Embark on a Whale & Dolphin Watching Experience in the Azores

Whale Watching on São Miguel, Terceira & Faial Islands

 

Do you love the ocean and all things in the nautical niche? If so, then we have the absolute perfect vacation experience for you! Consider this your official invitation to come and experience the magic of the Azores sea via a whale watching excursion! You can also expect some cetacean watching, dolphin watching, and many more sightings as you launch out on what promises to be one of the most exhilarating and thrilling boat trips of your life!

 

Whale Watching and Boat Trips on São Miguel Island, Azores
So, what can you expect during a whale watching experience on São Miguel Island, Azores? We’re so glad you asked…

São Miguel Island

Although whale watching and boat trips are always great fun, they will all pale in comparison to the unmatched sea excursions found in São Miguel Island. Why? Because this Azores Island is a true ocean lover's paradise. As well as being the largest island in this Portuguese archipelago, São Miguel Island, Azores, is surrounded by a sparkling azure sea that is home to some of the world’s most impressive marine creatures.

When you sign up for a cetacean watching experience on São Miguel Island, you will not only learn loads of fascinating information about all things having to do with Azorean marine life, but you will also experience a whale watching outing that is a feast for all your senses! It's true! Not only will you be educated aboard one of the best boat trips available, but you will also be afforded some of the most amazing eye candy featuring epic views of São Miguel Island, Azores, complete with stunning scene scapes that include its captivating coastline.

 

Sailing Vessels Used for Boats Trips and Whale Watching in São Miguel Island, Azores
For your whale watching adventure in the Azores choose from a catamaran or a semi-rigid boat

Sailing Vessels Used for Boat Trips and Whale Watching in the Azores

For your whale watching adventure in the Azores, an activity also known as cetacean watching, there are two types of vessels most commonly used for such boat trips: catamarans and semi-rigid.

The catamaran is the more popular and most preferred choice for whale watching in the Azores. Many choose the catamaran due to its stability and speed, especially when compared to monohull boats.

However, your whale watching adventure in the Azores can also see you boarding a semi-rigid, smaller boat, which is actually the ideal choice for Azores boat trips for those passengers looking for more of a thrilling ride and a bit more edgy adventure and higher energy appeal.

 

Whale Watching Experience in the Azores: What To Know Before You Go
Tips for your whale watching adventure in the Azores

Whale Watching Experience in the Azores: What To Know Before You Go

In order to ensure your ideal cetacean watching experience, you need to arrive at the boat trips launching site about 30 minutes before departure time. This way, you will have ample time to be given a brief introduction by an expert marine biologist, who will regale you with intriguing information, as well as give you a rundown on code of conduct to follow while aboard all Azores boat trips, including this joyous jaunt! 

As well as arriving to hear this important information, our top recommendations for your Azores whale watching experience include:

  • Bring comfortable clothes and shoes;
  • Take a coat;
  • Bring water and light snacks;
  • Take a motion sickness pill about 30 minutes before the start of any boat trip;
  • If you are pregnant, you should consult your doctor first. If your physician approves of the trip, you must make the trip aboard a catamaran and not a semi-rigid vessel. The same guideline applies if you have back problems;
  • Respect all indications from guides and marine biologists;
  • Don't forget to bring your camera.

Further parameters to expect include adopting a respectful and safe code of cetacean-friendly behaviour, which includes being mindful of your noise levels (whale watching boat trips tend to like keeping noise to a minimum to not disrupt our aquatic neighbours!). You should also avoid polluting the sea or feeding and disrupting/chasing the marine animals. 

Speaking of not disturbing our sea neighbours, it may surprise you to learn that (with good reason) all boat trips for cetacean observation experiences in the Azores must also keep their vessels at a minimum distance of 50 meters from the sea creatures. But believe us, this is still close enough to see the entire magical world of the Azores version of “Life Aquatic”!

 

Azores History: From a Whaling World to a World of Whale Watching
Sperm-whale: the marine symbol of the Azores Islands

Azores History: From a Whaling World to a World of Whale Watching

Whaling was once among the primary economic activities on São Miguel, Azores.

In fact, in São Vicente Ferreira, the remains of the old whale processing factory can still be seen. It is here that whale blubber was distilled for oils and flour was produced many, many years ago during the height of the  São Miguel, Azores whaling era.

When whaling was officially abolished in 1970, the factory closed, leaving only the old chimney standing. Now, you can visit the lovingly preserved historic site to this day to remember and honor the heritage of the Azores' whaling tradition. This reason alone is a great incentive for history buffs to venture to São Vicente Ferreira on the Island of São Miguel, Azores. And did we mention there are also great whale watching and dolphin watching boat trips opportunities on the São Miguel Island near the islet of Vila Franca do Campo? Let’s talk about it…

 

Whale Watching and the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
The Protected Natural Reserve of Vila Franca do Campo Islet

Whale Watching and the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo

There is just something extra magical about a whale watching experience in Vila Franca do Campo, located just off the coast of the island of São Miguel, Azores. Embarking on one of these blissful boat trips affords you the unique opportunity to fully appreciate the beauty of this natural landscape up close and personal, not to mention getting introduced to the nearby aquatic life!

