Ultimate Guide to the Best Snorkeling in Europe

Tips for Best Snorkeling in Europe

If you love to snorkel, you probably dream of exotic destinations like Hawaii, Fiji, or the Caribbean.

While those tropical destinations certainly offer fantastic snorkeling, you don’t have to travel that far from home. In fact, it’s possible to take a cheap family holiday and enjoy your favorite activity within Europe.

From the Mediterranean to the Black Sea to the North Atlantic, we’re counting down the:

Top 10 Places for the Best Snorkeling in Europe

Read on to discover your next favorite snorkeling destination!

  1. Paphos, Cyprus

The shallow waters and secluded beaches around Paphos make it the perfect snorkeling destination.

The beautiful island of Cyprus is located just south of Turkey, at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. Bring your snorkeling equipment to Paphos and get ready to see a variety of fish, coral, and octopus.

The area boasts several shallow sea caves that are perfect for snorkeling above or through. The rocks surrounding the local lighthouse are also teeming with marine life.

  1. Skiathos, Greece

perfect snorkeling destination.

The endless islands off the coast of Greece offer some of the best snorkeling in Europe. There are few (if any) disappointing decisions to make in this area.

If you have good weather and calm seas, head for the island of Skiathos. This small rocky island features rocky coastlines and hidden beaches.

In the water, you can expect to see dozens of different types of fish and marine life. Keep an eye out for octopus, crabs, and giant eels that glide between the submerged rocks. This is also a great area to look for beautiful seashells–the perfect souvenir from your snorkeling trip!

  1. Makarska, Croatia

If you’ve already snorkeled in areas like Spain, France, or Portugal, you’re in for a real treat when you visit Croatia.

Located on the Adriatic Sea, the coastal town of Makarska offers a unique underwater world to explore. Freshwater springs bubble up from the shallow seabed, resulting in colorful reefs and exotic sea plants such as Golden Sponges.

Like other areas of the Mediterranean, you’ll find an abundance of fish, crabs, and octopus. This area is also known for its huge population of seahorses, so be sure to bring your underwater camera along for photo ops.

  1. Isola Rossa, Sardinia, Italy

Located on the north coast of the island of Sardinia, Isola Rossa is arguably home to some of the best snorkeling in Europe.

The area is named for the reddish color of the island opposite the village. Here you’ll find unusual pink granite rocks, thick underwater vegetation, and scores of Moray eels.

The colors and landscape are unlike any other area in the Mediterranean. Another bonus? The seaside resort is quiet and isolated, so it’s the perfect choice for a romantic getaway or family-friendly holiday.

  1. Coco Beach, Nice, France

If you’re headed to the south of France, look no farther than Coco Beach.

Located within walking distance of the port city of Nice, Coco Beach offers surprisingly clear waters and plenty of great snorkeling opportunities.

The combination of deep blue water and yellow sand give the coastal waters here a distinct green appearance. Enjoy a leisurely swim along the coastline, but do keep an eye out for passing boats and jet skis.

  1. Medes Islands, Costa Brava, Spain

Located north of Barcelona near the border of France, this tiny cluster of islands offers superb snorkeling in Europe.

In 2010, the islands became a National Protected Natural Park area. This ensures the waters are kept clean, clear, and in their natural state.

The rocky coastline makes the islands perfect for snorkeling but less suitable for sunbathing, which means you won’t have to share the water with swimmers and boaters. Keep an eye out for the barracuda and giant groupers that live in the rocky underwater terrain.

  1. Caneiros, Algarve, Portugal

great snorkeling opportunities

Only 30 minutes from Faro airport, the seaside town of Caneiros on the Atlantic Ocean is the perfect snorkeling getaway.

Enormous rocks along the shore and off-shore offer countless snorkeling opportunities. Swim through shallow underwater caves and enjoy the abundant marine life that inhabits them.

During low tide, you can even snorkel, swim, or walk to your own private “cove.” Other activities abound in the area, too, including paddle boats, kayaks, and massages on the beach.

Are your bags packed yet?

  1. Russalka, Black Sea, Bulgaria

The Mediterranean Sea offers some of the best snorkeling in Europe, but it’s not the only option.

For a taste of something different, head to the town of Russalka, Bulgaria. Located on the shores of the Black Sea, snorkeling in this seaside town offers great visibility on calm days.

While you may be lucky enough to see some dolphins, the main attraction in Russalka is the collection of shipwrecks. Several sites are shallow and close enough to the shore to enjoy while snorkeling, including old wooden warships and WWII battleships and submarines.

  1. Bovisand, Devon, UK

Popular for both snorkeling and scuba diving, this site on the edge of Plymouth Harbor has some of the clearest waters in the UK.

The shape of the harbor and the breakwaters keep these waters calm and protected from poor weather conditions.

You won’t find too many rocks or coral in Bovisand, as the shallows are mainly sand. Still, it’s a great place to spot large fish and even sharks, both of which frequent the area.

Need some new snorkeling equipment to prepare for the chilly waters in Bovisand? Click here.

  1. Lake Silfra, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Iceland may not readily come to mind when you think of the best snorkeling in Europe, but you’d be surprised.

Lake Silfra offers an incredibly unique snorkeling experience. Its glacial waters keep visibility perfectly clear. From the surface, you can easily peer deep into the fissures where two continental plates meet!

As a bonus, nearby geothermal springs help to keep the water comfortably warm. If you’re looking for a snorkeling experience like no other, this is the place to do it.

Ready for the Best Snorkeling in Europe?

Now that you know where to go for the best snorkeling in Europe, you’re ready for your upcoming holiday.

Want to know more about other great European destinations?

Check out our latest Europe blog posts for more helpful travel tips and advice. Bon voyage!

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