Top Ten Places to Encounter Whales

Eastern Hemisphere: Lofoten Islands, Norway

The Lofoten Islands are a chain of islands above the Arctic Circle. Think snowy mountains shooting straight up out of the sea. Just six nautical miles offshore—a one-hour boat trip—the continental shelf drops away to depths of 3,000 feet. Most other places in Europe involve a nine-hour trip to find these depths. Between May and September, massive sperm whales can be found in these nutrient-rich and deep waters.

This is a bachelor's society. The sperm whales in these waters are all male. The females remain in warmer seas further south, around the Azores and Canary Islands, with their young. The Lofoten Islands have always been a prime hunting ground for Norwegian whalers. However, these days cameras are replacing harpoons. Whale watching off northern Norway has become so popular that Norwegian authorities have set up a special whale route with car ferries linking the various islands in the area.

Just the Facts

What you might see there: Sperm whales, minkes, orcas

Viewing options: Boat


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