The Algarve: a world-class diving destination
Explore the magical underwater world of the Algarve. The Atlantic Ocean along the Algarvian coast is considered to be one of the cleanest in Europe, providing the perfect conditions for scuba diving. Next to the natural wonders, the Algarve has the largest artificial reef in Europe. No wonder the Algarve has become an increasingly popular destination where you can follow a licensed PADI training. Find out everything you need to know about scuba diving in the Algarve.
Algarve diving video
Let your mind take a dive in the underwater world of the Algarve by watching this diving video of EasyDivers in Albufeira.
Scuba diving in the Algarve
The Algarve has an impressive coastline of about 200 kilometres, with over 150 beaches that are considered to be some of the best in Europe. For decades people come to the Algarve to enjoy the beaches and its waters. Since 2000, the Algarve has become a destination for recreational diving. Diving schools opened where everyone can get a training of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, better known as PADI.
Where to go diving
The Algarve has many exciting reef dive sites to explore as well as a shipwreck sites. Depending on your level of diving experience, there are great diving sites to discover, from shallow water dives of 5 metres to experienced diving sites where you can dive down to 40 metres. You can dive from all the main towns, such as Albufeira, Portimão, Lagos, Faro and Sagres. Below you can find the absolute highlights of where to go scuba diving.
Ocean Revival Park
The Ocean Revival Park in Portimão is a unique project in the Algarve. Four vessels from the Portugese navy were sunk deliberately, after being cleaned from all environmentally hazardous materials and dangers for divers. This armada played a key role in the history of the Portuguese Navy. The Ocean Revival Park lets you experience a dive where you can explore these ships underwater. It is an interesting diving experience to visit this historic marine life sanctuary.
It consists of the following ships:
- Oliveira e Carmo (11-30 metres underwater)
- Zambeze (15-26 metres)
- Hermenegildo Capelo (11-32 metres)
- Almeida Carvalho (15-30 metres)
Shipwrecks in the Algarve
Being one of the first navigators at sea, the Portugese have a rich history of shipwrecks. It is amazing to dive to these shipwrecks. In the Algarve there are several shipwrecks where you can dive to:
- The Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) was a global war that involved all the great powers of the time and raged over five continents. In 1759 the English and the French battled in the Algarve during the Battle of Lagos. The English managed to sunk the French battleship Océan at the waters of Praia da Salema. This is one of the oldest shipwrecks where you can dive to. It lies about 10 metres underwater.
- Although Portugal didn’t fight during World War I, the German U-Boat U-35, sunk three ships in Algarvian waters: the Torvore, the Wilhelm Krag and the Nordsoen. To this date, you can dive to these shipswrecks.
- In the far east of the Algarve, in Vila Real de Santo António, you can dive to see the Empire Warrior. This ship was sunk by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War.
- In Faro, you can dive to the wreck of the B-24 Liberator Bomber from the USA that crashed in 1943, during World War II. It lies 18 metres deep underwater.
- In 1995, a boat from the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Fishing (IPIMAR) sunk near Faro. The ship is about 50 metres long, which makes for a nice diving experience.
Diving spots in the Algarve
There are many diving spots in the Algarve. Below you can find some of our favourite ones, excluding shipwrecks:
- 2 anchors (18-24 metres)
- Alien Head Reef (10-12 metres)
- Artificial Reef with large blocks (22-30 metres)
- Arriefes (12 metres)
- Pedra das Corvinas (10-12 metres)
- Pedra do Alto (13-19 metres)
- Praia da Oura (8-12 metres)
- Praia de Santa Eulália (10-12 metres)
- Valados (13-24 metres)
- Âncora (12-20 metres)
- Masks Reef (7-12 metres)
- Pedra da Gaivota (5-12 metres)
- P.P. Caves (7-12 metres)
- Praia da Batata
- Praia de Porto de Mós (15-19 metres)
- Rocha Negra (14-16 metres)
- Rondão do Alvor (14-22 metres)
- Praia do Pintadinho (10 metres)
- Praia dos Caneiros (10 metres)
- Smugglers Cove (5-12 metres)
- Carrapateira (8-16 metres)
- Cave of Sagres (15-24 metres)
- Praia da Mareta
- Praia do Martinhal islands (12-25 metres)
- Shadows Canyon (8-25 metres)
- Artificial reef with blocks (18 metres)
- Balanceal Fora (20 metres)
- Pedra Nova (18 metres)
What animals can you see underwater?
