Although most people’s idea of scuba diving involves coral reefs and brightly coloured fish, there’s so much more to see. Shipwrecks, geological formations, kelp forests and unusual critters lie in wait closer to home, providing just as much to intrigue and entice.
Travelling within Europe on a scuba trip means you can avoid the high cost and risk of checking in your gear on multiple flights, and if you’re up to date with your ehic card renewal, you will also be covered against certain medical costs. If you’ve never considered a diving holiday in Europe before, here are a few ideas to get you started.
The clear waters around the beautiful island of Sardinia are home to plenty of sunken war ships. Some of these wrecks date back to World War II and were sunk by mines or attacked by British submarines.
There are a number of excursions that take experienced divers into the deep to see the wrecks up close. Some of the most popular sites are the K12, the wreck of a German cargo ship sunk in June 1943, and Punta Nera Di Osala, a shallow dive of 20-50 feet more suitable for beginners.
If you’re not interested in wreck diving, Sardinia also has a lot of beautiful marine life.
Madeira is known as the garden island, but it also has a lot to offer in its waters. The sea is warm and clear, which makes it popular for scuba diving. The marine life on offer includes jacks, barracudas and rays.
Madeira is also known for its whale watching and dolphin spotting excursions so there’s a chance you’ll get two for the price of one while out on your dive boat.
Greece is home to some of the best diving spots in the world. Mykonos is a beautiful island with plenty of underwater caverns, dramatic ship wrecks and stunning reefs.
The reefs provide a bit more of a challenge for experienced divers, as they are exposed to currents and waves.
THE CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN
The volcanic landscape that makes up the Canary Islands makes for some interesting rock formations, with underwater arches and caves.
The marine life is extremely diverse as well. Rays, eels, grouper fish and even some shark species visit the clear waters off the coast of the islands. Divers have also been known to spot dolphins and turtles.
The Maltase island of Gozo has some spectacular diving spots. There are plenty of unique underwater features, such as the vertical wall of Reqqa Point, the Double Arch Reef and the mostly intact wreck of the Um el Faroud.
If you only have one day to spare, make sure you visit the Blue Hole and the Azure Window, which are very close together. The Azure Window is a huge rock formation directly above the collapsed limestone cave that forms the Blue Hole.
Here, you can see seahorses and the occasional octopus, but you’ll have to pass through a 262-foot-long tunnel to reach it.