Updated: March 20, 2024

If you're planning a trip to Tromsø, Norway and hoping to witness the magnificent beauty of whales up close, you're in for an incredible adventure!

With numerous whale watching boat tours available, it can be challenging to select the perfect one that meets your needs and expectations. That's why we're here to help.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you on a journey to explore the breathtaking world of whales in Tromsø's pristine waters. We'll cover everything from whether a whale watching tour in Tromsø is worth it, to how to choose the right boat tour.

Additionally, we'll provide you with a detailed comparison of the best whale watching boat tours, based on price, boat type, tour itinerary, and customer reviews. Finally, we'll offer some crucial tips to ensure an unforgettable whale watching experience.

So, get ready to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and read on!

Whale Watching Tour from Tromso, Norway

Compare the Best Options for a Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø, Norway

To assist you in making an informed decision, we have handpicked the 4 top-rated whale watching safaris in Tromsø. Check out the quick links below to view and compare the current prices of each tour. We've also provided a brief description of each tour and their highlights.

Quick Booking Links to 4 Top-Rated Whale Watching Tours

Description: Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø


Embark on one of the most popular whale watching tours in Tromsø aboard a silent hybrid electric catamaran purpose-built for observing marine life in their natural habitat. Witness majestic humpback and killer whales without disturbing the magical mammals, with over 95% success rate in spotting the gentle giants. Expert guides will provide fascinating commentary while you relax in panoramic lounges or multi-level decks. This tour is an ideal choice for those seeking an ethically and eco-friendlyyet up-close whale watching experience. 


  •  Wildlife cruise
  • English-speaking guide
  • Wi-fi
  • Coffee and tea

Tour Details

  • Departs from: Tromsø, from the pier to the side of Skarven Kro Restaurant (Kaigata 6)
  • Starting Time: 8:00 AM
  • Duration:  8 hours
  • Type of BoatPurpose built hybrid-electric catamaran with heated indoor saloons & panoramic windows
  • Whale observation time: 1 to 1.5 hours


If you're looking for a whale watching tour that combines the best of Arctic scenery and wildlife, then this 7-hour cruise might be for you. Cruise along the picturesque coast of Northern Norway to look for humpback whales and killer whales. Learn about the culture and the ecosystem of this stunning polar region from a knowledgeable, local guide while enjoying spectacular views and a hot cup of tea.


  •  Wildlife cruise
  • English-speaking guide
  • Wi-fi
  • Coffee and tea

Tour Details

  •  Departs from: Tromsø, behind Nerstranda Shopping Centre in the city center
  • Starting Time: 8:00 AM
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Type of BoatCatamaran with indoor or outdoor viewing decks
  • Whale observation time:  1-1.5 hours


Experience the thrill of being one of the first boats to enter the whale-watching area from Tromsø on this all-inclusive polar whale and bird safari. Cruise north to Skjervøy and be amazed by the breathtaking views of the mountains and seascapes.


  • Roundtrip boat cruise
  • Crew
  • Local guides
  • Snacks
  • Beverages
  • Thermal insulated suits
  • Safety equipment
  • Tour Details

    Enjoy food, snacks, and hot drinks while keeping watch for Orca killer whales and other wildlife, including a variety of sea birds such as the white-tailed eagle, wider ducks, and cormorants. Expert guides will share their knowledge about the region as you enjoy the comfortable experience on board the heated boat with outdoor decking and indoor seating.

    Departs from: Tromsø, outside of Scandic Ishavshotel

    Starting Time: 8:00 AM

    Duration:  8 hours

    Type of Boat: Heated boat with outdoor decking and indoor seating

    Whale observation time: not stated


    This intimate whale watching adventure promises to be personalized and unforgettable, with a maximum of only 12 people per boat.


  • Bus transfer from Tromso
  • Rigid-inflatable boat whale watching excursion
  • Tour guide
  • Flotation suits
  • Sandwiches
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Tour Details

    The 12-hour tour takes you on a scenic journey from Tromsø to the Kvaenangen Fjord near Skjervoy, where you'll witness stunning natural beauty and see orcas and humpback whales feasting on herring up-close during their migration. Plus, for those who fear seasickness, the 3.5-hour bus ride instead of a cruise to Skjervoy is a plus. Then the exhilarating experience begins, when you hop on an RIB boat for the whale watching excursion. Ideal for adventurous travelers!

