Great Autumn and Winter Diving Destinations

Great Autumn and Winter Diving Destinations

Early autumn is a fantastic time to dive and one of my favourites. For someone that can't stand dressing up in a drysuit in the full summer sun, the arrival of the autumn diving season is a true blessing. Temperatures are dropping; morning air is crisp and refreshing. It is fantastic not to feel too hot in your dry suit. Likewise, in many European destinations, it is an excellent time to catch some last summer sun and not pay an arm and a leg for the summer school holiday. 

I have chosen few of my top winter destinations where water temperatures are still around 20 degrees, and a good 5mm or 7 mm wetsuit should be sufficient for recreational dives, but a drysuit will be needed for longer technical dives.

Italy, Ligurian Sea, Porto Fino 

Portofino Nature Reserve is one of the most pristine and well-preserved ecosystems I have ever seen in the Med. A little underappreciated by British divers but a fabulous place with a fantastic atmosphere and iconic dive sites such as the underwater sculpture "Christ of the Deep" Portofino Marine Park, Mohawk Deer Wreck, Jorn Wreck, UJ2207 Wreck, Colosso Wreck. Underwater fishing and anchoring are forbidden in the area, which results in a fantastic underwater experience—diving for all experience levels, from beginners to advanced and technical diving. 

If you are a keen wreck diver, you will be delighted to know Porto Fino is one of Europe's best wreck diving destinations. You can dive into the biggest wreck in the Med called MT Haven. The wreck's depth ranges from 35m (bridge) to 85m (propellers). It is truly an incredible experience, and I strongly recommend everyone dive into it. The massive structure against the blue background creates an immensely atmospheric experience. This is one of the best wreck dives in the world. Truk Lagoon, eat your heart out :-) ! 

 

 

Type of diving: Wall and Reef diving for beginners and excellent wreck diving for advanced and technical divers.

Type of equipment: Full Length Wetsuits5mm Thick Wetsuits or 7mm Thick Wetsuits with HoodsGlovesBoots. Drysuits with medium One Piece or Two Piece Undersuits for loger and technical runtimes.

Apres Dive Activities: Chilling out on a boat, walking around Porto Fino town and park, checking out "hanging" villas of Porto Fino, Church of San Giorgio, trip to Genoa


Croatia, Adriatic Sea, Coast and Islands

The secrets of the Croatian coastline and hundreds of islands have much to offer. September and October, november are still warm enough for a wetsuit, but a dry suit with medium or light undergarments should be slightly better. Spending many months sailing around the Croatian coast and islands, I was astonished at how many unspoiled places can be found just a leap away from the main cities. Most dive centres will offer dedicated trips to more remote and pristine places, such as Kornati National Park. Let's not forget Croatia is one of the best wreck diving destinations in Europe, and my favourite little place for wreck diving is an island called Vis. There are around ten wrecks accessible for recreational divers and a few other amazing deeper wrecks, such as B-24 and B-17 warplanes crashed and sunk during WW2. 

However, if you take a break from diving for a couple of days, you have eight stunning national parks and cities with some unique architecture dating back to Roman times.

Type of diving: predominantly wall diving with some first-class wrecks. 

Type of equipment: Full Length Wetsuits5mm Thick Wetsuits or 7mm Thick Wetsuits with HoodsGlovesBootsDrysuits with medium One Piece or Two Piece Undersuits for loger and technical runtimes.

Places for longer surface intervals: Krka, Plitvice Lakes, Mljet, Brijuni Islands, Kornati, Paklenica, Risnjak and Northern Velebit


Spain, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are best know for their dramatic volcanic cliffs and crystal-clear waters. The sea temperature does not go below 20 degrees Celsius, and a mix of Atlantic and Med biodiversity and topography, including caverns, caves, and great walls reaching hundreds of meters, make the Canary Islands a top diving destination for autumn and winter. When diving in late summer and early autumn, divers can encounter eagle rays, pilot whales and common dolphins. Other species such as Parrotfish, wrasse, damselfish, glass-eyes lizardfish, goatfish, pufferfish, barracudas and moray eels are commonly met underwater on regular dives.

Type of diving: Boat and shore diving with some fantastic wall dives and underwater artificial structures. Caves, caverns, wrecks.

Type of equipment: Full Length Wetsuits5mm Thick Wetsuits or 7mm Thick Wetsuits with HoodsGlovesBootsDrysuits with medium One Piece or Two Piece Undersuits for loger and technical runtimes.

Places for longer surface intervals: The four largest islands, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, and Gran Canaria, have fascinating volcanic features, two of which are national parks. The islands have three UNESCO World Heritage sites, but apart from sightseeing and scuba diving, there is plenty of opportunities for whale watching trips and cycling.


Cyprus, Zenobia

One of the most iconic places to dive for every wreck diving enthusiast. Many ranks Zen or Queen Zen, as it is called, in the top 10 best wreck dives in the world. Its sheer size makes it a great place to dive for a few days. Queen Zenobia wreck starts at a depth of 16 meters with the deepest part at 43 meters; the wreck is suitable for both advanced and technical divers. Cyprus is also a great value-for-money destination, with good selection of accommodation available throughout the island and excellent dive centres operating in recreational and technical diving capacity. 

A day at MUSAN Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa may be a fantastic treat for recreational divers.  The museum is suitable for snorkellers and scuba divers, with the maximum depth being 10 meters; you can spend as much time as you want.

Type of diving: great for learn-to-dive courses with some fantastic attractions for open water divers and an iconic wreck for advanced and technical diving.

Type of equipment: Full Length Wetsuits5mm Thick Wetsuits or 7mm Thick Wetsuits with HoodsGlovesBootsDrysuits with medium One Piece or Two Piece Undersuits for loger and technical runtimes.

Places for longer surface intervals: St. Hilarion Castle, Larnaca, Golden Beach on the Karpas Peninsula, Agios Filon church, Ancient Salamis, Kolossi Castle, Cape Greco, Troodos Mountains,


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