Dolphins Albufeira - Algarve
Travel Update Summer 2020: Most destinations, sites and parks reopened with limitations. Check the official websites and read our crucial ‘BEST TIME TO GO' and ‘AVOIDING THE CROWDS’ tips:
The Algarve is a year-round destination with pleasant temps during the winter and hot temps in summer. Anyhow, there is often a breeze in summer. Dolphin tours are offered from March until late November. Although the best months to spot schools of dolphins are from June to September. In spring and at the end of the summer from September onwards it's cold out on the sea in the morning; bring a warm jacket.
Crowds at the Algarve
The Algarve is a popular destination by the Portuguese. They spend their summer holidays here between the end of June until the beginning of September. It's pretty busy and accommodation prices are at a high level. It's almost the same at Easter and Christmas.
Weather at the Algarve
The summer from June to mid-September is quite hot with temps in the high 20s and above while nights are pleasant below 20°C. In spring and fall, the day-temps are between 20°C-25°C and nights are between 10°C-15°C still comfortable for camping. During winter the temps are still lovely below 20°C, but one digit temps in the night. Most precipitation during winter. Summer is almost dry. Rain can occur from autumn to spring, but usually not much.
Different species of dolphins can be spotted like the common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, striped dolphin, Risso's dolphin and the little and shy porpoise. It is even possible to spot shy minke whales, orcas, different turtles but of course not predictable.
There are several tour operators for dolphin watching. We did it twice; the first trip wasn't professional, the second time they run an extra mile for their customers. So check the recommendations of the trip first. We went out by speedboat and followed a pod of dolphins. Afterward, they drove along the rugged coastline to beautiful caves like Benagil, different beaches, and rock formations. It was an outstanding morning, and the kids had lots of fun.
The famous Benagil Cave where you can swim to
Where to Stay
We spend a week at the ALOHA Burgau Guesthouse. An excellent breakfast is included in your stay. Rita and Nuno are taking care of their guests and provide you with lots of information.
Quick Facts About the Different Dolphins:
- Bottlenose Dolphins
They behave like the pilot whales one eye and half of the brain is resting while the other part is active to continue breathing. They are much bigger than other dolphins with 2-4 meters in length. Their lifespan is around 50 years when not in captivity in a dolphinarium or aquarium. They can dive several hundred meters deep but prefer to spend most of the time at less than 2 meters. They have an excellent sense of hearing and eyes under water and above. Dolphins are very social swimming in huge schools.
- Striped Dolphins
They are easily recognized by its light blue color. They are very social living in huge pods up to 100 and even more is possible. They can grow to a length of about 1.8-2.5 meters and weigh a maximum of about 170 kg. In contrast to the bottlenose dolphin, they refuse to be trained in captivity. This species is considered to be highly stable. When searching for food, they dive up to many hundred meters deep.
- Common Dolphins
They are almost the same size than the striped dolphins but weigh less. They are easy to identify by their pale- yellowish patch on their sides. They live up to 40 years in large schools sometimes up to several thousand members. They are energetic acrobats with spectacular jumping skills and one of the fastest cetaceans. They can dive up to 200 meters for a maximum of 8 minutes but mostly much shorter. Unfortunately, the population in the Mediterranean Sea has been decreasing rapidly. There are several reasons all manmade; over-fishing, they get caught in trawler's nets and pollution.