Incredible Scuba Diving Destinations in Europe
Europe boasts some incredible scuba diving destinations that provide unique diving experiences. No matter if you’re a novice or an expert diver, there’s something here for everyone.
From massive shipwrecks to marine reserves and ice diving, there’s plenty to explore. So why wait? Take a rental car and get ready to experience the best European scuba diving has to offer!
1. Diamond Rocks
Diamond Rocks, situated off the west coast of Ireland in County Clare, is one of Europe’s premier dive sites. Consistently voted among the top 10 dive spots worldwide, this scuba diving oasis provides an exciting challenge to both novice and experienced divers alike.
At this dive site, the main draw is the vibrant reef at 6-9 meters (20-30 feet). The seaward side of the reef falls off in distinct sections, providing visitors with an exciting 30 meter deep valley or gorge that emerges between shallow reef and shoreline.
This area is a popular snorkel and scuba dive destination, boasting plenty of amazing marine life. In addition to stingrays, you might spot flying gurnards, yellow frogfish, schools of nurse sharks or big barracudas.
Another unique attraction at this dive site is a triangular cave that extends to the other side of the island. However, this cavern may be too challenging for novice divers due to strong currents and strong walls.
In the surrounding waters, you’ll encounter a wide range of marine life including turtles and moray eels. Additionally, the flora in this region is quite diverse with gorgonian fans, soft corals and sponges.
At this dive site, divers can explore some sunken wrecks filled with fascinating sea life and impressive architecture. It’s a must-visit for any diver!
Diamond Rocks can be quite cold, but the views of this stunning underwater landscape make it worth the chills. Plus, nearby Cliffs of Moher provide excellent opportunities to view birds and whales up close.
2. Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow, located off the coast of Scotland, is a tidal strait surrounded by several islands. Although mostly enclosed by water, weather conditions in Scapa Flow can change rapidly so divers should be prepared for changing conditions.
Scapa Flow, located in Scotland’s north, does not enjoy a tropical climate and therefore divers are advised to bring appropriate clothing for the weather. Furthermore, thermal protection is recommended as temperatures can soar up to 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) during summer days.
Scapa Flow’s primary attraction is the World War I German High Seas Fleet, submerged since 1919 after Admiral Von Reuter’s scuttling. Three 25,797 ton battleships, three light cruisers, one fast mine layer and numerous other sites related to their sinking can be explored within its main body – all offering fantastic diving opportunities.
These wrecks, submerged in a nourishing sea, have created an abundant marine habitat. Here you’ll find soft coral, herringbone hydroids and sea stars as well as larger predators like codfish, lings, wrasses and basking sharks during summer months.
Scapa Flow is home to not only these wrecks, but it also boasts a number of blockships sunk at its entrances during World War 1 and 2. These offer divers an opportunity to explore maritime history in greater depth, providing them with an intimate glimpse.
Diving in Scapa Flow is not for everyone, so it is wise to hire a professional. There are various dive companies operating nearby and you can browse their websites to learn more about what they provide. Some offer courses while others focus solely on exploring the underwater landscape of Scapa Flow and its wrecks.
Chios is one of Europe’s premier diving destinations, situated in the Aegean Sea off Turkey’s coastline. This small but stunning island offers plenty of scuba diving options for divers of all levels.
Spain boasts some of the finest scuba diving sites in Europe, from underwater caves to vibrant reefs and historic shipwrecks. Advanced divers will enjoy vertical walls and caverns while beginners will discover breathtaking dive sites filled with corals, sponges and marine life.
In the summer months, larger marine life such as schools of fast-moving tuna and swordfish can be spotted passing close by. Turtles and sperm whales may also be visible in deeper waters.
Another remarkable aspect of this stunning place is that despite the high levels of tourism, locals are striving to preserve their traditions, authenticity and character. This is largely thanks to their mix of Turkish, Arabic, Italian and Byzantine influences which creates a truly unique image on the island.
Chios, the island’s main town, offers a tranquil oasis of palm trees and marble along its vibrant waterfront with plenty of restaurants and bars. As you stroll through its winding streets, take time to admire various landmarks from different historical eras as you pass.
On your journey around Olympi, you can explore the ancient temples of Apollo and Athena, as well as the castle and monastery at Olympi. Additionally, there are plenty of villages and forests along its length – Pyrgi and Kampos being two such charming villages that deserve your time to explore.
4. Medes Islands
The Medes Islands are a group of seven uninhabited islets located off Spain’s Costa Brava in the North-West Mediterranean. Part of Montgri, Medes Islands and Baix Ter nature park, these seven tiny islets form an idyllic archipelago with stunning scenery and abundant marine life.
The Medes Islands offer some exceptional scuba diving spots and are a must-visit for divers from Europe and beyond. The stunning natural setting and abundance of marine life create an enthralling environment, boasting a diverse array of native flora and fauna.
Diving in the Medes Islands is a truly wonderful experience and some of Spain’s top dive sites. With an abundance of sand-dwelling species and gorgonians, this region provides divers with an unbeatable playground.
Another wonderful aspect of the Medes Islands is their marine environment, which mirrors that of the Caribbean. This makes for an exciting exploration spot as there are plenty of fish and various types of nudibranchs to be discovered.
Cavall Bernat, Vaca and Dofi are some of the best diving spots in the Medes Islands. These dive sites boast wide open spaces illuminated with spectacular gorgonians and abundant marine life.
The Medes Islands boast an incredible marine ecosystem and are home to many rare species you won’t find elsewhere in the world, like nudibranchs and seahorses.
The Medes Islands boast an array of underwater caves and swim-through tunnels, making diving here an exciting experience you won’t forget in a hurry! You’ll see lots of vibrant colors and textures, plus you might just spot a blue shark!
England is the largest of the British Isles, covering two thirds of Great Britain in central and southern regions. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, making it closer to continental Europe than any other part of Britain; it can be directly connected to France via the Channel Tunnel.
It has a temperate climate with abundant rainfall year-round; snowfall may only occur during winter and early spring. The east of the country experiences the driest climate while south is warmer and wettest.
England was once covered in forests of oak, ash, beech and other broad-leaved trees. Nowadays these woods have largely been replaced by industrial activity, leaving only a small area of land remaining as woodland.
England is a top diving destination, featuring plenty of top dive spots like Skomer Marine Reserve in Pembrokeshire – where the reef has been protected from fishing and development, making it thrive. Here you’ll find wall drops down to 50m, caves and over 500 wrecks to explore.
Other top diving destinations in England include the Azores, known as “The Last Hidden Treasure of Europe.” Here, the crossroads of currents attract many pelagic species such as manta rays, mobulas and blue sharks to these idyllic islands. There are also plenty of pristine wrecks and walls to explore on these picturesque islands.
Iceland may be a faraway destination, but it’s renowned for its Slifra rift–an underwater crack forming the boundary between North American and European plates. This underwater marvel boasts some stunning natural wonders with an unique ecosystem. Here you can spot sperm whales, basking sharks, as well as amazing scuba dives. Iceland truly has something special to offer everyone who visits – not only that but you won’t forget your camera when diving here either!