Humans have always had a very special affinity with dolphins, and an encounter with these playful, intelligent creatures in the wild is a real "bucket list" experience for many. These days it's also a very accessible dream and, even though a sighting can never be guaranteed on dolphin watching holidays, magic happens if you’re in the right location at the right time...
The following destinations have become popular for dolphin watching holidays for very good reason.
Bermuda is probably more renowned for its Humpback Whale watching opportunities, as the ocean giants make their way to their Arctic breeding grounds in the spring months, but the South Shore coastline is also the playground of the beautiful Bottlenose Dolphin. The good news is that sightings are not limited to spring, and they can be seen frolicking in the surrounding seas regularly throughout the year. Because a 200-mile zone around the archipelago is protected under the Fisheries Act, it provides a safe habitat for cetaceans, and – as a bonus – the likelihood of sightings of Northern and Blue Whales is also high.
Croatia may not be the first place that comes to mind for dolphin watching holidays, but it should be. The lush island of Lošinj, situated in the Kvarner Gulf, is renowned for its abundance of marine life and, while it may be small (measuring just 74 square miles), it is also a paradise for a host of unique plant species.
The surrounding oceans provide the ideal habitat for the Bottlenose Dolphin, and several communities have made their home around Lošinj and numerous other smaller islands in the gulf. In fact, the region has become an important wildlife research site under the auspices of the Blue World Institute's Adriatic Dolphin Project. The data collected by the project has made a vital contribution to our understanding of the species on a global scale.
Top Tip: If, after seeing these wonderful mammals in their natural habitat on a cruise around the island, you're inspired to contribute to their conservation, you can visit the Marine Education Centre in Veli Lošinj, which is facilitated by the Blue World Institute, and join the "adopt a dolphin" programme.
A little closer to home (and a bit of a surprise to many people), Jersey is an up-and-coming destination for dolphin watching holidays, with the number of sightings throughout the Channel Islands increasing every year.
The Common and Bottlenose species can both be encountered in the coastal waters surrounding Jersey, along with a huge array of other marine life. This includes a multitude of seabirds, grey seals and the Harbour Porpoises, which are a little more elusive as they spend less time at the surface. A boat cruise around the Jersey archipelago is by far the best way of exploring this unique coastal landscape. As you cruise above submerged reefs and navigate countless tiny islands, the glimpse of a dorsal fin adds an indelible memory to a truly unforgettable experience.
For wildlife lovers, there's not much that can surpass an inspirational encounter with these enchanting, super intelligent mammals in their natural environment – just as they should be.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. If you're interested in enjoying dolphin watching holidays in Bermuda, Croatia or Jersey, John can help find your perfect accommodation. An expert in luxury accommodation in many destinations around the globe for over 30 years, John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.