Nothing beats diving liveaboard the Mediterranean sea. Its coastline spreads across tens of European and North African countries. They’ve all made use of the Mediterranean’s cool waters to attract not only tourists but also divers.
As a result, you’ll find that there are many vacation spots where you’ll be able to take a long dive in the Mediterranean and explore its underwater wonders. The question is though, which of these places offer the best scuba diving in the Mediterranean?
In this article, fellow scuba diving enthusiast, the main goal is to tell you in detail about our 11 favorite diving spots that line the Mediterranean shore. All of them are perfect for both diving liveaboard and scuba diving.
1. The Malta, Gozo, and Comino Islands; The Republic of Malta
The Republic of Malta is a collection of Mediterranean islands scattered all over the water’s surface. Its most popular lands are Malta, Gozo, and Comina due to their wide variety of wild sea life and spectacular underwater views. This made the country a popular spot for all divers, regardless of their skill.
Probably the most famous diving spot there is the Blue Hole that’s located in Dwejra, north of Gozo. On the surface, the Blue Hole gives the illusion of a funnel or tube that you dive down through to reach the shipwrecks of WWII and the coral life underneath. Further down, you might find the Cathedral cave or the Statue of Madonna.
2. Sardinia; Italy
Sardinia is a vast, Italian shoreline that extends over 621 miles across the Mediterranean sea. It has multiple diving spots from where you can explore Sardinia’s rich, underwater, marine life. The whole city stands on top of multiple sunken ships, natural caves, and colorful reefs.
Capo Testa, for example, is a great place to go diving for both beginners and experts. The visibility under the surface goes on 50 meters, meaning your vision won’t be blocked by mud, unlike most diving spots. Another popular place to dive from is The Grotta del Nereo. It’s home to lobsters, octopuses, red coral, and sea turtles.
3. Stintino; Italy
Located at the northwest of Sardinia, stands Stintino, home to multiple natural reserves, such as the Maddalena Archipelago and the Marine Park of Lavezzi. Both these places are famous national reserves that expand over the course of many islands. There, divers get to witness the protected sea life, including nudibranchs, crustaceans, rays, and octopuses.
Additionally, these parks also protect multiple shipwrecking sites. The wreck of the Angelika, a popular cargo ship dating back to WWII, can be seen there. At 22 meters further from the Angelika, divers can explore a sunken, unidentified bomber engine too. There are underwater exhibitions at those sites where scuba divers can take photos as well.
4. Iraklia; Greece
Iraklia is located off Alimia beach’s coastline. Even on the way to Iraklia, you’ll get to feast your eyes on the remains of castles from the Hellenistic period. In addition to seeing the Venetiko islets and natural collections of rocky groves, such as Kokkinos Molos and Mavros Molos. Iraklia is also home to an endangered seal species whom, if you’re lucky, you might find at Fokiospilia.
The Greek waters are known for their clarity and the abundance of marine life, making it among the best scuba diving spots in the Mediterranean. The Iraklia shoreline is rich with coral reefs and sea turtles that you’ll enjoy the company of while diving. Plus, let’s not forget, the wreck of the German hydroplane from WWII, located 30ft under the Mediterranean surface.
5. MS Zenobia; Cyprus
Cyprus is a Middle-Eastern country that’s known for having multiple wrecking sites. Perhaps the most popular one is the sunken MS Zenobia, otherwise called The Zen. It was a Swedish ferry that met its demise in 1980 on its maiden voyage. Since then, the wreck has become home for moray eels, barracudas, tunas, turtles, and triggerfish.
It’s not just the diverse sea life that makes The Zen famous. Its popularity is also a result of its enormous size. At 584ft, MS Zenobia is perfect for all divers. Beginners can stay at 52ft where they can explore the ship’s higher levels. More experienced divers can dive to 140ft where they’ll find the ship resting on the sea bed.
6. The Illes Medes Islands; Spain
Similar to Stintino, Italy, the Spanish Illes Medes islands are a collection of natural reserves. There, divers are able to see a variety of endangered marine species that are now protected on this Spanish land. These sea animals include sardines, anchovies, eagle rays, barracuda, and rockfish—all of which can be spotted at just a few feet.
