Best Dive Spots in the Algarve - tips on diving in Southern Portugal
The gorgeous Algarve coastline is front and centre on Instagram feeds and travel guides. For scuba-divers however, the real beauty of the Algarve lies below the water-line. The coastline of almost 200km offers a variety of dives and conditions that suit both novice and experienced divers.
The clear waters and generally stable sea conditions mean that the diving is good pretty much all year round. And there is a fabulous variety of dives available – everything from 18th century wrecks to the largest artificial reef in the world made up of 4 navy ships sunk specifically to create a unique underwater dive park.
Easydivers is a fully certified (PADI certified and holder of the PADI Green Star Award; SSI certified) and very well-equipped dive school located at Albufeira marina. With many years of diving experience in Algarve waters, they know the best spots for memorable dives. They offer discover diving experiences as well as PADI and SSI courses.
In the article below they share some of their favourite dive spots as well as tips on diving in the Algarve.
Best Dive Spots in the Algarve by Easydivers
Albufeira, located in the centre of the Algarve is one of the most popular seaside
towns in the region and offers an easy access to all the best diving locations in the Algarve. In Albufeira, you can have access to a wide range of diving experiences from Wreck Diving, Hall Dives and Artificial Reefs, to an abundance of shallow and amazing dive sites. Its wealth of fascinating marine life, beautiful coastline and all year-round sunshine combine to make Albufeira and the Algarve a top diving destination. There are more than 100 different places to dive along the Algarve: walls, caves, boats and airplane wrecks, artificial reefs, natural reefs, archaeological sites, deep sea and night dives.
Diving in the Algarve Highlights
- The sea conditions enable diving practically all year round;
- The Atlantic waters with a “touch” of Mediterranean”, rich in sea life, offer endless topics
of interest for observation, investigation or photography;
- Huge and fascinating variety of species to observe as they dart across the multi-coloured sea bed, covered with exquisite corals, gorgonians, nudibranch, sponges, anemones and different types of algae. Several different types of fish from the small Gobius to Tuna, Golden Sea Bream, a large octopus community, Cuttlefish and many others species will make your dive unique.
We have more than 150 different species of Nudibranch (sea slugs) with great variety in
colours and shapes that you can enjoy.
- Rich history in shipwrecks, from the time humans first started to navigate the earth, to incidents during the last two World Wars, as well as some caused by storms in the second half of the last century. Also, ships sunk intentionally for diving, such as the Ocean Revival Park, made up of four Portuguese navy ships, sunk side by side to create a huge artificial reef, making this dive a highlight for all Divers.
Laying down at 30metres with the main deck at 18 metres, thus allowing perfect dives with safety.
- The largest natural wall reef in Portugal, 18km long, full of life and colour with depths between 15 metres to 25 metres.
In Albufeira you will find our Easydivers SSI Diamond Dive Centre & PADI Dive Centre, offering a full range of diving courses from total beginner, wishing to breathe underwater for the first time, to becoming a Pro, as well as Speciality courses recognized by SSI & PADI. You will find extensive knowledge and experience from our Instructors who have decades of experience in these waters.
Natural Reef Dives
Along the Algarve coast are several dispersed rock formations of various sizes and formats. Here several species find shelter and food electing these sites as ideal habitats for their species.
The seabed in this region is rich in aquatic species: fish, shellfish, algae and coral. These natural reefs are ideal for exploration and a real discovery challenge and identification of the various species. You can find faults in the ocean with spectacular overhangs and caves usually with a good profusion of life, different styles of walls to follow, some caves, large rocks and overhangs to look under and around.
Many of these sites are ideal for beginners or for divers wishing for a relaxing shallow dive with a vast variety of life, but there are also other sites that are more suited to an experienced diver. Some of the reefs have large rocks with interesting holes and areas to look through and see some schools of fish, others are small reefs, not so frequently dived, but teeming with life.
Artificial Reef Dive
The artificial reefs consist of several small and large concrete blocks with holes in each side, placed together allowing the fish and conger eels to swim between and through.
These are great dive sites for photography, they are easy to navigate, and many schools of fish and large conger eels can be seen here.
These artificial reefs were placed in 1990 along the Algarve coastal waters, thanks to a project to assess the geo-ecological effects of these structures on the fishing environment. The reef complex of the Algarve coast is made up of seven artificial reefs, which are each composed of at least 2,940 concrete modules weighing 3 tons and 36 large modules with more than 40 tons each. The reef complex is made of 20,748 modules, continuously occupying a total area of about 43.5 km2.
Currently these reefs are one of the major points of attraction for scuba diving, gathering numerous species of underwater flora and fauna of the region, such as sea bream, toadfish, blennies, crabs, octopuses, shrimps, conger eels, moray eels, meagres, and other species.
The list of wrecks in the Algarve includes the Torvore, the Wilhelm Krag and the Nordsoen, three of the four ships that were sunk by the U35 submarine during the First World War, the B-24 Liberator Bomber that dropped into the waters near Faro, the Empire Warrior, which was sunk by the Luftwaffe off the coast of Vila Real, both during the Second World War, and the Océan, sunk in Salema during the Battle of Lagos between the English and the French, in 1759.
The Ocean Revival wrecks, presented as the largest single artificial reef structure in the world with the ideal conditions for the proliferation of marine life, combine four different warships, deliberately sunk in the same place:
- The Zambeze Ocean Patrol (292 tons, 44 meters long and 8 breadth).
- The Oliveira e Carmo Corvette (1430 tons, 85 meters long e 12 breadth).
- The Almeida Carvalho Hydrographic ship (1320 tons, 64 meters long and 12 breadth).
- The Hermenegildo Capelo Frigate (2.700 tons, 102 meters long and 12 breadth).
A unique project, the Ocean Revival Park is a diving highlight in the Algarve.
In the Algarve coast you can find a very diverse sea life including sea bass, sea bream, trigger fish, spider crabs, crayfish, spiny lobsters, and other different crabs, the octopus, squids, cuttlefish, congers, moray eels, and schools of small and big fish. Colourful fan corals, giant and small nudibranch (sea slugs), varied coloured Anemones including some big tube anemones, blennies, smaller fish such as the bright blue Damselfish. On the coast of the Algarve, there are at least 150 different nudibranch (molluscs), making them one of the most common species in the area.
Diving in the Algarve is possible all year round; the visibility ranges from 5 to 20 meters
and the temperature ranges between 14C and 24C. There are no strong currents to deal with and there is rarely any swell to prohibit entries and exits onto the boat. A 7mm suit is fine for the summer and many people use the same suit in winter.
Services available at Easydivers
Diving Courses PADI and SSI
Sale and Repair of Diving Equipment
Commercial Diving Services