A group diving in the waters off Cadiz
Los Genoveses Beach. Cabo de Gata, Almería.
Luna Marina. Fotolia.
Landscape on the island of Tabarca. Alicante - Alacant.
In Spain you can practise all kinds of recreational diving: ice diving, night diving, wreck diving, cave diving, snorkelling, etc. The possibilities are endless and the marine life is varied, so it is perfect for any diving enthusiast. There are options for both beginners and experienced divers.
You can book your diving activities and experiences on this page. Here you'll find information on prices, the dates on which you can do the activity in question, how long it takes, what language options are available and its target public.
Situated in the south of Europe, Spain is almost entirely surrounded by water: its coasts are washed by the Mediterranean Sea (warmer waters), the Cantabrian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean (both of which are colder), and they all have very clean waters. Thanks to Spain's pleasant climate, you can go diving all year round. There are more than 20 Marine Reserves. There are many diving centres that organise diving courses for different levels and specialities, and they take care of getting permits and transfers by boat to the coast. There are also diving clubs that organise activities such as underwater archaeology seminars, underwater photography, etc. You can also practise other water sports or go on a trip to watch cetaceans. We recommend visiting our Marine Resorts in Spain section.
Recreational diving in Spain – how does it work?
If you are coming to Spain and want to make the most of your trip to start practising this sport, here are some things you need to know: You must have a certificate that proves you have the required training in order to dive safely. In Spain there are many companies, as well as official federations, that issue these certificates: ACUC, CMAS, IAC, IDA, IDEA, PADI, SSI… (They can also help you to plan your "diving holidays".) You don't need to be federated to practise recreational diving, but you do need insurance. You can take it out through the diving centres and training organisations. That is, it should be included in the course you take. You need a medical certificate (no more than two years old) issued by a medical specialist certifying you are able to practise diving. In any case, the diving centres on the Spanish coast will give you the information you need, take care of the formalities and lend you the equipment you need. Qualified instructors will take good care of you.
If you already have a diving qualification
If you already have an internationally recognised qualification, you can use it to go diving in Spain. We advise you to bring your certificate, dive log book, medical certificate and diving insurance. Always take into account Spanish diving regulations, which include rules like the following: The maximum depth for diving in Spain is 40 metres. The minimum age for diving in Spain depends on the region. However, nationally it is 16 years old.
Best times of the year
Although you can go diving all year round, most courses take place from March to November.
Each place has its own charm (water visibility, pleasant temperatures, etc.), so, to help you decide, here is a description of the 10 national Marine Reserves, which are perfect for this activity: Cabo de Gata-Níjar. In Almería (Andalusia). It is home to the southernmost Posidonia oceanica meadows, coral forms and colourful fish. There are boats that take you to coves such as Cala Chica and San Pedro. Isla de Alborán. Also in Almería. Did you know that its name is thought to come from Al-Borani, a pirate from Almería? Legend has it that he used to take refuge on the island and hide his treasures there. Cabo de Palos – Hormigas Islands. Still in the Mediterranean, but in the Region of Murcia. As well as Posidonia oceanica meadows and underwater mountains, you can find huge groupers and barracudas, and also some moonfish and common eagle rays. And if you are really adventurous, there are sunken ships like "Sirio", the famous transatlantic steamer. Levante de Mallorca – Cala Ratjada. Off the eastern coast of the island of Majorca, we find underwater caves and Posidonia oceanica meadows. Groupers and red lobsters can be found here. Interesting places to go diving include the area known as "Queso", La Catedral or La Mula, to name a few. Columbretes Islands. Also in the Mediterranean Sea but in Castellón, these are four volcanic islets. They are surrounded by steep underwater walls and are home to species like the red coral. Find out about the boats that can take you there from Castellón and Valencia ports. Once you are there, there are companies that organise diving activities and even dinner on a boat under the stars. Island of Tabarca. Situated in the province of Alicante. Here you can also find Posidonia oceanica meadows. You can get to the island by boat from Alicante, Santa Pola or Benidorm. You'll be able to see reefs where large groupers and schools of barracudas live, and you can even spot sunken ships. Masía Blanca. 50 kilometres north of the city of Tarragona. The Posidonia oceanica meadows make up a labyrinth that is teeming with species, like octopuses, cuttlefish, groupers, gilthead bream and sea bass. Graciosa Island. In the north of the island of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, Graciosa and islets in the Chinijo Archipelago make up this marine reserve. The colours of the seabed are spectacular thanks to sponges and red and yellow sea fans. You can spot pufferfish, trumpetfish and triggerfish. Its waters never go under 18ºC in winter. La Palma. This is another island in the Canaries that reaches a depth of up to 1,000 metres. There are beds of tropical anemones. Bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead turtles can also be spotted. Imagine swimming into a cave and searching the depths of the sea following lava flows. This can be done because of the volcanic nature of the Canary Islands. La Restinga – Mar de las Calmas. In the island of El Hierro, in the Canaries. High-sea species visit the island's waters, like the whale shark and giant manta ray. Sea turtles and dolphins can also be spotted. The temperature of the water ranges from 18 to 25 degrees. If you love photography, don't miss Open Fotosub Isla de El Hierro, which takes place every year. More areas. As well as state-run Marine Reserves, there are other well-known reserves and areas in Spain where you can go diving. In Catalonia you have Los Ullastres, Formigues Islands, Cap de Creus, Ses Negres, and especially, the Medes Islands, which for many centuries were a hiding place for pirates. There you can swim amongst large groupers or through the corridor known as "Túnel de la Vaca". In Galicia you can go diving in Islas Atlánticas National Park, where the famous Cíes Islands are situated. Would you like to see large octopuses and turbots? All the Canary and Balearic Islands are perfect for scuba diving. For example – have you heard about the sea turtles that reach Formentera after travelling hundreds of miles, all the way from the Gulf of Mexico? There are many places all around the Spanish coast: why don't you try diving in the waters of the Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria or other parts of Andalusia?
Marine Reserves (and other areas, too) have access conditions for underwater activities and usually require prior authorisation. You can get more information on the websites of the Spanish Marine Reserves and the Ibero-American Marine Reserve Network. Don't go diving if you are going to catch a plane in the next 24 hours (because of the risk of decompression sickness). Although it is allowed to bring compressed air bottles into Spain, it is not advisable (because they are hard to carry) or necessary, because they can be hired from diving centres. Remember that the diving equipment you need depends on the area and the time of year. Bear in mind that the temperature of the water can range between about 10 and 26 ºC approximately. If you have any questions or need advice on places to go to for a course, we recommend getting in touch with the Spanish Federation of Underwater Activities (FEDAS) or with the Spanish Recreational Diving Association (A.B.R.E.) You can also check our Practical health and safety tips section to find out more about healthcare in Spain. Given that the recommendations and regulations provided may change, we advise you to check the requirements always before starting out on your journey.
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