Scuba diving in Portugal

Diving in Portugal

Diving in Portugal — diving centers, country, description and general recommendations for tourists

General information about the country

Portugal is a great country to visit for scuba diving. There is a lot of great diving that can be done off the shore of continental Portugal, but the real magic happens on the Azores and Madeira, its offshore island regions. There especially you can expect warm, crystal-clear waters and in many places: awe-inspiring flora and fauna, including manta rays.

Geography

Portugal consists of mainland Portugal, sandwiched between the west side of Spain and the Atlantic ocean, as well as 2 autonomous island regions, the Azores and Madeira, located hundreds of kilometers off of the coast of the mainland. The Azores are home to dozens of active volcanoes, many of which are underwater and produce spectacular rock formations.

Languages

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. Only around a quarter of Portuguese citizens speak English, but in well-known tourist regions, you are likely to be able to get by with only English. About a quarter of the Portuguese speak also French, and about 10% speak Spanish (europa.eu, 2012).

Climate

Portugal is a warm and wet country, with temperatures averaging 16 C in the winter and 26 C in the summer, and usually only around 14 dry days in the winter (weatheronline.co.uk, 2018). Portugal experiences a strong rainy season in the winter, with as much as 12 times more rainfall than in the summer months (statista.com, 2017).

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Must-see diving sites in Portugal

  • Marinha Beach - Located very near to Lagos, its easy access (straight from the shore) and gentle depth (6m) makes it a great place for beginners to dive.
  • The Azores - the Azores are full of breathtaking diving sites like the interesting rock formations of Banco D Joao De Castro (where you may come in contact with turtles, whales, barracudas, sawfish, and mackerel) as well as awesome wrecks, like that of the Dori cargo ship and the Vapor Lidador. Many sites and wrecks are in close proximity, so visiting more than one site in a day is only a matter of your desire to do so. Manta rays like to hang out at many diving spots around these islands.
  • River Gurara - This shipwreck of a large Nigerian cargo ship is often surrounded with a lot of interesting wildlife and located just off the coast of Lisbon. Laying at a depth of 33 meters, this wreck is best suited for advanced divers.

Other things to see and do in Portugal

Portugal is a picturesque country, just check out the pictures of e.g. Lagos people have uploaded to Google. But interesting landscapes and rock formations are not the only things that are worthy of being photographed. Portugal also has a lot of historic architecture and in places like its capital, Lisbon, there are countless tours that will give you a taste of it.

Should you go diving in Portugal

Yes! Portugal is a great place for diving. Our strongest recommendation is that you visit the Azores, as the culture there is largely centered around tourism, and the things you will see there — underwater or above — will blow you away, as well as anyone you bring along with you.