Best Snorkeling in Europe: 12 of the Hottest Spots - Aqua Zealots (2023)

One of the best ways to experience marine life is to perform an underwater dive, but it does require you to buy the right equipment to enjoy it safely. Snorkeling, on the other hand, doesn’t require as much practice or equipment to see the fantastic marine life in their natural habitats.

We’ve come up with a list of 12 destinations that offer the best snorkeling in Europe. How many will you be able to cross off this list?

Best Snorkeling in Europe

If you are looking for the best snorkeling sites near you, it is important to have the right information. This guide lists12 different destinations throughout Europe so that you can have a list of places to cross off. You’ll be amazed at how different each site is and what types of fish and marine life you can see.

1. Elafonisi Beach in Crete, Greece

If you’d like to snorkel in Europe, it is essential that you go to Elafonisi Beach, which is one of the top spots in the area. It’s located on Crete Island in Greece, which is in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

This snorkeling site has a variety of marine life that is perfect for enthusiasts. The clear waters shine like the amazing sky above, so you can witness marine life in nature and more clearly than in other waters.

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2. Rusalka in the Black Sea, Bulgaria

While the Mediterranean is famous for having the best snorkeling in Europe, the Black Sea is a close second. It features waters with a variety of sediments, but it is still a good place to go for snorkeling.

Rusalka is in Bulgaria, and it’s a top destination in Europe. While the variety of marine life is relatively small, you can also see shipwrecks from the Ottoman era, which makes it even more exciting.

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3. Reserva Natural da Berlenga in Portugal

The Reserva Natural da Berlenga is a mere 10 kilometer away from the shore of Portugal’s Peniche, which is a rocky island of sorts. It’s known for its wild and natural beauty, which makes it one of the best places to go snorkeling in.

Of course, you can see marine life, but you can also see shipwrecks, and the water is clear and deep blue. You’ve also got a wide variety of biodiversity, making this an excellent wonderland for all nature lovers.

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4. Makarska in Croatia

After you’ve snorkeled in Italy, France, and Spain, you may want to visit Makarska in Croatia, which is on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. You’ll find amazingly different species here.

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What’s more, you’ll also love the freshwater springs, which allowed formations of many beautiful and spectacular corals, including the Golden Sponge species. If you’re amazingly lucky, you might even see a seahorse while snorkeling in this destination.

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5. Maddalena Archipelago National Park in Sardinia, Italy

This national park is found off the northern part of Sardinia Island. It’s surrounded by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, and it is among the top snorkeling spots in Europe. It’s the perfect place for people who love to snorkel and want to travel to new cities and countries.

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6. Illes Medes in Costa Brava, Spain

Illes Medes is considered one of the best places to go on a snorkeling holiday, and it is soon apparent why. It’s a marine reserve, which means it is protected. You’ll find that the people focus on growing the natural plants and fishes that are indigenous here.

The people you might encounter tend to mind their business, so you aren’t going to be disturbed when you go to the beach for your adventure. Here, you can be sure to have a fulfilling experience.

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7. Ghar Lapsi in Malta

Ghar Lapsi is full of caves to explore, but you also have amazingly beautiful white sandy beaches that make the experience seem like something out of a movie.

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This place is a wholesome and fun place to go to, which allows you to explore beneath the sandy beach to see the many fishes and marine life available. You can also see beautiful reefs in the waters.

When you’re tired of snorkeling, you can also choose to head to one of the natural caves in the area, where you’re likely to see more fish.

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8. Coco Beach in Nice, France

Nice was always an important place for France, and it is a popular tourist attraction. However, if you’d like to do something different, consider snorkeling in the area.

Nice is an industrialized town, but it’s also serene and beautiful. While the beach is usually busy during the peak season, the water is always crystal clear. You’ll find diving companies around, but you can also snorkel to your heart’s content. You can find less busy coves on the beach, but you’ll still have to watch out for jet skis and other water equipment.

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9. Lake Silfra in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

While you might not think that snorkeling in a glacial lake sounds like fun, you’ll soon forget the chill in the air when you see the crystal-clear waters in Lake Silfra. The water geysers nearby help to keep the water above freezing, so you can see many varieties of freshwater fish.

In addition, you can also see the continental plate fissures because the visibility is so good. Beside the lake is a lagoon, which has a shallow bottom that you can see from above.

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10. Isola Rossa in Sardinia, Italy

If you haven’t gotten enough of Italy yet, there is another option. The small Mediterranean town, Isola Rossa, has red rock beaches that are suitable to see biodiversity along the beaches and beneath them.

Here, you’ll find many inlets and pools where you can explore different kinds of fish. You might encounter some rare sediment, but the water is usually clear. The reef is also available to explore.