    Departs from: Tromsø; Meeting point is outside the Scandic Ishavshotel

    Starting Time: 5:30 AM

    Duration:  12 hours

    Type of Boat: RIB boat

    Whale observation time: approx. 2.5 hour

    Is a Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø worth it?

    Absolutely! Tromsø is a world-renowned destination for whale watching, and a whale watching safari is a definite must-do activity! The unique location of Tromsø, with its nutrient-rich waters, proximity to the Gulf Stream, and sheltered fjords, creates an ideal environment for whales to thrive and attracts them to the area for feeding and breeding purposes.

    Embarking on a whale watching boat tour from Tromsø is not only a chance to see a variety of whale species, including orcas, humpback whales, and fin whales, but it also provides a unique opportunity to learn about their behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts. It's an adventure of a lifetime that is sure to create lasting memories and leave you in awe of the wonders of nature. 

    So, if you're looking for a remarkable expedition that combines breathtaking natural beauty and wildlife encounters, Tromsø's whale watching safari should definitely be at the top of your list!

    What to Expect from a Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø?

    Tromsølocated in Northern Norway, is still not on the radar of many travelers, but it's slowly gaining popularity as one of the best places in the world for whale watching - a thrilling and unforgettable experience that offers a unique glimpse into the world of these majestic creatures.

    Let's take a look at some practical information on what to expect from a whale watching tour in Tromsø:

    1. Departure & Duration

    Whale watching excursions depart from the Tromsø harbor (Tromsø havn), conveniently located close to the downtown hotels. Most tours begin early in the morning and last between 7 and 9 hours, depending on weather conditions and the tour operator. Thermal suits are usually provided on most tours for your comfort.

    2. Typical Itinerary

    The itinerary typically involves a 3 to 3.5-hour sail to reach the whale feeding grounds, followed by 1 to 1.5 hours of observation timeDuring the tour, knowledgeable guides provide information about the different species of whales and their behavior, making the experience not only exciting but also educational. Most tours offer hot drinks and snacks to keep you warm and refreshed during the trip.

    3. Whale Sightings

    While nothing in nature is ever guaranteed, Tromsø's waters during the whale watching season offer an incredibly high chance of spotting these marine mammals. Humpback whales, orcas (also known as killer whales), and fin whales are the most commonly seen species, and the sight of them breaching the water's surface is simply awe-inspiring. Be prepared to be spellbound by these majestic giants of the sea, and take home memories that will last a lifetime.

    4. What else can I See on a Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø?

    In addition to witnessing the beauty of whales, you'll have the opportunity to observe other highlights of Norway's native marine life, including playful dolphins, curious seals, majestic sea eagles, and a variety of seabirds. Furthermore, the fjords and landscapes surrounding Tromsø are simply breathtaking, and the view from the water is nothing short of spectacular. As you cruise along, you'll have a chance to take in the stunning scenery and enjoy the fresh, crisp Arctic air.

    Whale Watching Tour from Tromso, Norway

    Best Time for a Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø, Norway

    When planning a whale watching trip in Tromsø, it's important to consider the whale watching season. The best time to go whale watching in Tromsø is from early November to late January when humpback whales, orcas, and other species migrate to the area to feed on herring. However, whales can still be seen in the surrounding waters from February to April, although the chances are lower. 

    Keep in mind that weather and sea conditions can affect whale sightings, so be sure to check with local tour operators for the latest updates. Also, note that the whales' feeding and migration patterns can change year by year, so prepare for an entire day trip and be prepared to head north to Skjervoy for the best chances of sightings.

    Best Area for a Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø, Norway

    Skjervøy, located north of Tromsø, is known as one of the prime hunting grounds for whales due to the abundance of herring during the winter months. This makes it an ideal location for whale watching tours, and the reason why many tours departing from Tromsø include Skjervøy in their itinerary.

    How to Choose the Best Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø?

