Scuba diving is an activity that many people associate with exotic locations in far-flung waters such as the Caribbean. However, whether you are looking to learn or are an experienced diver, there are plenty of great locations right here in Europe.
From underwater caves and coral gardens to century old shipwrecks, there is plenty to see and explore right on your own doorstep. For those of you planning an underwater adventure, we have put together a list of some of Europe’s best scuba diving sites.
You don’t have to travel very far to experience one of Europe’s finest diving spots. Kilkee in Co. Clare on the West Coast of Ireland is well regarded as an excellent location for scuba diving. In fact, legendary conservationist and underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau considered Kilkee to be the best diving location in all of Europe. Here, the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean are teeming with marine life, from tiny shrimp and urchin, right up to the mammoth basking shark. The abundance of caves and caverns along the coast make this an ideal site for the more advanced diver.
Staying close to home, just off the coast of Britain and situated where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, the Orkney Islands offer some fantastic diving experiences. With chilly but clear waters and diverse marine life, these islands have some incredibly scenic dives locations. But what sets Orkney apart is not its natural beauty but its military history. Scupa Flow, where a German fleet of ships was scuttled following World War I, is widely considered to be one of the finest wreck sites in the world. Here, divers can explore the seven remaining naval vessels which lie in close proximity to each other just below the water’s surface.
Sticking with the military theme, Normandy in Northern France has the dubious honour of being the site of one of the most important moments in modern European history, the D-Day landings. Today, the impact of this troubled period in history can still be seen on Normandy’s landscape and this is equally true below the water’s surface. This location provides a challenging and entertaining dive for advanced and experienced divers with a cornucopia of war relics to be explored. Sherman tanks, German U-boats and British torpedo boats all make this one of the most popular wreck sites anywhere in the world.
The Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean is blessed with an abundance of diving sites, and the second largest island Gozo is particularly impressive. With warm, calm, clear waters and easy access, Gozo is the ideal place for beginner divers looking to learn or get certified. However, its diversity and abundance of unique rock formations, diverse marine life and the occasional shipwreck also make this location popular with experienced divers. Probably the most well-known of Gozo’s many dive sites is the Blue Hole. A natural tunnel carved out of limestone over thousands of years and leading to caves filled with coral gardens and sea life, the Blue Hole is one of the most remarkable dives in Europe.
Norway is a country renowned for its natural beauty from its many glaciers and fjords to its breath-taking mountains and forests. This natural beauty is also evident beneath the waves and Norway offers a number of great diving locations. One of the most popular sites among diving enthusiasts is the Lofoten Islands situated in the Arctic Circle. This location is blessed with diverse flora and fauna and crystal clear waters which makes it worth enduring the incredibly cold temperatures. One of the most remarkable sights here can be seen during the winter months, when the world’s largest gathering of killer whales comes to feast on the abundant supply of herring.
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