Nearly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Cantabrian Sea and the Mediterranean, Spain offers a wonderful array of dive options. A combination of cold and warm water attracts a large variety of aquatic life and there are numerous points of interest for divers throughout the country. Spain has also a number of marine reserves including Cabo de Palos, Cabo de Gata and the Columbretes Islands in the Mediterranean and La Palma, La Restinga and Isla Graciosa on the Canary Islands in the open Atlantic. Each area has its own attraction. Some, such as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean are known for their visibility. In the south of Spain, near the straits of Gibraltar, areas such as such as Granada, Málaga, and Cádiz, have warm water nearly all year round. In the transition zone from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, marine mammals are common and there are tremendous opportunities for whale watching. In the north, Cantabria, Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country have colder waters, more significant tides and a bit less visibility, but they more than make up for this with a proliferation of sea life.
- Canary Islands – Due to their location and climate, it is possible to dive year round off the seven Canary Islands. There are hundreds of unforgettable dive sites teeming with abundant marine fish and colorful flora and boasting dramatic underwater landscapes. The Canary Islands are bathed by the Gulf Stream, which regulates the water temperature, keeping it between 17-18° C/63-64° F in winter and around 23°C/73°F in summer. The water is exceptionally clear and light penetrates deep underwater, a must for underwater photographers.
- Baix Empordà of Catalonia – Just off Far de Sant Sebastià, Ullastres I, II and III are underwater pyramids reaching to within 7 metres/23 feet of the surface. They are draped in colorful gorgonians and are home to prolific sea bass, mackerel, wrasse and nudibranchs. There are also several wrecks of ships that passed too close, struck the pyramids, and sank.
- Furió Fitó – Located just off of the Cape of Begur is one of the Mediterranean coast’s most amazing underwater rock formations. This enormous submerged massif begins at 14 metres/45 feet before dropping down to 55 metres/180 feet. The north wall features immense gorgonians and incredibly colorful coral formations. Depending on the time of year, this area also hosts octopus, snapper, grouper, rays and silver-plated walls of barracuda patrolling for food.
- Murcia and the Islas Hormigas Marine Park – This could arguably be the best place to dive in Spain for the sheer abundance and variety of marine life. The park is home to huge groupers, shoals of barracuda, octopus, moray eels and eagle rays as well as nudibranchs and the occasional sunfish. From August to October, huge bait balls attract pelagic fish, such as tuna, common dentex and jacks resulting in spectacular feeding frenzies. You can also dive several world-class shipwrecks within the park.
- The Medes Islands – These small islands lie just off the coastline of L’Estartit on the Costa Brava and are considered prime Mediterranean dive sites. The islands are protected as a marine reserve and this, combined with the region’s popularity with divers, has made many of the fish relatively unafraid and approachable. The visibility is normally very good.
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Visibility – Depending on the dive site, visibility can range from 3-50 meters/10-160 feet.
Water Temperature – Varying between different regions, water temperature ranges from 10-26°C/50-80°F with a maximum of 30ºC/86°F in the Balearic Island zone during the summer months.
Weather – There are three zones: Mediterranean, with dry warm summers and cool mild winters; Oceanic, with warm summers and cool winters, in the north; and semi-arid in the southeast.
Featured Creatures – Grouper, moray eels, moon fish, codfish, mobula rays and barracudas are all frequent visitors. You’ll also occasionally see dolphins, whales, turtles and some angel sharks in areas with sandy bottoms. The invertebrate life and abundant coral are of particular interest to photographers.
Recommended Training – Take the PADI Deep Diver and PADI Underwater Naturalist courses to get the most from the dramatic seascapes and interesting marine life. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course is always a good choice to record your adventures.
Note – Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Language – Spanish, with English spoken in tourist areas.
Currency – Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Major Airports – Alicante, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Gran Canaria are among the busiest Spanish airports.
Electricity and Internet – Electricity is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Internet service is widely available.
Topside Attractions – Attractions and monuments are found dispersed throughout the country. A few examples include the stunning architecture of La Sagrada Familia, by Gaudí, a church without equal in the world. The Alhambra of Granada and the Giralda of Sevilla are beautiful creations that showcase the Arab presence in the Iberian Peninsula.