When most people think of the phrase ‘diver’s paradise’, they immediately jump to spots such as Australia, Belize or Indonesia. Few consider the quiet and remote archipelago of Malta, just off the coast of Southern Europe. In reality, the Mediterranean Sea is awash with endless great diving spots, for those of all abilities.
This article gives you a basic overview of best locations in Malta to don your fins and explore the ocean!
Although unknown to many, Malta (…and sister island Gozo) is still a thriving hotspot that attracts divers from all over the world. Santa Maria Caves is one of the most popular attractions, as it caters for swimmers of all experience levels. Situated on Comino, the smaller island between Malta and Gozo, the spectacular rock complex offers a range of caves, each with its own diverse beauty. There are many large underwater tunnels to be explored and even a host of shallow water areas, which are perfect for snorkelers.
Another key diving area is found around the famed Azure Window region, in Dwerja on the island of Gozo. This location is home to the Blue Hole, a wondrous underwater rock formation, which all divers visiting Malta should experience. Nearby is the Inland Sea, another impressive limestone feature that was created when a great cave collapsed. This dive takes you from the inland pool, through a deep canyon into open water.
If you’re just starting out as a diver, Malta is a great place to get your sea legs. Alongside the aforementioned Santa Maria Caves, the ‘Ghar Lapsi’ cave is another great site for beginners. The waters are calm, clear and shallow, and its secluded location means the dive is relaxed and casual.
There’s a wonderful reef and plenty of marine life to enjoy, and some fascinating underwater flora. The dive is easily accessible by either a ladder or a slipway into the water, so there’s no having to worry about a difficult entrance, and with numerous exits out of the cave there are endless nooks and crannies to explore.
If you’re more a fan of wreck dives, rather than caves, there are more than plenty of exciting spots for you to enjoy. As Malta played a prominent role in the Second World War, there are many great wartime causalities to discover on the seabed. Popular destinations include the HMS Maori, who was sunk by a bomb in 1941 and the HMS Stubborn, who was finally brought down in 1945. For more experience divers, there’s even a WWII aircraft, which was abandoned by crew after suffering damage, although this site is only accessible by boat. More recent wrecks are also available to visit, such as the 1992 Imperial Eagle off Qawra Point, the Libyan oil tanker near Wied iz-Zurrieq and the P29 East-German minesweeper and nearby Rozi Tugboat, which went down in 2007 and 1991 respectively.
For some of the most spectacular reef dives in the area, Malta is also a hotspot. A short 300m out from the Imperial Eagle wreck, just off Qawra point, the reef of the same name offers a great location to watch the scuttling of marine crabs, lobsters and Nudibranchs. Above the reef there is an even greater range of life, with countless fish, octopus and sea slug varieties calling this area their home.
You might even spot a few barracudas! Just off the coast of Ghasri, on the island of Gozo, the ‘Reqqa’ Reef is another great spot for divers to enjoy. This elite site is difficult to access, and it is therefore recommended that you visit with some one who has been there before or a local dive school. With a rich range of sea sponges and fish species, several overhangs and caves to explore, and a spectacular chimney, it’s worth the extra effort to get there.
These are just a few suggestions of the many great diving experiences that can be had in Malta. If you know of any more then be sure to leave a comment below. If you haven’t been diving off these islands yet, then why not consider adding it to your bucket list.
This is a guest post sponsored by the Radisson Blu Malta.
All Images released under the Creative Commons license.