Diving Portugal: Azores, Madeira, Algarve...

7 September 2016
As well as the diving around mainland Portugal, there is also splendid diving in the Azores and Madeira archipelagos which sit way out in the Atlantic.

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Portugal itself has diving all around its coastline, from the Algarve in the south to Porto in the North. The best diving is generally considered to be in the Algarve. In Porto there are two wrecks of note, the U-boat U1277 and the Tiber. The sea off the Portuguese mainland coast is an important pathway for loggerhead and leatherback turtles.1

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Portugal Dive Sites

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Algave Azores Lisbon Madeira Porto

Diving the Azores

The Azores is an archipelago of volcanic peaks in the Atlantic, around 1500 km west of Lisbon, with great diving. The best time to go is from April to October. The big pelagics - beaked whales, sperm whales, fin whales, humpbacks, false killer whales, dolphins, turtles and so on are most common between May and October. Average water temperature ranges from around 23 C in summer to 16 oC in the winter.

Video courtesy Liquid Art

20-46 m
Ambrósio, Santa Maria, Azores

A marine reserve 3 miles from the island of Santa Maria.

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Situated near the coast, but only accessible by boat, this spot has a depth of 46 mtrs. At the bottom you can see lots of sunfish and big vadigo fish. Around 20 mtrs depth usually there's a concentration of up to 30 manta rays. "
Fernando Cardos, 16 October 2012

Manta Ray

Find a dive operator on Santa Maria

20 m
Dollabarat, Azores

Dollabarat Reef is 5 km south-southeast of the Formigas Islets on the Formigas Bank. The name comes from a ships captain who unfortunately discovered the reef when his boat was wrecked on it. The Formigas islets lie between the islands of Soo Miguel and Santa Maria.

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Plateau up to 20 mtrs depth in the middle of the ocean with a huge variety of big fish, such as manta ray, athantic goliath grouper, etc... "
Fernando Cardoso, 25 September 2012

Santa Maria Island, Azores

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Azores islands and Santa Maria Island in particular is one of the best and amazing scuba spots! "
Jose Julio Macedo

Princess Alice Bank, Azores

Princess Alice Bank is a seamount 83 km southwest of the island of Faial. A good place to see mobula (devil) rays and even, sometimes, hammerhead sharks. A deep dive - it starts at 35 m.

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (2)

"96 km SW of Pico, Azores in the Mid-Atlantic, the largest seamount on the mid-atlantic ridge forming a cleaning station for the devil ray with up to 30 not being uncommon. "
Gary Fell

"The Azores archipelago is definitely the best spot in Europe for diving with the big stuff. The Princess Alice bank is situated 90km from Faial island, and it takes about 3 hours to get there by RIB. Descending to 35m you'll reach the peek of the underwater mountain where you'll encounter large triggerfish and perhaps some wrasses. Above you, at 2-10m depth, a large school of about 20 2.5m-wide devil rays, which you'll encounter more closely while ascending. In between the dives you'll get to snorkel with the rays, as well as spot some other large fish like wahoos. Got the chance to snorkel with dolphins on our way back to land! "
Boyan Slat, Netherlands, 22 April 2013

Condor Bank, Azores

This seamount is protected. You have a very good chance of seeing big stuff here: blue sharks, shortfin mako sharks, marlin and tuna.

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Best shark diving destination in Europe. An hour of diving at 5m belong the boat (deep water), surrounded by 8 large Blue sharks. If you're lucky you'll also encounter a Mako shark. A dive not to miss. "
Boyan Slat, 2 April 2013

Faial Island, Azores

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Much underwater life: whales, dolphins, sharks....Atlantic jewels "
Jonesdias, Portugal, 3 March 2012

Find a Faial Island dive operator


Diving the Algarve

20-46 m
Baixas de Armacao, Armação de Pêra, Algarve

Reviews: 4 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"On a wall at 18 metres, lots of life, swim thrus "
Eddie, 2010

41 m
Feiramar, Armação de Pêra, Algarve

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Deep wreck at 41 metres. love this site "
Eddie, 2010

12-30 m
Artificial Reefs, Armação de Pêra, Algarve

Reviews: 4 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Great dives depth ranges from 12m - 30m depending on levels and experience "
Eddie, 2010


Diving Madeira

Four hundred kilometres north of Tenerife, to the west of Morocco, lies the archipelago of Madeira. It includes the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo which offer excellent diving.

