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whale sighting genoa

Genoa: Cetacean Watching Cruise with Marine Biologist Guide

In recent years, whale watching in Genoa has become one of the most popular activities for travelers who decide to spend their vacations in the Ligurian capital.

The opportunity to observe and learn about some of the world’s most magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is an experience few can resist.

Genoa is one of the best places in the world for whale watching, and with its stunning Cetacean Sanctuary, it is easy to see why.

If you don’t know me yet, I’d like to introduce myself, I’m Andrea from Genoa Tourism and in this article I’ll tell you about the Genoa cetacean spotting experience, find out what is the best time to go whale watching, which are the best companies to offer this service and the cetacean species that can be spotted in the port of Genoa, what to bring with you during the experience and how to buy tickets at the best price.

If you are looking to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, Whale Watch Genoa is the tour for you.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Is there whale watching in Italy?

Let’s start with the question I hear asked most often, “are there whales in italy? Can you see whales in Genoa?

Well yes, you should know that the Ligurian Sea is home to a wide variety of cetaceans.

Genoa’s two rivers (the Bisagno and Polcevera) flow into the Ligurian Sea and form the deepest underwater canyon in the Mediterranean (the sea depth reaches 2,400m), creating the perfect habitat for cetaceans.

In addition, the Ligurian Sea is the gateway to one of the most important marine areas for the study of cetacean fauna: the Cetacean Sanctuary (also called the Pelagos Sanctuary).

It is an area of about 100,000 km² bounded by the waters of Toulon (France), Capo Falcone and Capo Ferro (in western and eastern Sardinia, respectively), and Fosse Chiarone (Tuscany).

Cetacean Sanctuary

The international agreement that created the International Cetacean Sanctuary was made in 1999, and over the years it has become critically important in regulating the lives of the marine mammals that live there, so as to protect them from fishing or mass tourism activities.

What is Whale Watching Genoa?

Whalewatch Genoa is an approximately 4.30h tour (departing from the Port of Genoa) in which, together with a marine biologist, you have the opportunity to spot fin whales up to 24 meters in size, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and zephis in their natural habitat.

There are several tour companies in the city of Genoa that offer whale watching tours, as well as a number of online booking sites that make it easy to book a tour.

The Old Port (the area from which the tours depart) is easily accessible from the city center, making it easy to get to the harbor for your whale watching adventure.

But how does this experience take place? Read on to find out more.

whale watching genoa italy

Genoa: Cetacean Watching Cruise with Marine Biologist Guide

What to expect during whale watching in Genoa

The Genoa Whale Watch Tour motorboat departs from the Porto Antico, right from the pier where the Aquarium of Genoa is located.

Once you board the boat, the boat will start sailing and you will leave the city behind.

While sailing, I recommend you admire the blue sea and the reflection of the sun on the water. On days when the sea is calm, the feeling is magical and will make you a child again.

On the way, crew members will constantly observe the sea with powerful binoculars, and in case of sightings, you will be asked to be quiet.

how to see whale in genoa italy

You will have a chance to admire a marine animal and, if you are lucky, you will be able to listen to its breath. In fact, you should know that cetaceans often go up the slope of the water in order to breathe. If you get a chance to experience that moment, I recommend that you enjoy every single moment. It is truly exciting.

During your offshore crossing, you can expect to see a variety of other marine species as well. The harbor is home to a variety of marine life, including whales, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds.

Once the experience is over, after about 4.30h of sailing, you will return to Genoa’s Old Port, right where you started.

What is the best month for whale watching in Genoa?

At what time of year can the whales be seen? The best time for whale watching in Genoa is between May and October, when the weather is milder, the water is warmer, visibility is better, and there is a chance to observe more species of marine animals.

Risso’s dolphin, long-finned pilot whale and fin whale sightings, for example, are in fact more frequent in the months from May to October.

For the more adventurous (and for those who are unimpressed by colder and breezier temperatures), I recommend having this experience during the spring (April, May) or fall (September, October) months when the influx of tourists is certainly less and will allow you to enjoy the peace and quiet of the off-season.

In the next section I will tell you about the cetacean species you can spot in the Ligurian Sea, and the times of year when sightings are easiest.

common dolphin genoa italy

Genoa: Cetacean Watching Cruise with Marine Biologist Guide

Cetacean species spotted during Whalewhatching Genoa

whalewatch genoa italy

As many as 8 of the 11 cetacean species considered to be resident in the Mediterranean Sea are found in the waters of the Ligurian Sea: the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas), Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

The most commonly sighted species are bottlenose dolphin and striped dolphin.

