Dolphins and Whales

Lisbon is where the Tagus river joins the Atlantic Ocean after crossing more than one thousand kilometres along the Iberian Peninsula. The nutrients that flow from the river and Estuary towards the sea allow high productivity along the coast. This productivity depends on algae, phytoplankton and small zooplankton. In turn, these organisms will feed fish shoals and other invertebrates.

Hotspot for sighting Cetacean Dolphins and Whales

Several dolphin species, like the common dolphins, depend on great shoals of pelagic fish. Sardines and mackerel are their main diet. Baleen whales normally feed on small crustacean (Krill) of small shoals of fish. Top predators, like sharks and marine mammals will control food chains and balance ecosystems.

One of the best places in Europe for spotting Dolphins and Whales is, with no doubt, the Azores archipalegos. Whale watching and dolphin watching are fantastic outdoor activities to do with your family and friends.

Nontheless, along the Portuguese mainland, dolphins and whales are also spotted in special places. Because of the high productivity close to Lisbon, around 9 species of Dolphins and Whales can easily be spotted all year round.

During the wild safari odyssey we have created in the sea, chances of sighting marine mammals are very high. Cetacean species which have been sighted frequently close to Lisbon are divided into 2 suborders:
Fishpics® & ImarDOP, UAç.


Prominent beaked dolphins

  • COMMON DOLPHIN, Delphinus delphis, Family Delphinidae (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common dolphin
  • STRIPED DOLPHIN, Stenella coeruleoalba, Family Delphinidae (Meyen, 1833)
Golfinho Riscado
Stripped dolphin
  • BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN, Tursiops truncatus, Family Delphinidae (Montagu, 1821)
Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin

Dolphins without prominent beaks

  • RISSO’S DOLPHIN, Grampus griseus, Family Delphinidae (Cuvier, 1812)
Risso Dolphin
Risso’s dolphin
  • KILLER WHALE, Orcinus orca. Family Delphinidae (Linnaeus, 1758)
Killer Whale
Killer whale
  • HARBOUR PORPOISE (not a dolphin), Phocoena phocoena, Family Phocoenidae (Linnaeus, 1758)
Harbour porpoise
Harbour porpoise


Roqual Whales (baleen whales)

  • MINKE WHALE, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Family Balaenopteridae (Lacépède, 1804)
Minke Whale
Minke whale
  • FIN WHALE, Balaenoptera physalus. Family Balaenopteridae (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • HUMPBACK WHALE, Megaptera novaeangliae. Family Balaenopteridae (Brisson, 1756)
Humpback whale
Humpback whale

Sigthings are occasional, check out the post Whale Watching in Lisbon

Wildlife Adventure Boat Tours in Lisbon, 2020

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