Whale Watching in Madeira Island: 10 Unique Reasons Why Should you Do It in 2023

Mar 31, 2023 | Activities

Whale watching on Madeira Island is an experience that should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, this Portuguese island is one of the best places in the world to observe whales in their natural habitat. In this article, we will explore 10 unique reasons why you should consider whale watching on Madeira Island in 2023.

From the island’s ideal climate to its diverse whale species, knowledgeable guides, and stunning scenery, whale watching on Madeira Island promises to be an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with lasting memories. So, let’s dive in and discover why whale watching on Madeira Island is a must-do activity in 2023!

Madeira Island

Madeira Island is a beautiful and unique destination located in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal. The island is part of an archipelago that also includes Porto Santo and the Desertas Islands. With its mild and subtropical climate, Madeira Island offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy its natural beauty all year round.

The warm and clear waters surrounding Madeira Island provide a perfect environment for several whale species to thrive. Also, these include the resident population of short-finned pilot whales, the occasional sighting of humpback whales, and the elusive sperm whales, which can be seen in deeper waters around the island.

The unique geographical location of Madeira Island, combined with its favourable climate and diverse marine ecosystem, makes it a prime destination for whale-watching enthusiasts from all over the world. With several whale-watching tours available, visitors can explore the island’s incredible marine life and learn about the importance of conserving these magnificent creatures.

10 Unique Reasons – Whale Watching on Madeira Island

  1. Madeira Island offers a great climate and weather conditions for whale watching all year round.
  2. Madeira Island is home to several whale species that can be observed in their natural habitat.
  3. Whale-watching tours on Madeira Island are conducted by experienced guides who provide insightful information about the whales and their behaviour.
  4. The waters surrounding Madeira Island are calm and clear, making it easy to spot whales and other marine life.
  5. Whale-watching tours on Madeira Island are available in different time slots, allowing visitors to choose the best time that suits their schedule.
  6. The breathtaking scenery of Madeira Island adds to the charm of whale watching, making it an unforgettable experience.
  7. Whale watching on Madeira Island is a perfect opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature and the ocean.
  8. Madeira Island is easily accessible by air and sea, making it a convenient location for travellers from different parts of the world.
  9. Whale watching on Madeira Island is an eco-friendly activity that supports the conservation of marine life.
  10. Going whale watching on Madeira Island is an adventure of a lifetime that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

whale watching madeira

Types of Whales

Let’s take a closer look at three of the most common whale species that whale-watching tours can spot:

  1. Sperm Whales: Sperm whales, the largest toothed whales on the planet, hunt for giant squid, their favourite prey, in the deeper waters around Madeira Island. Males, which can reach up to 18 meters in length, use distinctive clicking and whistling vocalizations for communication and echolocation.
  2. Pilot Whales: Short-finned pilot whales, the most commonly observed whale species on Madeira Island, travel in family groups or pods of up to 30 individuals. 
  3. Humpback Whales: Humpback whales, although less frequently seen than pilot whales inhabit the waters around Madeira Island. These majestic creatures produce long, complex songs that can last up to 20 minutes and are audible for miles.

Whale-watching tours on Madeira Island provide visitors with the opportunity to see these incredible creatures up close and learn about their behaviour and conservation. Also, with experienced guides and a deep respect for marine life, these tours are an excellent way to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the ocean’s inhabitants.

Best Time for Whale Watching

The best time for whale watching on Madeira Island is between April and October, during the island’s peak tourism season. During this time, the waters around the island are generally calm and the weather is mild, making for optimal whale watching conditions.

While short-finned pilot whales can be seen year-round in Madeira Island, the best time to spot them is during the summer months, between June and September. These months also coincide with the breeding season for pilot whales, which means that visitors may have the opportunity to see young calves swimming alongside their mothers.

Sperm whales, on the other hand, are more commonly seen during the winter months, between December and March. During this time, the waters around Madeira Island are cooler and deeper, which is where sperm whales prefer to hunt for their favorite prey – giant squid.

Humpback whales are occasional visitors to the waters around Madeira Island, with sightings most commonly reported between April and June. Also, these months coincide with the whales’ migration season, as they travel from their breeding grounds in warmer waters to their feeding grounds in colder waters.

Whale Watching Tours

There are several whale watching tours available in Madeira Island, offering visitors a range of options to suit their interests and budgets. Here are some of the most popular whale watching tours available in Madeira Island:

  1. Catamaran Tours: Catamaran tours are a popular choice for visitors looking for a comfortable and stable ride. These tours usually last between 2 and 4 hours and offer an excellent opportunity to see pilot whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Prices for catamaran tours typically range from €30 to €60 per person.
  2. Speedboat Tours: Speedboat tours are a more adventurous option, offering visitors the chance to get closer to the whales and experience the thrill of speeding across the water. These tours usually last between 2 and 3 hours and can cost anywhere from €50 to €100 per person.
  3. Private Boat Tours: For a more exclusive and personalized experience, visitors can opt for a private boat tour. These tours are ideal for small groups or families and offer a more intimate and flexible experience. Also, prices for private boat tours can vary depending on the size of the boat, the duration of the tour, and the number of passengers.

It’s important to note that all whale watching tours in Madeira Island are subject to strict regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of the whales and other marine life.


In conclusion, Madeira Island offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and whale watching enthusiasts alike. With its ideal climate, diverse whale species, knowledgeable guides, and stunning scenery, Madeira Island promises to be a highlight of any trip in 2023. Visitors can appreciate the beauty of nature and the ocean while supporting the conservation of marine life through eco-friendly whale watching tours.

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