Santorini, surrounded by the vast Aegean Sea, is a wonderful destination for scuba diving. What makes it great are its ideal water conditions: its clear blue water is slightly warm and has a mild current, making it a great choice for beginners. The weather in Santorini is usually warm and pleasant, which is ideal for scuba diving too. Moreover, in addition to the diverse aquatic life, you would see numerous underwater volcanic rock formations as the island is an active volcano along with a shipwreck! There are various 3-4 day open water courses where professional instructors teach you to dive down to about 12m in shallow water. So, if you know how to swim and are ready for this unforgettable experience, go ahead and book your Santorini diving excursion!
Best Time for Diving in Santorini
The weather in Santorini is warm and dry between April to early October, so the water tends to be warmer and calmer with a mild current and thus very conducive for scuba diving. June to August is usually the peak season for tourism and, therefore, for diving. Still, if you want the diving sites to be less crowded, May to June and September are also suitable, although the water is slightly cooler. The period between November to March experiences cold and wet weather conditions, and it is best to avoid diving around this time.
Popular Scuba Diving Sites in Santorini
Kamari is the ideal diving spot for you if you are a beginner, as it is a shallow reef only a couple of metres from the beach and is also known for its colourful and diverse aquatic life.
Aspronisi is a great option for beginner and pro divers as it comprises 9 diving sites ranging from depths of 7m to 30m. It has excellent visibility even as low as 20m, and its water features colourful corals, fish, lobsters, octopuses, plants and more.
3. Nea Kameni
Nea Kameni is one of the best diving spots in Santorini if you wish to see underwater wrecks. This tiny island created due to volcanic eruptions is where you would find three wrecks; the Santa Maria wreck (a 35m long passenger ship), a World War II boat and a Tugboat. The first two are shallow wrecks, while the third one is a deep wreck. Moreover, you would also see aquatic life like snails, lobsters, starfish, octopuses etc., along with rocks with lava flowing through them.
The most popular diving spot in Therassia is Mansell Reef which is 6m to 200m deep and perfect for amateur and professional divers. Furthermore, if you wish to catch a glimpse of diverse flora and fauna, explore Thirassia Rivera, which has dolphins, groupers, tuna, swordfish, colourful corals and sponges along the rocks and much more.
5. Vlychada Beach
Vlychada Beach offers a unique scuba diving experience in Santorini. It has shallow waters that boast an impressive artificial underwater park featuring statues, amphorae, and a museum open to everyone.
Best Diving Centres in Santorini
1. Santorini Dive Center
The Santorini Dive Centre, located on Caldera Beach in Santorini, offers courses to amateurs and professionals. They take you to various diving spots around the Old and New volcano; their packages usually include professional instructors accompanying you on a dive near either of the two and from the cliffs near the caldera. Some courses are 2 tank diving, open water diving, night diving, rescue diving etc.
Address: Ακρωτήρι Caldera beach, Santorini 847 00, Greece Timings: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
2. Caldera Diving
Caldera Diving in Santorini offers you the chance to explore eight different diving spots around the island, such as Adiavatos Reef, Mesa Pigadia, Deep Wreck and Caldera Reef. You get an opportunity to dive twice and are accompanied by an expert while you explore the water's wonders. Their courses include open-water diving, advanced open-water diving, rescue diving and more.
Located in the middle of Kamari Beach, the Volcano Dive Center has courses for those looking for a one-time underwater adventure or professional deep divers. It is open from April to mid-October and offers programs like wall diving, wreck diving, night diving, volcano diving, reef diving, etc., near the volcano and caldera. You can also opt for underwater navigation and search and rescue programs, all of which are supervised by trained professionals.
The Atlantis Oia Dive Center in Santorini's Oia village is known for its diving programs/excursions and for its focus on educating people about environmentally friendly diving practices. With their instructors, you can ride out to Amoudi, where you can dive near the caldera's volcanic islands, Nea Kameni, Thirassia, Aspronisi etc. Along with their beginner and professional diving excursions, some other courses they offer include rescue diving, advanced open water diving, first response diving, boat training and more.
Address: Cyclades Island Oia Thiras, 847 02, Greece Timings: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
5. Navy's Waterworld Dive Center
Another one of Santorini's well-known diving centres, the Navy's Waterworld Dive Center, gives you a chance to explore about 42 diving spots whether you are a first-timer or an expert. Open water diving, rescue diving, scuba diving, night diving, dive master etc., are some of the courses offered here, along with small guided tours. Trained instructors accompany you as you explore the underwater lava formations and aquatic flora and fauna.
Address: Kamari Beach, Greece Timings: 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Tips for Scuba Diving in Santorini
You have to be over the age of 10 to be allowed to go diving. If you are under 18, you must get parental consent.
If it is your first time diving, you must get a medical certificate; the diving centre recommends a local doctor.
You must get your Open Water Diver (OWD) licence before diving since it is not only a requirement but also allows you to dive into a depth of up to 18m anywhere in the world. Also, don't forget to get diving insurance.
When choosing a day to go diving, it is better to pick a day when the weather would be pleasant, as waves might make the experience slightly harder.
Diving isn't a very physically demanding activity, but you must be healthy and should know how to swim.
When on the boat, listen carefully to your guide to properly understand what you are supposed to do and be aware of where they are when in the water. Also, double-check all your equipment.
Make sure to breathe normally when in the water and to equalise frequently as you descend to avoid any issues with your ears. It is also important to monitor your air gauge.
Avoid coming up too fast, as that, too, can cause the bends.
Don't touch anything in the water; you might accidentally touch a sharp or poisonous coral or startle an aquatic creature. Also, ensure you don't fly for at least 24 hours after your dive since you are susceptible to the bends.
Santorini's crystal clear waters boasting warm temperatures, diverse aquatic life, unique volcanic formations, and the surrounding beauty make the island an excellent choice for diving. Whether you are a beginner or a pro-diver, it has a lot in store for you, including deep diving, cave diving, wreck diving and wall diving. So choose the course that appeals to you, put on your suit and explore the island's mesmerising water.