Each year, hundreds of thousands of people decide to go scuba diving, and they tend to visit the exotic Pacific or Caribbean Islands. While these locations are excellent and you’ll see a variety of wildlife, you don't have to travel across the globe to find awesome scuba diving sites.
It’s possible to find the best places to scuba dive in Europe if you have a little help. In fact, that's exactly what we're going to give you today.
Best Places to Scuba Dive in Europe
Below, we listed six different locations throughout Europe that are treasured gems to the locals who know about it. You may not have heard of these places before, but isn’t that the allure of scuba diving—to visit new areas and have different experiences?
Vis Island in the Adriatic Sea is home to an exciting wreckage diving spot. The USAAF B-17G was a bomber plane that crashed on its approach to the small airstrip on Vis. It was hit by anti-aircraft fire during the bombing raid of World War II in 1944; the crew survived, though the co-pilot was killed.
It’s a remarkable wreck, and it is in excellent—almost pristine—condition. However, it is 236 feet below the surface.
Of course, it is important to go at the right time. Primarily, you’ll want to visit and dive when the water temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, this happens between April and November. If needed, you can always look up the weather conditions in Croatia to find out if you should book at that time.
The Slovak Opal Mine is located in Dubnik, and it has been coined “the queen of gems.” This phrase describes the precious opals that diffract light so that onlookers can see a variety of colors, ranging from clear (as crystal) to black. They occur in the fissures of almost every rock down below in the water.
Here, in the East Slovakian mine, you’ll find miles and miles of tunnels that had previously been excavated for opals. Of course, much of it is aboveground, which means you are going to have to hike through these tunnels (and stairs) to gain entry at various places within.
You’ll experience walls that shine with every color within the rainbow, including pink, purple, blue, orange, and red. It’s important to note that some of the “hiking” you’ll do is underwater, as well. There is no “best” time to go; you can find year-round drysuit diving with water temperatures staying steady at 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Andenes, which is in the Norwegian Arctic, you’ll be impressed with the humpbacks and killer whales that chase the vast amount of herring during migration season. Of course, you can always see this excitement from a tour boat, and it’s a good idea to do so. However, you might also want to get up close and personal with underwater viewing.
Here, you may find that the animals allow you to get extremely close and possibly touch them. However, your dive guide may advise against this. Operators have to use RIBs to drop the divers right in front of the hunter whales.
Of course, you’re only likely to have a brief encounter with the animals. As such, you must be in good physical condition because you’ll have to get in and out of the water a lot, as the goal is to be face to face with the creatures.
If you plan to visit here, it’s best to go between November and January. Typically, the water temperatures are between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so dress appropriately.
4. Canary Islands
La Rapadura in Tenerife is one of the most exciting underwater landscapes in the area. It’s a basaltic formation and, roughly translated, it means brown sugar. It emerges directly from the seafloor to just a few meters above the surface
The site contains hexagonal columns that result from molten lava coming in contact with the water. When the magma cooled, the rock fractured into the prism formation.
Of course, because of constant erosion through many eons, some of the columns have collapsed. As such, the base of the formation looks similar to that of a ruined city. This location is best for freediving, though there are other opportunities available.
You can visit this dive site year-round. Water temperatures tend to stay in the range of 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most people don’t think about Switzerland and imagine themselves donning their scuba gear and diving down into the waters. However, Posse in the Verzasca River is an excellent option for advanced divers. It’s 19 miles long, and its water source comes from the peaks above Sonogno, a Ticino canton that speaks Italian.
The site is more of a raging mountain torrent than it is a lazy river, which is why it’s considered an advanced site. Along with such, it’s not a good idea to go when it rains over the summit, as the river flow can get quite dangerous. In fact, it might be best to hire a dive guide because they will help you and show you the best and safest places to dive.
Glacial waters from the river have, for centuries, smoothed the granite underwater. With the sunlight, you get the sensation of being in a wet cathedral. It’s best to go between June and October; average temperatures are in the 50s, but there’s warmer water in the fall.
6. England, UK
At St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, you can experience basking sharks, which often feed closer to the shore. Those swimming nearby are likely to be surprised by the massive dorsal fins. Of course, there isn’t a lot of wildlife in the area, such as beautiful corals, but the sharks have a unique feature you’re bound to love.
The classic gaping-jaw seems to make the fish’s mouth go almost sideways, so it is definitely something to view. While you can dive between March and November, it’s best to go late in May or early June to see the sharks; water temperatures are between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit during this time of year.
We aren’t sure why more and more people don’t flock abroad to the best places to scuba dive in Europe. These six locations all have something amazing to offer that you’ll surely fall in love with. Of course, some of them are designed for advanced scuba divers; you may want to get more experience with tour guides before embarking on some of these great places.