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Scuba diving on the Algarve - Portugal Hot

Dive area / region : Portugal - Algarve - See the map Scuba diving on the Algarve - Portugal

Best diving season : April  •  May  •  June  •  July  •  August  •  September
Recommended number of days to stay : 5 to 7 days
Number of dive sites : More than 20 Dive Sites
Water temperature and wetsuit advice : 16-20C : 2 Piece Wetsuit
Average visibility : 11 - 15 meters
Average dives depth : 20 Meters
Type of currents : Zero or none relevant currents
Months when these currents are present : N/A
General surface conditions : Generally flat surface
Wreck types : Old wooden ship  •  Artificial wrecks  •  War ships
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Type of marine life : Anemone  •  Corals  •  Cuttlefish  •  Dolphins  •  Grouper  •  Jelly fish  •  Lobster  •  Moray Eels  •  Nudibranch  •  Octopus  •  Rays  •  Reef Fish  •  Sea urchins  •  Shrimps  •  Softcoral  •  Sponge  •  Squid  •  Star fish  •  Worms
Presence of caves / caverns : No


Ever thought about diving in Portugal? No?! Think twice! There are 1230 km of mainland coast, 920 km of island coastline, 12 islands, eight marine reserves and parks, combined with the rich and magnificent Atlantic Ocean, making Portugal the best and most diverse country in Europe for scuba diving and other water activities. The dive sites in Portugal are all located in the Atlantic Ocean, the least polluted on the planet, and in recent years has been awarded the EU blue flag for quality of water at many beaches in the country. The visibility in the continent is generally between 3 and 15 meters but can reach 30 meters. In the islands is considerably larger. Diving in Portugal it is possible all year round, with water temperatures ranging between 13 and 24 º C (55-75 º F), being the hottest in the south and the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. You can soak comfortably with wet 5-7 mm suite, which like other necessary equipment is available for rent in diving centres. Come face to face with a vibrant underwater world, and sometimes even bizarre. You can see manta rays, whales, dolphins and volcanic scenery in the Azores; sharks, large groupers and schools of fish, exotic fauna and flora in Madeira, caves, wrecks, and lots of fish, the sunfish always shy and a haven for macro life on the continent. All within a few hours away from each other.

The Algarve coastline is a rapidly growing area for the diving industry in Portugal. It boasts many different dive sites - from World War I wrecks off Sagres to locally introduced artificial reefs just near Alvor.
Every year, more and more people are visiting the Algarve to discover the scuba diving and it is only going to get better once the four Portuguese Naval ships are sunk off the coast over the next couple of years. Even though the coast is on the Atlantic, the conditions are fantastic and there is always interesting marine life to see.
There is something for everyone - from Nudibranch Garden (for you Nudibranch lovers) to the D9 reef (home of one really big conger eel).

The Algarve coast has a lot of old wrecks that compliment the local history and are a great nostalgic attribute of diving here on the coast. There are so many beautiful reefs locally between 18 metres and 8 metres, including some rather big reef walls. If I could recommend one particular type of diving on this coast it would be a night dive. It would be a shame to dive here and not do a night dive as there is quite a lot of creatures to see including the rather fast-swimming and shy Cavaco.

The visibility ranges from 5 metres to 15 metres and the temperature in the summer can range between 14C and 23C. There are no strong currents to deal with here and there is rarely any swell to rock the boat! A 7mm suit is great for the summer and it would be recommended to dive in a semi-dry or dry suit in the winter. There are a lot of diving centres across the Algarve coast but take your time and have a look to find the best. So, if you're planning a trip to Portugal, I would definitely head to the South coast and explore the adventures waiting to be had diving there. You won't regret it.

Holly Brierley from Exclusive Divers Algarve.

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