• Menu
  • Menu

Whale Watching in Azores: When is the best time?

Blog » Wildlife » Whale Watching in Azores: When is the best time?

One of the most common questions we are asked is: When is the best time to do Whale Watching in the Azores? The answer depends on which species you would like to see.

Whale Watching is undoubtedly the most popular experience in the Azores, so you can’t miss it by any chance.

In this post, you will find all the most relevant information to help you plan your next vacations in the Azores so you can match the best season to see your preferred cetacean species.

Introduction

DID YOU KNOW...
That of the 81 total whale and dolphin species existing in the whole world, in the Azores only you can see up to 28 of them?

That is why we are the best European destination for watching cetaceans.

Our busy waters attract travelers from all over the world who hope to have the chance to see a whale jump, hundreds of dolphins accompanying the boats, or a beautiful whale tail saying goodbye before a deep dive.

Futurismo Azores Adventures | Outstanding photo from a family of Sperm Whales (3 adults and two cubs) in the Azores.  The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
Futurismo Azores Adventures | Outstanding photo from a family of Sperm Whales (three adults and two calves) in the Azores.

Which whales can be seen in the the Azores

In general, the best time to do whale watching in the Azores is during the Springtime, with April and May being our strongest months.

During this time we have many fin whalesblue whales, and sei whales passing the Azores on their annual migration.

The biggest whales in the world will definitely impress you with their huge size. The blue whale is the largest of all animals, and the biggest one discovered was about 33m long!

In addition to dozens of migratory species, here we also have 4 resident ones: Sperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, and Common dolphins. Those are present around our islands all year long and we normally can find them easily.

RELATED TOURS | WHALE WATCHING
Explore the vastness of the open ocean, full of secret beauty and greatness. Book Now!
David Rodrigues | Our skipper & photographer captured this moment when a Sperm Whale dove just a couple of meters from our boat. The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
David Rodrigues | Our skipper & photographer captured this moment when a Sperm Whale dove just a couple of meters from our boat.

We occasionally also encounter minke whales and humpback whales, although they are not as common as the other 3 baleen whale species.

If you want to see our iconic whale species, the sperm whale, you could visit any time of the year, although during the summer months you have a higher chance of seeing them.

Similarly, the summer is also the best time to see (and swim with) dolphins, as during this time we have more dolphin species in the area and the groups tend to be larger with many calves present.

RELATED TOUR | A MAGICAL ATLANTIC ADVENTURE IN SAO MIGUEL
Discover this oasis of sea life, for both for scientists, specimens, and enthusiasts!
Rui Rodrigues | Beautiful photo by our Operations Manager and also skipper of a dolphin jumping with Sao Miguel's Island behind.
Rui Rodrigues | Beautiful photo by our Operations Manager and also skipper of a dolphin jumping with Sao Miguel’s Island behind.

Best time for Whale Watching in Azores

Futurismo operates all throughout the year, so if you prefer to avoid the busiest times and if you are not a fan of the warm summer weather then you can always visit during the winter months.

As a starting point, you need to know that e have 4 resident species in the Azores and hence can be sighted all throughout the year:

  • Common dolphin
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Risso’s dolphin
  • Sperm whale
RELATED TOUR | MEET THE GIANTS OF PICO ISLAND
Big blue whales or breaching humpback whales, each day is a surprise with us, and nature is very generous here!
Álvaro Palácios | One of the exact moments that Mr. Liable (the most sighted resident sperm whale male in the Azores) shows his tale before diving into the Atlantico's deepest waters. The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
Álvaro Palácios | One of the exact moments that Mr. Liable (the most sighted resident sperm whale male in the Azores) shows his tale before diving into the Atlantico’s deepest waters.

The following table is a guide to show roughly which months our most commonly sighted species appear each year in the Azores.

Of course, there are variations from year to year. For example, the season of the baleen whales (mostly fin whales, blue whales, and sei whales) can begin earlier or extend into the beginning of the summer months. 

We can see at least 28 different species of whales and dolphins in the Azores. Occasionally, we have more rare encounters with other species as:

SIGTHING STATISTICS
To see our sighting statistics in more detail click here. 
Futurismo Azores Adventures | Top 10 most sighted cetacean species in the Azores 3
Futurismo Azores Adventures | Top 10 most sighted cetacean species in the Azores

Whale Watching in Azores in March, April & June (Spring Season)

This is the best time for whale watching in the Azores if you want to see the giants of the ocean.

From March to June, this is when the biggest whales pass by the Azores on their migration route. They leave their winter place near the equator to the summer feeding grounds off the coast of Greenland, Iceland, and Norway.

The baleen whales, breed during the winter months in the tropical waters while they prepare their young ones for a long trip to the North Atlantic.

When they pass by the Azores, they will stay several days to feed before continuing their long journey.

In the spring months, the sea is full of plankton and krill, the food for those whales. It is a paradise for them… And also for the travelers who are lucky enough to go see them.

RELATED TOURS | WHALE WATCHING
Explore the vastness of the open ocean, full of secret beauty and greatness. Book Now!
David Rodrigues | Fantastic photo of a Humpback Whale breaching right in front of our boats.
David Rodrigues | Fantastic photo of a Humpback Whale breaching right in front of our boats.
DID YOU KNOW...
That blue whales are not actually blue? Indeed, they are more greyish. 

For our marine biologists, this is an exciting time of the year as the blue whales are the biggest in the animal kingdom.

However, those baleen whales passing by, it is to say blue whales, sei whales, and fin whales, are not really the whales who will jump and show off so much, compared to, for example, the extraordinary humpback whale, and also the sperm whale that sometimes can jump and often shows the tail.

Also, due to global warming and many environmental disorders, nowadays it happens that we see those species outside of the springtime.

