Best time to travel to Scotland

Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland 2024

Grand Minkes, Humpbacks, Fins, Orcas, and above all the cute and playful Bottlenose dolphins will amuse you during the seasonal cruises

Best time: April–November

Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland
Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland
Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland
Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland
Dolphin and Whale Watching in Scotland

Whales and dolphins are frequent guests in Scottish offshore waters. Though the most common are Minke whales, one might also come across other species including Orcas, Humpbacks, Fins, and Sperms.

The best site to encounter these mammals is the Inner and the Outer Hebrides inhabited by both whales and dolphins. The Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands provide whale watching opportunities, whereas Moray Firth is renowned for bottlenose dolphin population. The season runs from April to September, but if you are willing to go further offshore you can spot them as late as November.

Practical info

When is the best time of the year to go whale watching in Scotland?

The migration of whales and dolphins towards Scottish offshore waters occurs from April to November. September and October are the optimal months for whale and dolphin sightings. If your travel plans are flexible, consider these months. If you venture further offshore, there is a possibility of spotting marine mammals late into November. Show more

Where is the best location to spot bottlenose dolphins in Scotland?

The best place to spot Bottlenose dolphins in Scotland is the Moray Firth. The bay, extending from Inverness to Banff, houses more than 200 dolphins. You can go on seasonal dolphin cruises, observe them from the shore or rent a boat and have a personalized experience. These playful mammals are most commonly seen between late April and mid-September. Show more

What species of whales are commonly seen during the whale watching tour in Scotland?

The minke whale is the most frequently sighted species during whale watching tours in Scotland. Tours also occasionally sight other species like Humpbacks, Fins, Omuras, and killer whales. The chances of spotting a whale significantly increase during the peak season of June to August. During this period, you may even catch sight of a blue or a sperm whale. Show more

When is the optimal time to travel further offshore in Scotland to spot whales and dolphins?

August to October is the optimal time to travel offshore in Scotland to spot whales and dolphins. The seawater temperature is optimal during these months, attracting plankton and krill, the main food of whales. These months fall during the peak season, between June and August, increasing the likelihood of spotting these fascinating creatures. Show more

Where in Scotland can one find the most diverse variety of marine mammals?

The Hebrides, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, and the Moray Firth offer diverse varieties of marine mammals, making them ideal for whale and dolphin watching. With the vast network of islands and shallow waters, there is extensive habitat for these majestic creatures. Tour operators organize dolphin and whale-watching tours to these locations during the season. Show more

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