The 10 Best Snorkeling Spots in Europe

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Destinations, Europe, Travel Bucket Lists

What could be better than diving into the cool blue water on a hot day and exploring the world below sea level? Nearly nothing! We believe snorkeling is a must-do activity on your travel itinerary. Therefore, it is important to let you discover with us the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Europe for your summer. This blog will give you a wide insight into spots from the gorges of Iceland to the hidden bays in Greece.

Top places to dive into this summer!

  1. Chalkidiki
  2. Medas Islands
  3. Azores
  4. Schmale Luzin
  5. Elba
  6. Banyuls-Cerbère
  7. Makarska
  8. Silfra Column
  9. Gothenburg
  10. Walchensee

1. Chalkidiki – Snorkeling in quiet bays

best snorkeling spots in Europe - the coastline of Chalkidiki in Greece
Chalkidiki – Snorkeling in quiet bays

The first place you need to go to is Chalkidiki. Chalkidiki is a Greece peninsula and is always worth a visit, especially in summer. The island has a lot of bays with three headlands, which offer you a quiet snorkeling experience. Chalkidiki is perfect, especially for beach holiday lovers, as there are kilometers of white sandy beaches, turquoise blue water, and numerous restaurants right on the coast. Furthermore, the three headlands (also known as ‘Fingers of Greece’) are unique in their own way.

The first finger is Kassandra which houses long sandy beaches, olive groves, and pine forests with small viewpoints. Next, the second finger is Sithonia which is more of an insider tip. It is not overly developed with tourism, there are many quiet spots to look over at sea. Lastly, the third finger is Athos, an almost autonomous monastic republic. That means for you and your Greece travel partner, you can only enter the island as a pilgrim or MARVEL from a boat. Overall, Chalkidiki is one of the perfect snorkeling spots in Europe, as the clear water is home to various aquatic creatures.

2. Medas Islands – Snorkeling with numerous fish

best snorkeling spots in Europe - under water shot of fish and coral reef
Medas Islands – Snorkeling with numerous fish

The Medas Islands or Illes Medes are located within a nature reserve about 800m off the coast of Estartit, in North-East of Spain. Since commercial fishing is prohibited on-site due to nature conservation, the stocks recovered well. Therefore, today you can explore them through this one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Europe. Moreover, the group is particularly known for its region, but you can also spot moray eels, octopuses, and barracuda.

You cannot stay on the islands and travel by boat. However, the closest town, Estartit, is beautiful. Here you will find other snorkeling and diving tourists who explore the marine world of the Northern Mediterranean.

3. Azores – Snorkeling in harmony with nature

best snorkel spots in Europe - shot of the Azores
Azores – Snorkeling in harmony with nature

Away from mass tourism, you will find the Azores, Portugal, an archipelago of nine islands in the Atlantic, which welcomes you with quiet beauty. Although there is no better place for nature lovers and adventurers, you will often find places where you are all alone. Moreover, as the islands form the tips of underwater volcanoes, there are unique natural phenomena, such as huge crater lakes. The largest islands are nature reserves and numerous other protected areas where nature conservation is prominent.

Additionally, the Azores are wonderful destinations for whale and dolphin watching. Furthermore, you can also watch sperm whales and many other marine mammals all year round. There are amazing snorkeling spots and diving opportunities here. Does this sound tempting to you?

4. Schmale Luzin – Snorkeling in the lake

water grass by a lake
Schmale Luzin – Snorkeling in the lake

Taking a trip to Germany can also lead you to some of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Europe: the Schmale Luzin, a lake within the Feldberg lake district in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The lake’s water is so clean that plants grow even at a depth of 15 meters. You can go out in a rowboat or canoe and jump straight into the water. Halfway along the lake, there is a restaurant and a boat rental shop.
In addition, The area around the Narrow Luzin was identified as a nature reserve in the 19th century to allow for eagles, ducks, and otters to have their habitats protected here.

The Narrow Luzin is perfect for you and your Travel Partner if you want to explore and discover a beautiful reserve.

5. Elba – Snorkeling between shipwrecks

the Italian island of Elba in the night
Elba – Snorkeling between shipwrecks

The Italien island of Elba can be found in the Mediterranean with white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and rugged rock formations. Moreover, Elba belongs to the Tuscan archipelago and lies between the mainland of Italy and the French island of Corsica. It is the third-largest island in Italy and can easily be reached by car ferry. As it is in the whole of the Mediterranean, the main season is between June and September, but Spring is also beautiful here.

