The best places to see whales in Scotland

There are plenty of places in Scotland where you're almost guaranteed to spot a whale
There are plenty of places in Scotland where you're almost guaranteed to spot a whale
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They’re some of the most majestic creatures in the world, and nothing compares to seeing whales in their natural environment.

Lucky for both residents and visitors, Scotland is one of the best countries on the planet for whale-watching.

Here are places to go if you want to spot a minke or orca whale enjoying the surf.


On the west coast of Scotland, Loch Gairloch in Wester Ross looks out towards the Atlantic Ocean and the distant Outer Hebrides.

A whale-spotting boat tour here will almost allow you to see minke whales, as well as dolphins, porpoises and even sharks.

The Minch

Further up the west coast - between Ullapool on the mainland and Stornoway on Lewis and Harris - The Minch sees both minke and orca whales pass through its waters during their annual migration to warmer climates.


The Isle of Mull is a famous spot for whale-spotting, and is often said to be one of the best locations for it in the world.

Minke whales are easily seen on boat excursions here between April and October.


Pods of up to 150 orca whales are usually spotted from the Orkney Isles several times every year.

To increase your chances of a sighting, the best time to visit is between May and September, although the whales are present all year round.


Even further north, you may be lucky enough to see killer whales on Shetland between May and August, when they come inshore to hunt seals.

The Moray Firth

North of Fraserburgh and Lossiemouth sits the Moray Firth, where minke whales have been spotted in the past.

Although sightings vary frequently from year to year, the whales are most commonly spotted between July and late September.

Pilot, humpback and northern bottlenose whales have also been seen here over the years.