There is a pod of 27 Roaz do Sado Dolphins, or bottlenose dolphins, that live in the waters of the Arrábida Nature Preserve south of Lisbon. Here is a guide to different dolphin-watching tours in the area.
About Roaz do Sado Dolphins
Roaz-Corvineiro or Bottlenose dolphins live in every ocean in the world except the Arctic and Antarctic circles.
The Portuguese word for dolphin is “golfinho.”
The Portuguese fishermen in this area call them Roaz-Corvineiro because the dolphins with nibble (roer) at the Corvina fish caught in their nets.
“Sado” is the river estuary where this pod of dolphins is found.
While Corvina is one of their favorite foods, dolphins eat a large variety of fish, including mullet, horse mackerel, sardines, anchovies, eels, cephalopods such as cuttlefish and squid, and some crustaceans.
Adult bottlenose dolphins grow to 4 m, with young dolphins averaging up to 1.2 m.
Adults weigh between 335 lbs – 1433 lbs and young dolphins from 22 lbs to 132 lbs.
They have a 40 to 50-year lifespan, with females living longer than males.
All of the dolphins in this 27-member family have been named, photographed, and identified.
Dolphin Watching with Sado Arrábida Nature Tourism
Sado Arrábida Nature Tourism offers 2 1/2 hour and three-hour cruises on the boat Mil Andanças.
The boat departs from Troia at 10 am and 2 pm and departs from Setúbal at 9:30 am and 2:30 pm.
The price for adults is €35 the price for children aged 4 to 12 is €15.
If one child is accompanied by two adults that child is free. Ages three and under are free.
They also have a two-hour sunset tour that departs from Troia at 6 pm and Setúbal at 5:30 pm.
The price for an adult is €25. A child under 12 is €12.50. Again, that child is free if accompanied by two adults.
Children three and under are also free.
There are no guarantees that you will see dolphins, but there is a 95% success rate.
No company guarantees that you will see dolphins.
Also, it is possible to go swimming in the summer.
Sado Arrábida Nature Tourism also has a motorboat that does tours at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm.
Adults are €30. Children are €15.
In Tróia, find the kiosk Sado Arrábida at the marina. GPS 38° 29‘60“ north 8° 54‘13“ west
In Setúbal, go to the boarding pier at Avenida Jaime Robelo / Doca das Fontainhas, near the ferry boat pier.
GPS 38° 52‘16“ north/8° 88‘47“ west
If you are in Lisbon, you need to head about one hour south make to Setúbal. Transportation is not provided from Lisbon.
SadoArrábida has been doing a variety of nature tours in Arrabida Park and Natural Reserve of the Sado Estuary sonce 1999.
Arrábida Sea Ventures
This tour costs €40. The boat will pass by Sesimbra, Troia, and the Serra da Arrábida mountains.
You will make a stop near Galápos Beach and have the opportunity to swim or snorkel. Snorkeling equipment is provided.
You might be able to spot seahorses, sea-urchin, starfish, or an octopus if you are lucky.
The Arrabida Sea Ventures trip is two hours in length, and departs from Arrábida at 10 am and 2:30 pm. Life jackets, snorkels, accident insurance are provided.
Vertigem Azul Dolphin Tours
Vertigem Azul (Blue Vertigo)a Praia has been doing dolphin tours for close to 25 years.
The 2.5 to 3 hour tour on board the sailing catamaran O Esperança (Hope) passes along the Setúbal and Troia Coast, looking for Sado dolphins.
Tickets are €40 for adults (everyone over 13), €20 for ages 3 – 12. Booking: Blue Vertigo (vertigemazul.com)
Rua Praia da Saúde 11D, Loja (Shop) 10, Setúbal. GPS: 38.521489884939115, -8.897336276707172
T: 351 265 238 000
Get Your Guide Dolphin-Watching Trip from Lisbon
Get Your Guide offers a full day adventure starting in Lisbon with a three-hour dolphin tour on either a modern catamaran or a restored salt galleon.
Boats depart from Setúbal.
Pickup in Lisbon can be arranged from the Hard Rock Cafe on Avenida da Liberdade. You will travel to and from the town of Setúbal in an air-conditioned van.
This tour starts at $101.78 per person. Children under three are free.
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Get Your Guide Dolphin-Watching Tour from Sesimbra
If you are already in Sesimbra, or you can make your way there, this tour three-hour tour is $46.83.
You will visit caves and beaches that are only accessible by sea.
You will have the opportunity to swim at beaches in the national park and observe dolphins in their natural habitat.
Meet the tour at the ESPADARTE pier at Rua do Clube Naval, Sesimbra, GPS: 38.43712893100852, -9.113601702250001
The above link to Get Your Guide is an affiliate link. If you use it to book an experience, I will receive a small commission. The commission does not affect the price you pay for the tour, but it helps me. Thank you!
Prices may vary. For information on other unique activities or tours, see my article, Unique tours and experiences in and near Lisbon