Portugal is located at the westernmost edge of Europe; some say it’s the edge of the world well, of Europe anyway. Located on the Iberian Peninsula boarding Spain on the North and West side and the Atlantic Ocean on the South and East side, Portugal is home to approximately 11,115 miles of coastline, just waiting to be explored.
Not only does Portugal have a huge coastline, it has been recorded that is has over 3000 hours of sunshine per year, meaning that it is the perfect destination for holidaymakers and divers alike. The temperature of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean varies, however, remains pretty mild throughout both the summer and winter months, making this the ideal place for scuba divers to visit all year round.
As well as some spectacular dive sites, there are a number of activities to be done topside. These include horse-riding, surfing, cycling, mountaineering and visiting the many cultural heritage sites that are scattered all over the country.
Diving around mainland Portugal has so much to offer. The Berlengas Island Nature Reserve is just a short boat ride from Peniche and is one of the most popular diving destinations. Another top spot for diving is found close to the Arrabida National Park and is in the municipality of Sesimbra. Slightly further south, the Alentejo coast, as well as the Algarve coast, offer a variety of diving destinations for you to choose from. Down south is where you will find the majority of holiday diving resorts and destinations.
Top 6 Dive Sites In Portugal
Berlenga Nature Reserve
The Berlenga Nature Reserve is an archipelago, which is made up of the Island of Berlenga and the surrounding reefs called Farilhoes-Forcadas and Estelas. The dive sites in these areas have excellent visibility with dives to suit every level of diver. These sites are home to huge schools of Sea Bream and the gentle giants, Ocean Sunfish. Not only is the marine life phenomenal, there are also a number of spectacular wrecks to explore, including Furado Grande. If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, this nature reserve is not to be missed.
Sesimbra is a small coastal town, located in the Municipality of Sesimbra, which is known as a top spot for scuba divers. Sesimbra has a protected marine area with an amazing selection of Mediterranean fish, Starfish and Sea Urchins. The reefs surrounding Sesimbra are peppered in cavities, holes, crevices, platforms and incredible topography to explore.
Burgau wreck is located in the Algarve in the south of Portugal. The ship sank in the 80’s, whilst transporting goods including stone for building. The captain did try to reach the shore before the ship sunk, however, wasn’t able to make it in time. The wreck lies in shallow water, which is not only great for diving, but also for a fun day out, snorkeling. The ship stretches for 30m in length and is 5m wide making it the perfect experience for divers new to wreck diving. This wreck is surrounded by stunning marine life including Cuttlefish, Octopus, Spider Crabs, schools of John Dory and Moray Eels.
Carrapateria is located on the west coast of the Algarve and is home to a seabed made from volcanic rock and sand. It is an incredible dive however before setting out, you must speak with your dive guide, as this is a weather dependant dive site. There is so much to see at Carrapateria, from stunning rock formations, which include caves, holes, swim-throughs, walls and caves, to beautiful marine life just waiting to be discovered. You’ll find Conger Eels, Rays and so much more at this location. The maximum depth is around 15m making this a great dive for beginners and advanced divers.
Ilhas Do Martinhal (Martinhal Islands)
This is another top dive site located just off the coast of Sagres and is made up of lots of tiny islands to explore. The crystal clear blue/green waters and the abundant marine life is what draws divers to this location. You’ll see Damsel Fish, schools of Sea Bream, numerous Starfish peppering the ocean floor and so much more. The rock formations are stunning with caves, walls, and caverns to feast your eyes on. The maximum depth at this location is approximately 20m.
As the name suggests, this dive site is home to two large ancient anchors, which are the main attraction. However, this site also has a large wall covered in spaces between the rocks where you’ll find large Conger Eels hiding out as well as spectacularly colored crabs and Octopi. This dive site is located off the coast of Albufeira and is suitable for all levels of diver.
There are so many top dive sites located off the coast of Portugal Mainland, if you have one that hasn’t been mentioned on this list, let us know about it in the comments below.