    Before booking your whale watching safari, it's advisable to first consider some important factors that will help you choose the perfect whale watching tour based on your preferences:

    • Book an Ethical Tour: When choosing a whale watching tour in Tromsø, it's crucial to book an ethical and eco-friendly tour that follows responsible whale watching guidelines. Look for tours that maintain a safe distance from the whales and avoid disrupting their natural behavior. To ensure that you're booking a tour with a reputable operator, you can ask for their registration and license details. All whale watching tours in Tromsø are required to be licensed and registered to operate.
    • Boat Size and Type: Consider the size of the boat and how many people it can accommodate. Smaller boats like RIBs typically offer a more intimate and enjoyable experience, but they may be more expensive due to the limited number of participants they can accommodate. Larger boats, which can hold over 150 people, may offer more amenities and stability. There are also different types of boats to choose from, including RIBs, catamarans, and electric-powered boats that operate silently. 
    • Tour duration and itinerary: Consider the duration and itinerary of the tour, including the time of day and the locations that the tour will visit. Some tours may focus solely on whale watching, while others may also include stops at other attractions such as fjords or fishing villages, or additional activities like fishing or bird watching.
    • Experience and knowledge of guides: Make sure the tour company has experienced and knowledgeable guides who can provide you with insights and information about the whales and the local environment.
    • Reputation: Research the reputation of the tour company and read reviews from previous customers to ensure that they are reputable and provide a quality experience.
    • Price: Consider the cost of the tour and what is included in the price. Keep in mind that some tours may offer additional amenities or services, such as food or a smaller boat with fewer participants, which may affect the price.
    Whale Watching Tour from Tromso Norway3

    9 Essential Tips to Get the Most Out of your Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø

    To ensure a safe and enjoyable whale watching adventure, here are nine essential tips to help you prepare and make the most out of your experience.

    1. Book in advance: Whale watching tours in Tromsø are quite popular, so it's a good idea to book in advance to secure your spot. This will also give you time to research different tour options and find the one that best suits your needs.
    2. Check if you are suitable: Note that some whale watching tours (like RIB boats) may not be suitable for pregnant women, individuals with certain health conditions or mobility impairments, and those above or below certain weight or height limits. Check with the tour operator beforehand to ensure that the tour is suitable for you.
    3. Dress appropriately: Although thermal insulated suits are typically provided on whale watching tours, ensure you dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Wear warm and weather-resistant, waterproof clothing, wool socks, and warm, non-slip footwear. Since the weather in Tromsø can be unpredictable, it might be a good idea to bring a scarf, hat, and additional layers for unexpected temperature changes.
    4. Watch out for motion sickness: Motion sickness can be a major concern during a whale watching safari, as the seas can be rough and the waters choppy. To prevent any discomfort, it is advisable to come prepared with anti-nausea medication. It's always better to take precautions beforehand than to regret later.
    5. Prepare for the trip: Be sure to bring any necessary items such as sunglasses, dry bags, and your camera or binoculars to get a closer look. Since you can expect the safari to be a long day at sea, we also recommend bringing some extra snacks and a bottle of water with you.
    6. Be patient and flexible: Be prepared for a longer excursion, as whale sightings are not guaranteed and can require time and patience. Also, don't be surprised if the tour has strict timing due to changing weather conditions and limited daylight hours.
    7. Keep a safe distance: To ensure a safe whale watching experience, it's important to maintain a safe distance from the sides of the boat. Even in calm waters, unexpected bumps and swings can occur, so it's crucial to take precautions to avoid falling overboard and losing personal items. 
    8. Don’t feed the whales: Interacting with wild animals can be dangerous, and this is especially true with whales. While it may be tempting to get closer to these magnificent creatures or offer them food, interfering with their natural behavior can be harmful to both the whales and yourself. Instead, sit back, observe, and enjoy the experience from a safe and respectful distance.
    9. Capture great shots: As Tromsø is located in the Arctic region, winter months can bring challenging light conditions for whale watching and photography. Make sure to adjust your camera settings for low light conditions, and consider using a tripod to avoid camera shake.

    What else can I do in Tromsø, Norway?

    Tromsø, Norway, is not just a fantastic destination for whale watching. Its unique location and stunning natural surroundings make Tromsø a popular destination for outdoor activities, particularly during the winter months.

