Portugal’s sunny south coast is vastly different than its northern region. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on two sides, Southern Portugal is paradise found for surfers, divers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. The most popular region in southern Portugal is known as The Algarve. With its famous golden cliffs, clear turquoise water, alluring caves, and some of the best beaches in the world, the Algarve is the most known resort area in southern Portugal, attracting over four million visitors annually. The climate here is mild and sunny all year round, with most tourists visiting during the summer.
Diving the Algarve is fantastic, especially during the warmer summer months. Many dive centers are found scattered throughout the coast, catering to divers and other watersport enthusiasts. The Algarve diving offers exciting sunken ships, artificial and natural reefs, including Cela, Portugal’s longest reef stretching 12 km from Albufeira to Armacao de Pera. These waters are home to one of the largest communities of nudibranchs in Portugal with their beautiful exotic shapes and brilliant coloration. Divers can also find one of the highest concentrations of seahorses in the world in the Ria Formosa lagoon.
With over 300 days of sunshine every year, diving in the Algarve region of Portugal will never disappoint. Not many divers think of Portugal as being associated with seahorses. However, the small, unsuspecting Ria Formosa lagoon near Faro is home to what is possibly the largest concentration of seahorses in the world, mainly featuring the long-snouted seahorse, but also home to the short-snouted seahorse as well. Many dive centers offer snorkeling tours to the lagoon so you can go snorkeling with seahorses. Other great macro marine life in southern Portugal include colorful nudibranchs and many different crab species.