Europe may not be the first place you think of when it comes to snorkeling destinations, but there are a lot of great places to snorkel here. Read on to learn the top 10.
When you think about the best snorkeling destinations in the world, Europe is probably not the first place that comes to mind.
The majority of the countries in Europe are landlocked and feature very little in terms of snorkeling opportunities. But believe it or not, there are more than a few incredible snorkeling spots in Europe despite the continent’s limitations.
If you’re planning to take a trip to Europe sometime soon and you love snorkeling, consider making a stop at these snorkeling destinations to see what they’re all about. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what Europe has to offer to all the avid snorkelers out there.
Here are 10 European snorkeling destinations worth checking out.
1. Cabrera Archipelago National Park in Spain
Once upon a time, Cabrera Archipelago National Park was home to a prison camp. It was just about the last place you would want to visit to do any snorkeling.
But these days, it’s the perfect place to sneak away to when you’re posted up in Spain. It boasts a well-preserved seabed and crystal-clear waters that will allow you to enjoy a fun snorkeling adventure.
In the waters that surround the park, you’ll find everything from gorgeous rock formations to caves that are worth exploring. You’ll also find an eclectic collection of fish and other marine life.
One thing worth noting is that the park is a protected environment. This means that you won’t be able to just show up and start snorkeling. But as long as you’re willing to book a tour in advance, it’s one of the best snorkeling destinations throughout all of Spain and, to a larger degree, all of Europe.
2. Isola Rossa in Italy
Situated on the north coast of an Italian island called Sardinia, Isola Rossa was a fishing village when it was first founded. But over the last few decades, it has developed into a seaside resort for tourists looking to escape the crowds on the Italian mainland.
It has also developed into a great place for snorkelers to congregate thanks to the sandy beaches and clear water that surround Sardinia. From the moment you put your full face snorkel mask into the water, you’ll be surrounded by nothing but beauty.
There are all kinds of fish swimming below the surface in Isola Rossa. But moray eels have become the most popular attraction for those who enjoy snorkeling.
3. Coco Beach in France
Coco Beach is located in the city of Nice, which has actually become a very industrialized city over time. The beach is not far from a major port that is almost always hustling and bustling.
But the nice thing about Nice is that it offers places like Coco Beach where people can go to escape the industrialization that has reshaped the city in many ways. It’s ideal for those who want to do some snorkeling in the middle of their French getaway.
If you’d like, Nice offers a wide range of snorkeling companies that will take you out and show you all there is to see in the brilliant blue waters off the coast of the city. But if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can get away with exploring all the coves that are situated right off the coast on your own.
The one thing you’ll want to be mindful of is that the waters near Nice are usually active and filled with boats, Jet Skis, and more. But as long as you keep an eye and ear out, you shouldn’t have any trouble snorkeling in peace.
4. Columbretes Island in Spain
Spain has a handful of excellent snorkeling destinations thanks to its close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. You can go up and down the coast of the country and find many different places to snorkel in the sea.
Columbretes Island will prove to be one of the most attractive options. It includes a handful of islets that are completely uninhabited and untouched by human beings.
Making your way to Columbretes Island can be a bit challenging. But once you’re there, you can have an entire beach to yourself if you want. You can also swim in the waters off the coast of the island and see many species of fish and other marine life.
As an added bonus, the island also features lots of hiking trails that will allow you to experience everything it has to offer. You’ll likely see just as many animals on the island as you see fish off the coast of it.
5. Ghar Lapsi in Malta
Do you want to find a snorkeling destination that the whole family can enjoy? Look no further than Ghar Lapsi, which is a fishing port that features natural pools with shallow water.
When you’re not splashing around in the natural pools, you can strap on your snorkeling gear and swim up and down the rocky shoreline of Ghar Lapsi to see everything that’s swimming around. The water is always clear and will allow you to witness the movement of fish and more.
Your entire family will have a blast snorkeling in Ghar Lapsi.
6. Paphos in Cyprus
While Ghar Lapsi is a great place to snorkel if you’re still a beginner, Paphos is not ideal for those who aren’t experienced with snorkeling. It’s better for those who know what they’re doing when they’re out in the water.
The best place to snorkel in Paphos is near the Paphos Lighthouse where there are lots of rock formations underwater. Those formations attract fish, crabs, and more.
The problem you’ll face is that the waters near the Paphos Lighthouse can get rough at certain times of the day. It’s not uncommon to see waves crashing down on the shoreline in the area.
But those waves are actually what has helped develop the rock formations. As long as you’re prepared to deal with them, you’ll enjoy snorkeling in Paphos.
7. Medes Island in Spain
Another snorkeling spot in the Mediterranean Sea? You bet. And it’s one of the most popular snorkeling spots in the Sea, at that.
Back in 2010, Medes Island earned the distinction of being declared a protected park. As a result, the island is virtually untouched and offers some of the most beautiful views both in and out of the water that you’ll find in Spain.
The shoreline is very rocky, which prevents swimmers, fishermen, and those with boats from spending much time in the water. But it offers the perfect opportunity for those who enjoy snorkeling.
You can find all kinds of cool fish in the waters off Medes Island. But a couple of the most popular kinds are barracudas and giant groupers.
8. Rusalka in Bulgaria
Generally speaking, snorkeling in the Black Sea is not much fun. Sediment gets kicked up and makes it tough to see anything.
But if you make your way into the waters of the Black Sea off the coast of Bulgaria on a nice day, you can catch some incredible sights.
There isn’t much in terms of marine life in the Black Sea, but you will see dolphins swimming around in it every now and then. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to see some of the shipwrecks in the area.
To explore those wrecks, you’ll obviously need to strap on SCUBA gear to take a better look.
But as long as the water isn’t too cloudy, you can get a glimpse at the wrecks from the surface while snorkeling.
9. Makarska in Croatia
Croatia is not necessarily a place you want to visit specifically for snorkeling. But if you happen to be in Croatia vacationing and have the chance to do it, snorkeling in Makarska will present you with a unique opportunity.
Makarska sits on the Adriatic Sea, which has springs in its seabed that send fresh water out into the sea. That fresh water allows some interesting plants to grow at the bottom of the sea.
One of the things you’ll likely spot while snorkeling in Makarska is the Golden Sponge. You’ll also come across corals, octopuses, seahorses, and more. It’ll open your eyes to what Croatia has to offer as far as snorkeling is concerned.
10. Plage de La Palud in France
Plage de La Palud sits in Port-Cros National Park, which is the oldest marine park situated along the Mediterranean Sea. It’s home to hundreds of different types of fish and will provide you with a memorable snorkeling experience.
The great thing about snorkeling in Plage de La Palud is that there are specific areas designated for snorkeling that are marked off with buoys. Each of these buoys contains information about the things you’ll find underwater. You can read the info underwater to learn about marine life in the area.
Book a Trip to One or More of These Snorkeling Destinations Today
As you can see, you shouldn’t sleep on the snorkeling destinations in Europe. While some of them are off the beaten path, they’re just as incredible as the snorkeling destinations you’ll find in other parts of the world.
Think about taking a snorkeling trip to Europe today. You’ll uncover some things while snorkeling that you wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else.
Read our blog for more helpful travel tips.