Best time to visit Madeira

Whale and Dolphin Watching in Madeira

See big marine mammals of the Atlantic

Best time: April–October

Whale and Dolphin Watching

Madeira is visited by over 20 species of dolphins and whales. Visitors can observe whales, dolphins as well as marine birds and fish from a boat or catamaran. Boats are cruising all year round, however, ​the best period for spectating marine life is from April to October since more species are there.

There are several companies that provide whale and dolphin watching tours. Most of them are located in Funchal. The trips usually depart from the south coast of the city. The duration of such an adventure is around three hours. The prices may vary a little.

Practical info

What type of marine mammals inhabit Madeira's waters?

Over 20 species of marine mammals can be spotted in Madeira's waters. These include various species of dolphins such as bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and spotted dolphins. Additionally, short-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, and killer whales are also found in these waters. Tourists are almost guaranteed to spot these magnificent animals close-up by taking a boat or catamaran excursion through the water while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. Show more

What is the recommended period to enjoy a whale and dolphin watching trip in Madeira?

The best time to take a whale and dolphin watching trip in Madeira is between April and October when the water is warm. This is when a significant number of marine mammals come to feed and breed in the area. The weather is ideal during these months, with calm seas and clear skies, allowing for easy observation of the animals. Due to high demand, visitors should book tours well in advance and expect to enjoy peak season prices. Show more

From which departure point should one begin a whale and dolphin watching excursion in Madeira?

Funchal's south coast serves as a popular departure point for many whale and dolphin watching excursions in Madeira. As the island's capital city, Funchal is easy to reach from most parts of Madeira. Visitors have a wide range of tour options to choose from, ranging from small, private boats to larger catamarans, all manned by seasoned crew members who have extensive knowledge of the best locations to spot these magnificent creatures in the wild. Show more

How long are whale and dolphin watching excursions in Madeira usually?

Most whale and dolphin watching excursions in Madeira have an average duration of three hours. Three hours allows tourists to cover a great distance along the coast while admiring marine mammals in their natural habitat. Excursion lengths can vary depending on weather conditions and the tour operator. Some companies also offer longer tours, ranging from 4 to 5 hours, which provide a more in-depth dolphin and whale watching experience of their time aboard. Show more

What is the average cost of whale and dolphin watching excursions in Madeira?

The cost of whale and dolphin watching in Madeira varies depending on the operator. Typically, a three-hour boat trip ranges between €30 to €60 per person. Companies offer other supplementary packages that may include activities like swimming with dolphins, whale watching with a drone, or other animal-centric experiences that can cost more. For the best deals and to ensure availability for their ideal tour, visitors need to book their desired excursions well in advance. Show more

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