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Dolphin Watching Golfo Aranci

The thrill of seeing a dolphin up close in the wild? It seems incredible but at Golfo Aranci the dolphins are at home and seeing them frolic in the water and play is very easy.
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Dolphin watching Golfo Aranci

  • A resident colony of dolphins can be found in Sardinia at Golfo Aranci.
  • The chances of seeing them - even up close - are very high.
  • The excursion usually lasts a few hours to half a day and costs around 30/50 euros.

Dolphin watching

Dolphin watching Golfo Aranci
Dolphin watching Golfo Aranci

For years now, Golfo Aranci has been internationally known, in addition to its beauty, for its resident colony of dolphins that populates the waters in front of the village.

Golfo Aranci is a charming fishing village located in the north-eastern Sardiniaa few kilometres north of Olbia and is easily accessible by car or public transport.

The dolphin watching tour is suitable for allIt lasts for several hours and takes place on board an inflatable boat or a boat, in some cases even on a specially equipped fishing boat.

A few minutes' boat ride takes you to the fish farm area in the middle of the gulf where you can generally spotting dolphins busy with their daily activities.

The colony is sedentary and naturally lives in absolute freedom therefore sightings cannot be guaranteed at 100% because dolphins do not accept appointments ???? however 90/95% per cent of the time they are sighted and provide unique emotions.

The operators in the area who offer this type of excursion are many and offer different experiences, as do the ports you can choose for departure: Golfo Aranci, Sos Aranzos, Olbia, Poltu Quatu.

The cost of the experience is generally a few tens of euros. Naturally, the rate varies depending on the duration of the trip and the vessel on which it is carried out. Choose the one you prefer from the available proposals.

Dolphin spotting: where to do it

The territory of Golfo Aranci includes a Sardinian Site of Community Interest, SCI Capo Figari and Isola Figarolo. The Special Area of Conservation is a particularly important natural area and protected by the Natura 2000 network.

Dolphin sighting tours depart from:
Golfo Aranci


During the excursion you can admire the unspoilt nature that characterises the Islet of Figarolo.

On the island in the heart of the gulf live some mouflons who often overlook the cliffs to munch on the appetising bushes of maquis salted by the sea.

In summer, the island is also populated by numerous grey herons resting on the ridges waiting to depart on their migratory journey. These majestic birds, which can reach up to 1 metre in height, can be seen on top of the cliffs and on the buoys marking the boundary of the fish farm, and create an incredibly impressive backdrop.

Capo Figari

During dolphin-watching tours you can also admire the imposing limestone cliffs by Capo Figariwhose white cliffs composed of rocks shaped by water and wind offer shelter to a multitude of animals.

In fact, the fauna of this Site of Community Interest - SCI area - is quite diverse, the major exponents being the mouflon, wild boar, fox, hare, tortoise, the Corsican and herring gull, the peregrine falcon, the lesser shearwater, the storm bird, the cormorant and the tufted warbler.

The typical flora of the Mediterranean maquis is also particularly rich and noteworthy. Among the best-known exponents present are myrtle, juniper, wild olive, holm oak, strawberry tree, cistus, helichrysumheather, lavender and rosemary, mastic, rush and euphorbia.

The dolphins of Golfo Aranci


We now come to some curious news. The dolphins that can generally be seen at Golfo Aranci are bottlenose dolphinsalso known as 'bottle-nosed dolphins'. The famous and unforgettable Flipper was of the Tursiope genus.

Dolphins are marine mammals so they spend their entire lives in the water and perform daily activities there such as raising offspring, sleeping, eating, playing.

In water they mate, give birth and breastfeed continuing to breathe air and putting their 'nose' out of the water from time to time. The dolphins then have lungs and come up to the surface, usually every five minutes, to breathe.

In this regard, an interesting curiosity is that dolphins make rest half a brain at a timeso for sleep they use first one cerebral hemisphere and then the other, which is probably necessary to control the breathing system.

Dolphins have a real 'language' they communicate with each other with whistles and use the famous 'clicks' to locate any prey or obstacles in their path.

You are probably also wondering whether dolphins are dangerous. In general are peaceful and playful animals but females, like all mammal mothers, care a lot about their cubs.

Should the females sense a danger to their young, they may become aggressive, like all mothers of the world. Some say that these marine mammals can also be quite jealous.


Some more numbers on dolphins

The dolphin community at Golfo Aranci is quite large, however, these mammals usually live in small groups of 2-3 up to 10 individualsgenerally females and puppies.

Males tend to be solitary or live in alliances and tend to join the group only at certain times.

  • dolphins will they reproduce every two to three years and give birth in water to a puppy, an only child, who will then live with his mother, aunts and cousins for a few years;
  • the duration of the gestation of a dolphin is approximately 12 monthspuppies are born in water and have an umbilical cord;
  • the puppies come breastfed until the age of about 18 monthsThey then stay close to their mother until they are about 4 years old;
  • the speed they can reach in the swimming up to about 30 km/h;
  • dolphins have lungs like us, the time to apnoea of marine mammals is quite variable, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours (in the case of sperm whales);
  • these dolphins have teeth (about 100-120 teeth) and feed on fish, cephalopods (octopus, squid and cuttlefish) and crustaceans.

Dolphin Gulf project

In order to protect these marvels and preserve their delicate ecosystem, it is essential to behave responsibly at every stage of the sighting for the maximum protection and safety of the specimens. This is why many operators have chosen to voluntarily adhere to a ethical code of conduct that makes dolphin spotting activity dolphin & eco-friendly.

The "Gulf of Dolphins" project promoted by Worldrise e Friend of the Sea outlines a code of conduct that makes the activity sustainable and is based on international guidelines adapted to the local reality of the Gulf.

