Are Whale Watching Tours in Tromsø Worth it?

whale watching in Tromsø

So, you’re in Tromsø, exploring all the amazing things to do in this Arctic paradise town. But what catches your attention are the numerous whale watching tours in Tromsø which are available. It sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, doesn’t it? Encountering whales is a rare and incredible experience.

But wait, is it really worth the price? Will you see whales, or will it be just a fleeting glimpse? In this article, we discover the world of whale watching tours in Tromsø, analyzing whether they are worth the time and money or leave you disappointed. Get ready for an honest assessment before you book your spot on a tour.

What do whale watching tours in Tromsø offer?

The tour typically begins with a safety briefing and introduction to the local wildlife. You’ll then board a comfortable vessel equipped with observation decks and panoramic windows. Skilled guides will provide insightful commentary throughout the tour, enhancing your understanding of the whales and the ecosystem of Tromsø.

The tour will take you to known hotspots, where you’ll have the chance to witness whales close. You may spot humpback whales, orcas, fin whales, and even the elusive sperm whales. The tour duration can vary, typically lasting from a few hours to a full day.

Will you see whales in Tromsø whale watching tours?

When embarking on a whale watching tour in Tromsø, the possibility of spotting whales is high. But it’s important to note that nature can be unpredictable. In a series of 10 whale watching tours, you’ll spot whales about 8 times. However, it’s also possible that on some tours you may not encounter any whales at all.

Keep in mind that marine wildlife moves freely and can be influenced by various factors. If no whales are close on a particular day, tour operators typically do not cancel the entire tour, even though they know the chances to spot them are minimal.

The most popular whale watching tours in Tromsø

Below are the most popular and highly recommended whale watching tours in Tromsø. They ensure your safety while increasing your chances of seeing whales.

What kind of whales can you spot in Tromsø?

The most common whales you spot in Tromsø include humpback whales, orcas (also known as killer whales), minke whales, and fin whales.

Humpback whales and orcas are more impressive to see on a whale watching tour. Humpback whales have a massive size, and they can perform acrobatic leaps and tail slaps.

Orcas, on the other hand, are highly intelligent and have a striking appearance with their distinctive black and white markings. Their powerful presence and social behaviors -such as hunting in big groups- leave a lasting impression on visitors.

What is the best time to see whales in Tromsø?

The best time to see whales in Tromsø is generally from November to February. This is when the herring, their favorite snack, migrates to the area, attracting whales in large numbers. During this period, you have a higher chance of spotting humpback whales, orcas, and other species. Just keep in mind that nature loves surprises, so there are no guarantees. Better check the latest information with locals or other travelers before you embark on a tour.

Whale watching tours in Tromsø
Winter is the best time to see whales in Tromsø. Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

How close can you get to whales on a tour?

During a whale watching tour, the whales like to keep their distance from the boats, probably because they’re not too keen on partying with humans. So, the boats usually stay around 100 to 200 meters away. You can still get a decent view, but the clarity depends on the weather conditions.

Don’t expect to see them underwater like in a National Geographic documentary, though. That’s a bit trickier. Nevertheless, if you have a good camera, you can take some clear shots from the boat.

Is taking a whale watching tour in Tromsø dangerous?

No, taking a whale watching tour in Tromsø is not dangerous. Tour operators take safety seriously and have measures in place to keep you safe. Just follow the instructions from the guides and crew. Remember, being on the water can have some risks like bad weather or feeling sick. But if you choose a trusted tour operator and take the necessary precautions, whale watching in Tromsø is usually a safe and fun experience.

When should you NOT take a whale watching tour?

Firstly, if you have a fear or aversion to being on boats, a whale watching tour is not the activity for you. Additionally, if you have limited time or a tight budget, you may prefer to explore other attractions in Tromsø. Lastly, if you are prone to motion sickness, the rocking of the boat during the tour could be uncomfortable for you.

Can you see whales in Tromsø without booking a tour?

While it’s possible to spot whales in Tromsø without booking a tour, it’s not very common. Whales roam in deep waters, and their appearances near the shore are rare. Joining a whale watching tour increases your chances of seeing them and ensures a knowledgeable guide will assist you in locating them. So, while it’s not impossible to see whales on your own, joining a tour increases your chances.

Humback whale in Tromsø
Humback whale tail. Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

So, are whale watching tours in Tromsø worth it?

While it’s true that there is no guarantee of spotting whales on every tour, the anticipation and the excitement of the chase make it worth the risk. Even if you don’t encounter whales, the breathtaking landscapes and the overall experience of being out on the water are still remarkable.

On the other hand, the main reason not to take a tour is the potential disappointment of not seeing whales. Since nature is unpredictable, there is always a chance that the whales might not appear during your particular tour. However, the odds are on your side.

Nevertheless, we believe that going on a whale watching tour in Tromsø is worth it. Tromsø is the best place in Norway to see whales, so it’s an amazing opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. So why not give it a shot?

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