Whales are surly one thing that comes to your mind when you think about Norway. And yes, it is one of Europe’s best places to spot them in nature. Most chances to see whales are above the Polar Circle. Depending on the season, whales are showing up at different locations.
With some luck you can do a self guided whale watching tour and spot this amazing creatures from the coast. Or you join a trip on a whale watching boat, that takes you out onto the open sea. Some of those companies will give you also whale guarantee. If you don’t see any whale today, they will take you tomorrow again.
Doesn’t matter if you want to see Orcas (Killer whales), Sperm whales, Humpback whales or Fin whales you need for sure endurance, patience and some inside information. We will give you a short overview and useful tips to make whale watching in Norway successful.
First of all using the network: To find out about recent whale sightings the Facebook group Hvaler i Nord can help you, to get information where whales have been recently spotted.
Guidelines for the good of the whales
If you do a whale safari on a boat, keep in mind that there are some guidelines to follow. Maintain some distance to the whales while they are feeding to avoid disturbance. For your interest you can download the whale watching guidelines from Visit Tromsø.
Do not use any kind of drone close to the animals.
Since the whales are hunting down the schools of herring the location to find whales can change. If the herring is migrating to another place the whales will follow. So the locations will not always be the same at a certain season.
Orcas in Lofoten
Lofoten is well know to encounter schools of Orcas all year around. Most likely they are chasing for food in the Vestfjord, which is the part of sea between Lofoten and the mainland.
You have good chances to spot them from the coast line. Popular places like Hamnøy and Reine in the municipality of Moskenes where the animals can pass close to the land. The connected Reinefjord is often a hunting ground for Orcas all year around. Every now and then other kinds of whales have been spotted in Reinefjord.
Also harbour porpoise (Nise in Norwegian) can be found in Lofoten very often. This small dolphin like species are often visible from the coastline.
There is no whale watching safari in Lofoten, since the animals are not gathering always in the same area.
Whale Safari in Andenes
Andenes is the place in Norway when it comes to whale safaris. Here several companies are offering, to take you out in a boat to spot all kind of whales. In summer you have the chance to see sperm and pilot whales, outside of Andenes. If you visit in Winter you can also encounter Humpback, Fin whales and Killer whales in the area. Since the whales are further out and not close to the shore, the boats need about an hour to reach the whale grounds. There are two companies in Andenes offering those kind of trips: Andenes Whale Safari and Sea Safari Andenes. The last mentioned company is also offering Puffin Safaris in the area.
Soon Andenes will also have it’s own whale museum. With it’s breath taking architecture you can visit “The Whale” in the near future. Find out all about it on the webiste www.thewhale.no
Whales in the Tromsø area
Close to Tromsø you have several islands which are every now and then becoming hunting grounds for the whales. Mostly in winter you have the chance to spot them from the coast. Best know for whales sights is the island Kvaløya (Whale Island), it is next to Tromsø. On Kvaløya you have two Fjords where whales have been spotted many times – Ersfjord and Kaldfjord. Since the herring has migrated more North also the whales have moved and in recent times not so much whale activity has been seen in the region. But also this can change again. Many of the whale tour operators from Tromsø have changed their operations to Skjervøy, which is about a 3,5 hours drive away.
Whales in Skjervøy
Skjervøy became in the last years the Winter Eldorado for whale watchers. Just outside of the small town you have often schools of Orcas and Humpback whales chasing the herring. You can find many tour operators in town, it may be the best, to order a tour before you come to Norway. You will find all information and offers on the website of Visit Lyngen.