Photo: Tromsø Safari
Fjord Tours Articles / 13 Dec 2021

Whale-spotting in Norway

There are plenty of fantastic outdoor activities in Norway, but whale-watching is undoubtedly one of the most interesting. Norway is one of the best places to see whales, and tourists from both near and far have travelled to Norway to catch a glimpse of these fascinating creatures.

Where can I go whale watching in Norway?

Norway is a fantastic place to spot whales. With its beautiful fjords and magnificent scenery, Norway can offer visitors plenty of opportunities for whale watching all year round. The best spots for whale watching in Norway are in the north of the country.

In Northern Norway, there’s plenty of interest in whales and whale watching, and many locals are very knowledgeable about these fascinating creatures. In fact, an interesting new whale-watching centre is currently being built, scheduled to open in June 2023. Known as “the Whale”, this architecturally stunning whale-spotting platform and museum will be located on the northern island of Andøya in Norway’s Vesterålen archipelago.

With plenty of travelers heading off for a spectacular whale watching holiday in Norway every year, taking part in a guided whale safari is the best way to spot whales. The most commonly spotted whales in Norway are sperm whales, orcas (killer whales), and humpback whales, but you may very well see other species. During your whale safari tour, you’ll likely spot some other fascinating local wildlife too!

SWW 01
Photo: Brim Explorer

Where are the best places for whale watching in Norway?

One of the best places to see whales in Europe is in the north of Norway. Tromsø and other parts of northern Norway are fantastic places for whale watching because the typical locations where whales are known to be are just a quick boat ride away.

In Tromsø, whale watching is a very popular activity for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of these magnificent beings. The sea outside Tromsø usually has plenty of whales and orcas in the winter, with a range of different whale safaris and excursions available. For a spectacular experience, you’ll likely never forget, hop on board a quiet hybrid boat for a silent whale-watching safari along Tromsø’s stunning coastline. 

From Svolvær, you can go on a whale watching tour in Andenes. If you are prone to seasickness, then this is a great option for you! On this experience, you are first transported by bus to Andenes, a great area for seeing the mighty whales. The whale watching is of course done at sea, but since the starting point is in Andenes, you do not have to cross the open sea with all its heavy waves.

The beautiful Lofoten islands are another fantastic area for whale activity. Since there are plenty of fjords in Lofoten, it’s a prime location for whale watching, especially in the wintertime – but it’s certainly possible to spot whales here all year round.

The beautiful Vesterålen archipelago north of Lofoten sees plenty of whale tourism, as whales can be spotted along the coast of Vesterålen all year round. The small village of Andenes has become known across the globe as a fantastic place for whale watching, with plenty of tourists making the journey every year to spot these majestic creatures in the wild.

If you want to explore the Lofoten Islands, the Lofoten Islands in a Nutshell™ tour is an ideal and effortless way to do so. Experience the beautiful landscape and idyllic villages on this self-guided tour.

Whale Watching Bus Transfer 9
Photo: Tromsø Safari

When is the best time to go on a whale watching tour in Norway?

If you plan well and go at the right time of year, you’re almost guaranteed to see one of these magnificent creatures on a whale-spotting tour. The whale watching season in Norway runs from the end of October to mid-January. With plenty of guided whale safari tours available at this time of year, you’re very likely to spot whales during your trip.

However, there are plenty of chances for whale watching if you’re traveling to Norway outside of the official whale-watching season too. Humpback whales can often be seen off the coast of Norway, especially near the fjords, until the end of March. Also, orcas and porpoises can often be spotted in the stunning Lofoten Islands between the months of May to September. You can experience Lofoten on our Lofoten Islands in a Nutshell tour tour.

Whale Watching Bus Transfer 1
Photo: Tromsø Safari

Are whale-spotting safaris safe?

Whale-spotting safaris and fjord tours are perfectly safe. On your whale watching tour, you’ll be in the company of experienced local guides. As long as you go on a whale-watching trip with a trustworthy tour provider and follow the rules and guidelines that apply, it’s a safe and unforgettable experience. Keep in mind that these majestic creatures deserve our respect, and when you’re on a whale watching tour watching them in their natural environment, you’re like a guest in their home.

Whale watching in Norway is a fantastic opportunity to see whales in their natural habitat. For many international travelers this is a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, so no matter where you go to spot a glimpse of these giants of the ocean, we hope you enjoy the ride!

Whale Watching Bus Transfer 3
Photo: Tromsø Safari