Best diving in Europe

From Scotland to Greece, the old continent is such an underrated scuba diving destination. The best diving in Europe is all about quirky dive sites: historical shipwrecks from WWII, submerged ancient villages from the Antiquity or the Middle Age. An extensive program of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) has allowed the development of fabulous dive sites in Southern Europe where fish population thrive such as in France, Italy and Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. But Southern Europe is not the only place where you can enjoy an incredible marine fauna. In the colder waters of the British Isles, you can even dive with dolphins, seals and basking sharks. The destinations from my “Best diving in Europe” list are also featured on my World Dive Map.

Special note: You can find my personal favourites with the ♥ symbol

Iceland

Scuba diving Silfra Lagoon Iceland - Best diving in Europe

Diving in Iceland is one of the best in Europe with famous shore diving spots such as Thingvellir National Park and famous dives such as the Silfra Fissure. Iceland is a great destination for scuba divers who love cavern diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Strytan geothermal lake.

It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a drysuit. Don’t forget you need a dry suit certification to scuba dive in Silfra. The best time of the year is often from March to October, but if you want to have a chance to see the northern lights, you can give it a try in winter too.

Best diving in Iceland

Scotland

Basking shark Scotland - Best diving in Europe

Diving in Scotland is one of the best in Europe with famous diving spots such as Orkney and famous dives such as Scapa Flow shipwrecks from WWI and WWII. Scotland is a great destination for scuba divers who love wreck diving and basking sharks. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in the Sound of Mull on the west coast of Scotland where you can swimwith basking sharks in the summer.

The marine life in Scotland is mostly about grey seals, dogfish, sun starfish or dahlia anemones. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a dry suit. The best time of the year is often from May to August. The best Scottish dive sites can be reached either by boat or from the shore.

Best diving in Scotland

France

Diving Porquerolles France - Best diving in Europe

Diving in France is one of the best in Europe with famous diving spots such as the Port-Cros and Calanques National Parks and famous shipwrecks such as the Grec and the Rubis. France is a great destination for scuba divers who love wreck diving and groupers, especially in the Var Prefecture, between Toulon and Cavalaire. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Thau Lagoon.

The marine life in France is mostly about groupers, octopus, barracudas, moray eel, seahorses and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 7 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from July to September.

Best diving in France:

Switzerland

Pozzo dei Salti Scuba diving in Verzasca River Switzerland - Best diving in Europe

Thanks to famous dive sites such as the Verzasca River, Swizerland is more than worth diving in Europe. Switzerland is a great destination for scuba divers who love river diving and ice diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving from Geneva or Lausanne in Leman Lake.

It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly, especially those eager to train in ice diving and altitude diving. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a dry suit. The best time of the year is often from March to October. The best Swiss dive sites can be reached from the shore.

Best diving in Switzerland

Spain

Scuba diving with Eagle rays Tenerife Canary Islands

Diving in Spain is one of the best in Europe with famous diving spots such as the Canary Islands, but also the Costa Brava, from Barcelona to Cadaquès, and its famous Medes Islands marine reserve. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Costa Calida, in the province of Murcia, or the Balearic Islands.

The marine life in Spain is mostly about groupers, octopus, barracudas, moray eels and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for both beginners and experienced divers. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 7 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from July to September, but the Canary Islands can be dived year-round.

Best diving in Spain

Italy

Portofino National Park Italy  - Best diving in Europe

Diving in Italy is one of the best in Europe with famous diving spots such as Portofino marine reserve and famous dives such as Baia underwater archaeological park. Italy is a great destination for scuba divers who love archaeological diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Sardinia or Sicilia islands, especially the marine reserve of Ustica Island.

The marine life in Italy is mostly about groupers, octopus, barracudas, moray eels and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for both beginners and experienced divers. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 7 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from July to October.

Best diving in Italy:

Malta

Diving Malta shipwrecks - Best diving in Europe

Diving in Malta is maybe the number one in Europe with famous diving spots all over the Maltese Islands including Gozo and its famous Blue Hole. Malta is a great destination for scuba divers who love wreck diving and shore diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at wreck diving in the capital city of Valletta, right down its walls.

The marine life in Malta is mostly about scorpionfish, moray eels, seabreams, fireworms and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for both beginners and experienced divers. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from July to October, but the Maltese islands can be dived year-round.

Best diving in Malta

Croatia

Octopus Scuba diving Hvar Croatia

Diving in Croatia is one of the best in Europe with famous diving spots such as the Kornati and Mljet National Parks. Although the Blue Cave of Bisevo Island, or Modra Spilja, brought fame to the destination, you are not even allowed to swim there anymore today. Croatia is a great destination for scuba divers who love deep wreck diving, especially from Vis Island. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Hvar Island.

The marine life in Croatia is mostly about eagle rays, octopus, scorpionfish, spiny lobsters and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 7 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from July to September.

Best diving in Croatia

Greece

Scuba diving at Agios Petros Reef Alonissos Greece

Greece is surprisingly one of the latest diving destinations in Europe. But word of mouth is working, the Alonissos National Parks and its ancient Peristera shipwreck is not so confidential anymore. Greece is a great destination for scuba divers who love archaeological diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in the Greek islands of the Cyclades or Zakynthos and its marine national park.

The marine life in Greece is mostly about monk seals, turtles, scorpionfish, cuttlefish and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for both beginners and advanced divers. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from July to September.

Best diving in Greece

Are you looking for the best diving destinations all over the world? You should check these other articles:

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Best diving in Europe
Best diving in Europe