The Best Snorkeling in Europe: 6 Top Spots

Europe is home to some of the world’s most enchanting underwater worlds, making it a prime destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. 

Clear waters, intriguing shipwrecks, and unique underwater museums all offer great opportunities for exploration. 

You can see beautiful coral reefs, a variety of fish, and historical underwater ruins and the visibility in these waters can often be breathtaking.

Best Snorkeling In Europe

Europe might not be the first place you think of for snorkeling, but it has some amazing spots worth exploring. Here’s a look at the top snorkeling spots in Europe that will leave you breathless.

Mediterranean Marvels:

  • Greece has a treasure trove of spots like Elafonisi Beach on Crete, where the sands blush pink and the waters reveal a vibrant aquatic playground.
  • Sardinia, Italy, boasts Cala Goloritzé and Isola Rossa, with their pristine waters, it’s like swimming in nature’s aquarium.

Island Escapes:

  • The Maltese Islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) are a hotspot with places like the Blue Lagoon, famous for visibility so clear, that you might forget you’re underwater.
  • Spain’s Balearic Islands offer hidden coves and colorful fish, providing a feast for the eyes.

Croatia’s Coastline Gems:

  • The sculpted coastline of the Istrian Peninsula? Kap Kamenjak is just a stroke away from Pula and is part of the Natura 2000 project, ensuring the conservation of its natural beauty.

Each of these destinations is a unique blend of seaside splendor and underwater magic. Dip into the Adriatic Sea, or glide through the Dalmatian coast—every experience is unique.

Remember, whether it’s the archaeological underwater scenes in Paphos, Cyprus, or the intersection of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park, seasonality and protection status can enhance your underwater journey.

So, ready to swap your hiking boots for fins and explore Europe’s watery wonders? Pack your snorkel gear and let these destinations top your summer beach holiday bucket list!

Malta

snorkeling around the small islands in Malta

Malta is a gem in the Mediterranean and a destination I’ve been able to visit twice now in recent years. Here’s why you should consider Malta for your next trip, plus the best spots for snorkeling…

Ghar Lapsi

Raring for a unique experience? Ghar Lapsi is a snorkeler’s paradise. Imagine swimming through serene waters, exploring natural caves, and saying hello to a spectrum of sea creatures.

  • Why go? Incredible visibility, a chance to admire rich biodiversity, and one of Europe’s top scuba diving destinations
  • Best time to visit: The sweet spot is late spring through early autumn when the sun blesses you with warmth and the water beckons with its clarity.

Comino Island and the Blue Lagoon

Ready for postcard-worthy scenery? No trip to Malta is complete without setting sights on the Blue Lagoon in Comino. It’s a hub of underwater excitement!

Comino is gorgeous and has some of the most crystal clear waters that I’ve seen – Try to visit outside of peak times though as it can get pretty busy!

  • Getting there: Hop on a ferry or indulge in a private boat tour.
  • Fins up for Chasing barracudas, playing peek-a-boo with octopuses, and mingling with various fish species.

Are you seeking that perfect blend of sunbathed days and aquamarine plays? Malta, with 3000 hours of sunshine per year and an average yearly day temperature of 23°C (73°F), is a no-brainer.

Malta’s Snorkeling Checklist:

  • Ghar Lapsi: Caves and marine life
  • Comino: Blue Lagoon’s tranquil charm
  • Gozo: Dive into history and nature

Your snorkeling gear will love Malta for its protected areas and marine reserves. Healthy ecosystems mean you’re likely to spot life bustling below the waves.

Greece

the pink sands of Elafonisi beach in Grece

Greece is your go-to destination in Europe for a snorkeling adventure you’ll never forget.

The Greek Islands beckon with their diverse underwater ecosystems and inviting clear waters. Notably, Elafonisi Beach on Crete is a snorkeler’s dream.

Imagine yourself swimming through warm, transparent waters, surrounded by a ballet of fish—this is what awaits you in Greece’s loving embrace of the Mediterranean Sea.

