Many people think that there aren’t any winter European scuba diving spots. We are here to tell you that this is not true! Whilst the water may not be that warm, there is still some excellent diving here. You can dive all of these locations in the winter months. They also have the benefit of being some of the more popular Winter Sun destinations. Islands such as Tenerife and Lanzarote are very popular holiday destinations. You can find cheap flights year-round.
Whilst the temperature is still going to be on the chilly side, with the right equipment, you can easily find some excellent dive locations.
Most divers head to the warmer waters of the Red Sea in winter. If you don’t want to go that far, here are some Winter European Scuba Diving sites, so you can start planning the next trip!
Located in the Southeast region of Spain, Murcia has made a name for itself with its excellent diving potential. Above the water, there are mountainous regions as well as excellent vineyards. The area also boasts an impressive average of 320 days of sunshine a year. So, even in winter, there’s a good chance you will not see rain. The climate here in Winter drops to around 12 in the winter months. This is comparatively warmer than much of Europe.
Now we have covered what’s above the water, let’s find out about down below!
The water temp when diving will hover around the 13c mark in the middle of winter. If you are diving here, you will need a semi-dry to a full drysuit. It will still be cold, but not a bone-chilling type of cold.
What can I see diving in Murcia?
In terms of what you will see, Murcia is a wreck divers paradise! Sites such as the Naranjito Wreck is the most popular site. This wreck starts at a depth of 26m and is 52m in length. This cargo ship sank in 1946. A particularly violent storm caused the ship’s cargo of oranges to turn. This resulted in the boat taking on water and sinking. The oranges then were washed onto the shore for many weeks. This caused the locals to name the wreck ‘El Naranjito’ or ‘Little Orange’.
This site is popular among more advanced divers due to the depths involved.
There is also a chance to see Mola-Mola (Sunfish) here. The Sunfish comes here to be cleaned by the smaller inhabitants of the wreck.
The Cabo de Palos marine reserve is also a great spot for a dive. The current bringing the cooler Atlantic waters mixes with the warmer Meditteranean, resulting in nutrient-rich feeding grounds. The abundant fish here make diving excellent, even in the winter months.
The Canaries is an extremely popular European winter scuba diving location. Flights take about 4 hours from the UK. The weather is warmer than much of Europe, with temperatures above the water rarely dipping below 16C even in January.
The sea temperature is a toasty average of 19C in winter. No drysuits here! A 5mm wetsuit and appropriate gear will see you through the winter dives.
The visibility is good year-round averaging around 30m in winter, with currents not being too strong. Due to the volcanic nature of the island, there are many interesting rock formations to check out too!
Whales and dolphins frequent the island, with Angel Sharks being the main attraction of this island. The island boasts a mix of wreck and reef dives. Many sites are able to be accessed from the shore.
Where Should I Dive?
Head to Abades bay if you haven’t dived before. The bay is sheltered so you can dive here year-round. The bay is accessible from the shore and is suitable for new divers and children. Even though this is a shallow dive (around 12m) you will see a large number of fish species. This is a relaxed dive site located on the East side of the island.
If that does not tempt you, take a trip towards Tabaiba, a small village near Santa Cruz. From the shore, you can access El Pejin. A site where a tugboat was purposely sunk in 2006 for divers. It offers chances to see Octopi and numerous fish species.
Lanzarote is an excellent place to go for some European winter scuba diving. Daytime temperatures average at 17C in January so expect warmer temperatures than the rest of Europe. The water temps rarely dip below 18C. A 5mm wetsuit will be enough to keep you warm on dives here.
Currents around some dive sites are strong, so maybe inaccessible in winter.
The most famous dive site in Lanzarote is Museo Atlantico. This underwater, man-made museum is the first in Europe. It is situated within a UNESCO world biosphere reserve. It was installed in 2016 at a depth of 14m. The artist, Jason deCaires Taylor has created an ‘evolving museum’ which changes as different species inhabit the area.
The project took 3 years to plan and has been made with 300 life-sized sculptures. The sculptures, that are made from a PH neutral material, are designed to become the foundation of a new reef. The area was previously barren until the museum was started. With the hope that in the future, species will begin to colonise the area. As time progresses, the sculptures will form the skeleton of a new reef. New fish species will begin to move to the area and flourish. That’s the idea anyway!
Many people choose to go to Majorca for their winter holidays. But the scuba diving here is excellent too! You can choose from 5 protected marine areas here and over 50 dive sites.
Majorca has everything from deepwater drop-offs to numerous underwater cave systems. The currents are mellow too. There is a range of dive sites here. From beginner-friendly locations to advanced technical scuba diving.
The average winter temperature of 10c is on the cold side compared to other destinations in Europe. However, the average water temperature of 15c makes this a viable option for some European winter diving.
The visibility around Majorca and the Balearics is excellent, even in winter. So you can be sure to spot numerous marine animals such as Barracuda.
Take a short boat trip to Formentor Island, to dive the reef nearby. The numerous rock formations around the island mean you can see many animals and flora. With luck, a Tuna could pass by! With a starting point of 22m, this site at first looks like it can be dived by all. However, the bottom max’s out at 50m so only deepwater certified divers can dive here.
If you are a beginner diver, try diving Cala Molins. The 12m sandy-bottomed dive is relaxed and safe. Little current means it’s perfect for more nervous divers or anyone just wanting to relax! You could see a moray eel or cuttlefish!
The clear waters of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, attract divers all year long. The average sea temperature of 17c in December is warm for Europe in winter. Visibility is also good at around 15-30M too.
The underwater landscape here is imposing and otherworldly. For a truly unique dive, get on the boat to ‘The Elephant’s Cave’. This ancient cave was discovered in 1999 by a snorkeler. The cave gets its name from the bones of the prehistoric elephants that were found on the cave floor. Current estimates put these bones to be between 50-60,000 years old. The cave is limestone based, with reddish hues permeating the walls. There are many stalagmites and stalactites found throughout the cave. So, watch your buoyancy when moving around. You don’t want your fin to smash a piece of history to pieces!
Watch out for the cave entrance too, it’s 7m wide and should only be tackled by confident divers.
Schinaria is also a popular diving location, the site is very popular with beginners. The site is well known for its great visibility and makes for a very tranquil dive.
Mykonos brings divers all year round with a mixture of beginner to advanced dive sites. Be sure to check out Dragonisi Island Caves. The site is said to be one of the best in all of Greece.
The dive site is next to Dragonisi Island. A small island a few kilometres from Mykonos. These caverns have been formed through erosion and are home to shoals of glassfish. Numerous anemones and other species also call this site home. Make sure to take your GoPro, the shots you will get here are awesome!
Where Can I see Monk Seals?
It is not unheard of to see a rare Monk Seal here. This mammal is one of the rarest in Europe and the World. They are critically endangered, with only around 700 currently surviving. If you are very, very lucky, you may see one!
Whilst the temperature here might be lower than other sites we have listed, the water clarity here is superb. If you’re not keen to get wet, the historical sites around here are worth a visit too! Many divers have reported finding archaeological finds on dives here. However, picking them up is strictly prohibited. Tell your divemaster instead, maybe you have found something important!
Prefer to dive in the Summer? Check out these Summer locations!
These are just some of the numerous places you can go Scuba diving. Have we missed a place you have dived? Let us know and we will add it to the post! Thanks, STW