5 Top Diving Destinations That Are Closer To Home Than You Think
It’s World Octopus Day. Yep, that’s a real thing. And it’s got us thinking – where’s the best place to go on holiday if you want to be in with a chance of spotting one?
If diving is on your bucket list, and seeing an octopus ’in the flesh’ sounds right up your street, we’ve got some good news. It’s really easy to give scuba diving or snorkelling a go as part of your next holiday. You don’t even need to have any experience before you go.
In fact, you don’t need any special equipment, and you don’t need to dedicate your entire break to diving, either. Depending on where you stay you can book on to taster lessons, one-off dives, or full-blown courses where you’ll head home with a PADI-approved qualification under your belt.
Even better, you don’t necessarily need to jet off to the other side of the world. Yes, there are some amazing reefs to explore in the Caribbean and beyond – and we’d highly recommend them. But there are also some lesser-known diving spots that are just a short or mid-haul flight away. Take a look at some of our favourites…
The island of Malta is well known for its history, and it’s fast becoming a big-hitter on the clubbing circuit, too. But there’s also an amazing underwater scene just off the coast, and if you stay in Mellieha Bay you’ve got it right on your doorstep. Take a look at the Hotel Mellieha Bay – it’s got a PADI dive school and its very own watersports centre.
2. Gran Canaria
If you thought this Canary Island’s rugged interior and sandy coastline was impressive, take a look at the scene below the water. You can tick off caves and shipwrecks, plus the full A-Z of sea creatures. There’s a dive school in Taurito, close to Playa del Ingles. From here you can head off on a snorkelling or scuba diving excursion, or a full dive if you’ve already ditched your L-plates.
Head to one of the Greek Islands and you’ve got a long list of dive sites to choose from. If you’re taking the family to Rhodes, it’s worth knowing there’s a dedicated children’s diving programme available here alongside one for adults. Dives take place out in the bay of Kalithea, and kids aged 8-10 can join in. Not to be outdone, Corfu has a great diving programme for beginners, too.
The waters around the Turkish resort of Fethiye are great for scuba diving, with good visibility and a decent temperature. Plus, the organisers around here realise that not everyone actually wants to get into the water, so there are some trips where friends or family can come along and top up their tan on the boat.
Diving and the Red Sea go hand-in-hand for good reason. The scene you’re greeted with below the water’s surface here is like another planet entirely, with schools of fish in colours you didn’t know existed, huge manta ray, wrinkly turtles and – yep – even those elusive octopuses. If you’re staying in resorts like Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada or Marsa Alam, your hotel may well have its own dive school on-site. It’s also worth checking what’s included with your holiday – lots of places offer a free scuba taster session in the hotel’s swimming pool.