As well as being an excellent place to enjoy boat trips and whale watching and dolphin watching, the islet of Vila Franca do Campo also features a Protected Nature Reserve that is an excellent bathing area that overlooks the entire stunning south coast of the island. In order to protect the unique biodiversity of this place, access is prohibited to 400 people per day, and only during the summer hours, when it is a very popular attraction. We definitely would suggest adding this stop to your Azores Island vacation itinerary, just don’t forget your snorkeling mask!

 

Capelinhos volcano, Faial Island, the Azores, Portugal.
Capelinhos volcano, Faial Island 

Whale Watching in Faial Island

Although each of the Azores Islands has its own unique appeal and draw, fans of sailing, boat trips, and even whale watching excursions will especially adore Faial Island. And what exactly can you expect during a boat trip or whale watching experience on Faial, Azores? We’re so glad you asked…

First off, it should come as no surprise that the main ingredient you can expect in any Azores whale watching and boat trips is the element of Fun with a capital F! Next, you will soon discover that there is so much to learn and see – magical oceanic wonders you have never even dreamed of, in fact. 

Why? Because this Azores Island is a true ocean lovers paradise. As well as being a more off the map and under the radar island in this Portuguese archipelago, Faial, Azores, is surrounded by a sparkling azure sea that is home to some of the world’s most impressive nautical creatures. It also has a very unique history that centers around the beloved pastime of sailing (but we will dive into that a bit later in this article).

Back to whale watching and boat trips: When you sign up for a cetacean watching experience on Faial Island, you will not only learn an immense amount of intriguing information about marine life in the Azores, but you will also experience a whale watching outing that is also a total sensory experience. 

Not only will you be educated about ocean creatures and Azores history aboard one of the best boat trips available in the world today (complete with excellent, knowledgeable and trusted local guides), but you will also experience some of the most stunning seascapes of Faial Island, Azores as you sail along its beautiful coastline.

 

Aerial view over the city of Horta in Faial Island, the Azores, Portugal.
Aerial view of Faial's capital city of Horta

Faial Sailing Traditions, Whale Watching, and a Tribute Sports Bar

It may surprise you to learn that whaling was once among the primary economic activities in the Azores Islands. In fact, the remains of the old whale processing factory can still be seen on the island of São Miguel, Azores – a tribute literally standing in honor of the heritage of the Azores' whaling tradition. 

As for Faial island specifically, it has its own distinct roots connected with the ocean blue, with its beloved sailing traditions taking center stage. You don't have to look far upon arriving in Faial to witness evidence of this Azores Island’s special bond with the sea.

Case in point: The capital of Hora houses an iconic restaurant, Peter’s Cafe Sport, which has slowly become a world-famous institution in its own rite. The owner, José Azevedo, has taken such great pride in establishing one of the most recognized and famous yachting pubs anywhere across the globe. 

Since the beloved Faial Island pub was first established by his grandpa way back in 1918, Jose and his sports café has hosted travellers and local alikes, from the very first trading ships arriving to the Azores’ shores centuries ago, to whalers working their trade, to now, where it still stands as a symbol of Faial’s historical part in the big picture of Azores Islands whaling, sailing, and world trade operations.

While you are visiting Faial, a stop by Peter’s Cafe Sport is an absolute must – not only for enjoying a delicious meal and refreshing libation, but also to learn a bit more about the fascinating sailing and whaling history here. Fun fact: This cozy cafe actually was once acting as a makeshift post office of sorts, as it began holding mail and packages for sailors passing through.

There is so much more we could say, but all of this said, we definitely would suggest adding this stop of Faial Island to your Azores Island vacation itinerary, complete with a whale watching experience and other niche boat trips!

 

Monte Brasil viewpoint and view over Angra's marine, Terceira Island, the Azores, Portugal.
Monte Brasil viewpoint 

Boat trips in Terceira Island, the Azores

Some may be surprised to know that Terceira Island is among the most popular whale watching islands in the Azores thanks to its high percentage of sightings reported by visitors and tourists alike.  Due to this abundance of sightings, Terceira has fast become the go-to destination for those seeking amazing bot trips and whale watching and dolphin watching excursions. 

The fact that Terceira Island also boasts the UNESCO city of Angra do Heroismo just adds more reason to make this Azores Island a must see on your Azores Island vacation itinerary.

 

Cabras Islets on Terceira Island, the Azores, Portugal.
Cabras Islets 

Let's Go!

Ready to book your trip? Reach out to us today and book your trip to the Azores for a fun-filled vacation and whale watching adventure. We are here to help and make your vacation dreams come true!

Azores tourism board - Visit Azores.

Related travel deals

Get $50 off your first trip!
Subscribe to our newsletter to get a $50 discount towards your next trip!
Sign up and get $50 off your next purchase with Azores Getaways Travel Rewards Program