Diving in Greece
Deep-sea diving: flying beneath the seaDeep-sea diving is nowadays one of the most fascinating sea sports. Whole realms open up in the silence of the deep. The sea is an exciting world, full of mystery yet with sparkle. The brilliant colours on the seabed, the diversity of the sea creatures, the stunning underwater seascapes await discovery by explorers within this vast blue environment.
Greek seas are well known for their rugged terrain and amazing sea life. Undersea caves, great reefs, ancient sunken towns, famous shipwrecks make up an invisible world, yet pulsating and alive. The entrancing iridescence of the sunlight, diffracted by the crystal-clear waters, the sense of peace and eternity prevailing beneath the surface of the sea, the reduction in human weight lending a sensation of flight and freedom, all make diving an exhilarating experience.
In Greece there are many associations and societies where one can learn diving techniques; there are also many companies involved with diving as a sport, which supply equipment, either to buy or to rent, at very reasonable prices.
Diving destinations in Greece are numerous and dedicated fans of the sport fondly share their valuable experiences online.
Underwater ‘hangouts’Certain diving destinations are extremely popular owing to their magnificent sea-bed and the abundance of sea creatures living there. Naturally everywhere in Greece one can try free-diving, as long as one has the skill and the appropriate equipment. Yet some locations have become meeting points for scuba-divers to share their passion for exploring the deep, photography or underwater fishing.
The famous lake in Vouliagmeni (a suburb south of Athens) is a favourite destination for scuba divers, where one can safely enjoy the deep and admire the brown meagre fish (Sciaena umbra), Lessepsian species and the colourful marine gastropods (Nudibranchia) that live in the unique environment of this saltwater lake.
There is a diving club at Porto Rafti, just a stone’s throw from Athens, and the waters there are safe for a first underwater exploration as they are not particularly deep. One can dive from dry land, in the area of the so-called Erotospilia, and also from a boat at more interesting places, as one can sail out towards Agia Marina and the surrounding islets.
Also within close reach of Athens lies the island of Salamina, where scuba diving is allowed in the marine archaeological site. Southern Evia has a wonderful rocky seabed and is a place favoured by amateur fishermen as there are many octopuses.
A very high-standard diving centre is located in Chania, Crete. The island of Crete is one of the key diving destinations. The Aegean Sea and the Libyan Sea are two very different worlds. The waters in Kalatha and Palaiochora in south-western Crete are extremely fascinating. Apokoronas in Chania, Chora Sfakion, Platanias in western Crete, Kissamos and Gramvousa even further to the west all provide wonderful diving experiences.
The Northern Sporades islands are a scuba diver’s heaven. Explorers are enchanted by the magnificent seabed, vivid colours and crystal-clear waters.
Diving off the islands of Serifos, Milos, Kimolos and Sifnos is particularly appealing. To the north of Milos, outside the bay of Adamantas, lie wonderful reefs and rocky islets, just as to the south of Kimolos.
Santorini has truly amazing underwater depths. The island’s volcanic origin lends unbelievable charm to its underwater landscape. The water has a high salt content, which makes floating easy; the clarity of the waters also allows for exceptional underwater photography.
The Ionian Sea is renowned for its fascinating underwater routes. Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefallonia and Lefkada are favourite diving destinations. Small islands, such as Kastos, Arkoudi, Atokos, are places where scuba divers get together. The Ionian Sea has great populations of fish, due to the marine park. Facilities are excellent and diving centres see to providing information and equipping scuba divers. Also on the opposite shores of Epirus there are diving centres which have contributed considerably to underwater exploration.
Alexandroupolis and Kavala in Macedonia have a great sea-faring tradition and are home to high-standard diving clubs. The wonderfully varied seabed in the bay of Alexandroupolis and Kavala is fascinating. Sand dunes alternate with rocky substrata and shadowy sea-grasses give way to phosphorescent reefs.
In Areopolis, Laconia, the seabed in enchanting Limeni is covered with huge slabs of rock. The lush green landscape and rocky coast make an ideal setting for marine exploration.