Crystal waters, teeming marine life, caves and shipwrecks attract thousands of scuba divers to Greek waters each year. Until recently diving was limited to just a few dive sites to protect the many ancient underwater treasures.
Now restrictions have been lifted, and many new areas have been opened up for scuba diving. Scuba diving is now allowed in all Greek seas, except where specific prohibitions apply. In response, there has been a sharp rise in Greek diving centres.
Many Greek island scuba dive centres now offer scuba diving lessons and yacht-based diving tours. In choosing a dive centre check that the instructors have PADI qualifications and that equipment is either new or regularly serviced. Diving can be dangerous with underwater currents a particular hazard. It's a good idea to take out specialist Scuba diving insurance in case of accidents.
Spearfishing is a favourite pastime for scuba divers but take care; it is illegal to spearfish in Greece without a licence. To get a licence, apply to the port authority of the island you visit. It usually takes about a week to get one. Visit the PADI Greece site for more information.
The scuba dive centres listed here mostly have their websites where you can check out details such as qualification, equipment, dive spots and courses on offer.
To learn more about diving visit the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) site. Dive centres come and go, but this list is checked for the 2018 holiday season. If your site is not listed here and you think it should be, then please email Greek Island Postcards: firstname.lastname@example.org and listing is free.
The impressive rock formations that western Crete is famous for, such as the Samaria Gorge, continue underwater, especially along the dramatic south coast. Here divers can find many good caverns, gaps and reefs offering shelter to octopus, moray eel, grouper and a wide variety of other marine life.
There are depth walls with good drop off points along the south coast, especially around the Plakias area. Besides the many sponges, spiny lobsters, crayfish and cuttlefish, divers can also see barracuda, perch and much more.
Traditional dive sites on the south coast are at Skinaria which has several underwater canyons overgrown with colourful flora. The north coast diving slope at Panormo reaches a depth of 35 meters with small, crowded caves full of shoals of fish and a Venetian anchor 'cemetery'. The Damnoni three-part cave is linked by narrow tunnels and is full of marine life.
The Atlantis Diving Center began in 1993 at the Rithymna Beach Hotel, near Rethymnon. Since 2002 there has been a branch at the Grecotel Club Marine Palace in Panormo. Diving is to PADI standards with courses for beginners to advanced divers.
PADI dive resort offers scuba diving courses at all levels of training from April to November. For everyone, from those with no previous experience in diving to those seeking a PADI diver license to become a certified diver.
PADI centre offers daily dives to caves and wrecks, from beginners to experienced divers. There are also PADI courses to Divemaster standard as well as speciality courses such as night diving and search and recovery.
The Cyclades offers a wide range of scuba diving sites and, as ferry connections are usually good, it is possible to take in several islands. Most of the Mykonos dive centres are based in the south coast beach resorts where there are good reefs and caves, with the spectacular dive spot of Prasonisia considered one of the best. There is the wreck of the Greek cargo ship Peloponniso off the northeast coast, but this is a tricky dive. To the southeast is the islet of Dragonisi where there are some spectacular underwater rock formations.
Naxos has some notable dive sites including the triple caverns at Padieronissi islet between Paros and Antiparos, known as the Mermaid's Cave, the wreck of the cargo ship Marianna which sunk in 1982 in a severe storm and a British bomber from World War Two off the coast at Cape Kouroupas.
Paros has the Cathedral dive with impressive rock formations and walls covered in sponges, reefs that often teem with barracuda and the wreck of a Greek liner while at Santorini there are many dive sites around the caldera and off the coast at Kamari.
Blue Fin Divers was established by diver Panagiotis Niflis in 2006. Equipment consists of a 9-metre boat, latest Paramina compressor, Oceanic and Tiquillio. Approved by the BVQI. Cave, reef and wreck diving. Beginners and advanced.
Blue Island Divers are the only Dive Centre based on Antiparos and can visit sites used exclusively by them. The centre is located 300 metres from the ferry port, and facilities overlook the harbour, providing easy access to their boat.
