With the Atlantic to the north and the Mediterranean to the south, Spain boasts a broad array of dive options. From big blue sharks prowling the Bay of Biscay off the rugged northern coast to colorful gorgonians waving gently in the warm clear waters of the much milder Mediterranean, there is something here to tempt divers of all persuasions.
Near the straits of Gibraltar, at the mouth of the Mediterranean, areas such as Granada, Málaga and Cádiz, offer diving nearly all year round. In this transition zone from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, marine mammals are common and there are tremendous opportunities for whale watching. In the north, Cantabria, Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country have colder waters, more significant tides and a bit less visibility, but they teem with marine life.
Spain is renowned for its marine reserves. There are Cabo de Palos, Cabo de Gata and the Columbretes Islands in the Mediterranean and La Palma, La Restinga and Isla Graciosa on the Canary Islands in the open Atlantic. Each area has its own unique attraction and there’s enough here to keep divers fascinated for a lifetime.
- The Medes Islands – These small islands just off the coast of L’Estartit on the Costa Brava and are among the best Mediterranean dive sites. The islands are protected as a marine reserve and this, combined with the region’s popularity with divers, has made many of the fish relatively unafraid and approachable. The visibility is normally very good.
- The Balearic Islands – East of the Spanish mainland, these stunning islands benefit from a lush Mediterranean climate that is conducive to year round diving. From the four main islands there are more than 80 dramatic sites that invite divers into crystal clear waters that boast beautiful caves, caverns, great boulders and limestone cliffs. There are also wrecks, like the Don Pedro off Ibiza. At 142 metres/465 feet in length, it's the Mediterranean’s largest shipwreck. Diving in the Balearics comes with visibility that averages 30 metres/98 feet and water temperatures of up to 75°F/24°C in the summer.
- Baix Empordà of Catalonia - Just off Far de Sant Sebastià, Ullastres I, II and III are rock pinnacles reaching to within 7 metres/23 feet of the surface. They are draped in colorful gorgonians and are home to prolific sea bass, mackerel, wrasse and nudibranchs. There are also several wrecks that passed too close, struck the rocks, and sank.
- Furió Fitó - Located just off of the Cape of Begur is one of the Mediterranean coast’s most amazing underwater rock formations. This enormous submerged massif begins at 14 metres/45 feet before dropping down to 55 metres/180 feet. The north wall features gigantic gorgonians and incredibly colorful coral formations. This area also hosts octopus, snapper, grouper and rays.
- Murcia and Islas Hormigas Marine Park - This could arguably be the best place to dive in Spain for the sheer abundance and variety of marine life. The park is home to huge groupers, shoals of barracuda, octopus, moray eels and eagle rays as well as nudibranchs and the occasional sunfish. From August to October, huge bait balls attract pelagic fish, such as tuna, common dentex and jacks, resulting in spectacular feeding frenzies. You can also dive several world-class shipwrecks within the park.
- Canary Islands – Due to their location and climate, it is possible to dive year round off the seven Canary Islands. There are hundreds of unforgettable dive sites with abundant and colorful marine flora and fauna and dramatic underwater landscapes. Don’t miss the Museo Atlantico on Lanzarote, an underwater museum opened in March 2016. The Canary Islands are bathed by the Gulf Stream, which keeps the water temperature between 17-18°C/63-64°F in winter and around 23°C/73°F in summer. The water is exceptionally clear, making this a great spot for underwater photographers.
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Visibility – Depending on the region and the dive site, visibility can range from 3-50 meters/10-160 feet.
Water Temperature – Varying between different regions, water temperature ranges from 10-26°C/50-80°F with a maximum of 30ºC/86°F in the Balearic Island zone during the summer months.
Weather – There are three zones: Mediterranean, with dry warm summers and cool mild winters; Oceanic, with warm summers and cool winters, in the north; and semi-arid in the southeast.
Featured Creatures – Grouper, moray eels, opah, mobula rays and barracudas are frequently encountered. You’ll also occasionally see dolphins, whales, turtles and some angel sharks in areas with sandy bottoms. The invertebrate life and abundant coral are of particular interest to photographers.
Recommended Training – Take the PADI Deep Diver and PADI Underwater Naturalist courses to get the most from the dramatic seascapes and interesting marine life. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course is always a good choice to record your adventures.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Language - Spanish, with English spoken in tourist areas.
Currency - Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Major Airports - Alicante, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Gran Canaria are among the busiest Spanish airports.
Electricity and Internet - Electricity is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Internet service is widely available.
Topside Attractions - Attractions and monuments are found dispersed throughout the country. A few examples include the stunning architecture of La Sagrada Familia, by Gaudí, a church without equal in the world. The Alhambra of Granada and the Giralda of Sevilla are beautiful creations that showcase the Arab presence in the Iberian Peninsula.