Not only are the Illes Medes islands biodiverse, but their seabeds feature large acres of grass meadows. This is a natural, popular phenomenon known as Spain’s Olives of the Sea. The islands have a Dolphin Cave too where lucky scuba divers might get to swim with dolphins and sunfish.
7. Secca Della Colombara; Ustica; Italy
Ustica is a small island located to the north of Palermo, Italy. Most expert divers visit Ustica for an authentic and simple diving experience. There stands the Secca Della Colombara summit with its black, volcanic rocks that give it a unique look. It’s the reason why the place is locally referred to as the Black Pearl.
Secca Della Colombara has many underwater cliffs where you can find colorful coral reefs and deep caverns—only at 65ft too. Ustica’s waters feature groups of rare nudibranchs, gorgonians, and crustaceans. Experienced scuba divers can explore the unidentified ship that sank in 2005 and rests at 246ft.
8. Côte d’Azur; The South of France
The French Rivieras are known for their crystal, clear waters that offer high visibility to divers. The coast underneath is rich with wrecking sites and exuberant underwater life. Côte d’Azur is the most popular diving spot in the South of France due to its marine reserves that stretch over 50,000 miles.
Côte d’Azur is a maze of dive sites and cave systems, stretching from Saint Tropez to Italy. Plus, there are over 20 wrecked ships underwater that predate WWII. Among them is the sunken Empire Flamingo cargo ship, Rubis Submarine, and Togo shipwrecks. While exploring them, you’re certain to witness hoards of rare fishes swimming in the warm, French waters.
9. Costa Del Sol; Spain
Costa Del Sol stands for the Coast of the Sun and is located in the south of Spain. It gets its nickname from the fact that it stays sunny and warm there for over 300 days of a year. Costa Del Sol rests close to the mouth of the Mediterranean sea with a rocky shoreline that’s full of cliffs, caves, canyons, chimneys, and tunnels.
Costa Del Sol owns Europe’s first marine park, the National Marine Reserve of La Herradura. The sea’s visibility ranges from 33 to 98ft where you’ll get to see dolphins and nudibranchs. Costa Del Sol also resides close enough to Gibraltar, the border between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, where many WWII ships met their demise.
10. Dragonisi Island Caverns; Greece
Greece is a collection of beautiful islands that many divers dream of visiting. Most of them are inhibited but remain as hot diving spots because of the wonders that lay beneath their waters. The Dragonisi island caverns, for example, are multiple caves taking on unique rock formations that can’t be found anywhere else in Europe.
These underwater caverns can be explored by scuba divers from all skill sets since they stretch out for hundreds of miles. Their inner walls provide sanctuary for various sea species, such as yellow sea anemones, glassfish, and monk seals. It’s also home to the historic HMHS Britannic shipwreck, reserved only for expert divers.
11. Kas; Turkey
Turkey is located somewhere between Asia and southeast Europe. Its popularity hasn’t risen yet as a diving spot but the small, Turkish village, Kas, has really helped change that. It’s a beloved spot for divers looking for quiet, uncrowded places to go diving in. You wouldn’t be missing out on the wonders of the sea either.
Kas has high sea visibility, similar to Cote d’Azur, that extends 130ft underwater. Located off the Aegean coast, Kas features reefs, caves, and wrecking sites with scattered ancient pottery loot. The Turkish village is also home to various species, such as hawksbill turtles, moray eels, octopus, rays, and nudibranchs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Scuba Diving Spots in the Mediterranean
Diving liveaboard the Mediterranean sea is a lifetime opportunity for all scuba divers, no matter their skill level. Cities standing on the Med’s coastline have various places for diving and witnessing the colorful, abundant marine life. As an added plus, divers get to explore modern shipwrecks and ancient, sunken ruins.
That said, we recommend visiting the Malta, Gozo, and Comino islands off the shore of France. There, you can experience the best scuba diving in the Mediterranean. These islands have many popular diving spots, such as the Blue Hole. You and your friends are sure to have a great time there, swimming with dolphins and turtles!