Norway – The Kingdom of Whales

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Norway – The Kingdom of Whales

Several companies in Norway run boat trips on which there’s a good chance if seeing whales. While you’ll need to go in summer for a chance to see blue whales, winter is a good time to see killer whales and humpbacks. Welcome to Norway – the Kingdom of Whales.

Every year thousands of tourists come to Norway to do some whale watching. No matter the season, there are all kinds of whales, not to forget the truly spectacular and epic landscapes. Sea scientists have never seen so many whales as in recent years, and outside the city of Tromsø, the sea is sometimes “boiling” with whales.

When can you go watching whales in Norway?
But how and when can you go whale watching in Norway, and what’s the price? Tromsø, The Lofoten and Vesterålen, far north in Norway, are perfect places for whale watching all year round. While you can rely on seeing sperm whales in summer, orcas and humpbacks crowds the fjords full of fish in winter.

Related: Look Out for Whales in Norway

Norway – The Kingdom of Whales
Killer whales in Andenes, Lofoten. Photo: Jesper Anhede

Going in winter, you can even watch world-class Northern Lights on the very same visit. And it never gets dark in summer, so both being perfect conditions to watch the most fascinating animals on our planet. With one of the most staggering, breathtaking coastlines as background, it will probably be an experience you’ll never forget.

Norway – The Kingdom of Whales
Orcas and humpbacks

Norway – the kingdom of whales
If you believe it’s impossible to miss these giant marine mammals, you’re completely mistaken. The sea around Norway is vast and the animals don’t always feel like showing off. You should therefore definitely seek out one of the more experienced expedition operators.

During the winter months there is an enormous supply of plankton and krill in the northern waters, which attracts lots and lots of fish. And those fishes attract the whales back to Norway! From late October until mid-January you’ll have an almost 100% chance of seeing whales in Norway, often swimming right next to the boats.

Related: Scandinavian Adventure Activities

Norway – The Kingdom of Whales
Whale safari in Norway

The animals are spread out from the Lofoten to Andøya (Tromsø region). During these months there are a lot of whale watching safaris going on in Norway.

Do you remember Keiko?
Do you remember Keiko from the films Free Willy? This world-famous, beautiful and friendly orca actually chose Norway after he was set free, and he stayed around the Tromsø region a couple of years, until he sadly died from pneumonia in 2003.

The best places for whale watching
During summer, the most important place is the little harbor town of Andenes in the north of the Vesterålen. Only 3.000 people live there but there are over 15.000 tourists in the city every year. They watch the sperm whales, which are full-time residents to the waters off Andøya, so encounters are very likely.

Norway – The Kingdom of Whales
Lofoten and Vesterålen, far north in Norway, are perfect places for whale watching all year round

In open sea it’s very difficult to see whales and orcas. You’ll get the best chances in between the fjords where there are a lot of fish on which the whales can hunt. Most of the times you’ll get to see tails and backs, but still it is a magical experience to see these creatures from up close!

Related: Exciting Northern Norway

Norway – The Kingdom of Whales
During summer, the most important place for whale safaris is the little harbor town of Andenes in the north of the Vesterålen

Summer and winter season
About 50% of all Norwegian summer whale watching tours start from Andenes and its little neighboring town of Stø. In Andenes you can also find a very good and informative whale centre with life size models. Sperm whales are best spotted between June and August, occasionally also pilot whales, minke whales and various dolphins show up.

Tromsø offers some of the highest probabilities of whale sightings on earth in the winter. Scientists say that the whale activity in these fjords is quite unique. Tromsø city is situated among islands, breathtaking fjord landscapes and dramatic mountain peaks.

Useful links:

Whalesafari Andenes

Whalesafari Tromsø

Many whale excursions are often fully booked for weeks in advance. If you’re sure that you’re going to Norway to watch the whales, we recommend that you book the safaris beforehand.

Norway – The Kingdom of Whales, written by Tor Kjolberg

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