Thinking of a trip to Europe gives a glimpse of images of wine, cheese, pastries, splendid architecture, castles, and lakes.
Yes, yes… That said, Europe is also a great destination for scuba diving! There are several opportunities to try different types of diving in Europe.
Between malta’s mild and warm climate and Scotland’s steep coastline, there’s plenty to discover!
This article looks at the European continent’s travel and diving destinations.
Besides, the several links will redirect you to the countries that interest you so that you can discover the diving opportunities specific to each!
This article is a detailed guide to scuba diving and snorkeling in Europe.
Best Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Europe
The best scuba diving sites in Europe
Diving in Europe transports you from Greece’s crystal clear, warm water to Iceland’s equally clear but cold water. Also, you have a wide choice of types of dives; caves, wrecks, reefs, and not to mention fjord dives.
Here is a list of European countries that deserve your attention when you plan your next European getaway to add some bubbles!
*Click on the country’s name to access the full country information page.
The best countries to dive into in Europe.
- Greece: First of all, you should know that the country has just opened up to the scuba diving industry in recent years. Then, Greece’s clear, blue waters contain several treasures and artifacts to discover.
- Iceland: The Silfra Pit (Silfra crack) is among the most spectacular dive sites in the world, no more, no less!
- Portugal: The Algarve region and the Berlengas archipelago are the best diving destinations in Portugal on the mainland. Otherwise, it is the archipelagos of the Azores and the Madeira, which are further offshore.
- Spain: First, closer to the mainland, the Balearic Islands are amazing, and the Costa del Sol will surprise you with diving. Then, the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of Africa, offers world-famous diving.
- Italy: The Christ of the Abyss, a bronze statue, which rests in the bay of San Fruttuosso, Liguria, is among the most famous dive sites in the world. Sardinia and Sicily have great diving opportunities too.
- Malta: The small country nestles in the heart of the Mediterranean and offers crystal clear sea and dive sites for all levels of divers. The Blue Hole on the island of Gozo and the Blue Lagoon of Comino is superb in diving and snorkeling, respectively.
- France: The Côte d’Azur and the southwest coast of France are great for temperate water diving and cave exploration. Besides, on the country’s north coast, divers are entitled to beautiful cold water dives in La Mancha.
- Ireland: West Cork and Donegal areas are superb for cold water diving.
- Scotland: With over 70 active dive clubs in Scotland, it’s a very real, if surprising, dive destination! Scapa Flow and the Isle of Mull are thought of beautifully cold water dives in Scotland.
- Croatia: The country stretches along the Adriatic Sea and offers direct access to its mysterious blue waters! The liveaboard industry in Croatia is experiencing steady growth. It makes the country a budget travel destination with cheap dives! Remember to discover Blue Grotto, Hvar, and Vis.
Reviews on scuba diving in Europe
As a rule, diving in Europe is mainly done from diving centers in different countries. So, depending on the country, we mainly discuss diving centers, clubs, or diving federations.
Diving in Europe is either from the shore directly or on a boat on a day trip. The dive sites in Europe are never far away, so a few boats are on “à la carte” excursions, not a liveaboard.
Diving cruises in Europe are mainly adventure cruises in countries such as Croatia and Italy. Indeed, these have several islands off their coasts and offer great cruising opportunities.
Cruises in Croatia are mainly adventure cruises that offer snorkeling, snorkeling. As for Italy, there are similar cruises but also a liveaboard-dive boat: the Norseman. The Norseman offers to discover and dive into the Tuscan archipelago.
Otherwise, many European divers choose a cheap dive cruise in the Red Sea to go into exile during their holidays. There are diving safaris for all tastes and budgets in the Red Sea.
Best time to dive in Europe
Overall, the best season to dive in Europe is summer, i.e., the months of June, July, and August. As with many other activities in the northern hemisphere, summer is the ideal season to get started!
Of course, the summer season brings its share of travelers all over Europe, but diving is not the first attraction. It rarely becomes overcrowded.
Besides, for countries further south of Europe, you can consider spring and early autumn to dive in. But, again, consult the country-specific pages you are interested in for more details.
It is possible to learn to dive into all European countries. But you have to see each country in particular because the systems are very different from one place to another.
Also, Europe is particularly interesting for divers who want to specialize in cold water diving, with dry suits, cave diving, or on wrecks. The sites to learn and then discover with its new specialization are many.
On the other hand, it goes without saying that to pass its first levels, Europe is not the cheapest destination… we then look to Asia or the Caribbean!
Scuba diving conditions
Scuba diving conditions in Europe vary greatly from country to country. Between hot water dives and dry suit dives, there are many other parameters to consider.
The idea is to look more specifically at the pages of the countries mentioned above to determine their specific conditions.
Snorkeling in Europe
In Europe, palm, mask, and snorkel diving rhyme with small islands, shallow water sites, and crystal clear water. Fortunately, there are several destinations with all these criteria in Europe! Here are, in short, the best snorkeling destinations in Europe:
- Malta offers many snorkeling spots everywhere!
- In Portugal, the clear and fascinating waters of the Berlengas archipelago are to be discovered!
- The Balearic Islands in Spain will not disappoint you!
- Italy offers many snorkeling sites. These include Sicily, the Aegadian Islands, Sardinia, and Capri.
- The thousands of islands of Croatia offer you palm, mask, and snorkel pong in the Adriatic Sea!
- Whether in Santorini, Corfu, the island of Crete, or elsewhere, Greece offers nice snorkeling options!
If you plan to go on a European trip, I advise you to invest in good travel insurance that also covers scuba diving. You never know what can happen, and good insurance can get you out of difficult situations.
Europe is an amazing travel destination and offers some beautiful scuba diving and snorkeling spots! Then, as everything is relatively easy to access in Europe, a weekend getaway can turn into a diving adventure! Why not?
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