Dolphins in Mallorca aren’t actually that spectacular — at least not for fishermen who venture out to sea before the first rays of sunlight. Because that’s precisely when these friendly marine mammals become active. And clever as they are, they know that there’s quick food available near the fishing boats. Therefore, the dolphins often accompany the boats. It’s a unique opportunity for us landlubbers as well to experience these impressive creatures up close in their natural habitat. There are numerous dolphin watching tours in Mallorca, and I’ll explain to you the different options in detail.
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Even though it may not seem so at first glance when you look out at the calm sea, the Mediterranean is full of marine mammals. There are approximately ten different species, including pilot whales, the nearly extinct Mediterranean monk seal, as well as sperm whales and fin whales. And of course, dolphins. During the dolphin tours in Mallorca, you are most likely to encounter the common dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the marine mammal we know as a friendly creature thanks to Flipper. However, it should never be forgotten that despite everything, we are still talking about wild animals with their own instincts, such as defending their offspring. Despite all the sympathy and joy, you should never lose respect for nature.
- The Best Time to Watch Dolphins in Mallorca
- The Best Dolphin Watching Tours in Mallorca
- Dolphins in Mallorca in Captivity
- Whale Watching in Mallorca
- Read More
The Best Time to Watch Dolphins in Mallorca
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Mallorca experienced an unprecedented surge in dolphin sightings. The reduced maritime activity, marked by fewer boats and the absence of people in the water, created an environment where the dolphins felt at ease venturing closer to the coastline. As a result, those on land were treated to delightful displays of their playful jumps and antics in the water.
Under normal circumstances, spotting dolphins in Mallorca can be a bit more challenging. Especially during the summer, the Mediterranean is bustling with catamarans, excursion boats, and cruise ships, causing dolphins to be primarily found in areas farther away from the coastline. The best chance of encountering dolphins is during the early morning hours when most dolphin tours in Mallorca begin, typically before sunrise (around five to six o’clock in the summer). However, the early tours often include breakfast on board for added convenience.
Dolphin tours are usually not conducted during the autumn months in Mallorca due to the unpredictable nature of the sea. Even in spring and autumn, tours may be canceled at short notice due to high waves and rough sea conditions. As a result, the optimal time to observe dolphins in Mallorca is during summer.
Swimming with dolphins is not permitted in Mallorca, even during summer. As stated earlier, it is essential to prioritize the protection of both humans and the marine mammals. Therefore, dolphin watching activities involve observing the dolphins from a distance. If the dolphins show interest, they may come closer to the boat, but interaction in the water is strictly avoided to ensure the well-being of these wild animals.
The Best Dolphin Watching Tours in Mallorca
While it’s not possible to guarantee a 100% chance of spotting dolphins on the different dolphin watching tours in Mallorca, some tour providers confidently claim a success rate of up to 95%. The northeast coast, in particular, is known for its lively and dependable dolphin populations. Beginning the tour early in the day maximizes the opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures.
Dolphin Watching in Cala Ratjada
Booking Option: Get your tickets here
Our first dolphin tour embarked from Cala Ratjada. In the morning, multiple boats set off from there simultaneously, all eager to observe dolphins in Mallorca. This particular catamaran excursion was one of them. The skippers, benefiting from firsthand information shared by local fishermen who head out to sea just a little earlier, swiftly navigate in the direction where dolphins are most likely to be spotted.
During the tour, a small breakfast is provided. The excursion has a duration of approximately 2.5 hours and operates from Monday to Friday, starting from early May until mid-September. For added convenience, participants have the option to book a transfer from the eastern part of Mallorca. You can get your tickets here.
Dolphin Boat Trips in Alcúdia
Tickets: Book your trip here
One of the popular dolphin boat trips in Alcúdia sets off from the harbor, offering a captivating experience that takes you to Cap de Formentor at sunrise. This remarkable location showcases not only the enchanting dolphins but also the awe-inspiring cliffs, making it a truly memorable journey. While soaking in the breathtaking surroundings, it’s important to remain attentive so as not to miss the delightful dolphin sightings.
Another highlight of the tour is the visit to the natural beach of Coll Baix. This secluded beach, nestled amidst wooded cliffs, provides the perfect spot for a refreshing swim. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters—it’s a must!