The operators who participate are adequately trained to provide information on ecology and dolphins. Among the best practice responsible sightings include keeping a safe distance, reducing the speed of watercraft, not bathing with dolphins, not giving them food so as not to interfere with their life in the wild and not transmitting diseases to them.

During the sightings carried out with the operators participating in the project, the education and awareness of tourists towards these splendid creatures is also promoted. See the complete list of operators certified under the project The Gulf of Dolphins

The main dangers threatening dolphins

Dolphins can live in some cases for more than 50 years, but they encounter many dangers in their lives and the infant mortality rate is quite high. The main threats include:

    • intensive fishing that depletes the seas
    • fishing nets
    • boat propellers
    • pollution, including noise pollution
    • diseases

Conscious dolphin spotting

There are two associations in particular that have promoted best-practices and codes of behaviour that protect the welfare of dolphins and, at the same time, allow visitors to observe them in their natural habitat at Golfo Aranci

Dolphin Sightings: Frequently Asked Questions

quick questions and answers ⚡

Usually around € 30 and infants under 2 years old do not pay.

Prices are indicative and not binding. Select the motorboat you prefer to find out the official ticket price.

Departures for dolphin watching depart from the coast of Golfo Aranci, in particular: Sos Aranzos beach, marina of Golfo Aranci.

You can also find departures from Poltu Quatu (Porto Cervo)

There are usually all-day departures every 2 hours from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. in high season.

The duration of the hike is usually around 9o minutes.

It is necessary to arrive early - at least 10 minutes so that all participants can board the dinghy. 

Sardinia has mild temperatures all year round. During the summer, we recommend that you bring a hat to protect you from the sun, a swimming costume and a towel for swimming during stops. If you wish, you can also bring a jumper depending on the time of day you choose to go on the sighting tour. If you take the dolphin watching tour in winter, bring a heavy jacket and a cap. Don't forget your camera.

Perhaps during the tour you will be asked to look around to increase your chances of spotting them, 4 eyes see better than 2, 6 better than 4. In this case, scan the surface of the sea carefully and you will see a fin pop up when you least expect it.

When it happens, even if it is your first instinct, don't start screaming "I saw it", "there they are"report it to the commander, who will head for the sighting point at an appropriate speed and respecting distances so as not to annoy or frighten them.

Dolphins are friendly and peaceful animals, but they are mammals... just like us! Females are very protective of their young and become 'nervous' when they sense potential danger.

The general advice for safe dolphin watching is to keep a safe distance from dolphins, especially not to annoy them or interfere with their daily activities.

Swimming with dolphins is not possible.

During this experience you will be able to swim in the most beautiful bays of Golfo Aranci but you will not be allowed to swim during the sighting for your own safety and that of the dolphins.

Dolphin watching must be carried out with total respect for the animals, as bathing dolphins would transmit potentially fatal diseases and interfere with their nature. 

Feeding dolphins is prohibited.

The reasons are very simple:

  • It must be avoided that they associate 'boat=food' otherwise there is a risk that they will collide with boats with unfortunately fatal results.

  • It is also important that Delphinians feed themselves by maintaining their eating habits and not by feeding on fish caught days ago or worse frozen.

The excursion includes a tour of the bay of Golfo Aranci and a visit to the water-culture plant. During the experience you can generally admire the small island of Figarolo with its wild nature, the birds that populate it and its mouflons. If the weather and sea conditions allow it, you will also see the cliffs of Capo Figari, Sa Mama Chiatta, the Portone and sometimes it is possible to go as far as the natural amphitheatre.

The dolphins that can generally be seen at Golfo Aranci are bottlenose dolphinsalso known as bottle-nosed dolphins.

The famous and unforgettable Flipper was of the Tursiope genus.

Dolphins are marine mammals, so they spend their entire lives in the water and carry out daily activities such as raising their offspring, sleeping, eating and playing.

In the water they mate, give birth and suckle while continuing to breathe air and occasionally sticking their noses out of the water. Dolphins then have lungs and come up to the surface, usually every 5 minutes, to breathe.

The dolphin community at Golfo Aranci is quite large, but these mammals usually live in small groups of 2-3 to 10 individuals, usually females and pups. Males tend to be solitary or live in alliances and tend to join the group only at certain times.

Generally not: dogs often bark when they see dolphins because they are very, very curious about them. We recommend that you check the description of the individual activity or use the filters by selecting 'animals allowed'.

Parking spaces differ depending on which port you choose for your departure. However, we recommend that you arrive at your port of departure early enough to park your car in a suitable place and avoid any unpleasant penalties.

Porto San Paolo
There are paid and free parking spaces near the marina. There are not many, so come a little earlier.

Golfo Aranci
Parking is not difficult to find. In any case, arrive early because during the high season there may be a lot of traffic.

Always check each activity's card for up-to-date location information.

Yes, the dinghies are usually equipped with an awning but this is usually opened during stops and not while sailing.

Take with you:

  • swimming costume
  • beach towel
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • camera

Drinking water, beverages and a few snacks to break the hunger pangs are usually on board.

Yes, the dolphin watching excursion is recommended for everyone.

The marine weather conditions are usually very calm and navigation always takes place below the coast. For this reason it is a very pleasant trip in a unique area.

If you have any special requirements, please check the activity sheet in the important information section so that you can choose the most suitable tour and supplier.

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One Response

  1. Dolphin sighting Golfo Aranci made yesterday 09/09/22, wonderful experience: dolphins were seen for a moment at the beginning. The rest of the ecursion was really nice (excluding one of the guides who devoted herself almost entirely to one participant while neglecting the others present). In any case, this experience is really worthwhile, especially for young people who can learn a lot about environmental protection. Excellent organisation

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