The underwater world of the Algarve is a colourful and intricate place that grows algae, anemones, cerianthidae, corals, alcyonacea and sponges. They provide the perfect home to countless fish that live in these waters. When diving in the Algarvian waters you can see many different species.
Most people wouldn’t know the majority of the names of the fishes that you would encounter in the Algarvian water. But we will give you a heads up on some of the species you would possibly pass by. The most known species that you might encounter are the sea bass, sea bream, grouper and octopus, who all live here in abundance. You would probably also recognize the seahorse. And you could run into more unfamiliar fishes, such as the anthias fish, blenny, dragonette, gobies, pout, nudibranchs and the scorpion fish. When diving look out for the huge conga eels and moray eels.
During the summer months, you can spot large numbers of triggerfish and some undulate rays. Typical to the Mediterrenean sea are the large zebra sea bream and the spiny European lobsters.
When to go diving in the Algarve
The Algarve is known for its warm climate and with over 300 days of sunshine it is one of the sunniest regions of Europe. The sea temperatures are mild and the conditions make it possible to dive in the Algarve throughout the entire year. The best diving months however are March, April, May, September, October and November. In Autumn and Spring the waters are crystal clear and the temperatures milder.
Diving centres in the Algarve
There are several diving centres throughout the entire Algarve, where you can book a diving trip or a diving course. They offer courses for beginners as well as for advanced divers. Below you can find the best diving schools in the Algarve.
Easydivers is a SSI Diamond dive centre located in the marina of Albufeira. They offer several diving trips, such as reef dives, diving to artificial reefs, wall dives or wreck dives. They also offer a wide range of SSI and PADI courses and specialties. In addition, they have a shop where you can buy diving products, spearfishing gear and boat safety equipment. A diving trip including two dives and full gear costs € 85. There are discounts for groups.
Indigo Divers (Albufeira)
Indigo Divers in Albufeira is a 5 Star IDC center that organizes daily dives along the Algarvian coast with small groups. The cost for a dive starts at € 35. Group discounts and package deals apply if booked via email in advance. They also teach different courses, both for beginners and professionals and offer many speciality courses. Book your diving trip or course here:
Algarve Divexperience (Carvoeiro)
This 5-star PADI Gold centre is based in Carvoeiro, close to the miraculous Algar Seco. Here you can book daily diving trips or rent your diving equipment. The diving courses are taught in English, German or Portuguese. For prices and booking, go to:
Diver’s Cove (Carvoeiro)
Diver’s Cove is the first and oldest PADI dive centre in the Algarve. You can dive with them since 1992. Diver’s Cove specializes in diving with the entire family, including the children. The dive centre is located in Carvoeiro and the beginners training is held inside the pools of hotel Quinta do Paraíso. For the more experienced divers, you can book a dive trip to the reefs of Lagos and Sagres. And you can dive to the shipwrecks in Alvor, where you can explore the Oliveira do Carmo and Zambeze, at 30 metres depth. For booking and pricing go here:
Dive Time (Lagos)
Dive Time opened in 2001 in Lagos and is the longest established 5 star IDC centre. The diving school offers the full range of PADI courses, from Discover Scuba Diving to the PADI IDC Staff Instructor. For the prices and complete list of trips and courses:
Subnauta is a diving centre based at Praia da Rocha in Portimão. They organize daily diving trips in summer and regular trips from Wednesday to Sunday in winter. The divers also organize night dives on request. If you have never dived before, you can sign up for an initiation course at Subnauta. For prices and registration: