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Europe is one of the most visited continents in the world. Millions of tourists go for a holiday to see enthralling cities and architecture. Everyone knows that underwater diving is the best way to experience marine life, but it requires you to purchase some super expensive equipment to be able to experience it.With most of the European countries, surrounded by the Mediterranean, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, it makes it the prime destination for oceanic adventures. Snorkeling is one such thrilling sport that doesn’t require much equipment or practice to experience the amazing views of marine life in their natural habitat. We’ve prepared a list of 17 of the best destinations to go snorkeling in Europe.
17 Best Spots For Snorkeling In Europe
Here are the 17 best destinations to go snorkeling in Europe that we’ve shortlisted keeping in mind several factors like location. Check out the list to know about the best snorkeling in Europe.
- Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
- Russalka, Black Sea, Bulgaria
- Reserva Natural da Berlenga, Portugal
- Makarska, Croatia
- Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardinia, Italy
- Illes Medes, Costa Brava, Spain
- Ghar Lapsi, Malta
- Coco Beach, Nice, France
- Lake Silfra, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
- Isola Rossa, Sardinia, Italy
- Skiathos, Greece
- Paphos, Cyprus
- Bovisand, Devon, UK
- Lobos, Canary Island, Spain
- Ustica, Sicily, Italy
- Palud Bay, South of France
- Cabrera Archipelago National Park, Spain
1. Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
If you wish to do snorkeling in Europe, then Elafonisi beach is among the top 10 snorkeling spots in Europe. Located on the Crete Island in Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, this place offers a diverse variety of marine life of the Mediterranean to the marine life enthusiasts. The clear blue waters shining like the clear sky let you witness the marine life clearly and allows you to explore the depths of the sea easily.
Best Time To Visit: Early Autumn, September to October
2. Russalka, Black Sea, Bulgaria
It is not only the well famed Mediterranean that’s great for snorkeling in Europe. The Black Sea, despite having water with many sediments, can also be a good place to snorkel. One of them is Russalka in Bulgaria, a top snorkeling destination in Europe. Although the marine life here is fairly small, you can see shipwrecks from the Ottoman era.
Best Time To Visit: June To September
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3. Reserva Natural da Berlenga, Portugal
Located just 10 km off the shore from Peniche in Portugal, Reserve Natural da Berlenga is a rocky island. Known for its natural and wild beauty, this place is one of the best places for experiencing great snorkeling in Europe. The areas near around the shoreline are among the greatest for snorkeling in Europe, having visible shipwrecks in the clear deep blue waters and a collection of some of the finest biodiversity known to man, this place is a wonderland for nature lovers.
Best Time To Visit: Spring season, February & Autumn (October)
4. Makarska, Croatia
After snorkeling in France, Italy and Spain, come visit the Adriatic Sea coast in Makarska in Croatia. The species here are completely different and the fresh water springs on the seabed allow the formations of some of the best coral reefs in Europe such as that of the Golden Sponge species. If you are lucky, you might spot a seahorse while snorkeling in Europe at this destination. It is indeed one of the best places to snorkel in Europe.
Best Time To Visit: May and June
5. Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Sardinia, Italy
Maddalena Archipelago National Park is a national park located on the northern part of the Sardegna Island and all of its surrounding areas. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, it is among some of the best snorkeling destinations in Europe. This place is like the best of both worlds and is one of the best places in Europe for snorkeling.
Best Time To Visit: April To May and September To October
6. Illes Medes, Costa Brava, Spain
Considered to be among the best destinations for snorkeling holidays in Europe for 2020, Illes Medes is a protected marine reserve. This means that the growth of fishes and plants is natural here. The people here mind their own business, so you won’t be disturbed by those doing adventure activities at the beach. You’ll get the most fulfilling experience of snorkeling in Europe here.
Best Time To Visit: March To May (Spring) & September To November (Autumn)
7. Ghar Lapsi, Malta
This is another great European place for marine life lovers and also considered to be one of the ideal places for snorkeling in Europe. The clear waters and caves with white sands here make the whole experience wholesome and fun. You can go explore the natural caves which are bustling shelters for fishes, and can also find some great variety of fishes at the sandy beaches. You can even find beautiful reefs in these waters and explore their beauty.
Best Time To Visit: April, May and June
8. Coco Beach, Nice, France
Nice has always been an important place for visitors to France, but it is really surprising how such a beautiful and serene place can exist near an industrialized town like this. Although the beach is really busy during the season, the water is crystal clear. Also, there are many diving companies offering dives but if you want to snorkel, then you can explore the less busy coves near the beach but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to look out for Jet Skis and things like that.
Best Time To Visit: April To June (Spring) & September To November (Autumn)
9. Lake Silfra, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Lake Silfra is a glacial lake. This means that the water is crystal clear and perfect place for snorkeling in Europe. There are water geysers nearby, which means that the water is fairly warm for snorkeling. You can witness various varieties of freshwater fishes here, and the visibility here is such that you can even see the fissures where the two continental plates meet. There is also a lagoon besides the lake with its shallow bottom which can be visible clearly from the top.
Best Time To Visit: Throughout The Year
10. Isola Rossa, Sardinia, Italy
The red rock beaches around the small Mediterranean town of Isola Rossa are a great place to explore biodiversity among the beaches of Europe. This is also considered to be one of the best places to snorkel in Europe. There are a decent number of pools and inlets for exploring fishes and the water is crystal clear with some rare sediments. The reef as well as the beach is sandy and yet, full of life and biodiversity.
Best Time To Visit: April To May and September To October
11. Skiathos, Greece
A really beautiful place in the Aegean Islands of Europe, snorkeling here can be a bit difficult because of low visibility due to presence of sediments. Snorkel in the rocky islands with hidden beaches to find some rare and exotic fishes. Some beaches have white sand stretching for miles. The best ones for snorkeling in Europe are the rocky ones.
Best Time To Visit: May To October
12. Paphos, Cyprus
Famous for presence of both small as well as big caves, this small town along the eastern coast of Cyprus is amongst the best snorkeling places in Europe. The best places to snorkel here are small and secluded beaches and the area near the lighthouse. You can find all kind of marine animals here – from small unbothered fishes like the pipe fish to big marine animals like octopuses.
Best Time To Visit: May To November
13. Bovisand, Devon, UK
Among the best and the most well-known snorkeling places in UK, Bovisand is situated near the Plymouth harbor. Protected by the bad weather, this place is an ideal snorkeling destination. The shallows in this place are sandy at the bottom but you have a good chance of seeing big fishes here. If you go a little further, you may have a chance of witnessing sharks. Without a doubt this is one of the best places for snorkeling in Europe.
Best Time To Visit: Spring (March To Early June), Autumn (September To November)
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14. Lobos, Canary Island, Spain
Among the smallest of the canary islands of Spain, this place offers some of the most exquisite snorkeling places in the whole of Europe. Located just 2 km away from the Island of Fuerteventura, this place is among the best spots for snorkeling enthusiasts. Now a protected marine reserve, the area remains undisturbed and the fishes and plants grow without any disturbance from the outside world.
Best Time To Visit: March To May (Spring), September To November (Autumn)
15. Ustica, Sicily, Italy
Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, west of the Island of Sicily in Italy, this place is one of the best spots for snorkeling in Europe. You can find lots of fishes and species of marine animals in the clean waters here. Don’t miss this place if you’re visiting Italy. Make sure to wear safety gear while snorkeling in Europe and have a gala time.
Best Time To Visit: May To June And September To October
16. Palud Bay, South of France
Palud Bay, also known as Plage de Le Palud is one of the best places to go snorkeling in Europe. A popular spot in the Mediterranean Coast, this site offers a highly enriching experience. Palud Bay is located in Mediterranean’s oldest national marine park, the Port-Cros National Park. The site has well defines snorkeling paths marked by buoys, each of which indicate a unique environment. Explore the rocky, sandy and sea grass beds and swim with a variety of friendly fish.
Best Time To Visit: NA
17. Cabrera Archipelago National Park, Spain
The Cabrera Archipelago National Park is a maritime-terrestrial national park in Spain. It is located on the off the southeast coast off the Spanish Balearic Island – Mallorca. This region was once a prison camp. Its well-preserved seabeds makes it the best place to snorkel in Europe for spotting some astonishingly unique marine life. The snorkelling region features wonderful rock formations, tiny bays and caves.
Best Time To Visit: NA
Tips For Snorkeling In Europe
- Learn from the basics which includes learning how to fit a mask and prevent fogging.
- Get the perfect size of the fins
- Practice on the pool or shallow beach if you’re a first timer
- Stay relaxed and reduce the effort while swimming
- Before snorkeling take a check on the ocean conditions and also choose a calm spot
Snorkeling in Europe is one of the best experiences you can have in your lifetime and Europe is full of some of the best destinations for the same. The beaches and waters are so clear and beautiful that the experience is unlike any other. Make sure to visit these spots for snorkeling in Europe the next time you go on a trip on Europe.
Frequently Asked Questions About Snorkeling In Europe
A. Some of the best places for snorkeling in Europe are in Spain, Coast Brava, and Illes Medes. You get to witness natural marine plants and fishes while snorkeling.
A. Though there no coral reefs to admire in the Mediterranean Sea one can still explore the marine life in Croatia, Spain, and France.
A. The best time to snorkel is either late in the morning or early in the afternoon. This time has been decided according to the tidal waves.
A. Croatia is one of the best places to do snorkeling in Europe. Clear waters adorned with pebbles at the bottom give a good view of underwater life.
A. Snorkeling is comparatively considered easier than other water activities like scuba diving. So, it is not hard to do snorkeling.
A. Yes, snorkeling is absolutely safe for even non-swimmers as it is a surface sport and snorkeling does not require to go deep into the water.
A. Yes, you can breathe while snorkeling. A tube is attached to the snorkel face mask that allows you to do normal breathing.
A. In snorkeling, you don’t go deep inside the water and you perform this activity while on the surface of the water. On the other hand, scuba diving is an intensive sport that requires certification and proper equipment to perform it. Moreover, this activity takes you deep inside the marine water to get a good look at the fishes and coral reefs.
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