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Diving in Portugal

Everything you have to know and the best Dive Sites

Portugal is a traditional seafaring nation. In the Middle Ages, the first conquerors such as Magellan set off from here to explore the ocean. No wonder: The small country has about 2,000 kilometres of coastline. In addition, numerous islands belonging Portugal have their own underwater charm.

We will show you the most beautiful diving spots for diving beginners and advanced divers in Portugal and provide recommendations for local diving schools.

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Which regions of Portugal are suitable for diving?

Essentially there are three regions of Portugal that are exciting for divers: For beginners, the Algarve in the south of the country is attractive. There is little current here and, generally speaking, the temperatures are somewhat warmer. Madeira still belongs to Portugal although it is located closer to Morocco. The island has been appreciated only recently as a diving spot and it charms divers thanks to its “enchanted” underwater world. Likewise, the Azores, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic, are a popular diving destination: According to the legend, even Atlantis is supposed to be sunken at the bottom of the sea here.

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Hot Spots for diving on the Algarve

The Algarve is also a very popular bathing region for tourists. In this respect a diving holiday can also be combined with a beach holiday. The following diving spots are recommendable:

  • Underwater Museum (Portimao): A few years ago, two ships were artificially sunk here and now serve as an underwater museum. An exciting project!
  • Cabo de Sao Vicentes (Sagres): There is an underwater cave here where a fascinating underwater world can be marvelled at and it is readily accessible for beginners as well.
  • World War Wrecks near Sagres: Close to the cave, there are also numerous wrecks of both World Wars.

The best diving sites around Madeira

Madeira offers crystal clear water and a subtropical climate. Especially large fish species live here – 27 different species of whales and dolphins are regularly sighted here. Among others, these diving sites are recommendable:

  • Garajau: Close to the coast, shoals of fish can be seen here – and in summer mantas also meet up here. Almost nowhere else can you get so close to these large fish species!
  • Baixa da Cruz: A large rock cone under water with a myriad of fish species.
  • Parede do Sardinha: At a depth of 30 metres, not only can you observe fish species, but also a lot of small marine creatures.

The most beautiful diving sites on the Azores

Exotic corals, sharks, rays and much more – on the Azores there is a multitude of impressive living creatures. Among others, the following spots are recommendable:

  • Princess Alice Banks: The reef is about 80 kilometres from the coast and can only be reached by boat. The journey is worth it though since there are mantas, rays and giant fish shoals that can be observed.
  • Shark diving off Madalena: Near the small island, there are many spots where large fish species, especially sharks, can be observed.

Diving in Portugal at a glance

  • Peak tourist season: All-year-round, good visibility in winter particularly
  • Appropriate for: All diving levels, especially the Algarve for beginners, advanced divers are in good hands on Madeira or on the Azores
  • Water temperature: Fluctuates greatly with 13 – 24 degrees
  • Entry requirement: For Europeans, only the national ID card is required
  • Particular diving experiences: Cave diving, reefs, large fish species, isolated wrecks
  • Duration of trip: 1 week or longer (often distant travelling)
  • Diving equipment: Can be rented on site in most cases, although it often makes more sense to travel with your own equipment
  • Travelling: By plane up to Lisbon, then by rental car or bus


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