Blenny taken in Madeira by Tim Nicholson
Blenny in Madeira by Tim Nicholson

Madeirense shipwreck, Porto Santo Island

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"It's a clear water dive, Atlantic ocean Portuguese Coast near Porto Santo Island. The ship lays at 25 m top 32 m bottom. It's a sealife-fool shipwreck, sunken for a dive spot. You can find groupers, Pargos, manta rays, meros, and other variety of small fish. Promoters - Rheadive.
André Ladeira, 2009

"Artificial shipwreck sunk in 2000, with 70 m long, full of fish, including very friendly groupers.
Carlos Ricardo, Porto Santo Sub, October 2012

Barracuda Reef, Porto Santo Island

"Walls, canyon, from 20 to 30m, visibility around 30 m."
Carlos Ricardo, Porto Santo Sub, October 2012

Tuna Reef, Porto Santo Island

"Deep reef from 35 to 56m, lots of fish, groupers...black coral"
Carlos Ricardo, Porto Santo Sub, October 2012

Garajau, Madeira Island

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Natural Reserve, full of sea life, occasionally you can trip on a seawolf, dolphins even Canejas(shark), you can touch the meros (groupers )located in the Atlantic ocean, rock/canyon/cave bottom 25 m deep maximum.
André Ladeira, 2009

Arco da Badajeira , Madeira Island

"Underwater mountain situated 100 m offshore. Large groupers, barracudas and the rich biodiversity makes of this dive spot, one of the best of the island.
Marco, Azul Diving Center Madeira, February 2016


Diving Lisbon

Pedra da Lagoa, Fonte da Telha

"A rock at 26 to 32 m deep full of colourful Gorgonia & Sponges holding incredible amount of very rich and diverse marine life. Is very common to find schools of White Seabass (Atractoscion nobilis, Argyrosomus hololepidotus), octopus, squids, sardines, Sunfish (Mola Mola), Congers, Crab, Lobster, etc. "
Pedro Carvalho, Cabana Divers

33-36 m
Pedra da Âncora, Fonte da Telha

"33 to 36m - A rock formation where big Congers can be found together with schools of coastal fish. "
Pedro Carvalho, Cabana Divers

33-36 m
Maria Eduarda, Fonte da Telha

"33 to 36 m. A small cargo boat sunk several miles from the coast that holds an incredible variety of life due to the protection provided by the wreck on an sandy area. For experienced divers, good sea conditions required. "
Pedro Carvalho, Cabana Divers


Diving Porto

U Boat 1277, Porto

Lying at 30 meters at latitude 41.09, longitude -8.41. U Boat 1277 was scuttled by her crew in 1945.

Reviews:

5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"WWII German submarine at 30 m. 67 m vessel. "
Artur Lagoá, Adng Diving, 2009

33 m
IX Century Steamer, Tiber, Porto

"Cannons, funnels and several other historical pieces remain at a max depth of 33 m. This is an easy going wreck dive: its parts were spread in a tight circle when fishing trawlers got entangled in the wreck. No danger of entanglement, great for those who have just started wreck diving. Everything is close by within a certain radius. "
Artur Lagoá, Adng Diving, 2009

75 m
Kassamba, Porto

"For experienced tech divers: trimix only. This large freighter was sunk in the 80's. 136m in length, its cargo of containers with cloth and wine still remain. The ship is intact with its stern at 75 m. A Dive for a few, but worth while. "
Artur Lagoá, Adng Diving, 2009


Portugal Diving Operators

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Algarve Lisbon Porto Madeira Azores

Algarve Dive Operators

With around 150 km of Atlantic coastline, the Algarve - which covers the south coast of Portugal - offers plenty of opportunity for diving.

Algarve > Armação de Pêra
Delphinus Divers
Algarve > Armação de Pêra
SCUBATOUR
Algarve > Albufeira
Indigo Divers

Lisbon Dive Operators

Lisbon
Cabana Divers
Lisbon
Escola de Mergulho de Lisboa
Lisbon
Haliotis Dive Portugal

Porto Dive Operators

Porto
Adng Diving

Adng Diving
Oporto
4300-184
Portugal
Tel: +351 22 510 54-93
Mobile: +351 91 660 80 10
E-mail: info[@]adngdiving.com.


Madeira and Porto Santo Dive Operators

Porto Santo
Porto Santo Sub
Porto Santo
Rheadive

Azores Dive Operators

The Azores comprises nine volcanic islands in the middle of the North Atlantic.

Azores > Sao Miguel Island
Best Spot Azures Dive Center

Donates 2% of annual profit to environmental education project called Jelly Fish Project. Speak English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Will collect you from nearby hotels and the airport.

Marina of Ponta Delgada, kiosk B
Sao Miguel Island
Azores
(just 5 min walk from Ponta Delgada city center, 10 min car drive from the airport)
Book diving via Divebooker…

Azores > Sao Miguel Island
Espirito Azul Dive Center

Courses from PADI, SSI, SDI/TDI, FPAS, CMAS and DAN available. Diving center is opened all year round, and offers regular offshore dives

Marina de Vila Franca do Campo
Vila Franca do Campo
Sao Miguel
Azores
Portugal
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Azores > Faial Island
Haliotis Faial

The biggest PADI dive center in Faial Island.

Rua Consul Dabney Faial Resort Hotel
9901-856 Horta Faial
Azores
Portugal
Book diving via Divebooker…

Azores > Santa Maria Island
Haliotis Santa Maria

ADI 5 Star IDC and PADI TecRec center

Rua Cruz Teixeira Hotel Colombo
9580-473 Vila do Porto
Santa Maria
Azores
Portugal
Book diving via Divebooker…


Books to Take

Algarve Marco Polo Guide
See more details...

References

1 Lídia Nicolau et al (2016). Sea turtle strandings along the Portuguese mainland coast: spatio-temporal occurrence and main threats Marine Biology 163:21.

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