Greece is a mountainous peninsula with 13,676 km (8498 miles) of coastline and more than 2,000 surrounding islands of which a rather small percentage are inhabited. The Greek culture is a mixture of European and Eastern elements. Most Greeks have a strong connection with the sea, as they are born near the sea and live from what it has to offer. The sea has also allowed Greece to become of the best destinations in Europe to enjoy scuba diving.
Through its Aegean and Ionian Seas, Greece offers divers the option of diving almost anything from reefs to wrecks. Prior to 2006, scuba diving in Greece was greatly restricted because of the authorities’ fear of having the antiquities on the seafloor stolen. Luckily, most of the coastline, including that around the islands, is now open to those who wish to explore these waters.
Wreck diving in Attica. Photo by Nektarios Sylligardakis
Scuba diving in Greece is possible year-round but especially May through November. June, July, and August are peak tourism months when most regions are crowded and the prices are higher than usual. May, October, late September, and November receive fewer crowds and the prices go down.
The water temperature varies greatly from 15° C/59° F in February to 26° C/79° F (or even slightly more) in August. It also depends on the Greek destination you’re in or the dive site you plan on exploring. It’s best to research a specific region within the country to learn about the particular diving conditions there.
Most of the dive sites in Greece are free of currents. This makes diving here excellent for inexperienced divers or those who are seeking to obtain their first certification.
Visibility can be anything from 6 meters to more than 50 meters (20-165 feet). It too varies depending on region and dive site.
Chios Island is located in the Aegean Sea and it’s one of Greece’s largest islands. It offers a number of fascinating dive sites. The waters contain amazing underwater caves, large reef formations, walls, shipwrecks, and plenty of marine life. Chios offers the perfect conditions for beginner divers because of its calm conditions, good visibility, and moderate temperatures. Tunnies, wrasses, perches, tunas, and sea turtles are regular encounters here.
Crete is famous for its caverns, deep walls with great drop-offs, and reefs with black corals. Spiny lobsters, cuttlefish, crayfish, barracudas, and perch are among the commonly seen fauna here. One of the most popular areas on the island is Chania, on the northwest coast, with its stone arches, volcanic rocky reefs, and abundant marine life.
The Elephant Cave dive site in Akrotiri. Photo by Nektarios Sylligardakis
Marathonisi is an uninhabited island off the coast of Zakynthos. The island and the Bay of Laganas are protected by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. The region is most famous for being among the main nesting zones for the loggerhead sea turtles. Here, divers get to swim with the turtles and see some of the other local species which include eels, octopi, parrotfish, and flying fish.
Nea Kameni is a small uninhabited volcanic island located within the Santorini caldera. There isn’t a lot of marine life in these waters, but the interesting lava formations, rocks, sea caves, and the 34-meter (112 feet) shipwreck lying just 18 meters (59 feet) under the surface of the water compensate for this.