Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (2023)

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When you think of Europe, the first thought that comes to mind isnt usually, Where should I go snorkeling or swimming?” Europe is most well-known for its famous landmarks, culture, food, and beautiful old towns and cities to explore.

However, Europe has a ton of coastline, too. Usually, when you think of snorkeling, the Caribbean Islands or any other tropical destination might come to mind. But you dont only have to visit these warm, remote destinations to see tons of colorful fish.

Europe has some great snorkeling destinations worth checking out. While Europe receives millions of tourists each year, most dont try snorkeling while visiting, but its a great way to get to know the underwater world in Europe.

On your next European vacation, be sure to check out the coast. Its quite beautiful, and there are great places for swimming and great places to snorkel in Europe.

But, even if youve been to the coast or swam in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean, you might not have even known you had great opportunities for snorkeling.

Its not widely known or advertised because, lets face it, most people come to Europe for different reasons and save their swimming and snorkeling for a tropical destination.

But we’re here to tell you that you can have it all! You can enjoy a historical, sightseeing, food-eating vacation and a relaxing, calming, slow-moving vacation all in one.

That is what makes Europe so special; it offers the best of all worlds with its diverse landscape.

Top Places to Snorkel in Europe

Keep reading to learn more about the best places to snorkel throughout Europe. Snorkeling is great because it doesnt require much equipment, and is easy to pick up.

You can often rent gear, bring your own or purchase some for pretty cheap. All you need is goggles,a snorkel breathing tube, fins, and maybe a life jacket.

Some companies will take you on snorkel tours to help you spot as much as possible, but you can also go out on your own if youre safe about it and know where to go.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (1)

1. Crete, Greece

There are many great places to snorkel along the Greek Islands, but the island of Crete has to be one of the best snorkeling spots.

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Elafonisi Beach in Crete is one of the top snorkeling destinations in Europe. The clear blue water makes it easy to see deep into the ocean, and there is colorful marine life everywhere.

Elafonisi beach is also known for its pink-hued sand, and a shelter is a common place for loggerhead sea turtles to lay their eggs, marking the beach a Natura 2000 reserve.

Another great spot in Crete is Balos which is a lagoon and peninsula. You can enjoy the wonderful ocean view both in front of you and behind you.

You will also find rare species of flora and fauna here as well as marine animals. From Balos, the best way to go snorkeling is to take a boat tour.

Some tours will provide gear you can borrow, but be sure to find out ahead of time so you know if you need to bring your equipment with you or if it’s included.

The Greek islands are great for snorkeling because there is virtually no current, so you can aimlessly explore without worrying about being swept away.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (2)

2. Nisida Syvota, Greece

Another great snorkeling spot in the Greek Islands is the Blue Lagoon on the island of Nisida Syvota. This is a very small island not far from Corfu.

Its not a popular tourist spot so you can expect an authentic experience and great snorkeling opportunities. The beach at the lagoon can only be reached by boat, and its one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches because its so secluded.

Youll never find this beach crowded or plagued by umbrellas and chairs; instead, you can enjoy its natural beauty.

From the beach, the seabed is shallow, and the lagoon allows the water in this area to be sheltered, creating the perfect snorkeling scenario. If youre staying on the island of Corfu, which is more popular for tourists, you can easily take a boat to this lagoon to go snorkeling.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (3)

3. Caprera, Italy

Near the island of Sardinia, Caprera is an island that is part of Italy. Its also part of the National Park of La Maddalena Archipelago and a Natura 2000 site, a group of protected areas in the European Union.

Because of this, the cove of Cala Coticcio is completely uncontaminated and preserved. The cove has created a natural swimming pool, making it great for snorkelers.

Its the dream landscape of snorkelers, and of course, there is rich marine life too. Not only is this an excellent place for snorkeling, but its also a popular scuba diving spot.

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Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (4)

4. Comino, Malta

Malta is a small European country comprised of three inhabited islands and a few smaller uninhabited islands.

Theyre all great spots for snorkeling, but Comino is especially great because of the Blue Lagoon. The shallow bay of the lagoon protects the area from currents.

This is an unforgettable place for snorkeling; from the white, pure sand, to the turquoise waters, to the marine life of every shape and color, it will truly feel unreal to snorkel here.

There are a ton of fish that call this quaint lagoon home, and even without snorkeling, you can see fish from above the water; thats how clear it is!

Its a phenomenal spot for snorkeling. Its easy to take a boat tour to the lagoon and snorkel with a tour company that will ensure you see the most unique sea life possible.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (5)

5. Lérins Islands, France

The Lérins Islands are made up of four islands in the Mediterranean in the French Riviera. The islands are located near Cannes, France, and are only a short boat trip away.

Its a great way to spend hours away from the crowds in places like Nice and Cannes and explore the underwater world.

The marine life loves the rocky seabed in this area, and there is high visibility which allows you to see to further depths.

The Lérins Islands is also home to Estérel Natural Park, which is a member of the Natura 2000. This means its protected and preserved and gives you the best chance of seeing the most marine life possible.

