Scuba diving in Europe gives you an experience of a lifetime while taking you back to a rich maritime history you never will find anywhere else in the world. Europe is a preferred destination for holidaymakers especially those looking to showcase their skills in diving. From its diversity coral to thousands of ancient shipwrecks and rich marine life, Europe has plenty to offer and you cannot exhaust its magnificent and dazzling seascapes in a matter of hours or even in a single day.
In fact, this continent’s underwater beauty is second to none making Europe a good diving destination stretching from the cooler waters of the Atlantic Ocean taking you south to the warm and refreshing waters of the Mediterranean Sea. In this article, we are going to take you on a fact-finding mission about the best dive sites in Europe so you may have an easy time choosing the right one for you.
1. Playa Chica, Canary Islands (Spain)
Playa Chica comes out clearly as one of the best dive sites in Europe and it is among those sites that are mostly frequented by divers from all walks of life. This diving site is located in the Canary Islands and you can access it directly right from the beach. Playa Chica is reputed for having everything all types of divers need. You can venture deep down the white sands to have a look at the small wreck lying peacefully on the sand bed or explore the vertical walls to marvel at the marine life comprising of beautiful orange corals, frogfish and enormous barracuda among others.
As a matter of fact, Playa Chica is a perfect diving spot for you if you are a night diver because that’s when conditions are favorable to explore the turquoise waters teeming with all kinds of marine animals.
2. Normandy, France
What comes into your mind at the mention of Normandy? Well, the name itself takes you back to D-Day at the height of the Second World War and that’s when curiosity sets in. Normandy offers the best diving spots for wreck divers who want to have a look at the underwater museum full of war wrecks. These wrecks serve as a constant reminder of one of the epic stories that shaped Europe and the world in general.
If you are an advanced diver, Normandy scuba diving destination is quite perfect for you. The wrecks are located off the coast at a depth averaging 75 to 100 feet when currents are moderate. Here, the unfolding sight of U-boats, Sherman tanks and the secret Schnellboot will immerse you into a historic past when anarchy was at its peak. Most of the wrecks found in this spot allow you to penetrate through them or have swim through to a world of different kinds of marine life. However, the wrecks are highly regarded as war graves and treasure hunting is not allowed.
3. Lundy Island, Bristol Channel (The United Kingdom)
Lundy Island is known for its warmer waters that will expose you to a whole range of marine life comprising of sea fans, colorful sponges, a host of corals and many more. As if that is not enough, this scuba diving site will give you an opportunity to take a few photos of basking sharks and grey seals as you enjoy the underwater picturesque scenery created by boulder screes.
Despite being one of the best dive sites in Europe, Lundy Island can pose some diving challenges to you. So, it is a good idea to venture into these waters with an experienced and knowledgeable dive instructor.
4. Vis Island, Croatia
Vis Island on the fringes of the Adriatic Sea is a scuba diving destination that holds vivid memories of several fierce battles that took place around that area. As a diver, this site has plenty for you in terms of historic wrecks dating back to the last major world wars and even more. The diving is excellent and you will have an opportunity to meet both technical and recreational divers with a common goal; to explore the wreckages dotting the sandy bottom of Adriatic sea.
From the wreck of the B-17G Flying Fortress (at 230 feet deep requiring technical skills and certification) to that of B-24 Liberator, the bomber Tulsamericana at the depth of 130, your diving mission will not be in vain given that the two wrecks are homes to all kinds of marine life within the Vis Island. Some of the marvels of nature that you will encounter include the clouds of anthias whirls and yellow sponges among other features of great interest.
5. Dubnik, Slovakia
Eastern Slovakia is home to the famous Slovak Opal Mine near Presov city. The site is historically known for hosting scores and scores of treasure hunters back in the 16th century. The treasure hunters were on a constant mission of digging deeper and deeper into the earth with the aim of uncovering valuable gemstones giving rise to one of the best dive sites in Europe comprising of tunnels and shafts that run for more than 13 miles.
The 3 miles of the tunnels and shafts are always flooded thus attracting hundreds of divers to the site. That being said, your diving mission will take you down the corridors of those massive mines, bringing you closer to the breathtaking kaleidoscopic walls that glow in hues of pink, blue, purple, orange and green.
Apart from that, your dive will take you back in time and that is evident from the admirable handiwork carried out by miners back then. The corridors will lead you to the cut out areas, above and below and then into the wide-open ballrooms. In the real sense, the visibility in the cold 37° Fahrenheit waters at the Slovak Opal Mine is seemingly endless yet fulfilling in one of the most unique dive settings you can think of.
6. Portofino Lighthouse, Italy
Portofino Lighthouse is a strange landmark, giving you one of the most amazing and unique scenes especially when you are out for an early morning or evening dives. This is the time when both morays and groupers converge to start their octopuses hunting expeditions. And if you are part of divers, you will have to stay right at the bottom (about 40 feet) and wait to witness the groupers start their incursions immediately. It is always an enjoyable sight that defines clearly survival for the fittest among different sea creatures.
7. Lofoten Islands, Norway
Norway provides one of the coldest diving spots in Europe with Lofoten Islands being famous for the kelp forests and a sizeable amount of well-preserved shipwrecks. To reach this wonderful diving destination, you will need to use the boat or arrive there by the shore.
The island provides nice places to stay while strategizing for your upcoming diving mission. Lofoten Island is ideal for on-surface experiences like trekking, fishing and interacting with amazing, like-minded people. If you fancy taking your diving skills into cold waters, Lofoten Island in Norway is the place to be.
8. Maltese Islands
You can find Maltese Islands in the Mediterranean and this location has three different diving spots at your disposal. Each spot boasts of its uniqueness when it comes to diving adventures. Therefore, if you want to experience easy access diving into clear, warm waters under calm conditions, Maltese Island should be your first choice. These unique diving spots will give you a relaxing dive or give you a reason to explore a variety of wrecks and caves available to you.
9. The Silfra Fissure, Iceland
Iceland too has something for you if you are looking for the best dive sites in Europe. The Silfra Fissure is regarded as one of the top scuba diving destinations not only in Europe but across the world. Why would you consider taking your diving skills to Silfra Fissure? First of all, this is the only spot in the entire world that you can dive between 2 continental plates. This is so amazing, right? Secondly, you can see well over 330 feet due to its outstanding viz. Next time you want to have a lifetime diving experience between two continental plates in Europe, and then you will have to consider visiting Silfra Fissure in Iceland to satisfy your curiosity.
10. Orkney Islands, Scotland
This is home to Scapa Flow, a world-class diving site at the heart of Scotland. Here, you will come across deep dives and reefs including the famous wrecks of all time. The dive here is not for the faint-hearted because the waters are extremely chilly but nutrient-rich and a safe haven for a wide range of marine life.
It is no wonder that you are likely to encounter whales, porpoises, seals, puffins and of course, dolphins in large numbers while on your diving adventure. The fact that there are other spectacular diving sites, Orkney is famous for the German ships lying on the sea bed of Scapa Flow. In essence, this diving spot gives you an opportunity to travel back in time for every dive you make to explore those historic wrecks. Clearly, you cannot afford to miss out on this one if you truly want to have a memorable experience in one of the best dive sites world over.
Europe has many interesting spots for scuba diving and each has its own uniqueness that you need to find out by yourself. From historic sites to amazing physical features and clear waters to chilly waters all the way to marine life, Europe offers you a wide range of scuba diving places to choose for both recreational and technical diving.