Best time to go whale watching

Whales swim around the world, their movements following the seasons and availability of food, so you need to be sure you're in the right place at the right time.
The best locations to see whales in January and February are Hawaii, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Antarctica with blue whales appearing along the Baja California Peninsula on America’s west coast. In March, whales can also be seen in Greenland, Argentina and off the coasts of the Canary Islands, as well as the locations mentioned for January and February. Whales can be spotted in Hawaii, Greenland, Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Canary Islands and the Azores during April and blue whales can be seen in the Azores in May. South Africa sees the start of its whale watching season in May (lasting through to November) with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and the Arctic citing June as the place to be for whales, with blue whales commonly observed off the Monterey coast of California from June to October. Into July and August you’ll find whales in Tonga, Argentina and the Lofoten Islands but no longer in Alaska nor in New Zealand, come August. Blue whales can be found off the south coast of Australia in September right the way through to December and November sees whales return to Antarctic waters as well as off the coast of Hawaii.
Our chart below shows roughly the best time to go whale watching in each region, but consult individual tours for more detailed information.
Best places to see whales
Best places to see whales: Alaska - Australia
Best places to see whales: Azores- Greenland
Best places to see whales: Hawaii - Monterey
Best places to see whales: New Zealand - Vancouver Island

Our top Whale watching Vacation

Whale watching in the Azores

Whale watching in the Azores

Classic whale watching trip in the Azores archipelago

From £830 7 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made to start on any day of the week from March to October
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Whale watching or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Responsible Travel recommends

March: Hunting orcas

Stunning footage of orcas launching themselves onto the beach to hunt seals was captured in Argentina's Peninsula Valdes. This takes place annually in a particular channel, and if you buy a permit you'll be able to get right up close to the awesome action.

March-May: Bowhead whales

The best time to go whale watching is Greenland is springtime, when bowhead whales travel here to feed on krill. The bowhead has the most massive mouth of any animal, with baleen plates measuring over three metres long, and may also be the longest-lived mammal. Sadly, it's also one of the most endangered whale species as a result of harpooning.
Did you

You can swim with whales!

From late July-early October humpback whales travel from the Antarctic up to Tonga to give birth. They hang out in the tropical waters, suckling their immense babies, and if you're feeling brave you can snorkel with them. Trained guides will only let you into the water once they can tell the mothers are relaxed.
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: niknikon] [Top box: Cameron Venti] [Bowhead whale: UW News] [Did you know?: Christopher Michel]