Scuba diving in Spain
Diving in Spain is very diverse since the country has more than one coast and islands spread out in the sea. The best time to visit Spain is during June to September, but check the weather in May and October as well since it can still be hot and less crowded on the beach and hotel.
On the south coast of Spain Andalusia is situated, it stretches from Portugal to San Juan de los Terreros with Gibraltar in the middle. Here on the coast of Andalusia the marine life is teeming. East of Gibraltar the bottom is rougher and more varied with reefs and stones, whilst just south of Gibraltar the waters are filled with wrecks, as the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea meet here, the marine life really is something extra! You will dive with species from both seas mixed-up with each other. It will be one of the dive holidays you will always remember. In the north west of Spain, diving is best in Galicia close to Portugal’s northern borders. Galicia is recognized for its beautiful underwater landscapes. Also, due to its location close to Portugal, the city is different from the rest of Spain in both culture and flora. Along most of Costa del Sol (the sun coast), stretching from Gibraltar in the south to the border of France in the north, diving is shallow and good for inexperienced divers.
As we just indicated, Gibraltar is an amazing experience! In the Gibraltar strait there are many beautiful wrecks to discover, many of them are put there to make artificial reefs. At the Camp Bay Conservation site no more than 11 ships have been sunk to make artificial reefs. The marine life in Camp Bay Conservation site is teeming and the wrecks are in good shape. In another area a ship called “The 482M” was sunk to a depth of 17 meters in 1990, also to become an artificial reef. If you want to, it is possible to penetrate the ship and explore the engine room, in that case we recommend you to first take a diving course where you learn how to penetrate a ship safely. These courses are important both for your own safety and so that you don´t do any harm to the ship. For example PADI has a wreck specialty course. If you´re not a wreck specialty diver you can still explore the ship, but from the outside. At the dive site “The Seven Sister” there´s pinnacles also teeming with marine life, at the bottom you will find traces from the Gibraltar shipping history such as old anchors and pottery. If you are into ship wreck and photography we recommend the biggest ship wreck in the Gibraltar area. At a depth of 21 m lies the 100 m long ship “SS Rosslyn”, the biggest wreck in the Gibraltar strait. She sank in 1916 and is a fantastic place for beautiful underwater photography. These are just a few of the numerous dive sites in Gibraltar area.
Just east of Malaga in Costa Del Sol you can dive in the marine reserve La Herradura. La Herradura is home to one of the better reef dives in Europe with both great walls and caverns. This is also a good place for underwater photography since the colorful walls of soft corals are home to nudibranches, sea horses and Blennys.
Moving a bit to the north east you find the Medas Island archipelago contains of seven islets and is located outside the city L’Estartit on Costa del Sol. The Medas islets are said to be one of the most beautiful areas to dive in the Costa del Sol area. If you like wall diving and beautiful reefs you should try the dive site Pedra de Deu. At Pedra de Deu corals and sea fans form a beautiful background where you meet lobsters, fishes and other sea creatures.
A big tourist destination in Spain is the islands Mallorca and Menorca, the water is crystal clear and perfect for diving! Many of the dive sites are close to shore and easy to reach without boat. Mallorca and Menorca has something for divers of all experiences. Together the islands have over 75 dive spots.
Even though the Canary islands belongs to the European country Spain, the Canary islands is a part of Africa geographically. Its location makes them a good place for diving all year around. The Canary islands contains of Teneriffe, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and Fuerteventura and a couple of smaller islands. All the Canary Islands are volcanic islands and in all of them you have amazing tunnels, swim-throughs, canyons and caves.
Diving in Teneriffe island is diverse with great marine life, even turtles and rays can be seen with a little bit of luck. To be sure to meet rays that grow up to an amazing 4 meters in lenght, you should dive at Sting Ray City. Some dive center will allow you to feed the rays, but as you know this disturbs their natural instincts. Divers use this motto for a reason –“Take only pictures and leave nothing but bubbles”. If you encounter a dive center that encourages you to feed fish and mammals or let you touch them please report it to us. Gran Canaria offers a big range of great dive sites. In the Marine reserve Arinaga, you can dive at “El Cabrón”, this dive spot has been used in underwater photography competitions, so it has to be beautiful! The volcanic island Gran Canaria has created swim-throughs, overhangs and cliffs for you. The diverse marine life in Gran Canaria makes it an unforgettable experience. Wouldn´t it be cool to dive in the longest volcanic tunnel in the world? The tunnel exists in Lanzarote and is over 7 km long. In the island La Palma you can find a cool dive site with an interesting history. Around the year 1570 40 missioners got killed by pirates. To honor them, in the year 2000, 40 stone crosses were sunk just outside the island. This now forms an interesting and historical dive site. La Gomera has a wide spectrum of marine life, but not that many dive sites. El Hierro island gives you steep walls with caves and tunnels around the island. Be prepared to see spiny globefish, black coral, trumpet fish and shoals of black sea bream. Around Fuerteventura there are numerous interesting dive sites. Interesting rock formations, wrecks, reefs, and dropp-offs.
Tourist information in Spain
The currency in Spain is euro (EUR). Exchange is possible in banks and some travel agencies and hotels. Banks are open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 to 14:00 during June to September banks are closed on Saturdays as well. Credit cards are widely accepted and there´s usually a sign outside the shop or restaurants saying what cards they accept.
As a citizen in a EU country a valid passport is all you need to entry Spain. If you are citizen of another country you´ll need a visa. Check with your embassy.
The customs regulation in Spain are simple, don´t bring any food and have in mind that you´re not allowed to bring more than 50 grams of perfume and 25 grams of eau de toilette in the country.
To be allowed to rent a car in Spain you need to be at least 21 years old and have valid driver’s license. Some dealers even require that you have a credit card. There are many bus companies in Spain and they connect many of the small towns as well as the big towns. The small destinations are only trafficked a couple of times a week or ones a day. During high season you should book your bus ticket to the coast or big cities well in advance. Madrid and Barcelona have metros making traveling around easy. Check what tickets are best for you before your purchase, do you just need a metro ticket or are you traveling by bus also. Domestic flights are possible with many destinations but remember to compare company prices as they may vary. It´s sometimes cheaper buying two one way tickets than a return flight.
The Spanish people are famous for their siesta, in the middle of the day when the temperature is at its hottest many stores closes due to the heat and people go rest in the shadows. The Spanish people eat lunch and dinner late because of the siesta, lunch is usually served between 1pm and 3pm and dinner between 10:30pm and 11pm.
It is possible to drink the tap water in Spain. Some do not like the taste of the water but we recommend trying not to buy the bottled water as it is not good for the environment.
The power supply in Spain is 220 Volt 50 Hz.
Public Holidays in Spain
|6 January||The Epiphany ||* |
|5 April||Maundy Thursday (throughout Spain, except in Catalonia and the Region of Valencia) ||*|
|6 April||Good Friday||*|
|1 May||Labour Day|| |
|15 August||The Assumption||*|
|12 October||National Holiday of Spain||*|
|1 November||All Saints Day||*|
|6 December||Spanish Constitution Day|| |
|8 December||The Immaculate Conception||*|
|25 December ||Christmas|| |
*Dates for 2012, this dates changes every year