Elafonisi Beach, Crete

  • Marine life: A diverse mix where you might spot anything from exotic fish to intriguing sea creatures.
  • Best time to visit: Avoid the summer crowds Between September and October and enjoy warm waters.
  • Snorkeling cost: A guided snorkeling tour can be around 30-60 Euros, a fair price for such an unforgettable experience.

If you’re wondering where else to dip your toes, consider Skiathos, another jewel in the archipelago. Here, the waters are so crystal-clear, that you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world! Whether you’re on a guided snorkeling tour or free diving, Skiathos will leave you breathless.

  • Activities in Skiathos:
    1. Guided snorkeling tours
    2. Free diving experience

In Greece, it’s not just about Elafonisi or Skiathos; there are spots like Santorini and the Dodecanese Islands, such as Rhodes, that offer exceptional underwater vistas.

Bring your snorkel gear and explore caves, wrecks, and reefs dotting these Greek treasures.

Croatia

snorkelling in Dalmatia Croatia

Have you heard about the Adriatic Sea’s crystal-clear waters? 

Well, Croatia’s vast coastline is simply a paradise for snorkelers! With over 6000 kilometers of shore and more than 1200 islands, the choices are endless.

Let’s dive into what makes Croatian waters one of Europe’s best snorkeling destinations.

Pula

Pula, nestled on the tip of the Istrian Peninsula, is famous for its Roman ruins, but it’s also a gateway to some stunning underwater scenery.

You can witness a rich array of marine life among the relics of history. Speaking of history, Makarska is your go-to destination for an enchanting blend of old-world wrecks and vibrant sea life.

Snorkeling around these shipwrecks, you get a special peek into the depths of history and ecology together!

Heading south from Istrian gems, you hit Dalmatia. With its renowned Makarska Riviera, Dalmatia will offer you the best of beaches and swimming conditions and reward you with postcard-perfect snorkeling spots.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Best time to visit: June through September for the warmest, calmest waters.
  • Highlights: Immerse yourself in waters so clear you might forget you’re underwater, surrounded by pockets of vibrant coral and numerous fish species.

So, whether it’s a laid-back swim near a sandy beach or exploring the dynamic coastline, Croatian waters await with open arms to show you a spectacle beneath the waves.

Cyprus – Museum Of Underwater Sculpture

Museum of Underwater Sculpture at Pernera Beach, Cyprus

Diving into a museum? In Cyprus, you can swap the gallery ropes for fins and explore Mediterranean marine life firsthand. 

The Museum of Underwater Sculpture in Ayia Napa, known as MUSAN, is not your typical museum visit—it’s a unique experience blending art with an underwater adventure. What’s so unique, you ask?

Location & Accessibility

  • Beach: Positioned perfectly alongside Pernera Beach.
  • Clear Waters: Mediterranean clarity makes every detail visible.

The museum showcases sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor, an artist dedicated to the intersection of art and marine conservation.

As you snorkel above, you’re treated to a surreal scene of artwork populated by marine life.

But what about the marine ecosystem? The sculptures serve a dual purpose.

  • Artificial Reef: These creations form an artificial reef, attracting a diverse array of marine life.
  • Biodiversity: The textured surfaces of the sculptures are perfect for coral growth, which means more fish and a healthier sea.

Just off the coast, in the clear waters of the Mediterranean, you can see the ocean come alive around these statues.

No wonder it’s considered one of the best snorkeling spots in Europe, where the wonder of art meets the beauty of nature.

Dive into MUSAN and make your trip to Cyprus an unforgettable blend of cultural curiosity and natural exploration—don’t miss out on this underwater marvel!

United Kingdom

Snorkelling in Bovisand Devon

While it might not be the first destination that pops to mind, the United Kingdom boasts some genuinely unique snorkeling spots that are teeming with marine life and offer great adventures for water enthusiasts like you.

Bovisand, Devon is one such jewel. Tucked away on the south coast of England, Bovisand offers a snorkeling experience that’s hard to beat:

  • Vibrant Seagrass Beds: A hidden underwater world where you might just spot some seahorses if you’re lucky!
  • Diverse Fish Species: Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful array of fish flitting through the waters.

