Ever considered Spanish scuba diving holidays? It may not be the most obvious choice, but the 5 best dive sites in Spain rival anything in Europe. Overall Spain offers a wonderful array of dive options all round its coastal areas.
Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, Cantabrian Sea and the Mediterranean. This combination of cold and warm water attracts a great diversity of marine life.
The best scuba diving in Spain is from March to November. Although some dive centres do remain open all year, be sure to check locally before you book your holiday.
Each area in Spain has its own attraction for divers. The Balearic Islands and Columbretes Islands in the Mediterranean, are known for their visibility. Southern Spain experiences warmer water nearly all year round.
In the north around the Basque Country, and Galicia and Asturias, the waters are colder and the diving more more demanding. There are also significant tides and a bit less visibility, but this is made up for with the proliferation of sea life.
Please note this article looks at mainland Spain and the nearby islands in the Med. It does not include the Canaries which is a completely different kettle of fish! Check out our guide to scuba diving in the Canary Islands for more info.
So where to focus when planning your Spanish scuba diving holidays? Here’s the 5 best dive sites in Spain:
The Medes Islands are one of the largest marine reserves in Spain. Located in North Eastern Spain, above Girona and close to the French border, they are an archipelago made up of seven main islands and some small islets.
Divers should base themselves at the small seaside town of Estartit, which is the gateway to a little piece of scuba heaven.
Diving in the Medes Islands is an unforgettable experience, and one of the most beautiful diving spots in the world. It is rated as Spain’s top dive attraction due to its attractive location, easy access and gorgeous aquatic fauna.
These islands offer a range of dives from wall and cave through to shallow sites for beginners. Amongst the delights to behold here are octopus, grouper, red gorgonians, eagle ray, shoals of barracuda, jacks, bonito and groupers. The best dive sites are probably Dolphin Cave and Carall Bernat.
There are just a handful of diving operators and a maximum of 400 divers per day can visit the islands on scuba trips helping to preserve its natural beauty. Do not miss what is undoubtedly one of the best dive sites in Spain!
The Cabo de Palos area of Spain is not far from Murcia and just south of Alicante on the South West coast. It is home to the famous Islas Hormigas Marine Park, which is considered a fantastic location to dive in Spain.
The range of shore, boat and wreck dives offer the chance to visit well established breeding grounds for groupers, barracudas, jacks, morays, tuna and other local fish. Plus you are likely to see eagle rays, octopus, nudibranch, squid and the glorious cuttlefish. There are around 10 local dive sites to choose from.
On the very tip of Cabo de Palos lies the rocky bays of Cala Fria, that has some lovely dive sites with interesting rock formations and swim throughs and is home to a nice range of sea life. All in all it is a top destination for Spanish scuba diving holidays.
Cabo de Gata Níjar Natural Park is the first marine-terrestrial Natural Park of Andalusia near the city of Almeria. It is also the largest in the European Western Mediterranean Sea, covering nearly 500km². It even includes the town of Carboneras, the mountain range of Sierra de Cabo de Gata, and 120 km² of the sea as a part of a Marine reserve.
The area is volcanic in origin and its coastline is a genuine paradise for scuba diving. Warm, clean, crystal-clear waters provide great visibility, the water temperature is relatively mild from January to December and the sea is calm. But ultimately, you come diving here to enjoy the thousand plus animal and plant species that greet you.
Because the park is a protected nature area you will need to obtain a permit from the Environment Department of the Regional Government of Andalusia. For this, you will be required to submit your official diving qualification and relevant insurance.
Alternatively you can book diving trips by hiring the services of one of the specialised diving clubs in the area. It may seem like a faff but lack of divers is part of what makes it one of the best dive sites in Spain.
La Herradura is in southern Spain, is a marine park on the Costa Tropical, about an hour east of Malaga. Lying at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, this rocky shoreline offers a rich heritage of ecological wonder. It also hosts a profusion of multi-coloured marine species.
Aquatic life is clustered around caves, rocks and walls. Species regularly encountered by divers include: octopus, conger and moray eels, lobster, grouper, weaverfish, moonfish, damsels, wrasse, scorpionfish, dolphins and nudibranch. Plus there is a good a variety of faunas and corals.
One of the best sites in this area is La Calita (Herradura Wall), sometimes called First Bay. This dive site comprises of a large sandy seabed with a number of fallen rocks and a wall that extends out to depths of 40m.
On Spanish scuba diving holidays here it’s also worth diving at Cerro Gordo. A site full of several caves, caverns, chimneys, cliffs and tunnels. Advanced divers may also try cave diving in Cueva del Sifón. This site is famous for unique rock formations – cliffs, walls and caves.
Fraggle Rock is also very popular. It’s a very interesting dive with rich sea life and wrecks of a small fishing boat and two cars. Finally Tres Picos is well worth donning your fins for. There are three large submerged rocks with swim-through arches and walls.
The Pecio del San Andrés was a paddle steamship made of steel, which sank in 1856 during a storm. Although its official name is el Miño, it is more commonly known among divers as El San Andres.
It’s located on the southern tip of Spain off Tarifa, near the Straits of Gibraltar. Just parts of the wreck are now left, notably the stern and paddle wheels.
The wreck itself isn’t that spectacular but the artificial reef it has created is what you dive for. It’s now home to conger eels, moray eels, spider crabs, lobster, sea perch and the glorious and weird sunfish. The site is only accessible between March and August.
With a depth of 24-40m this is one for advanced divers. But it is certainly one of the best dive sites in Spain.
We hope you found this article about Spanish scuba diving holidays interesting and useful. If planning a trip, be sure to check out our scuba diving holiday discounts as you could save a fortune!