    See here 5 of the top things to do in Tromsø:

    1. Northern Lights chasingTromsø is renowned as one of the top destinations in the world to witness the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. This awe-inspiring natural light display is a dream come true for many travelers, making it a bucket-list experience. >> Book the most popular Northern Lights tour in Tromsø here.
    2. Reindeer sledding: Another unique winter experience that Tromsø has to offer is Reindeer sledding. It's a great way to immerse yourself in Sami culture and tradition while exploring the Arctic wilderness. With experienced guides leading the way, you can relax and enjoy the ride while taking in the stunning scenery around you. >> For more information on where to book your tour and what to expect during your adventure, visit our ultimate guide to reindeer sledding in Tromsø.
    3. Husky sledding tour: Husky sledding is a popular activity in Tromsø during the winter months. It's a thrilling experience to be pulled by a team of energetic huskies through the snowy wilderness. Many tour companies offer husky sledding tours. >> You can find reputable husky sledding tours and more details on this activity in our complete guide about husky sledding in Tromso.
    4. Fjord cruiseA fjord cruise is a must-do activity in Tromsø, Norway that can be enjoyed all year round. It's a unique way to explore the region's natural beauty and magnificent landscapes. Hop on a boat and take a leisurely cruise through the fjords, while soaking up stunning views of snow-capped mountains, icy waters, and lush green forests.  >> Don't miss out – book your fjord cruise today!
    5. Snowmobiling: Zoom through the snow-covered wilderness on a snowmobile and get your adrenaline pumping. With powerful snowmobiles and knowledgeable guides, you can venture into the wilderness and witness fantastic views of the snowy landscapes of Tromso excitingly. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, snowmobiling in Tromso is an unforgettable experience that will get your adrenaline pumping. >> Book the most popular tour here!

    FAQ - Whale Watching Tour in Tromsø, Norway

    Where is Tromsø, Norway located?

    Tromso is located in the northern part of Norway. The city is located approximately 350 kilometers (217 miles) above the Arctic Circle and is one of the northernmost cities in the world. Despite its location, Tromso is easily accessible by air, with regular flights from major Norwegian cities and international destinations.

    Can you see whales from Tromsø?

    Whales used to feed in Tromsø fjord during winter, but this is not the case anymore, likely due to overfishing, climate change or both. Whales can now often be spotted in the waters off Skjervøy, located north of Tromsø in Norway, as it is one of their prime hunting grounds.

    The most common whales that can be seen in the waters around Tromsø are humpback whales, orcas, and minke whales. However, the presence of whales can vary depending on the season and weather conditions, so it is important to book a whale watching tour with a reputable company that can take you to the best areas for sightings.

    What is the best month to see whales and Orcas in Tromsø?

    The best time to see whales and orcas in Tromso is from November to late January, during the whale season. These months offer optimal conditions for spotting these majestic creatures as they migrate to the rich feeding grounds in the fjords around Tromso. However, sightings can also occur in other months like February, March and October, depending on various factors such as weather conditions, water temperature, and the availability of food for the whales

    Are Whale watching tours safe?

    Yes, whale watching tours are generally considered safe as long as you choose a reputable operator, follow safety guidelines and regulations, and maintain a safe distance from the whales.

    Are whale watching tours ethical?

    Whale watching tours can be ethical if conducted responsibly and sustainably, prioritizing whale welfare and habitat. Some things to consider when evaluating the ethics of a whale watching tour include the behavior of the operators towards the whales, the impact of the tour on the whales and their environment

    For example, traditional ships' presence and sound can disrupt whale behavior, like feeding, socializing, and breeding. That’s why ecological tours prefer to use silent boats, such as RIB boats or Hybrid-Electric Catamarans, to minimize disturbance. Overall, if done responsibly and sustainably, whale watching tours can provide a unique and educational experience that can promote whale conservation and increase public awareness of these magnificent creatures.

    How much does it cost to go whale watching in Norway?

    The cost of whale watching in Norway can vary depending on factors such as the tour operator, the location, the duration of the tour, and the time of year. Prices for Tromso whale watching tours are on average between 130 to 160 euros, although tours with special amenities, such as small numbers of participants, longer duration and observing time, or ethical tours on RIB boats may be more expensive. It's important to research and compare different tour operators and prices to find the best option for your budget and preferences.

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