Local conservationists are quite busy bees! Their ongoing efforts ensure the protection of delicate marine life and their habitats.

So, when you’re floating above the seabed, know that every effort is being made to preserve this beauty for future snorkelers.

Here’s why UK’s beaches like Bovisand are worth a visit:

  • For Marine Life: Not just fish, but a real possibility of seahorses!
  • For Destinations: Devon is a charmer – from its clotted cream to its clear waters.
  • For Tourists: It’s not overcrowded with fins and snorkels, so you can get the peace you seek.
  • For Snorkeling Spots: Expect cleaner, more protected waters thanks to conservation efforts.

So, grab your mask and snorkel, and head on over to Bovisand! Remember, you’re snorkeling in the UK – the water’s not tropically warm, so suit up well and get ready for an unforgettable British snorkeling adventure.

Lake Silfra, Iceland

lake Silfra in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Ever fancied floating between two continents? That’s what you can expect at Lake Silfra in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. 

This remarkable natural wonder isn’t just a feast for the eyes, it’s a geological marvel; snorkelers glide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in some of the clearest waters on the planet.

Why Silfra?

  • Clarity: See up to 100 meters in the pristine glacial water.
  • Unique Location: Float between two tectonic plates—an experience unlike any other!
  • Access: Just about 30 miles from Reykjavik, easily accessible for a day trip.

Before you take the plunge:

  • Temperature: Expect chilly conditions! The water ranges between 2°C and 4°C (35°F and 39°F).
  • Gear: Don’t worry, you’ll be outfitted with a dry suit to keep you cozy.

Silfra’s Highlights

  • Silfra Hall
  • Silfra Cathedral
  • Silfra Lagoon

Isn’t it wild to think that you can touch the edges of two immense plates that cradle continents? Or that you’re swimming in a rift that’s part of the boundary between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans? That’s the thrill of Lake Silfra—a diver’s dream wrapped in an Arctic chill.

Remember: Safety first! Always follow your guide’s instructions and be prepared for a cool adventure—literally! 

This mesmerizing underwater journey is a natural treasure waiting for you to explore. No fluff, promise; just an unforgettable quest beneath the surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about where to strap on your fins in Europe? Dive into these top queries to discover the best underwater adventures that await you and your family.

What Are The Top Family-Friendly Snorkeling Spots In Europe?

Europe’s coasts are dotted with spots perfect for families. Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece, offers gentle waters and an exotic pink sand backdrop ideal for kids of all ages.

Can You Find Colorful Reefs While Snorkeling In Europe?

Indeed, you can! The Reserva Natural da Berlenga in Portugal is a marine reserve brimming with vibrant sea life and coral formations that will dazzle snorkelers looking for a pop of color beneath the waves.

Which European Destinations Offer The Best All-Inclusive Snorkeling Holidays?

For an all-in-one snorkeling getaway, the coastal resorts in Mallorca, Spain, particularly Cala d’Or, provide a range of all-inclusive options with multiple coves and stunning golden beaches.

What Are Some Mediterranean Locations Renowned For Exceptional Snorkeling?

The Mediterranean Sea is a treasure trove for snorkelers. Cala Ferrera and Cala Gran in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, are renowned for their crystal-clear turquoise waters and marine biodiversity.

Where Can You Experience The Most Diverse Marine Life While Snorkeling In Europe?

Iceland might not be the first place that springs to mind, but snorkeling in the Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park gives the unique opportunity to swim between continents amidst diverse marine life in crystal clear glacial water.

Are There Any Hidden Gem Snorkeling Locations In Europe That Rival Top World Spots?

Hidden gems like Russalka in the Black Sea, Bulgaria, offer an off-the-beaten-path experience with less crowding and untouched natural beauty that can compete with the world’s best snorkeling destinations.

Picture of Gia Halliday

Gia Halliday

Hey, my names Gia! My biggest passions are food, travel and basically anything to do with being in the water. Combine all of that with an addiction for buying gear and you end up with with this website!