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11. Skiathos in Greece

One of the most beautiful places in Europe is the Aegean Islands, but it can be a tad challenging to snorkel here because there are significant sediment issues, which means lower visibility.

You can snorkel in the rocky island using the hidden beaches, where you’ll find exotic and rare fish. While some beaches offer white sand that stretches seemingly forever, the best beaches for snorkeling are the rocky ones.

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12. Bovisand in Devon, UK

The United Kingdom might not seem like the ‘it’ place to go for snorkeling, but it is one of the most popular places and offers some of the best views. It’s located near the Plymouth harbor and is usually protected from bad weather.

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Bovisand is the perfect place to snorkel at because the shallows are sandy toward the bottom, you will have a better shot at seeing large fish here. Some people have also mentioned seeing sharks.


And there you have it! Have you packed your bags yet? While these aren’t all that Europe has to offer when it comes to snorkeling, we’re sure that you will find these destinations to be among the best places on the planet to experience the beauty of the world under the sea.


Where is the best place to snorkel with turtles in Europe? ›

Welcome to Cameo Island, a small rocky island, bathed by crystal-clear Mediterranean water. Its snorkeling spot, easily accessible from the Greek island of Zakynthos, is one of the best in Europe for swimming with sea turtles. Snorkeling in Cameo is not to be missed when you are visiting Zakynthos! What is this?

Are there any coral reefs in Europe? ›

However, many species of coral can still be found in some areas if you know where to look. Most recently, a reef has been found near Puglia in Italy, which is particularly special because it is a mesophotic coral reef that has developed under lower levels of light than most reefs.

Where is the best place to see sea turtles in Europe? ›

Zante is the best place in Europe to swim with sea turtles. The Mediterranean is filled with sea turtles but they spend most of their time out in the deeper regions hunting and resting.

Where are sea turtles in Europe? ›

In the Mediterranean, most nesting sites of the loggerheads are located in the eastern and central basins (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Libya), while for the green turtle these are all in the eastern basin (Turkey, Syria and Cyprus).

What is the snorkeling capital of the world? ›

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is probably the most well-known spot in the world to swim, snorkel, and dive. Famous for being the world's largest coral reef system, it covers an area of approximately 133,000 square miles.

Do people snorkel in the Mediterranean? ›

The subsoil of the Mediterranean coast is very varied. There are sandy beaches, pebble beaches and rocky beaches. The areas with rocky beaches are the most suitable for diving and snorkelling. The rocky beaches have the most stunning nature and you will undoubtedly have a beautiful day during your holiday.

Is there any good snorkeling in the United States? ›

With 95,471 miles of coastline, it's no surprise that America has some incredible places to snorkel. From San Diego's sea caves to the Florida mangroves, you have to get in the water to really experience these spots, where you'll be swimming alongside tropical fishes, forests of giant kelp, and wild dolphin pods.

Where are warmest waters in Mediterranean? ›

Temperature and water chemistry

The highest temperature of the Mediterranean is in the Gulf of Sidra, off the coast of Libya, where the mean temperature in August is about 88 °F (31 °C). This is followed by the Gulf of Iskenderun, with a mean temperature of about 86 °F (30 °C).

Is there any good snorkeling in Greece? ›

Diving and Snorkeling in Crete

Crete is considered to have among the best snorkeling and diving in Greece, thanks to its sandy bays and rocky coves, suited for all levels. There are dozens of sites to choose from, with spectacular caves, reefs, wrecks, and even sunken ancient cities!

Does Greece have good snorkeling? ›

With over 10,000 miles of coastline, Greek waters are teeming with fascinating sea life, offering some of the most fascinating snorkeling in the Mediterranean. Spoilt with unparalleled visibility and warm waters, Greece's seas are perfect for underwater exploration.

Where can you see turtles in the Mediterranean? ›

The green turtle is found more in the east, in the Levantine Basin. It also appears in the Adriatic Sea and, less frequently, in the western part of the Mediterranean. The leatherback is observed throughout the basin, with a more pronounced presence in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Aegean Sea and around the Strait of Sicily.

Which country has the most sea turtles? ›

The largest green turtle nesting population is found at Tortuguero, on the coast of Costa Rica where about 22,500 green turtle females nest annually. Raine Island, on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, has the second largest nesting population of about 18,000 females per season.

Where can you swim with turtles in Portugal? ›

Algarve, Portugal

You did not expect is, nor did we, and yet! Algarve, this magnificent region in the South of Portugal, owns some of the beaches where it is possible to swim with these sought-after turtles. If the beaches are mostly busy during summer holidays, more discreet areas are the shelter of turtles.


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