin watching company has good eco credentials and visibly took the welfare of the animals seriously Read full review

Reviewed on 13 May 2013 by

Hearing the whales breath was the most memorable part of the holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 May 2013 by

Seeing pods of killer whales and amazing dolphins in their natural environment was the most memorable part of the holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2012 by

Really hard to choose due to so many memorable and exciting moments. We saw whales and dolphins everyday and every sighting was special in its own way. Seeing a Sei Whale was particularly impressive due to its size and rarity of sightings at that time of year. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Jul 2012 by

Seeing a female whale with 3 babies on the surface and having the privilege to see babies feeding from their mothers. Although the first day that we went out on the water was amazing skipping over a 4 metre swell. This was exhilarating and exciting! Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jun 2011 by

The most memorable part was having dolphins swimming along with the boat, seeing a sperm whale breach and holding a loggerhead turtle...Excellent - very enjoyable. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jun 2011 by

Most memorable was watching young Sperm whales swimming with adult whales and then breaching in the water... Fantastic and would definitely go again, and book using responsibletravel.com. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2010 by

An excellent holiday that was well organised, friendly and informative...The most memorable part was a three hour trip out with three whole hours with a pod of Bottle Nose dolphins. The BEST THREE HOURS OF MY LIFE!!!!!!! Fantastic! Read full review

Reviewed on 11 May 2010 by

Simply being in the boat with just sea and sky, waiting for a whale to surface is a memory in my top drawer. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Jun 2010 by

Excellent, away from the crowds, beautiful nature, and the most refreshing air I've breathed in years... The open unspoilt volcanic landscapes, being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, seeing whales for the first time, learning more about volcanoes and whales and the ocean were most memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Jul 2009 by

The holiday was good value for money and gave a great opportunity to see the marine life at close quarters as well as a fascinating snapshot of the beautiful island of Pico. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Jun 2009 by

One guide used for jeep tours was local and was excellent. Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Jun 2008 by

Most memorable were the trips to the sea to see what kind of new species of whales or dolphins we might spot today! And actually being on these remote islands in the middle of Atlantic. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Jun 2008 by

It's a great experience! Pico is just an amazing place, and deserves to be better known. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Jun 2007 by

Our holiday was a wonderful experience. Our trips to see the whales was exciting and at times breathtaking. Malcolm, our expert, helped make the trip an enjoyable and well informed holiday, with organised trips. Read full review

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