Winter whale safari from Tromsø

Arctic Whale Tours offers you the ultimate winter adventure! On our tours we will take you on a journey through the fjords around Tromsø to bring you close to the whales that gather there to feed during the winter months. 

In late fall, the herring migrates into the fjords to overwinter in the region. The high concentration of fish attracts a variety of whale species that gather here to feed. This gives us an excellent opportunity to observe killer whales, humpback whales and fin whales in full activity.

You will always be accompanied by an experienced naturalist guide with first-hand knowledge of the whales and the nature of the area. Complimentary coffee and tea are available throughout the trip for you to enjoy the boat ride and magnificent landscapes while sharing your thoughts about the experience of the safari with our friendly guides. On the way back from the whales to the city, we also serve fish and vegetable soup. 

Sighting Success

Last years, whales have been observed in the fjords around Tromsø area almost every day from November until the end of January. Since the whales follow the shoals of herring through the fjords, it is possible that they can travel long distances every day. Because of this, we cannot guarantee the sighting of whales on all of our trips. However, our experienced crew will do its’ best to ensure that your trip will be an unforgettable experience.

Location: Tromsø (Please note that our summer safari destination Stø is seven hours from Tromsø)

Season: 1 November – 31 January

Departure time and Dates: Every day at 9:00, meet by our boat Blasius II 45 minutes earlier

Point of Departure: The pier next to Clarion Collection Hotel With (Sjøgata 35-37) in Tromsø main harbor.

Duration: Approximately 4 - 6 hours (The safaris can sometimes be longer or shorter depending on the location of the whales)

Number of Passengers: Maximum 65

We reserve the right to change or cancel departures due to weather conditions or passenger demand

Photo by: Ilkka Jaakkola

Price list

Winter whale safari from Tromsø 

Adult: 1470 NOK

Children (5-12): 640 NOK

Children (2-4): 320 NOK

Students, parents and seniors: 1230 NOK

Price includes: safari (ca. 4 hours), experienced marine biologist guides, coffee & tea during the tour, fish soup.  

All rates are per person, in NOK currency and inclusive VAT (MVA) 8%. Rates are subject to change. Payment is done at check-in before departure. No pre-payment is required. 

We reserve the right to change or cancel departure times due to weather conditions or passenger demand.

We have special rates for groups. Please contact us at booking@arcticwhaletours.com for more information. 

Photo by: Ilkka Jaakkola

Useful information

Winter safari starting point: Tromsø main harbor, the pier next to Clarion Collection Hotel With (Sjøgata 35-37). Please be at our boat Blasius II at 8.15 am.

Useful Information and Conditions

We use the boat Blasius II for the whale safaris. The catamaran has a capacity of 65 passengers and provides good comfort with warm indoors areas when you can relax and enjoy an intimate atmosphere. 

Arctic Whale Tours’ multilingual guides will accompany you for the whole trip, making your safari comfortable, providing information and answering all of your questions. All of our guides have have extensive hands-on knowledge of marine biology and coastal culture.

Complimentary coffee and tea are available on the boat for the entire trip. We also serve a fish soup and vegetable soup made with locally sourced ingredients on the return trip. 

What to bring?

Despite warm indoors areas, it is essential that you come warmly dressed for the trips. Thermal underwear, sweater or fleece, warm footwear, hats and gloves as well as a waterproof coat are highly recommended.

You might also want to bring a camera and camera charger as well as something to eat. Although we serve a soup on the boat, the trips can be relatively long and it can be a good idea to bring a sandwich or some other snack with you.

Photo by: Ilkka Jaakkola

Starting point

Our winter safaris leave from the main harbor of Tromsø. Our boat Blasius II will depart from the pier next to Clarion Collection Hotel With (Sjøgata 35-37). Please be at our boat for check-in by 8.15 am.

Whale watching guidelines

In Stø, we have the privilege of living and working amongst the most magnificent wildlife found in Norway. This also gives us an opportunity to provide our visitors with quality whale watching experiences. However, these opportunities are associated with the responsibility to ensure the welfare of the animals at all times. We have therefore, in close collaboration with WDCS(The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), established whale watching guidelines to assure best practices for our whale watching. The aims of these guidelines are to minimize the impacts on the animals and for our trained naturalists to inform our visitors about the appropriate ways of interacting with marine mammals.

General

  • The whales should always be able to control the nature and duration of their contact with us.
  • If whales seem distressed, we leave them alone and slowly depart from the area.
  • Mothers with calves, or resting, feeding and/or socialising whales area approached and viewed with extra care and consideration, or left alone.
  • In addition to the captain, we always have at least one dedicated observer on duty at all times.
  • We never attempt to swim, snorkel, touch or feed whales for our safety and theirs.

Approaching whales

  • We approach the whales from the rear,  slightly to the side of the animals
  • We reduce the vessel speed at a 300 – 400 m distance from the whales
  • We never block their path but instead ensure that they always have an escape route

Viewing whales

  • We stay at a distance of minimum 50 – 100 m from the whales.
  • We keep a parallel course with the whales.We keep all noise to a minimum and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.
  • When encountering groups of dolphins, we limit our active viewing to ca 15 minutes.
  • When encountering sperm whales, we do not stay with the animal for more than one dive.

Signs of disturbance in whales

  • Attempts to leave the area or move away from the boat.
  • Sudden or regular changes in swimming speed and/or direction.
  • Sudden dives, or shallow dives to gain distance from the boat.
  • Aggressive behaviour, e.g. tail splashing, flipper slapping, etc.
  • Increased breathing rate.
  • Increased diving duration.

Allowing whales to interact with us

The guidelines presented here refer to our active approach towards the whales. Sometimes whales are curious about us and approach our boat. In these situations we maintain our course with slow steady speed or let the engine run in neutral.

Why choose Arctic Whale Tours?

We have over 10 years of experience with operating whale safaris in arctic waters and we know how to provide an unforgettable whale watching experience while making sure that the whales are not harmed by our activities.

In Tromsø, there are many different safaris to choose from and it can be difficult to decide which one to join. Below are a few facts that we hope will make it easier for you to choose Arctic Whale Tours for your whale safari adventure while in Tromsø:

  • A qualified and experienced naturalist guide with firsthand knowledge about the whales and the local culture will always accompany you on the trip. The rest of the crew has also tens of years of experience at sea and have done numerous whale safaris earlier.
  • We follow international guidelines for responsible whale watching and we were, in fact, one of the first operators in Norway to commit to these guidelines in 2011.
  • We offer coffee and tea during the entire trip and on the way back to the harbor, we serve fish soup made of local ingredients
  • The atmosphere on our tours is relaxed - we're never in a hurry to get back to the harbour. Should the whales be a little bit farther away on some day, we'll rather spend an extra hour to go to them instead of returning empty handed.
  • In 2017 we were awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence for continuously having provided a high quality product to our guests. We continue this work and our goal is that you, as our guest, shall have as good a whale safari experience as possible.
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