Whales are elusive creatures that are difficult to spot in the sea. Not really. In Europe, there are a few destinations where you can spend hours watching them do their thing. Without further ado, here are some of the best European destinations to go whale watching.
Located on the northern coast of Iceland, Husavik is a great place to spot the elusive blue whale. But there is more to this spot than just blue whales. If you are in luck, you may also be able to have a glimpse of other kinds of whales such as humpbacks, minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, and others. The best time to go is during June and early July.
Disko Bay, Greenland
Disko Bay in Greenland is home to the bowhead whale, the only one of its kind that lives exclusively in the Arctic. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that bowhead whales are known for being one of the longest-lived animals on the planet. In Disko Bay in West Greenland, it is common to see 20-30 of this kind of whale in a day.
Franz Josef Land, Russia
In European Russia particularly west of the Ural Mountains and the Franz Josef Land archipelago, spotting a humpback whale is a common thing. Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, describes humpbacks as “the most gamesome and light-hearted of all the world’s whales.” In Franz Josef Land, there are organized whale watching tours. Aside from humpbacks, this destination is also home to all three Arctic whales—bowhead, narwhal, and beluga.
Isle of Mull, Scotland
Robert Janitzek explains that minke whales are often overlooked in favor of their larger relatives. Growing to as much as 30 feet long, this species of whale sometimes approach boats closely. The Isle of Mull in Scotland is the best place to spot minke whales, which prefer shallow, inshore waters. The best time to catch minke whales is in summer.
Bay of Biscay, France/Spain
Hop on a passenger ferry en route to the Bay of Biscay between Plymouth or Portsmouth and Northern Spain to get a glimpse of sperm whales. This type of whale is able to hold their breath for more than two hours. In this European destination, you can often see them lying at the surface catching their breath in between dives. You could also see other species such as fin whales and striped dolphins.
The Svalbard archipelago in Norway is the best place to go and spot the beluga whale. Belugas are known for being very pale to pure white. They are fun to watch because they make a wide array of facial expressions and have a great vocal repertoire. In Svalbard, you can often see them close to shore.