For example, it is not rare to see Sei whales after summertime. The Azores are definitely a good place if you want to spot those big animals.

In the springtime, you can also see minke whales and spectacular humpback whales.

Futurismo Azores Adventures | Surreal underwater photo from a family of Sperm Whales sleeping (standing vertically close to the surface). The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
Futurismo Azores Adventures | Surreal underwater photo from a family of Sperm Whales sleeping (standing vertically close to the surface).

Whale Watching in Azores in July, August & September (Summer Season)

In the summer, the water temperature starts to rise up, we can enjoy longer days to observe our wild animals. It is the perfect season if you want to swim with wild dolphins.

Discover the underwater world more deeply thanks to a mask and a snorkel. See and listen to free dolphins communicate in their natural environment with Futurismo.

We provide everything for an amazing adventure in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

You can swim with many different species of dolphins such as the bottlenose, spotted, common dolphin, and Risso’s dolphin.

Also, sometimes we can encounter unexpected visitors like whale sharks, turtles, or sunfish.

David Rodrigues | Photo of a dolphin
David Rodrigues | Photo of a dolphin “flying” along with the seagulls. If you look carefully, you will also spot another cub “flying”, on the image’s bottom right corner.

In the summertime, we receive the visit of other migratory species enjoying our warm waters, such as the Atlantic spotted dolphins, the striped dolphins, and the pilot whales.

It is during this time of the year that we can see many babies swimming in huge groups of dolphins. That is something so cute you don’t want to miss!

Our sperm whales keep on blessing us with their presence around the islands. It is the emblematic symbol of the Azores.

RELATED TOURS | WHALE WATCHING
Explore the vastness of the open ocean, full of secret beauty and greatness. Book Now!
Futurismo Azores Adventures | It's really common to see the Sperm Whales sharing love moments between the family groups. This is one of those moments. The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
Mike Korostelev| It’s really common to see the Sperm Whales sharing love moments between the family groups. This is one of those moments.

Hunted for a long time, now they are free and happy to roam off our coasts. Did you know that Sperm whales have teeth?

Unlike the baleen whales who filter their food thanks to long keratin plates inside their mouth.

On land, hydrangeas are blooming, decorating the countryside’s roads completely blue and purple. Something really beautiful to observe and take great pictures.

Whale Watching in Azores in October, November & December (Fall Season)

During the fall season, we will still have the company of the Atlantic spotted dolphins, who will keep on enjoying our warm waters until the temperature under the sea drops, then they will move out.

The water is still perfect for a swim. Grab your snorkeling equipment and explore, or come with us on a magic tour to swim with wild and free dolphins. 

And there are still the 4 resident species around to see on a trip with us. Sperm whales are amazing to watch, you can almost be sure to see their huge tail when they go diving for hunting squids.

César Medeiros | Our skipper captured this picture of a Sperm Whale diving in front of our Zodiac boat with the highest mountain in Portugal (Pico mount) behind. The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
César Medeiros | Our skipper captured this picture of a Sperm Whale diving in front of our Zodiac boat with the highest mountain in Portugal (Pico mount) behind.

This is a special moment where you can truly see the beauty of nature. You can recognize sperm whales from far away thanks to their blow. Indeed, sperm whales have only one blowhole, in comparison to baleen whales who have two.

So the blow of the sperm whale is always directed to one side. On the other hand, the straight vertical blow of the baleen whales. 

On land, trees become yellow and orange, adding something special to our bright green landscapes. Almost spooky! You can still enjoy the hikes in relatively good weather conditions.

Jeremy Bishop | Wonderful photo of a dolphin breaching the water surface.
Jeremy Bishop | Wonderful photo of a dolphin breaching the water surface.

Whale Watching in Azores in January, February & March (Winter Season)

We operate all year round in the Azores, we do not stop in the winter. Whale and dolphin watching in winter in the islands are more subject to the weather conditions.

When the weather doesn’t let us go out to the sea, we reschedule the activity for another day. Your safety is the most important to us. 

Enjoy the resident sperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and common dolphins that live here all year long. 

RELATED TOURS | WHALE WATCHING
Explore the vastness of the open ocean, full of secret beauty and greatness. Book Now!
David Rodrigues | Detailed photo of a Sperm Whale breading with the water sliding on the top of its body. The best time to go Whale Watching in Azores and see Sperm Whales is the Summer season.
David Rodrigues | Detailed photo of a Sperm Whale breading with the water sliding on the top of its body.

There is a species that appear from time to time is the Killer whale, also called the orca. They are amazing animals to watch, sometimes they can be very active.

DID YOU KNOW...
That they are actually part of the dolphins' family? 

On other occasions, we can also spot beaked whales and false killer whales.

If you like the quiet and you are looking for peaceful holidays, enjoy the winter to find hikes where you will be alone with nature.

During this season, you can truly recharge your batteries and escape from the big cities and the confusion of modern life. Relax surrounded by magical landscapes.

Plus, the temperature is always nice here. It can drop down to 15ºC minimum, which is not too cold to enjoy outdoor adventures in the wild Azores.

Jeremy Bishop | The underwater photos from dolphins enchant almost everyone and show their peace and playful habits.

Conclusion

The best time for whale watching in the Azores depends on what species you want to see. But we can guarantee that there will always be something to see.

And remember, at Futurismo, if you do not see a single whale or dolphin, you can have another tour with us for free!

Now let’s see what each season brings us under the sea.

Life-Changing

ADVENTURE AWAITS

Join us for amazing holidays full of outdoor adventures in the Azores Islands

Melissa Masvaleix

Nature lover and adventure seeker, Mélissa is a French girl who landed in the Azores 3 years ago and never let go of this paradise in the Atlantic. She particularly enjoys the tranquility of the islands contrasting with the infinite outdoor experience possibilities.

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *