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Last updated: 23 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Oliver Berry

The deep waters and nutrient-rich food supply off the Andenes coast and around the Vesteralen archipelago make the waters here an essential feeding ground for a variety of whales – and a global whale-watching hotspot. Humpback, sperm, minke, and pilot whales are regularly seen – plus dolphins, porpoises and the occasional orca.

Tours also include presentations on whale biology, conservation and the contentious issue of whaling from resident experts, meaning you not only get to see these magnificent creatures, but come away understanding something of their plight.

Logistics

Price from: £100
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 3-6 hours

Getting there & doing it

Andenes is a 4-hour drive from Tromso, or a 1-hour flight from Oslo (every Thursday).

Whalesafari Andenes’ tours depart from Andenes’ central Whale Centre, where guests are given a tour of the fact-rich exhibitions and shown a multimedia presentation on whaling, followed by 3-6 hours on the boat.

Arctic Whale Tours’ trips, departing from Sto, last 5-6 hours and are better for bird lovers, taking in Anda island bird colonies. Outside of the normal season, they also run whale-watching safaris to the fjords of Vesteralen from mid-November to mid-March, as the whales follow the herring migration. This is also the best time to see orcas.

Operators offer a guarantee whereby if you fail to spot whales, you can book a second trip for free or get your money back. Take warm clothing, regardless of conditions onshore.

When to do it

The summer months of May to September are the time to see the humpback, sperm, minke, and pilot whales. Tours usually depart twice daily.

Summer also offers more pleasant weather, calmer seas and longer daylight hours.

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