Whale watching in Madeira is one of the most popular activities on the island. So here’s a guide on how to book and enjoy your experience.
Almost all whale watching in Madeira trips depart from the south coast of Funchal.
Of course you can scout around online, ask at your reception, or stroll along the bay of Funchal yourself and visit the many sales booths.
With so many companies to choose from we opted for VMT Madeira. They’re one of the highest rated tour operators on the island, and we can’t recommend them enough.
They run Madeira dolphin and whale watching tours, as well as other catamaran trips throughout the island.
The duration of the trip lasted 3 hours.
‘’With a strong possibility of spotting whales and dolphins in their natural habitat’’ promised, we weren’t disappointed.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
VMT Madeira run two dolphin and whale watching trips per day.
Morning Trip: 10:30am – 1:30pm*
Afternoon Trip: 3pm – 6pm*
*Check-in ends 30 minutes before the departure so be sure to arrive 30 mins prior to your trip time.
To avoid disappointment we recommend booking your Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour in advance.
Madeira Whale Watching Prices
Children (5 to 12 years) €17,50
Children (0 to 4 years): Free
Best Time To Visit + Tips
This really depends on what type of traveller you are. With the two options being morning or afternoon boat trips.
The morning trip is supposedly more calm and peaceful (of course this all depends on the weather conditions).
Whereas the afternoon trip may be a bit more hot and sweaty, but of course this gives you time to relax and lie in the sun in the morning.
Whichever you choose, chances are the boat is going to be pretty full. So unfortunately there’s no trick to beating the crowds on this one.
Also there’s no need to rush and grab a space at the front of the boat, which is what a lot of tourists do.
The catamarans are well spaced out and the captains get into the necessary positions so that you can see the wildlife from all areas of the boat.
What To Pack:
Well apart from the obvious – whales! You also get to enjoy a relaxing trip along the South coast of Madeira.
The comfortable catamarans take away all ocean sickness, worries and come complete with 2/3 toilets, 4 staff members and a bar. So honestly, we couldn’t have been more relaxed!
The duration of the trip was 3 hours long, and ‘with a strong possibility of spotting whales and dolphins in their natural habitat’ promised, we weren’t disappointed.
We also decided to take the early morning trip, which is one of the top things to do in Funchal and departs at 10:30am.
During the trip we stopped on a couple of occasions as pods of dolphins and several types of whales passed by.
Known to hover around the coastline all year round, jumping on a boat and catching a glimpse of them was a must on our things to do in Madeira list.
Pilot Whales and Sperm Whales are most commonly seen through the year. Other species can also be found in the area, like Sei Whale, Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Minke Whale, and even Orcas.
All in all it was an incredible experience and one we recommend to anyone visiting the island of Madeira.
Towards the end of the trip there was also a stop for swimming/snorkelling below the cliffs of Cabo Girao, one of the highest sea cliffs in the world.
Luxury – The Vine Hotel
Recently awarded as Europe’s Leading Design Hotel, the luxurious Vine Hotel is located in Funchal.
It offers a fusion restaurant with stunning views, a Wine Therapy Spa, access to the fitness centre and a rooftop infinity pool.
Each room features an LCD TV with in-room movies, free WiFi and a laptop-size safe.
The roof terrace sports a heated infinity pool, massage facilities as well as a 20 yard hot tub, with views of Fort São João and the mountains.
Mid-Budget – Hotel Baia Azul
The newly renovated 4-star Hotel Baía Azul is ideally situated a 4-minute walk from Funchal’s beachfront.
It offers 3 swimming pools, 3 restaurants, a Spa and a sun deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the gardens.
The hotel has a total of 215 bedrooms with sea-inspired decor. All rooms come with an en suite bathroom, bath amenities and a hairdryer.
Not only that, but a flat-screen cable TV, a minibar, a kettle and a safe deposit box too.
Free WiFi access is provided in all rooms and common areas.
Budget – Funchal Apartments – City View
Funchal Apartments – City View is venue is set in Se district, around a 10 minute walk from Funchal center, and features a terrace with the cathedral view.
The property includes free WiFi, plus express check-in and check-out.
There is also a shared kitchen, ATM and currency exchange for guests.
All rooms include a wardrobe, a desk and a shared bathroom.
For more places to stay in Madeira, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.