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Best places to spot whales in Europe

Whale watching in the Mediterranean Sea and beyond

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It is acceptable to talk about bucket lists throughout January, isn't it? Well, in this case, if there’s one thing you should add to your bucket list, that’s whale watching!

Spotting whales and witnessing their majestic dances is a lifetime experience that cannot be missed, and renting a private boat is the best way to accomplish it: you can get close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat while respecting both the animals and the surrounding environment (let’s not forget these giants are an endangered species).

Although most of them are easily spotted around the coasts of California, Island, or Mexico, there are several species of whales living in the Mediterranean Sea, most of which are pilot, sperm, or fin whales. Spring and summer generally are the best times to see these gentle giants.

Before choosing your next 2023 sailing destination, read this article: you might get the exciting inspiration you were looking for!

Here is our list of the best places to get a glimpse of whales in the Mediterranean Sea (and beyond).

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1) Tarifa, Spain

The Strait of Gibraltar is one of the best places to spot whales in the whole Mediterranean Sea. These waters are mainly inhabited by orca whales, also known as killer whales, which come to feed off of bluefin tuna during spring and summer. From Tarifa, the southernmost Spanish town, you can easily spot groups of majestic orca whales with your private boat, for an exclusive and no-limit experience!

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2) Liguria, Italy

Not many people know that the trait of sea between Liguria and the northern coasts of Corsica is home to the Pelagos Cetacean Sanctuary Reserve. This is a protected marina area where many species of whales, including the gentle giant fin whales, live. It is not easy to spot one as you must match the right time and place, but the search is totally worth it! 

Rent your private boat in one of Sailogy’s charters in Liguria and get a glimpse of these beautiful creatures!

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3) Peloponnese, Greece

The sea region between the island of Crete and Peloponnese is believed to be the only place in the world where sperm whales reproduce continuously throughout the year. This is probably due to the great depths of this part of the sea, which can reach 2000m just a few miles from the shore, and for the abundance of squids, sperm whales’ favorite food. 

It is important to notice that noise pollution is a great threat to these endangered species, as the sound of ships and cruises confuses their hearing, causing them to crash into boats. Sailboats are a great and silent way of approaching these mammals and admiring them in their natural habitat.

Rent your sailboat in Crete or Peloponnese

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4) La Gomera, Canary Islands

We make a quick detour outside the Mediterranean Sea to mention two great spots to see these majestic creatures.

La Gomera is the second-smallest island of the Canary archipelago, and it’s about 50 miles distance from Tenerife. The islands are located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean and are a perfect spot to view some interesting and beautiful species such as pilot whales. Here, you can also encounter different species of dolphins, such as the Atlantic spotted dolphin, which is typical of this trait of the ocean.

Rent your boat in Tenerife

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5) Azores Islands, Portugal

We keep sailing in the Atlantic Ocean to mention our last European whale-watching spot in the green Azores Islands.

This archipelago flies the Portuguese flag and presents a unique geo-diversity as well as marine life. Not only whales but also turtles, dolphins, and beautiful fish can be spotted in these waters, so grab your goggles and jump into the ocean for an amazing underwater experience! 

Sperm whales pass by this area to reproduce and feed, which gives us great chances of encounters throughout spring and summer.

Get your private boat on Sao Miguel or Faial Island and enjoy the adventure!

Rent your private yacht in the Azores

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6) Norway

Last but not least, if you're a fan of alternative sailing adventures, Norway is the place to be! Here the amazing winter landscapes are not the only main character, as this is the land of various species of whales. 

The mammals can be easily spotted throughout the year, in different locations according to the species' characteristics and timings. For instance, humpback whales can be seen from October to mid-January around the Tromsø area, especially in the more sheltered waters around the fjords; killer whales can be seen between May and September around the coasts of Lofoten Islands; Sperm whales, the most common species, can be easily seen around the islands of Andøya and Vesterålen pretty much throughout the year. 

Rent your sailboat in Norway

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