8 Best Places To Go Scuba Diving in Europe

Europe is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, famous for its food, culture, architecture, and art. Although diving does not appear on that list, Europe boasts excellent diving. The Mediterranean Sea is famous for its crystal-clear azure waters and exceptional dive sites, but that is just the start. Dig a little deeper and you will find scuba diving in Europe offers everything from underwater artifacts, ancient wrecks, and sunken Roman towns to gin-clear alpine lakes and rivers.

Europe offers more for scuba divers than you might imagine, so join us as we explore the best places to go scuba diving in Europe.

Get inspired with these top places to go scuba diving in Europe

1. Malta                     

Clear blue water, caves, swim-throughs, and shipwrecks galore are what await when you go diving in Malta. This small island nation in the center of the Mediterranean Sea boasts more than 80 dive sites and attracts scuba divers and freedivers from all over the world.

Malta’s warm climate and excellent visibility make it an ideal destination for divers of all levels, including children. This is one of the most popular places to go scuba diving in Europe during the summer months. Plan for larger crowds or schedule your holiday here on the edges of the tourist season in late May or September.

2. The Azores

These beautiful green islands sit in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean like an emerald oasis. The Azores archipelago belongs to the country of Portugal and is easily accessible from both Europe and the east coast of the United States. This collection of nine islands draws tourists from around the world with its untamed natural beauty and abundant marine biodiversity.

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Diving in the Azores is famous for its large pelagic species. Here you will see large manta rays soaring over reefs, blue sharks, devil rays, whale sharks, playful dolphins, and migrating whales. In fact, divers flock here from July to October every year to dive with manta rays.

3. Croatia

Commonly referred to as "the country of a thousand islands," Croatia is home to over 1,000 islands and islets. Croatia’s coastline is also dotted with historical architecture and white-sand beaches surrounded by warm, turquoise waters. It is a breathtaking destination both above and below the water. With so much to explore, you will never tire of diving in Croatia.

Croatia’s Adriatic Sea is filled with natural and archeological wonders, including underwater caverns, large pinnacles teeming with life, canyons, and ancient Roman ruins. Wreck divers will enjoy exploring the many WWI and WWII shipwrecks found here, including a B-17 bomber. 

If you want somewhere that you can go scuba diving in Europe year-round, Croatia is for you. Diving in Croatia is possible year-round because it is the closest warm-water destination to Eastern Europe. 

4. Greece

With over 6,000 islands and the 11th largest coastline in the world, Greece offers some of the best scuba diving in Europe. Add Greece’s rich ancient culture, beautiful scenery, and fantastic climate, and you have the ingredients for a top-notch dive vacation!

Keen to go diving in Greece? Then check out our 9 Best Places to Dive in Greece

Greece’s azure-blue waters offer spectacular diving opportunities, from ancient shipwrecks and hidden archaeological sites to amazing rock formations. Less experienced divers can explore the sunken city of Pavlopetri, one of the oldest submerged settlements in the world, which sits in only 12 feet of water. You can also swim amongst ancient amphorae, vessels the ancient Greeks used as storage jars, scattered across the seabed. 

5. Germany

When thinking about scuba diving in Europe, you might not consider Germany, but this country offers countless diving opportunities. There are crystal-clear alpine lakes and rivers to explore, sunken cities, WWII wrecks, exciting Baltic Sea dives, and much more.

New divers will appreciate Germany’s shallow wrecks and serene lakes surrounded by lush mountainous landscapes. Experienced divers can tackle Germany’s old quarries, Baltic Sea wrecks, and mysterious tunnels. To make the most of all that diving in Germany offers, it is a good idea to become a Drysuit Diver. After all, you will want as much time as possible in the water here.

6. The Canary Islands

Although a part of Spain, the Canary Islands sit just 62 miles (100 km) west of Africa’s Moroccan coast. These volcanic islands offer sweeping views, clear, warm waters, and black sand beaches. Combine these fantastic conditions with fascinating underwater scenery and abundant marine life, and you have an exciting European dive destination.

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The islands’ volcanic rock formations extend underwater, creating excellent topography for coral and colorful fish to thrive. You will also see sea turtles gliding across the reefs, manta rays, and the occasional whale shark when you go diving in the Canary Islands.

As well as offering some of the most interesting scuba diving in Europe, the Canary Islands also boast outstanding beaches and hiking trails. The warm climate allows for great diving year-round and the islands are easily accessible from both the east coast of the United States and Europe.

7. Norway

Although much colder than many European dive destinations, Norway offers thrilling dive experiences. Norway’s rugged coastline and dramatic fjords alone draw over 1 million tourists to this unique country annually. However, what lies beneath the surface makes Norway a diving destination unlike any other. Keen to go scuba diving in Europe off the beaten path? Then Norway is the destination for you.

The waters of the North Sea may be frigid, but they are also extremely nutrient-rich, which draws an abundance of marine life throughout the year. Orcas are the big highlight of Norway diving, as they migrate here every October through February to feed on vast herring bait balls. 

Love getting off the tourist trail? Check out: Explore More - 9 Remote Dive Spots

The thrill of seeing these top predators will only be rivaled by witnessing the spectacular Northern Lights; a phenomenon seen during most winter evenings. Grab a dry suit and go diving in Norway for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

8. Italy

When it comes to iconic destinations in Europe, it is hard to beat Italy. Famed for its mouthwatering food, ancient history, and beautiful landscapes, Italy attracts tourists from worldwide. Below the surface, you will discover numerous Marine Protected Areas and warm, clear waters full of life.

From dramatic pinnacles, caves, and walls to thriving reefs and ancient Roman wrecks, there is something for every diver in Italy. Make sure you visit the submerged Archaeological Park of Baia while you are there. This ancient Roman town sank into the sea and features villas and Roman artifacts.

What can you do on your non-diving days in Europe?

During your evenings, between dives, and on non-diving days, Europe offers a nearly endless list of activities to entertain you. No matter which European city you base your diving holiday in, you will likely find premiere shopping, excellent food, inspiring art galleries, and breathtaking museums and cathedrals. 

Many top places to go scuba diving in Europe also offer beautiful beaches to explore and other exciting watersports like boating, jet-skiing, and kayaking. No matter where you choose to dive in Europe, you are sure to have the vacation of a lifetime.

Ready to plan your next dive vacation? Check out our full guide to scuba diving in Europe.

With over 16 countries to choose from, you will be spoiled for choice!