Snorkelling is one of the water sports on the rise. Perhaps it is because of its simplicity, since to practise it occasionally we only need a snorkel and a pair of diving goggles.
If we want to make things a bit more interesting, we simply need to acquire some fins and have practised a bit of apnea, to be able to get a bit closer to what catches our attention underwater.
It is not only a sport that puts us in contact with nature. As it is mostly practised on the surface, it is very respectful of marine life.
That’s why today we’d like to introduce you to some of the best snorkelling spots in Europe.
1- Cabo de Gata Natural Park, Spain
The first of our European snorkelling destinations is in southern Spain. The Cabo de Gata Natural Park, located in Almeria, is a destination with spectacular beaches and small coves where you can cool off almost any time of the year.
Of course, its crystal-clear waters are perfect for snorkelling. In places like the Plomo cove, the Sirenas reef or the Cabo de Gata lighthouse we can admire much of the Mediterranean fauna that populates the area.
The rocky bottoms are home to species such as scorpion fish, bream, red mullet and cuttlefish.
2- Berlengas Nature Reserve, Portugal
Neighbouring Portugal also has one of the best snorkelling sites in Europe. This is the Berlengas Islands, an archipelago of small islands with hundreds of marine species on their rocky seabed.
The islands are located off the coast of Peniche, which in turn is only an hour’s drive from Lisbon.
This is also influenced by the fact that the area was declared a nature reserve in 1981.
A spectacular area for snorkelling is around the fort of San Juan Bautista. While watching life under the sea, we will raise our heads and admire the incredible defensive fortress built in the 17th century.
At the bottom of the fort you will find all kinds of outstanding species. Anemones, fish, octopus and starfish.
So get your snorkel and goggles ready to snorkel in one of the best destinations in Portugal.
3- Elba Island, Italy
In Italy there are kilometres and kilometres of Mediterranean coastline that combine incredible beaches and villages. But for good snorkelling we have to go to the island of Elba. It is located between the island of Corsica and the coast of Livorno.
Islets like d’Ortano or natural parks like Pianosa offer incredible marine fauna.
Colourful corals, seahorses and much more. If you want to venture a little further, you should know that in Elba there are diving schools that can take you to two very curious places. If you like snorkelling, you can’t miss them.
The first is the Relitto Aereo light aircraft, which sank off the coast of Elba after a splashdown. The other is the cargo ship Relitto di Pomonte, which you can visit inside with all the necessary equipment.
As we have already seen, Italy is home to some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean.
4- Port-Cros National Park, France
The Port-Cros National Park, located off the French Riviera, is the reference point for snorkelling in France.
Port-Cros belongs to the islands of Hyères, and as a national park it is home to a great deal of nature in the form of vegetation and terrestrial fauna.
But what interests us today is under the sea. And there is a spot on the map of the island that is unequalled for snorkelling: the beach of La Palud.
On its seabed, which is a mixture of sand and rocks, thousands of fish live around the algae that form extensive marine forests. This is helped by the fact that the beach area is not populated, as humans do not interfere with marine life.
The snorkelling route is clearly marked out in this area, with a circle from the beach to the islet du Rascas, returning via the bay of La Palud, which is almost always calm as it is protected by rock formations.
5- Cabrera Archipelago National Park, Spain
The Cabrera archipelago is one of the most fascinating natural sites in Spain. This is thanks to the fact that it was designated a National Park in 1991.
There you can enjoy many activities related to the natural world, such as hiking and scuba diving. If you like walking, you can take a beach bag or any toiletry bag to keep all your belongings close at hand in a comfortable way.
In this part of the Balearic Islands, there is no fixed point for snorkelling, as you can go all over the island to find small coves and beaches where you can dive with your mask and snorkel.
We must remember that 85% of the national park is marine, so there are some areas known as integral reserves that we will not be able to access.
If we embark on one of the speedboats, we will reach other parts of the archipelago such as Conejera island or the small islets surrounding the main island, Cabrera.
There, snorkelling on the rocky seabed is a marvellous experience, as the marine fauna will fill your retina with thousands of colours that can only be seen in this place.
6- Lake Walchen, Germany
In the German Alps, almost on the Austrian border, lies Lake Walchen. At 75 kilometres long, it is a summer destination for many of the inhabitants of Bavaria, as many water sports such as paddle surfing, kayaking and kite surfing can be practised there.
Another of these is snorkelling, although we must remember that the lake is formed by glaciers, so its waters are very cold.
To combat this, the best thing to do is to hire a wetsuit, goggles and snorkel.
The best spot to visit for snorkelling is the north of the lake, where rocky walls are formed with different layers of sediments that are worth admiring.
As for the marine life in the lake, you may come across some species such as trout or perch, although the really special thing about the place is the scenery. Snorkelling surrounded by incredible green mountains that match the blue of the lake is not something you can do every day.
7- Sponge Island, Greece
The Dodecanese archipelago in Greece has some spots that are still untouched by tourism. Rather than the overcrowded Santorini, Crete or Mykonos, we prefer to go snorkelling in the beautiful Kalymnos.
Also known as the island of sponges, along its coastline we can see this type of marine life for miles. The collection and processing of these porifera is typical on the island.
They are then exported to different parts of the world, because the sponges of Kalymnos are world famous.
Between its beaches and mountains there is also room for other activities. Hiking, cultural visits to villages and, above all, climbing. Climbing has become very popular in recent years, as the walls of Kalymnos are considered to be ideal for this sport.
8- Punta de Cinc Sous, Spain
Our list returns to Spain to visit Costa Brava. This is where a curious snorkelling spot is located.
Next to the town of l’Escala, in the province of Girona, is the Cinc Sous point. This spot, like the many kilometres of coastline in this area, is home to different Mediterranean species of fish, coral and algae.
But then, what sets Cinc Sous apart? The main attraction of this spot is that under its waters, at a depth of barely 8 metres, there is a sunken ship. This is the Cotentin wreck, which sank in these waters in 1963.
Although it was dynamited, today we can see some of its pieces, making it one of the best places for snorkelling in Europe.
9- Brijuni National Park, Croatia
We end our list in Croatia. This Balkan country, which has some of the best beaches on the Adriatic Sea, is also a great place for snorkelling.
In this case we visited the Brijuni National Park, located in front of the city of Pula, on the Istrian coast. The natural environment there is unbeatable, the result of the years that the place has been a national park.
Its seabed is excessively rich, as fish and molluscs live among algae that, thanks to protection, have come to create large marine forests.
But if there is one popular snorkelling spot on the island, it is the underwater remains of a Roman villa.
The exact spot is the bay of Verige, where with fins, snorkel and goggles, we can admire centuries of history while refreshing ourselves in Mediterranean waters.
It’s also an ideal place to enjoy a stroll and the good weather, so comfortable espadrilles will come in handy.
Without a doubt, the perfect experience to end this route through the best snorkelling spots in Europe.