The Aegean Diving College on Paros is based at Chrissi Akti. Host Peter Nicolaides, a professional diver, oceanographer and offshore engineer, has worked with National Geographic, Cousteau and many other expeditions.
Islands in the Dodecanese offer relatively few scuba diving centres given the large number of islands in the chain. Most dive centres are concentrated in Rhodes and Kos. In Rhodes, most diving outfits operate out of Mandraki harbour. Kalithea on the northeast coast is one of the major scuba diving locations, with tranquil waters and exciting rock formations, underwater reefs and plenty of marine life. Wrecks can also be found off the coast at Plimri, in the south, and Kamiros, in the north.
The famous holiday island of Kos has some diving outfits, most operating out of Kos Town or nearby. The south of the island offers some good dive sites while, in the north, many clients head off to nearby Kalymnos where the limestone cliffs provide particularly rich dive sites and with good marine life and plenty of impressive caves, some splendid wall dives and vast interlinked caverns.
Trident operates out of Mandraki harbour for more than a decade. There are dives for complete beginners to experienced PADI qualifications, entry-level to Divemaster. Dive trips include cave, wreck and open water dives.
Based at Mandraki harbour the Waterhoppers Diving School is a PADI 5 star diving centre established in 1978. Courses from one day Discover Scuba to instructor level. Highly qualified, experienced and multilingual instructors. Also has regular diving days in Kalithea, and Lindos/Pefkos.
The Arian Diving Centre was established in 1978 and is based in Kardamena. It has courses for beginners and experienced divers. A fully- equipped section for all kinds of scuba diving such as nitrox, trimix, deep diving etc.
Based at Psalidi and nearby Kipriotis, Kos Divers was founded in 2003. It is a PADI centre with lifeguards training and commercial diving services. They offer beginner dives, boat and shore dives and tuition up to PADI Divemaster.
Scuba diving in the Ionian has taken off in a big way with any number of dive centres on most of the islands. Corfu is very popular for diving with several scuba diving centres located all over the island. There are several good underwater caves with open roofs, attractive reefs and shipwrecks around the coast that offer a good day's diving. Wrecks include a World War Two steamship and the British minesweeper HMS Regulus sunk by a mine in 1945. Also off Kassiopi is the ancient wreck of what is believed to be a Greek or Roman vessel. Favourite caves are the Barbaro Caves in the northeast with four large caves and six smaller ones.
The Ionian Sea around Kefalonia offers one of the best scuba diving spots in Europe. Expect sheer walls and overhangs, some exceptional caves and several wrecks, notably a German cargo shipwreck from World War Two. With an average visibility of 30-40 metres and mild temperatures average sea temperatures of 24°C there are good opportunities for underwater photography.
Lefkas has only recently surfaced as a dive centre island. The limestone coast has many reefs, caves and caverns while marine life is mainly octopus, barracuda, moray eel, grouper, sea bream, damsel and lobster. In early April the sea temperature is usually around 17°C but this quickly warms to 23°C in June.
A rich and varied marine life around Zante includes octopus, barracuda, moray eels, large grouper, tuna, turtles (caretta caretta), crayfish, langusta, white bream, bluefish, dolphin fish, greater amberjacks, parrotfish and many other varieties. The average water temperature is 27°C, and with visibility up to 40 metres. There are dive sites around the reefs and caves of the Keri coast.
Open since 2001 Achilleon is run by Angeliki Korologuu a PADI Open Water and CMAS instructor. Divemasters are PADI trained with years of experience. Equipment is serviced annually, and all dives are monitored by computer.
Courses for beginners, PADI, Open Water and Divemaster run by qualified instructors. Caves, wrecks, deep and night diving at a variety of dive sites around the island. Open daily May-Oct.
There are dives every day. Beginners and experienced divers. Small groups guided by a certified Instructor (special procedures with children). They also offer diving courses. Dive sites depend on weather and divers' experience.
Aquatic World Diving Club, the first diving facility in Kefalonia was established in 1997. It is a PADI Resort and CMAS diving facility. All instructors are professionals and safety equipment includes first aid, oxygen, VHF and GPS.
