Underwater exploring of abandoned ships, eyeing up of colourful starfish and getting your next adrenaline rush – and we’re not talking about the Great barrier Reef in Australia, but a little closer to home. From Lanzarote to the dive site with the second-cleanest shores in Europe, here’s 5 new dive sites you need to plunge into, on this side of the Hemisphere.
5 of the best dive sites in Europe
Scuba travel you can dive into
A Mediterranean island with the backdrop of ancient ruins to explore, Sardinia’s pristine crystal waters are proof that diving in Europe is by no means boring. Here, you will find the Maddalena islands as the most popular destination for diving, where rope, cave, rock or wreck diving is common, and rich and diverse marine life is plentiful – not to mention clear visibility underwater for up to 30 metres. Sardinia is also a dive site that is quite the historical treasure chest – there are several well-protected shipwreck dive sites (such as the German freighter KT12 and 3 Fratelli wreck) with great visibility and mystical, winding caves which can also be explored underwater. Definitely on our list.
Ranging from narrow dives of shallow 12-metres, such as in Gnar Lapsi, to twisting underwater tunnels near Lantern Point reaching over 50 metres, the Maltese Islands make up arguably the most exciting of Mediterranean scuba diving spots. There are copious amounts of caves, wreck dives and cosy warm water. The sea here is also known for its clear visibility and low-risk danger, making it the perfect conditions for beginners and yet equally as rife in challenging dives for the more experienced diver. The HMS Stubborn, a British submarine from the Second World War, especially impressed us: it not only measures almost 70 metres, but its condition is hardly damaged meaning many details can still be seen to this day. L'Ahrax Point is also one of the diving sites for the insider. In addition to an enormous amount of fish, there is a tunnel that leads to an inland lake which reveals an impressive cave at a depth of 30 metres.
Scuba Diving in Crete
Those who visit the island of Crete know to expect crystalline waters and unrivalled conditions. Take Chania, for example. One of the most sought after diving areas where you can find rare marine life, rocky reefs formed with volcanic rock, and black corals that are unique to Chania alone. Then there’s the El Greco cave which is patterned by gigantic dramatic rock scenery. Water with crystal clear visibility for well over 25 metres is also on the cards, and at some point, fresh water meets salt water to give dazzling reflective lights. Those who want to go even deeper can explore the Kalypso Walls which reach depths of 250 metres to display lots of small caves full of squid, colourful fish, starfish and fireworms.
With more than 1000 islands to explore along this turquoise Adriatic coast, it’s no wonder Croatia is one of latest Mediterranean diving spots getting the limelight. And with stony shores that are globally recognised as the second-cleanest in Europe, it’s hard not to see why. Here, there are countless of diving environments to choose from, such as Losinj and Kvarner. We, however, have our eye on Rovinj, known for its intriguing historical wrecks that reveal tales of the past, and are ready to explore underwater whenever you are. There’s, for example, the Baron Gautsch shipwreck: an old Austrian Merchant fleet ship which you can only have special access to through certified dive centres. Or, there’s the Italian ship named Flamingo, originally armed with two torpedoes before it sank in World War I. And if you tire of exploring the many wrecks available, let the underwater sights do the talking and feast your eyes on vibrant sponge colours from yellow sulphur to pastel blue, with an equally dazzling range of underwater flora and fauna to eye up.
From sea turtles, angel sharks, hammerhead sharks, butterfly and stingrays, to moonfish and corals, it’s safe to say Lanzarote can boast an eclectic amount of marine life. The latter are especially impressive in the hidden spot of Wakiki, where red corals and various species of moray eels and rays can also be spotted at a depth of up to 40 metres. If you’re looking for sea turtles, however, Playa Flamingo is your place. Here, keep your eye out for first-time gliders on the water, as well as gigantic shoals of fish, angel sharks and rays, which bury themselves in the soft sand. Even bigger fish can be spotted at Charco del Palo. There, they live in a small cave on white sand amongst other mantas, moonfish and hammerhead sharks. Lanzarote is also of course sure to please the most experienced of wreck divers: at Viejos Naufragios there are a total of six shipwrecks at a single dive site. In addition to steel fishing boats, there is an entire ship's graveyard here, where you can often encounter stingrays and tuna, too.