We chatted with our partner tour operator, Dream Wave, about the sightings of cetaceans in the Algarve. This tour operator, based in the Marina of Albufeira, specializes in dolphin watching tours in the Algarve (among other boat trips). The operator revealed that in the course of 2016, they spotted eight species of cetaceans in the Algarve.

cetaceans in the Algarve
Happy common dolphins! By Dream Wave.

The most observed species of cetaceans in the Algarve:

  • Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) – very dynamic and fun species. Bottlenose dolphins are the most famous and known species of cetacean in the world. These dolphins can be sighted anywhere in the globe except the polar seas. In addition, it is the most common species in the theme parks. Bottlenose dolphins can reach 4 meters in length.
  • Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) – is the most common species in the temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and can also be sighted in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Sea.


Other species of cetaceans in the Algarve are always present but are more difficult to spot. The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), for example, is not often seen because they are rather shy. The risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) and the orca (Orcinus orca) were also sighted this year, as in previous years.

cetaceans in the Algarve
Fin wahles are really impressive! By Dream Wave.

As far as whales are concerned, the maritime operator recorded the sighting of three species:

  • Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) – is the second largest animal after the blue whale. The Fin whale can reach a length of up to 25.9m!
  • Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) – reaching a length of up to 20 m and weighing up to 45 tonnes, it is the third largest balaenopteridae.
  • Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) – these marine mammals are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. They have a length of up to 9m, with females being larger than males.


The maritime operator says that in recent years the public interest in the observation of cetaceans in the Algarve has grown significantly. However, the operator is concerned about the amount of trash that they find in the sea and which can affect this interest, as well as affecting turtles, seabirds and cetaceans in the Algarve.

So the crews of Dream Wave are concerned with trying to fulfill their civic role, collecting most of that garbage they find. This is one of the reasons why we like working with this operator. The operator has an attitude of dedication, professionalism and a deep respect for the sea.

Cetaceans Algarve SeaBookings (4)
This year we also found orcas. By Dream Wave.

If you’d like to get to meet some of these species of cetaceans in the Algarve, yourself, book your dolphin watching boat trip now.


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