Bhutan Mountains

Dive the Greek Islands

The Greek Islands are surrounded by clear blue seas. The color contrasts beautifully with the stark limestone cliffs and bright white buildings that are so characteristic of island architecture, and it makes sailing and just walking on the beach in this part of the world into something magical.

Many visitors never see it, but there is magic under the water too. Divers and snorkelers can get up close and personal with all kinds of marine animals and also see some very interesting archaeological remains.

For decades archaeology made the Greek authorities take a very dim view of scuba diving. Huge sections of coastline where closed to divers in an effort to prevent looting of valuable historical remains lying unprotected (and for the most part, unstudied and undiscovered) on the sea floor. The good news is that they’ve now realised that the overwhelming majority of divers want to take nothing more than memories and maybe a few interesting photos.


The Greek Islands have opened their arms to divers. Places like Crete, Samos, and Lesbos are now amongst the most exciting scuba destinations in the world. You can walk in from the shore or do a boat dive, drift over reefs, swim through submerged caverns, or explore wrecked ships.

Crete is famous for craggy cliffs and dramatic coastal caves, and these don’t stop at the water line. Divers can often get into the caves quite easily when swells are gentle. They find large grouper, octopi, eels, and a variety of sponges and marine plants. In the more open reaches on the south coast of the island, divers regularly encounter spectacular barracuda, cuttlefish, and bigger pelagic fish.

The clear, warm waters around Zante are a haven for wildlife. It’s one of the best places in the Mediterranean for anyone who wants to dive with sea turtles and visibility in good conditions is absolutely outstanding. On the best days, divers can see up to 50m (the length of an Olympic swimming pool) underwater.

The Cyclades offer some excellent wreck diving. Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos all have good ones dating from the 20th Century. While getting inside any wreck is dangerous and it’s something only experienced divers should consider, a sunken ship fast becomes a haven for marine animals. They turn into colonies on the ocean floor, surrounded by all kinds of marine life. Aside from the historical interest, visiting a well-established wreck is one sure way to find a good concentration of fish and sponges.

For those who want to see relics from the more distant past, Paros also has world-class shallow water archaeology. Pots, bottles, and stonework have lain undisturbed here for more than a thousand years. Some of it lies close enough to the surface that you don’t even need a scuba tank to see it- snorkelers can get down there too. When you’re finished exploring, head over to Corfu. Some underwater archaeology sites are still closed to divers but there is a lovely wreck on an ancient Greek or Roman ship (opinions vary!) near Kassiopi that’s open to visitation.

If you’ve got some time on your hands and feel like doing something different, the Aegean Institute offers educational courses in coastal and marine archaeology. Naturally the syllabus includes plenty of first-class diving.

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