Some of the best dive sites in the world can be found in Europe. There are centuries-old wrecks, colorful fish, ancient relics and fascinating caves to be seen and even the chance to experience Arctic diving.
Most dive sites offer daytrips, and places such as the UK and the Balearics are perfect for divers of all ages and experience. One of the best places to dive in Europe is Cyprus, where you will find a famous wreck, Roman relics and an abundance of marine life; as a bonus, the waters are warm.
Wreck diving, England: The English Channel is an excellent place to enjoy some wreck diving. It may not be as tropical or glamorous as other destinations throughout the world, but the water is literally brimming with wrecks to explore.
Anzio, Italy: Italy is home to a number of diving opportunities, but one of the best is at Anzio, just south of Rome. Anzio is famous for a number of battles which were carried out here during WWII so the dives are not only fascinating, but also steeped in history. There are a number of wrecks here such as the HMS Janus which can be fully explored.
Kabelvag, Norway: Kabelvag is a traditional fishing town which sees people travel here from all across Scandinavia to enjoy the diving opportunities. While the sights offered during the dive include common marine species such as giant kelp, squirrelfish, cod, starfish and jellyfish, if you take a trip into the open fjord you have the chance to spot killer whales and enormous shoals of herring. It is also possible to experience Arctic diving here from May until September.
The Balearics, Spain: The Mediterranean is very warm, especially in the summer months, and visibility is very good. There is a wide variety of sea life as well as underwater caves and wrecks. Diving here is cheaper than other destinations in Europe so perfect for those on a budget.
Bodrum, Turkey: In the waters surrounding Bodrum you will find a number of different species of fish as well as other marine life. Stingrays are common, as are large octopi; those lucky enough also see barracuda, sea horses and even dolphins and sea turtles.
SS Kintyre, Scotland: This is a famous wreck and is very popular with divers visiting Scotland. The ship lies on its keel and the bow is actually located in somewhat shallow water. It is vital to have a good underwater torch as then you will be able to fully experience the vivid colors of the anemones which decorate the wreck.
Ayia-Napa, Paphos and Larnaca, Cyprus: A visit to Cyprus will allow you the opportunity to view a number of wrecks, underwater caves and unique ancient settlements. There is also a thriving marine life which includes tuna, barracuda, octopus, moray eels, rays, and starfish. Diving is most popular in the south around Ayia-Napa and Paphos although Larnaca is home to the Zenobia wreck, one of the best wrecks in the world. Northwestern Cyprus is home to some pristine sites which boast Roman pottery on the sea bed and other historic artifacts.
Kilkee, Ireland: Kilkee is home to a stunning reef which boasts a wide variety of different species such as lobster, starfish and congers. It is an easy dive and perfect for beginners and those without much experience. The water can be cold so it is best to travel here during the summer months of July and August.
HMS Maori, Malta: Malta served as an Allied base during WWII and as a result, there are a number of wrecks lying of the coast of the island. One of these wrecks is the HMS Maori, the famous ship which helped to solve the code to the Bismarck. As well as wrecks, there are also beautiful reefs and a lot of coral. Sea life includes: tuna, barracuda, octopus, moray eels and seahorses.
Tortoise Rock, Scilly Isles: This dive site is perfect for those who like nature. The rock formation itself is simply stunning and the marine life which crowds it is impressive. You will find lobsters, starfish, a wide variety of fish and even the odd seal.