Looking to go Scuba Diving in Spain? This post covers popular areas for diving holidays as well as places to go if you fancy sunning yourself on magnificent beaches and immersing yourself in Spanish culture.
Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. The country welcomes 75 million tourists per year. From larger metropolitan cities such as Barcelona and Madrid to the untouched beauty in Andalucia. Spain has something for every traveller and is a popular scuba diving location.
Most divers head to the Canaries but there any many locations you can head to for a diving trip. The Balearics offer excellent underwater visibility and excellent tourism infrastructure, whilst Cabo de Gata in Southern Spain is peaceful and serene.
The sea temperatures in Spain vary massively. The Northern Atlantic coast is on average, much cooler than the Mediterranean.
If you are planning a trip to the Northern Coast, expect an average sea temperature of 19c/66f even in the height of summer. Winter averages out at around 13c/55f.
Towards the Balearics and around surrounding areas, the sea is much warmer in the summer months. The average summer sea temperature is around 23c/73f. This makes it a popular region for divers and holidaymakers.
Now we have covered sea temperatures, lets take a look at some Spanish diving areas!
The Canaries is a must for any serious divers trip. Because of the unique positioning of these islands, there are chances to dive with larger pelagic species for most of the year too! The water temperatures remain on average around 20c/68f which is much warmer than the rest of Europe. This fact, coupled with a flight time of around 4 hours from most European capitals means The Canaries are a popular year-round destination.
If you are heading to Gran Canaria or Tenerife, expect Atlantic species and some larger whale species, depending on the season. The larger islands also offer impressive wreck diving and some subtropical species of fish. Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, there are also many opportunities to dive various rock formations and structures.
Some of the islands are also surrounded by deep Ocean that brings larger, rarely seen species such as sharks and rays to the waters around the islands.
Visibility is generally good, especially in the summer months. However, the winter storms crossing the Atlantic could cut the diving short if you are planning a winter trip.
Whilst the larger islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria have more tourist facilities. If you are looking to relax in nature and ‘get away from it all’ the smaller islands may suit you better.
The island of El Hierro has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with over 60% being protected. You can even dive with Whale Sharks here. Some divers think El Hierro has the best scuba diving Spain and even the whole of Europe. You be the judge!
Next up we have the Balearics. This archipelago can be clustered into 4 ‘Major’ islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza & Formentera) and various ‘minors’. The 4 majors are well-known tourism destinations that attract millions of people each year.
There are over 80 dive sites to choose from across the Balearics. With everything from cave formations to sunken wrecks. If you are looking for something to do in the night, Ibiza is one of the top nightlife areas in Europe. The islands also offer peaceful beaches and countryside if nightclubs are not your scene.
Whilst the Mediterranean might not have abundant fish anymore (blame overfishing) the Balearics still offers good diving and interesting underwater formations to check out.
If you are staying on Ibiza, trying diving the wreck of Don Pedro. This wreck is very close to Ibiza’s port and is the largest wreck in the Mediterranean. It sits at a depth of 26 meters so you will need to be PADI Advanced certified to dive this wreck. If the Balearics aren’t your thing, find more destinations below!
The Costa Brava is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Europe. The coastal villages and fantastic food in Costa Brava bring people from all over the world. It also boasts some excellent Spanish Scuba Diving. The variety of diving here is excellent too. The rocky dramatic coastline extends into the water and allows divers access to great dive sites.
The 200 km of Costa Brava’s coastline means there are many dive sites along with some world-class beaches for you to check out when you are not diving.
If you head 70km north from Barcelona, stop at Blanes. This town is called the ‘Gateway to the Costa Brava’ and has great weather, awesome beaches and some fantastic diving locations. The town is also close to the French border and has high-speed rail connections.
You can dive in the bay in front of the town, with dive sites suitable for all levels. You have the option of shore diving from nearby beaches if you are a beginner. Or, if you are more advanced, you can boat dive from around 6 different sites in deeper water. Most of the dive centres are located in the Harbour/Port so shop around for the best deal. A single dive with everything included runs for £45/$60 which is pretty reasonable for Europe.
Cabo de Gata
Cabo de Gata is located within Almeria, Andalusia. This area of Southern Spain offers everything for an adventurous traveller. It is also a protected area, with the land and Ocean being completely unspoilt. This has given the marine environment a chance to recover and blossom. The diving here is some of the best in Spain and the visibility is excellent.
If you are heading to the beach, chances are you will be the only one there. You can also dive here year-round, with the climate being one of the warmest in Europe, even in Winter.
You need a permit to dive here, because of the protected status of the park. This can either be arranged in the Cabo de Gata offices in Almeria or by a diving club/shop when booking your dives.
Take a look here, for a map of dive sites in the Cabo de Gata area. Or if you prefer to see what’s going on above the water, check this link for a detailed look at the locations you can visit if you are planning a trip to the Cabo de Gata. This area is thought by many to have the best scuba diving in the whole of Spain, yet is very quiet and unpopulated.
Make sure to check out the beds of Posidonia oceanica, a seagrass native to the Mediterranean. The marine park has large areas of it, which in turn attract marine life. The beds are located close to shore, so you can snorkel out to see them. The area is famous for its natural beauty and it is truly a beautiful sight!
The Costa Blanca is a 200km stretch of coastline that runs on the South Eastern side of the country. This area is very popular with holidaymakers and as a result has good infrastructure, as well as many diving companies.
The town of Cartagena, in the south of the Costa Blanca, offers excellent reef and wreck diving. The scuba diving in Spain is generally concentrated further north, due to it being busier. So, Cartagena is ideal if you are looking for a quiet place for your trip.
Book a dive to Las Palomas Reef to find an awesome dive site, near Palomas island.
The reef levels off to deeper water, this allows you to see shoaling fish in the deeper water and even rays occasionally. The shallow parts of the reef are home to smaller fish and damsels, with the occasional nudibranch.
There are many reefs within a very short boat trip from the harbour, with spots filling up quickly in the summer months.
If you are looking for something to do ‘above water’ there is the national museum of underwater archaeology on the waterfront. The museum houses artefacts found from over 2500 years ago, to the present day. The city itself is also worthy of a visit, with a huge amount of historical building within the town. Check out this list of things to do in the town!
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Unsure if you want to dive in Spain? Find other destinations here!