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6. Azores, Portugal

The Azores is underrated for their snorkeling. The islands are located in the mid-Atlantic and have tiny fishing villages, beautiful landscapes, and wonderful snorkeling opportunities.

The Azores are characterized as being rocky and volcanic, which also creates one of the most unique underwater landscapes.

Different islands in the Azores offer different snorkeling opportunities. Santa Maria is known for its sea turtles, and Faial Island has a great cove.

No matter what island you visit, youll have the chance to snorkel, and youll leave mind-blow by everything you got to see.

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Keep in mind that these islands are over 800 miles away from Portugal, so its not a day trip. Youd need to stay on the islands in order to enjoy snorkeling here.

These remote islands are well worth the trip and are a great place to spend your vacation. Between March and May, you may even get to see blue whales!

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (7)

7. Calanques National Park, France

This national park encompasses both land and sea. Its located near Marseille and some of the best places to visit in the south of France.

Its a beautiful place if you love the outdoors. Of course, you can snorkel, but you can also hike, partake in water sports, swim, and explore.

The national park has snorkel tours that depart from Marseille or the small fishing village nearby, Cassis. You can also go out snorkeling on your own if you dont want to take a tour.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (8)

8. Cap de Creus, Costa Brava, Spain

Another great place to snorkel is in Cap de Creus National Park, which is in Costa Brava, the coastal region of Catalonia, Spain.

This national park is known for its unique birds and picturesque landscape. There is also a ton of unique marine life in this area, which makes snorkeling even more special.

The coral and algae fields attract colorful fish and make snorkeling so much fun. The water is crystal clear here, too, so dont worry about not seeing anything.

Youll see more marine life than you thought possible. The rocky area is also home to live sponges, starfish, eels, and other unique marine life. Its also shallow around the cove, making snorkeling even easier.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (9)

9. Lake Silfra, Iceland

Iceland is probably not the first place you think of snorkeling at all. Its cold and not at all tropical like the places where youll often find bright, colorful fish.

However, the Silfra Fissure in Iceland is one of the best places to snorkel in Europe. Here, you can snorkel between the crack of two tectonic plates.

The water is crystal clear and super clean, and its a great place for both snorkeling and diving. Lake Silfra is located in Thingvellir National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The rift was created in 1789 by earthquakes and is now a popular snorkeling destination. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling experience, and if you get the chance, you should take it!

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This water also has the most visibility in the world at over 300 feet.

Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler (10)

10. Makarska Riviera and Buza Beach, Croatia

Makarska is a town on the coast of mainland Croatia. It has some of the best beaches and the most accessible snorkeling on this list.

Right on the Dalmatian Coast, there are plenty of small bays and caves to explore. Youll spot unique sea life, and if youre lucky, maybe youll even find a seahorse!

You can explore all the tiny beaches along the coast and snorkel while on the hunt for the most unique sea life. Buza Beach is another excellent snorkel spot in Croatia.

Its easy to get to right from the city of Dubrovnik. The rocky terrain attracts tons of marine life. The islands off the coast of Croatia offer great snorkeling opportunities as well.

Croatia is a place well worth exploring.


As you can see, there are so many great places to snorkel in Europe. It might not have crossed your mind in the past as a top snorkeling destination in the world, but there are some wonderful spots worth checking out.

So, next time youre in Europe and near the coast, be sure to look into the snorkeling opportunities near you.

You wont be disappointed once youre submerged and enjoying all the colorful marine life of all shapes and sizes.

It will both humble and amaze you. Snorkeling is a great way to remind you how large this world is, both beneath and above the surface.

There is so much beauty to experience and appreciate, and its never too late!

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Top 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Europe | Peter Pan Traveler? ›

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?

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.

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.

What is the largest reef in Europe? ›

This species builds the largest reefs on the European coast; in particular the “Les Hermelles” reef in the Saint-Michael Bay in France, which is over 100 ha and is considered the largest reef in Europe (Gruet, 1982; Marchand and Cazoulat, 2003).

Where are the 3 largest coral reefs in the world? ›

The Florida Keys Reef Tract is the third largest living coral barrier reef system in the world behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System off the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is also the only extensive reef system in the continental United States.

Is the Mediterranean good for snorkeling? ›

The Mediterranean offers some of the best destinations for snorkeling. The Mediterranean Sea is estimated to contain around 7% of the world's marine fish species . However, unlike the Caribbean, Asia, Australia, and many other famous snorkeling destinations, the Mediterranean Sea has no coral reefs.

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.

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 are most sharks in Mediterranean? ›

Blue Shark

This is the most common type of shark in the Mediterranean. They live in cool, deep waters so only come close to shore if lost, young, or in distress. They're commonly spotted along the coast of France, Italy, and Greece.

Where can I find turtles in Europe? ›

In Europe, turtles can be primarily found in the Mediterranean Sea, where the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting populations are considered as indigenous.

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.

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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