Scuba Diving in Portugal
The Underwater World of the Algarve
Scuba diving in Portugal has been greatly underestimated by the international diving community. With an excellent diving industry and well-established resorts and travel networks, Portugal scuba diving has a lot to offer. Portugal's marine environment offers a mix of underwater wildlife and many wrecks to explore.
Probably the best place to experience Portugal scuba diving is off the southern coast. This is the Algarve region of Portugal and is one of the most beautiful places in the country. There are endless golden beaches that are dotted with fascinating rock formations. With towering cliffs over looking this amazing 150 km of coast it is easy to see why this area of Portugal is becoming one of the top European vacation destinations.
Diving Portugal in the Algarve
The Algarve offers the most accessible regions for scuba diving Portugal. The main cities of Fargo, Albuteira, Portimao, Lagos, Vila Real del Santo Antonio and Tavira are where many of the dive centers are based. Good dive sites can be found along the entire coast of the Algarve. You can explore good reef (real and artificial) systems that have some amazing rock formations that form caves, ledges, grottoes, ridges and canyons.
One of the most popular reef dives is Pedra de Ancora, a large reef that is close to Praia da Rocha. You can see lobsters, crab, cuttlefish and some great plant life. There is also a huge anchor wedged between the rocks. On a really good day you might spot a small seahorse, octopus or even a dolphin.
Scuba diving in Portugal is not complete without a visit to one of the many wrecks in the area. You can explore a 17th century wreck off the coast near Fargo or you can dive an American B-24 bomber that went down in 1943. Another popular wreck is off the coast near Sarges. The Vapor das 19 is a steam ship that sank during World War I. The wreck sits at about 30 meters (90 feet) and has attracted an abundance of marine-life.
Dive Centers in the Algarve
Scuba diving Portugal is made easy by the many diving professionals working in the industry. There are many dive centers in the Algarve. They all dedicated to the safety and quality of diving they offer their divers.
Here is alist of some of the dive centers you can find along the coast of the Algarve.
Algarve Dive Centers
Diving Conditions in the Algarve
Scuba diving in Portugal can be good all year round in the Algarve. This southern area of Portugal has a Mediterranean climate on shore but the water temperature is mid-Atlantic.
The air temperature will range between 15 -30 C (60-80 F) year round. The temperature will start to warm to 20 C (70 F) in April and reach its peak between June and September when it can reach 25-30 C (78-86 F). The water temperature will average around 15 C (60 F). Between June and September the water can warm up to 18-20 C (64-70 F). A 5-7mm wet suit is recommended for diving in the summer months and a 7-9mm semi-dry in the winter.
When scuba diving in Portugal, you will find the visibility of the waters around the Algarve to be pretty good. On average the visibility is about 7-8 meters (25 feet) but on a good day it can be as good as 20 meters (66 feet).
Things to Do For Non-divers
The Algarve is a spectacular region of Portugal and has a lot of recreational activities for those you do not scuba or snorkel. It is a great place for the whole family. You can enjoy activities like paragliding, skydiving, cycling, hiking and golf. Non-divers can always find great ways to have fun in the Algarve.
We've discovered a great activities operator in Albuferia, the heart of the Algarve. Activities Algarve offers the most comprehensive activities packages in this part of Portugal. They can arrange activities tailored to your desires. Feel like going fishing, taking a spin around a go-kart track or just relaxing in a spa? These guys can set it up.
With a southern coast that has a fantastic climate year round and clear, warm waters that have an abundance of marine life, it's easy to see why scuba diving in Portugal attracts divers from around the world.