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Whale Watch Azores | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Sperm Whale FlukingCommon dolphin and calfStriped DolphinAcrobatic Bottlenose DolphinPico with CapsPilot Whale

The Azores are the western most point of Europe, lying about 900 miles off the coast of Portugal. Commercial whaling ended here in 1985 and the first whale watching company started in 1992. Currently whale watching is an important part of the economy, bringing tourists from all over the world to watch the whales and dolphins.

Our tours are 9 nights, giving you the chance for 6 days of whale watching. We leave at 9am and return to the harbour around 4pm. Our vessel is a 12m catamaran and we take packed lunches with us. We also offer tea/coffee in the morning and the afternoon (weather and whales permitting)! If you feel that 9 nights is too long, we do offer a short break tour of 5 nights with 3 days of whale watching.

We never know where we are going to be from day to day, it depends on what the "Vigias" the lookouts around the coast have seen before we leave. It is very rare that we go out and don't see any animals. It is also very rare that we are out of sight of land.

Research is ongoing during your tour, but you don't have to lift a finger! You just need to relax and watch the animals.  Lisa has been matching sperm whale fluke photographs from around the Atlantic for the past 20 years! We also record data for any other sightings that we make. She has found 3 male sperm whales that moved between the Azores and Norway as well as several females that have made a return trip from the Azores to the Canary Islands and back! Some of the whales have also been observed off other islands as well. Some of the individuals have been seen so many times by Lisa that she can tell you which animal you are watching when it dives!

In 2009 the first match of a humpback whale was made between the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands and another individual was matched in 2010! In 2012 2 blue whales were re-identified having passed the Azores in 2006 and 2010 previously!

Accommodation is in a 4 star hotel in Horta and our evening meals are taken in at least 2 different local restaurants.

So come join us for an amazing experience in one of the top whale and dolphin watching sites in the world!



April • May • June • July • August • September • October


Full day (6-9 hours) • Multi-day

Vessel types

Small boat (0-50 passengers)

Times and prices

The tours operate from April to October. Prices start from €995 for 5 nights or €1775 for 9 nights. This includes 3 or 6 days whale watching, accommodation, most meals, and airport transfers. Maximum group size is 12.


About our skippers and naturalist guides


Lisa Steiner has been studying the whales and dolphins around the Azores since 1988. She has been involved in identifying 4 new species seen in the islands. She has also been responsible for discovering movements of sperm whale males between the Azores and Norway as well as several females between the Azores and the Canaries. When you watch a whale dive, she may be able to tell you the history of the animal you are watching!

The skipper for most of the tours is Nuno Rosa. He has been driving whale watching boats for several years and prior to that he was an observer on the tuna fishing boats.



Access to wheelhouse • Deck with 360?vision • Disabled access • Naturalist guide(s) as well as skipper • On board hydrophone • Onboard research • Posters / displays / maps • Public participation in research • Reading material available • Restrooms / toilets on board • Scenic backdrop to encounters • Snacks / drinks • Support conservation • Use a code of conduct

We frequently

Listen to whales and dolphins • See a whale's tail • See leaping dolphins • Watch whales and dolphins

Baleen Whales

Blue Whale • Fin Whale • Humpback Whale • Minke Whale • Sei Whale

Toothed Whales

Short-finned Pilot Whale • Sperm Whale

Beaked Whales

Blainville's Beaked Whale • Cuvier's Beaked Whale • Northern Bottlenose Whale • Sowerby's Beaked Whale

Ocean Dolphins

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin • Bottlenose Dolphin • Risso's Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin • Striped Dolphin

Other wildlife and points of interest

Sperm whales are seen year round in the Azores, there is no peak season for sighting them. The baleen whales are usually observed in the Spring: April, May and into June, although they can turn up at any time without notice. We have 2 species of turtles that can be seen in the Azores, the loggerhead and occasionally leatherback turtles. The most common seabird observed on the tours is the Cory's Shearwater

Horta Marina
Town / City
State / County
Faial, Azores
Zip / Postcode
+351 292392891
maureen small
Wow !
Traveled: 2013-06-03, Reviewed: 2013-06-05
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
A really well run & informed holiday. Professional but friendly environment in a beautiful location. Each day is an adventure & you never know what the day holds. There are spotters who keep a watch for any activity so the boat can then head off that way for the best sightings. Every day we had brilliant sightings of several different species of dolphin in huge numbers very often. On the last day we had not only dolphins but about 15 sperm whales as well. Fascinating as we waited for them to dive so Lisa, who runs the holidays, could take photos & later try to match the markings to previous sightings. Conservation is incredibly important to Whalewatch Azores & they are very respectful of the wonderful dolphins & whales. We also saw Portugese Men of war jellyfish passing by as well as turtles swimming for all they were worth !

The whole holiday was complete pleasure with a professional approach & nothing was too much trouble. Thoroughly recommended for the perfect break.
Ann Elphick
You will not find a more knowledgable person to guide you through Tge waters of the Azores!
Traveled: 2012-06-10, Reviewed: 2012-09-23
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
We stayed in Horta for 10 nights having found Whale Watch Azores through the website 'responsible travel'. 

