Thinking about where to travel for your next dive trip? Here are four top travel destinations that are sure to make your diving dreams a reality – all of which are a relatively short train ride or flight from the UK! PADI Dive Guides™ are your one-stop shop for exploring, discovering, and booking dive adventures in any specific location.
PADI is committed to providing opportunities for Brits to seek adventure and save the ocean – as safely and responsibly as possible. If you’re looking to explore beyond your local dive sites this summer, PADI Travel is equipped to help you travel, so you can blow bubbles all around the planet. Make sure to read our tips for Responsible Dive Travel in the COVID Era as you plan your next dive holiday to one of these four epic dive travel destinations.
Among the diving destinations in Europe, France might not immediately come to mind. However, with 5,000 km of coastline, and the choice of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, not to mention the first marine national park in Europe, scuba divers exploring France have a wide choice of fantastic underwater adventures.
The home country of Jacques Cousteau, France offers deep historical shipwrecks, ice diving in altitude, rocky reefs covered in colorful marine life, several marine protected areas, unique underwater formations like walls and canyons, and several offshore islands to explore.
Dive Guides France is your one-stop shop to explore, discover, and book a dive adventure in France. Here, you’ll find some of France’s top dive sites curated by local experts, including ones in these five standout regions:
- Calanques National Park: Created in 2012, this marine park is home to rocky reef walls covered in sea fans, caverns covered in Mediterranean red coral, and two historical shipwrecks you won’t want to miss.
- Corsica: With dive sites all around the stunning coastline, the island of Corsica is home to several different marine protected areas which offer coral covered canyon walls, colorful schools of fish, and even a historical plane wreck.
- Nice: Easy shore dives along the French Riviera abound here, as well as boat dives that bring you to breathtaking deep walls covered in yellow sea fans, moray eels, and crustaceans.
- French Alps: The highest summits in France offer ice diving in freshwater lakes during the winter season. Diver that don dry suits can experience this other-worldly feeling and see the blue glow of the light going through the ice.
- Port-Cros National Park: Along the French Riviera, this area has been protected since the 1960s. Drift diving with large groupers is one of the most popular dives here.
Canary Islands and Spain
The Canary Islands offer year-round warm, clear water and dramatic underwater and volcanic seascapes. Visibility here often exceeds 30 meters, and divers can encounter both Atlantic and Mediterranean species, as well as some sea life that’s endemic to the islands themselves. Colorful fish like parrotfish, damselfish, lizardfish, goatfish, pufferfish, and moray eels are found in abundance in the Canaries. Larger species like angel sharks, eagle rays, and common dolphins also call these islands home.
Spain is a diver’s paradise with a variety of options from ancient wrecks to excellent marine parks. From big blue sharks prowling the rugged northern coast to the warm clear waters of the Mediterranean, there is something here for everyone and spectacular diving opportunities all year long.
Dive Guides Canary Islands and Dive Guides Spain are your one-stop shops to explore, discover, and book a dive adventure in the Canary Islands and Spain. Here, you’ll find some of these regions top dive sites curated by local experts, including these four standout spots:
- Blue Hole, Lanzarote: Formed by the remnants of an ancient lava tube, the entrance of this blue hole can be found at 18 meters. Marine life can be spotted inside and outside the tube, including rays, barracudas, octopus, and seahorses.
- Ullastres III, Spain: These three pinnacles are surrounded by ultra clear water, are covered in colorful sea fans, and are home to marine life like sea bass, mackerel, wrasse, groupers, and nudibranchs.
- Plataforma Mariana, Ibiza: Located in the Formentera Marine Reserve lies an abandoned fish factory – a structure that resembles an underwater oil rig where you’ll find amberjacks, groupers, eels, scorpionfish, and crustaceans.
- Chilón De Fuera, North Africa: Located where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, this 20 meter rocky reef wall brews biodiversity like spider crabs, lobster, and colorful sea fans.
Vibrant and full of heart, Italy is a place unlike any other in the world. Projecting into the Mediterranean Sea, Italy tempts divers with an extremely long coastline and a myriad of islands with warm, clear water. With such a wide variety of diving possible throughout the country, Italy is a dream destination for divers of any experience level.
Volcanic archipelagos offer underwater caves and grottoes, shipwrecks provide a glimpse into history, and mountainous coastlines reflect steep drop-offs beneath the surface. Marine protected areas dot the Italian coastline and ensure healthy marine ecosystems home to colorful sea life like eagle rays, sea stars, and seahorses, just to name a few.
Dive Guides Italy is your one-stop shop to explore, discover, and book a dive adventure in Italy. Here, you’ll find some of Italy’s top dive sites curated by local experts, including these four standout spots:
- Scoglio Remaiolo: This boat dive, known for extraordinary water clarity, has options for every level of diver to explore a rocky reef home to colorful marine life like nudibranchs, crustaceans, and sea fans.
- Area Marina Protetta di Miramare: Groupers, sea bass, moray eels, seahorses, and the Mediterranean’s largest bivalve can all be found in the Miramare Biosphere Reserve – at the foot of a 19th-century castle.
- Scoglio del Medico: Expect to see large schools of amberjack, barracuda, and grouper surrounding the massive ‘Doctor’s Rock’ which has a 25 meter tunnel for divers to swim through at 20 meters below the surface.
- Lake Garda: One of the clearest lakes in Europe, divers will also find steep faces, boat wrecks, canyons, and plateaus in this popular land-locked dive site.
With more than 240 inhabited islands and a significant coastline, you’ll find a wide variety of spectacular diving throughout the brilliant blue waters of Greece. Historical shipwrecks, plane wrecks, and artifacts are a major draw for divers looking to catch a glimpse of Greece’s fascinating past.
Divers of all levels that slip beneath the surface here can also enjoy dive sites that include walls, caves, swim-throughs, seagrass beds, and rocky reefs. There’s also considerable life in the seas here, including larger species like loggerhead sea turtles, blue sharks, and common dolphins. If you slow down and think small, you’ll spot colorful seahorses, cuttlefish, and nudibranchs.
Dive Guides Greece is your one-stop shop to explore, discover, and book a dive adventure in Greece. Here, you’ll find some of Greece’s top dive sites curated by local experts, including ones in these five standout regions:
- Cyclades: With over a dozen major islands, Cyclades has dive sites galore. Shipwrecks and beautiful fish can be found throughout the region’s crystal clear waters.
- Peloponnese: This world-renowned peninsula offers a splendid variety of diving – from easily accessed shipwrecks, impressive rock formations, underwater canyons, and rocky reef shore dives.
- Crete: The wide variety of dive sites that dot the Crete coastline offer volcanic rocky reefs, an abundance of marine life (including rare black corals), and ancient stone arches. Night diving is particularly loved in this region.
- Athens: The extensive coastline around Athens is home to numerous shipwrecks, deep rocky reef formations, and sea life like tuna, barracuda, octopus, squid, and cuttlefish.
- Ionian Islands: Home to stellar wreck dives (including a submarine transformed into an artificial reef). Many of these waters are protected by marine parks, providing a safe and productive place for sea life to thrive.
Ready to start planning your dive holiday now? PADI Dive Guides make it easier than ever for you to explore, discover, and plan your next underwater adventure to one of the four dive travel destinations described above. You’ll find helpful marine life calendars, seasonal weather data, travel information, and a mosaic of local dive sites and shops.
Before you go, use this time now to start diving in. Whether you’re new to diving or want to advance your skills before your next trip, start your certification online from home with PADI eLearning.