Here is the list of cetaceans you may spot in the Ligurian Sea during your crossing, and the times of year when sightings are most common.

Fin whaleBalaenoptera physalusda maggio ad agosto
Sperm whalePhyseter macrocephalusda maggio a ottobre
Bottlenose dolphinTursiops truncatustutto l’anno
Striped dolphinStenella coeruleoalbatutto l’anno
Risso’s dolphinGrampus griseusda maggio a ottobre
Long-finned pilot whaleGlobicephala melasda maggio a ottobre
Cuvier’s beaked whaleZiphius Cavirostrisda maggio a ottobre
Common dolphinDelphinus delphisda maggio a ottobre

Schedules, prices and notes

  • Duration: about 4.30h
  • Prica: from 40€
  • Timetable: generally departures are between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, but during the summer months it is also possible to opt for special outings at dawn and dusk (which experience very high activity from cetaceans).
  • Notes: Reservations are always required; show up 40 minutes before scheduled departure; wheelchair accessible; in case of missed cetacean sightings; some companies give the option of returning a second time free of charge (or at a 50% discount) within a one-year time frame from the date of the outing.
  • Tickets: purchase online

Cetacean Sighting Genoa reviews

Whale watching in Genoa has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it is easy to see why.

Reviews of whale watching in Genoa are overwhelmingly positive.

Tourists report that the experience was pleasant and informative, and that the tour guides were knowledgeable and experienced.

In addition, the harbor is easily accessible from the city center, making it easy to get to the harbor for the whale watching adventure.

Tickets for whale watching in Genoa 2024

If you would like to go on a whale watching experience in Genoa in 2024, there are several tour companies offering Liguria whale watching tours.

Tickets for these tours can be purchased online or at the tour company’s office in the city center.

whale watching liguria

Genoa: Cetacean Watching Cruise with Marine Biologist Guide

The top-rated companies are Golfo Paradiso Whale Watching, Whalewatch Liguria and Consorzio Liguria Via Mare.

The cost of whale watching tickets in Genoa varies depending on the tour company and the type of tour booked.

Typically, tickets for a 4.30-hour tour start at about 40 euros per person. It is also possible to book longer tours, which cost more.

When booking tickets for whale watching in Genoa, it is important to note that the tour will be subject to weather and sea conditions.

If weather conditions are not favorable, the tour may be cancelled or postponed. Should it be postponed, most companies offer the opportunity to join a new excursion in the same season at a 50% discount.

It is also important to note that the excursion company will have safety protocols, which are important to follow for your safety and the safety of the cetaceans you are observing.

Rules and safety tips for whale watching in Genoa

common dolphin genoa italy

When whale watching in Genoa, it is important to follow the rules and safety protocols in place.

These rules and safety tips are to ensure that the cetaceans being watched are not disturbed or harmed in any way.

When whale watching in Genoa, it is important to keep your distance from cetaceans. It is recommended to stay at least 100 meters away from the cetaceans at all times. In addition, it is important to keep noise to a minimum and not make sudden movements or loud noises.

It is also important to note that the use of drones is not allowed during whale watching in Genoa. Drones can disturb the cetaceans and other marine animals in the harbor, so it is important not to use drones when whale watching in Genoa.

What to take with you on the cetacean sighting cruise Genoa

When going whale watching in Genoa, it is important to be prepared and bring necessary items with you. It is important to dress for the weather, as temperature and harbor conditions can vary.

A windbreaker, hat, sunglasses and, of course, sunscreen are especially important during a boat trip.

With any luck, you will be able to capture some unforgettable images, so be sure to bring your camera with you.

It is important to note that the use of drones is not allowed during whale watching in Genoa.

Also, if you have one, I recommend that you bring along binoculars for whale watching in Genoa. This will allow you to observe cetaceans and other marine life from a distance.

You should also bring a snack and water with you to keep hydrated and nourished during the excursion.

Whale Watching Genoa: conclusions

Here we come to the end of this article on Whalewatch in Genoa, in which I told you about how the cetacean sighting tours take place, what the price and duration of the experience is, and what sea creatures you can observe while sailing.

I hope I have answered all your questions, but if you still have doubts or questions about the Whalewatching tour Liguria, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

I always reply to everyone when I can.

A hug,

how to see whale in genoa italy

Genoa: Cetacean Watching Cruise with Marine Biologist Guide

Photo credits:

Andrea Semonella

Hey! I'm Andrea and I am a little bit obsessed with exploring the world and meeting people on the road. I'm in love with my city, and I'm happy to share with you all the best place and most incredible secrets of Genoa, Italy.

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