Europe has some of the best diving spots in the world. Here, you will find a huge coral and sea life diversity and many shipwrecks to explore. You can have a great diving holiday in Europe by sticking to diving along a single coastline or island, where there are many spots to try. However, if possible, hitting diving spots from south to the north will allow you to explore a huge coral diversity.
Malta and Gozo – Clear warm water and beautiful landscape
Scuba diving in Malta is a wonderful experience. The Maltese archipelago is just south of Sicily and 288 kilometers north of Africa and it comprises three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. The islands enjoy excellent weather throughout the year and you can have a diving holiday in Malta even in winter, where temperatures rarely, if ever, drop below 10 degrees Celsius. The locals are very friendly and speak excellent English, Italian and Maltese.
If visiting Malta, two dive spots should be on your radar. First, go to Cirkewwa in Malta. Since Malta is the only island that has an airport, you will probably arrive here. Cirkewwa is a harbor situated at the northernmost part of Malta and it is one of the island’s top diving spots. Here, you can explore underwater cliffs, caves, tunnels and two shipwrecks: the tugboat MV Rozi and the P29 patrol boat.
From Cirkewwa, there is a short 30 minutes ferryboat ride to Gozo. Here you will find an island sea and the famous “Azure Window”, an impressive limestone natural arch situated in the Dwejra Bay. A tunnel links cliff-surrounded lagoon to the open sea. Sea life here includes seahorses, fish rays and multiple species of fish.
The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia – Hundreds of underwater caves to explore
The Dalmatian Coast greets the Adriatic Sea with picturesque medieval towns perched on high cliffs. The mountainous terrain dives straight in the seabed and the results is an array of underwater caves and tunnels, perfect for scuba diving. The Dalmatian Riviera is also a top destination for a yachting holiday. Many islands are only accessible by boat and are perfect spots for a diving holiday in Europe.
There are over 150 diving centers scattered along the Adriatic Coast and it is rare to find two boats on the same site. Although extremely beautiful, the coast is not very popular and not that crowded. The landscape is breathtaking and there are many islands and inlets to explore.
We recommend HvarIsland as your headquarters for scuba diving. This is the second largest island in Croatia and features numerous attractions both above and below the water. The archipelago has many beautiful diving spots that are just a few minutes away. The flora and fauna of the Adriatic Sea are spectacular. You can see scorpionfish, seahorses, moray eels, shoals of cuttlefish and lobsters among many other species. Shipwrecks are also a main attraction here. Many ships have been sunk during WW2, leaving fascinating wrecks that are worth exploring.
Iceland, Silfra in Thingvellir National Park – Dive between Tectonic Plates
Iceland can be an excellent destination for a diving holiday. Silfra is a unique diving spot in Iceland. Situated in Thingvellir National Park, the area is on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. You will dive in clear freshwater in a crack between the American and European continental shelves. This is the only place where one can dive or snorkel directly in the crack between two continental plates.
Silfra’s main attraction is the clear water. Diving here feels like flying above the seabed. Also, the light that hits the surface and bounces off the waves often creates spectacular rainbows. The water is very cold with an average temperature of 2 degrees Celsius, so proper equipment is required.
You will not find an abundance of sea life, but the algae that cover the bottom are colorful and paint the landscape in a pretty and unique light. Another big attraction are the extraordinary sea caves that can be explored.
The Thingvallavatn Lake is next to Silfra and it is also worth a dive as the canyons on the bottom are impressive.
Kilkee, Ireland – Impressive Walls and Rock Formations
Kilkee, Ireland’s top diving spot, is perfect for a diving holiday in Europe. There are many things to explore here Starting with the rock formations and finishing with the many shipwrecks that are scattered on the sea floor, you will enjoy every minute of your dive.
The area has many diving sites suitable for beginners and experts alike. The many reefs hold an abundance of marine life that fascinates and entertains. Dolphins may join you on your swim and they are great companions for exploring caves and tunnels. You can dive up to 10 meters (32 feet) to 45 meters (147 feet). The Scuba club in Kilkee is suitable to offer equipment and instruction to novice divers. Guides will direct you to the best spots with clear water and interesting marine fauna.
Scapa Flow, Scotland – Dive Straight into History
Scapa Flow is a body of water near the Orkney Islands, which saw a lot of naval action in WW1, especially during the German’s High Fleet retreat. Many of the ships who were sunk back then can now be visited and they have made Scapa Flow one of the best diving sites in Europe.
Apart from German ships, blocking ships, vessels that were deliberately sunk to prevent access to the bay, also rest on the sea floor. All the wrecks are covered in marine fauna and exploring them is a wonderful experience.
It is possible to dive all year round at Scapa Flow. The best visibility is between December and March, but they are also the coldest months (with an average water temperature of seven degrees Celsius) with the shortest days.
Europe can be the perfect destination for an exciting diving holiday. The waters here are worth exploring every minute.