WHERE TO SEE WHALES AND DOLPHINS IN THE WILD
Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Coast
The Bay of Biscay is one of the most spectacular locations for whale watching anywhere in the world, with a wide variety of species and regular sightings. The best area for the larger species of whale is the zone of very deep water off the continental shelf between Brittany and Spain. Here you can see ocean giants such as fin, blue and sei whales, sperm whales, True’s beaked whales and northern bottlenose whales, shortfinned pilot whales, Atlantic white-sided and white-beaked dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, orcas and false killer whales. Research vessels in this area have recorded up to 10 different species in a single day. Most of these species are present between May and September, with the peak months for sightings being July and August.
Brittany and Normandy coasts
Bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises can be seen along the coasts of Brittany and
Normandy, as well as minke whales and longfinned pilot whales, common and striped dolphins and basking sharks.
The Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals covers an area of 87,500km2 and 2,022km of coast in the northern Mediterranean, and is shared by the waters of France, Italy and Monaco. Species to be seen here include the fin whale, sperm whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale and long-finned pilot whale, as well as bottlenose, striped, common and Risso’s dolphin.
For more information on where to see whales, dolphins and porpoises in European waters, take a look at this useful guide from The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society cetaceanhabitat.org/ pdf_bin/europewwguide.pdf