It is home to the largest nature reserve in Europe and has so much to offer; beautiful underwater landscapes, deep forests with oak, chestnut, and pine trees, as well as wine and olive groves. If you prefer sandy beaches, the South coast is perfect as the West and North are mainly stone beaches. When you’re ready to go diving, you can explore the old shipwrecks around the island, making it one of the perfect snorkeling spots in Europe.

6. Banyuls-Cerbère – Snorkeling on underwater trails.

best snorkel spots in Europe - stone coastline
Banyuls-Cerbère – Snorkeling on underwater trails.

The name says it all. In the French marine reserve Banyuls-Cerbère, you can explore the underwater trails. In fact, it is the first marine reserve in France and the only one at sea. This area is located at the foot of the Massif des Albères (in the Pyrenees) and covers approximately 650 hectares. More than 1200 species of marine life call this area their home. The best-known areas include the seagrass meadows, the seaweed corridor, and the Coralligène.

You can, of course, equip yourself with snorkeling on-site or explore the area with a glass-bottom boat. This area is about sensitizing visitors to the marine world so that you can collect a lot of interesting information.

7. Makarska – Snorkeling in the pleasant Mediterranean

coastline of Makarska
Makarska – Snorkeling in the pleasant Mediterranean

The sunniest region in Croatia, Makarska, is a wonderful travel destination in the middle of Dalmatia. This region is known for its culinary offerings and easy access to the cultural metropolis of Split. There are also numerous beautiful beaches; in Makarska alone, there are five different sandy beaches!

You can jump into the water and watch small and large fish along the 60km long coast. Even when the area is very popular with tourists, there are secluded bays where you can anchor with your snorkeling travel partners. The best thing to do is to rent a boat to be independent.

8. Silfra Column – Snorkeling in the cleanest water in the world

Silfra Column – Snorkeling in the cleanest water in the world

The Silfra column in Iceland is one of the world’s most beautiful and impressive snorkeling spots in Europe. On sunny days you can see up to 100m through the crystal-clear water, and it is the only place in the world where you can snorkel between two continental columns. The column is in Thingvellir National Park, which is very popular in Iceland, mainly because you can see the activity of the continental plates over the past thousands of years. Here you can walk through deep cracks and long gorges, which can be found underwater. The water in the Silfra column is cleaner than any other place because it is filtered through the finest volcanic stone and goes through a long journey until it arrives in the column where you can swim.

A tip that you should definitely keep in mind: due to the constant water exchange, the water only has a temperature of 2-4 ° C all year round! So this adventure would not be tropical and rather cool. But that doesn’t mean it’s no less impressive. If anything, this is a unique experience. The column definitely belongs on your travel bucket list.

9. Gothenburg – Snorkeling in the city

Gothenburg coastline
Gothenburg – Snorkeling in the city

Around 30 minutes west of the Swedish city of Gothenburg, you will find a unique underwater path where you can get to know the ocean. The nature reserve around the island of Stora Amundön is your goal. Moreover, the approximately 200m long underwater path that leads you along the island with a maximum depth of 3m is one of the perfect snorkeling spots in Europe. On the water’s surface, you can see through buoys where information points are set on the path. Additionally, there are a total of 10, where you can learn something about the local flora and fauna.

Due to numerous reasons, Gothenburg is definitely worth a visit. The second-largest city in the country is a destination for all budgets, because around the city you will find multiple campsites in the middle of nature, or if you are looking for a nice accommodation in the middle of the city, as a contrast.

10. Walchensee – Snorkeling in the alps.

best snorkeling spots in Europe - Walchensee in the Alps in Germany shot overlooking the lake
Walchensee – Snorkeling in the alps

About 75km South of Munich, you will find this idyllic lake, which will greet you with alpine flair. In summer, the lake is an emerald green color, while in winter, cool blue dominates. At 198m, it is the deepest lake in Upper Bavaria, and only Lake Constance is deeper (the lake is at 800m!). But don’t worry; even though the Walchensee is high, summer temperatures near the shore can also exceed 20 ° C.

Moreover, the lake is particularly popular with divers due to its depth and special nature. The rich color makes it very special to dive into the water, and the silence is overwhelming as no motorized boats are allowed on the lake, so the water has drinking quality. There are many stories and legends surrounding the lake because diving makes you come into a completely different world. Bizarre rocky outcrops, algae meadows, and numerous lake dwellers await you, and even a VW Beetle! The Walchensee is definitely a destination for all adventurers who want to visit Germany in the summer.

Those are the best snorkeling spots in Europe that you and your travel buddies can explore worldwide. Not enough? JoinMyTrip has more to offer just for you. There are many trips around the world guided by like-minded TripLeaders that will take you on the best adventures of your lifetime. So, get ready for that and book your next vacation with JoinMyTrip now!