Anyone who has gone freediving in clear sea water with a mask, snorkel and flippers at least once knows what a relaxing and exciting activity this is. Those who are fascinated by underwater life, magical seashells, reefs and fish can be spotted not only in tropical seas but also on Europe’s coasts. We did some research to find out which places have the best conditions for snorkeling.
MALTA, GOZO ISLAND
Malta and the Maltese islands of Gozo and Comino are one of the most often recommended destinations for those who love diving. The assets of this tiny country on the edge of Europe are, above all, a warm sea and very good visibility in the water, as well as rare rock formations and interesting underwater terrain. It takes only 20 min by ferry to reach the island of Gozo from Malta. Snorkeling fans will find a ‘blue lagoon' here with dozens of octopi, squid, barracudas and eels.
ISOLA ROSSA, SARDINIA, ITALY
This Italian island has nearly 1900 km of coastline. Tourists are drawn here not only by beautiful beaches with delicate sand, but also by the crystal-clear, emerald-hued sea. On the beaches near the village of Isola Rossa, there are many small, shallow coves among beautiful red rocks, in the shelter of which live fish and sea creatures. There are also coral reefs nearby which are clearly visible despite the sandy bottom. Moray eels are one of the most interesting species of fish found here.
The beaches around Paphos are ideal for snorkeling due to their gentle downward slope. The clear water makes it possible to observe colourful fish, seahorses and octopi. In order to see the most beautiful ones, some patience is necessary. Along the coast of Cyprus there are also numerous underwater caves, most of which are very easy to access. It's worth peeking into them, since interesting marin species live among the rocks.
THE MAKARSKA RIVIERA, CROATIA
The Adriatic Sea abounds in different species of marine creatures than those in the Mediterranean Sea, but we can assure you that the bottom of the Makarska Riviera is no less interesting. You can see golden sponges among coral reefs and fantastical plants. Octopi, starfish, sea urchins and crabs live in these waters, hiding in shallows among the rocks. Those who are patient might glimpse a colourful seahorse.
MEDES ISLANDS, COSTA BRAVA, SPAIN
The rocky coasts of the Medes Islands are a protected marine reserve. We can find calm water and excellent conditions for snorkeling here. Far from the din of beachgoers, beautiful fish and molluscs like to look for food in the warm, shallow waters full of marine plants. Morays, barracudas and octopi accompany divers from the very first metres in the water. It's worth taking a strong flashlight with you in order to spot the treasures on the bottom.
SKIATHOS AND SKOPELOS, GREECE
The coasts of the Greek islands of Skiathos and Skopelos (the latter is featured in the film Mamma Mia!) guarantee snorkeling enthusiasts a very good view of underwater life. Freediving requires skill and intuition, however, in order not to disturb the sandy bottom. When the water is clear, octopi, crabs and fish appear before divers' eyes, including several magnificent species of eel. The coasts of these picturesque islands are also famous for an abundance of seashells.
COCO BEACH, NICE, FRANCE
Who would have thought that close to a large port in such a large, industrial town as Nice there would be a heavenly slice of sea with ideal conditions for diving? Coco Beach is not far from the city, and the clear water with golden sand on the bottom gives a beautiful green hue and protection for colourful fish. Among numerous rocky coves, it's worth looking for peaceful places to snorkel and admire the underwater world. Its best to go there by small boat or motor boat.