I was looking for a Whale Watching trip, but was very keen on finding the right 'host'. Someone who's life was immersed in Whales, and that our money would be part of some kind of research rather than just a commercial business. 

Lisa Steiner of Whale Watch Azores fitted this bill perfectly. We spent a total of 6 days at sea with her. Travelling with me was my 79 yr old Mum and my 11 year old son. 

We had so many exciting sightings: Sperm Whales, a Sei Whale, bottle nose dolphins, striped dolphins, common dolphins, spotted dolphins, Risso's dolphin, leather back turtles, loggerhead turtles and Portuguese man of war jelly fish ( one having been gulped down by a loggerhead turtle right in front of our eyes!).

Lisa knows everything about sealife, and her life is dedicated to monitoring and recording whales. She has been in Horta for some 20 years conducting her very important research. This is the really unique thing about being aboard with Lisa, you are not just a passenger, you are part of her research. 

You will spend wonderful days out at sea, and for me and the rest of my family, there was never a boring moment. Ready for action at any time, pursuing whales (at a respectful  distance) with the aid of the hydrophone (a kind of microphone dropped in the water so they can hear where the whales are when they have dived to feed), and the skippers (Nuno) vast knowledge of the waters, you have the best chance of getting close to some amazing sea life, a holiday you will never forget.

Lisa is the perfect host, warm, welcoming and possesses a rare talent of tea making and walking across deck and up ladders in the choppiest of waters!! 

Each night we would meet up and look through her days worth of photographs. The pictures she took of sperm whale flukes identify in her special database and told us the history of the Whale we saw. One of them we spotted had not been seen since 1998. A special spotting where we really got a feel for the importance of her work.

There were some moments where I was totally speechless. The awesome majestic Whales, the fun and playful common dolphins, swimming close to our feet dangling over the bow of the boat.  

Lisa has the most amazing dedication and energy for what she does, and you will not find a better person to bombard with questions.

So to sum it all up, it's a holiday we will never forget, and I would love to do it all over again! Maybe we would even be lucky enough next time to spot a blue whale on its migratory path!
Patty Tse
Will be back again
Traveled: 2008-05-05, Reviewed: 2012-09-13
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Joining Lisa for cetacean watching and having the chance to work with a team of enthusiastic people from different countries to help with Lisa’s research is an unforgettable experience in my lifetime (I joined the programme through Biosphere). Lisa is very professional and taught us a lot about cetaceans in the area. She also put the well being of cetaceans first when approaching them.

I’ve been travelling to different places for cetacean watching in recent years. Not many places on Earth can let you have nice encounter with 8 different species (repeated encounters for some) in 8 days at sea, including the rare beaked whales!!! And the boat, in terms of size, safety, facilities, space, is one of the best I had ever ridden on.

Although it takes me a long way to get to the Azores from Hong Kong , joining Lisa again for cetacean watching is something I will do again! I still smile when I watch my photos and videos taken there in 2008. :)
Anthony Pierce
Been 8 Times since 2006!
Traveled: 2010-07-07, Reviewed: 2012-09-12
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This is in my opinion, the best Whale Watching Company in the Azores. Lisa is the most experienced & knowledgeable Marine Biologist in the archipelago & has been in the Azores since the 1980's. She can even recognise individual whales by their flukes & has an excellent eye for spotting Cetaceans - even at very long distance.

The Catamaran (Physeter) is much more stable than the rigid inflatables used by other companies in the Azores. This makes for a much better experience, more full-filling encounters & better photographs.

The welfare of the animals is always the number 1 priority & Lisa will always try to avoid congregations of other Whale Watching vessels in order to cause less disturbance to the animals. She also ensures that Whale Watching guidelines are adhered to, both by here own crew & by other Whale Watching companies in the Azores.

Physeter also has a hydrophone which is a much more efficient way of locating Cetaceans than lookouts.

Highly recommended!
Gail Richardson
Traveled: 2010-07-20, Reviewed: 2012-09-11
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I have personally taken the 9 night tour on several occasions. Each time the standard or the tour has been first class.
The safety of the clients to the safety of the whales and dolphins always comes first...
It is always a thrill to spot the first whale of the day, Lisa the on board marine biologist an expert, never misses the blow of the whale
Lots of different species to see from the large Blue Whale to the Pygmy Sperm Whales, resident groups of dolphins as well as others passing through.
Stats are taken on all sightings
Clientele from all walks of life makes the tour memorable,
Ray Mahoney
Superb trip, many sperm whales, dolphns too
Traveled: 2011-07-13, Reviewed: 2012-06-15
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Great trip, many sperm wales(every day), even more common & spotted dolphins. Highlight had to be seeing breaching sperm whales on quite a few of the 9 days we spent at sea. A shark, turtles, a few other whale/dolphin species and shearwaters also made an appearance.

Excellent guides in Lisa & Nuno, they could not have done more to make a memorable trip. The safety and interests of the whales/dolphins always got top priority.

I cannot see a carrot stick now without thinking about with sperm whales.

Accomodation/food (even carrot sticks)/hospitality all very good.

If you can you should go - I hope I'll be going back.
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