PADI diving resort and diving standards operate at the Blue Manta aquanaut club with lessons from snorkelling to Divemaster, Rescue Diver and Advanced Open Water training. Dive sites include caves, sponge walls, Roman amphorae, German Junkers aircraft and a British submarine wreck.
Running since 1998, owner and manager Fanis Nikoloudakis is a PADI IDC staff instructor, CMAS 3 star instructor, DAN instructor and IADS 3 star instructor. The centre is located in the Louis Zante Beach Hotel in Kalamaki and operates May-Oct.
Nocturnal and cave dives are offered at Nero Sports Centre which has PADI and CMAS certification. Dive sites include the Keri Caves and the islet of Marathonisi. They also offer apartments close to the beach of Limni Keri.
Founded in 1997 Turtle Beach runs CMAS diving courses up to Gold and PADI up to Divemaster. Individual training or small groups in German, English, Dutch, Italian or Greek. Up to 15 diving spots to a maximum 40 metres in depth.
The seabed around Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos is thought to have the second largest concentration of ancient and Middle Ages sea wrecks in the world. Many important shipwrecks have been discovered near the islet of Peristera, including a vessel from the 5th century BC. Diving restrictions have been relaxed and now divers are allowed in several seas around Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos although diving in protected areas is strictly forbidden.
At Alonissos, there is the advantage that the area is classed as a marine park for many years which means wildlife is left relatively undisturbed. Divers can see sponges, corals, lumper eels, blackfish, sea beams, scorpion fish as well as amphorae shards, caves and shipwrecks.
Skiathos does not have many spectacular dive sites but the waters are clear and there is plenty of marine life. Scuba diving is now allowed in some areas around Skopelos but, as yet, no one has set up any scuba diving centres.
Based at the Hotel Nostos Beach (Tzaneria) Dolphin Diving operates from May to Oct. Scuba diving instructors are recognised by the Greek Diving Federation, CMAS and PADI. Divers get full equipment or you can bring your own.
The scuba diving centre is in Skiathos Town and at Koukounaries Beach. It is recognised by PADI and CMAS. Top of the range equipment from manufacturers such as Mares and Technisub. Kit includes the latest Paramina compressor.
Based at the Adrina Beach Hotel at Panormos bay and at the main harbour of Skopelos, PADI certified divers offer guided dives, snorkel tours and other in-water activities with seven dive sites around Skopelos and a couple off Skiathos. Diver level as well as Professional level courses.
The north-eastern Aegean has many good prospects for Scuba diving in the Greek islands with islands offering diving lessons and activities being Lesvos, Samos and Thassos. Lesvos has a wealth of dive sites right around the coast. There are exciting dive spots off the islet of Agios Georgis, near Petra, with several rock slides and some interesting reefs. Even better reefs are found in the northeast at Palios with good visibility and many plants. In the southeast, the islets off Tarti have exceptionally clear water and good marine life while at nearby Vatera are the wrecks of a couple of commercial ships.
Diving in Samos has only taken off in comparatively recent years. The dive sites around the coast, therefore, offer almost virgin diving conditions with sponge wall coverings and many varieties of fish. The relatively undisturbed sites mean you are unlikely to meet other diving groups, and there is particularly clear water full of eels, starfish, octopus, lobster and more.
Thassos has several notable dive sites off the coast including favourite sites such as Agios Ioannis Bay and off Seagull Island. One of the more interesting is the dive site called Volcano Tears with some remarkable underwater lava formations.
British run and owned, Odyssey has been operating for many years and was the first PADI centre to work in Greece. Initially based in Halkidiki, it now has dive centres in Limnos and Lesvos with diving lessons for beginners to professionals.
This club is run by an A-class scuba diving instructor, PADI OWSI (expertise in shipwreck diving, search and recovery). It specialises in shipwreck dives, caves and coral reefs. In winter, descents are made n the Kavala area.
If your scuba diving club not listed here please email email@example.com with details of your diving centre and we will do our bext to include it in the listing of scuba diving resorts in the Greek Islands.