For those who prefer to skip the beach excursion and cliff exploration, an alternative option is available on this tour. Instead, you will be treated to a light breakfast, ensuring you start your day off on a satisfying note.
Dolphin Watching in Santa Ponça and Paguera
Tickets: Book your trip here
This 3-hour boat tour sets off early from either Paguera or Santa Ponça Beach. As you cruise along the coastline, you have a great chance of spotting dolphins. Onboard the catamaran, you’ll also find two bars where you can purchase drinks and snacks.
During a scheduled stop, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear waters and explore the underwater world with the provided snorkeling equipment. If needed, the boat tour also offers hotel pickup and return transfers.
For those who prefer a later start to the day, this tour can also be taken in the afternoon. Further details about the itinerary can be found here.
Dolphin Boat Trip in Port de Pollença
Tickets: Book your trip here
The catamaran tour from Port de Pollença takes you to Cap de Formentor for dolphin watching as well. You have the option to make your own way to the departure point or take advantage of the transfer service. As you sail along the rocky promontory, a light breakfast will be served onboard.
The tour has a duration of approximately 3 hours and takes place on Mondays and Thursdays from early May until the end of October. In the event that no dolphins are spotted during the tour, you will be provided with a new ticket to join the tour again on another day. This ensures that you have another opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures.
Dolphin Boat Trip in Palma
Tickets: Book your dolphin tour here
Yet another dolphin sailing tour departs from the port of Palma, taking you along the southwest coast for three hours and providing an excellent opportunity to see dolphins in their natural habitat. While the tour operator cannot offer a 100% guarantee, they rely on their extensive experience and know that dolphins often enjoy swimming in the boat’s bow wave.
As part of the excursion, there is also a stop at a secluded bay where you can swim and snorkel. Snacks and drinks are available onboard. A transfer service is offered from Palmanova, Magalluf, Portals, Illetas, and Cala Major for your convenience.
Dolphin Watching in Can Picafort
Tickets: Book your dolphin tour here
Starting from Can Picafort, there is also a dolphin tour heading north in the early morning. You set sail before the first rays of sunlight. Once the sun rises above the sea, the dolphins swim near your boat.
But that’s just one highlight. Afterward, the crew takes you to a hidden sea cave and offers a brief stop for swimming at the renowned natural beach, Coll Baix, which is not easily accessible by foot.
If you prefer to skip these side trips, an alternative option is available with a speedboat that takes you to the dolphins at sunrise and then returns directly to the port.
Dolphins in Mallorca in Captivity
There are certain things that I do not recommend, and that includes all establishments and events where animals are forced to “perform” for human entertainment and are kept in confinement. If you search online, you will find places that offer dolphin shows. However, I urge you not to support these businesses.
While these facilities may meet legal requirements, it should be evident to any empathetic individual that dolphins, which are meant to thrive in the vast ocean, cannot live in small tanks. This type of entertainment is outdated and, quite frankly, peculiar when you consider that their wild counterparts are freely engaging in playful leaps just a few meters away in the open sea.
Therefore, please be mindful that your choices as consumers contribute to the financial support of various activities on Mallorca, and you play a part in determining which attractions thrive and which ones are forced to close. In this regard, I also recommend watching the Netflix documentary “What Happened to the Dolphin King of Mallorca.” It explores the story of a dolphin trainer from Mallorca and the questionable practices involved.
Whale Watching in Mallorca
Some tour providers advertise whale watching tours in Mallorca. Although whales do inhabit the Mediterranean Sea, the chances of seeing them in the wild are extremely low. When individual whales stray close to the coast, they are usually sick.
However, despite this, there is still an opportunity to see whales in Mallorca. But not in the actual sea, but rather virtually. You can experience them at the Palma Aquarium, where there is a dedicated exhibition about these gentle giants of the oceans. It includes whale songs and plenty of interesting information.
Discount: Currently the aquarium offers our readers a 17% discount with the code aquarium17. Get your tickets here.
The main attraction, however, is the 3D cinema, where you can embark on a virtual dive. You’ll find yourself swimming right in the midst of a whale family, hearing their calls and feeling like you can almost reach out and touch them. It’s as close as you can get to experiencing whales in Mallorca.
Want more recommendations like this? Check out more than 100 day trips and excursions on Mallorca.