Diving Bulgaria

30 May 2022
Bulgaria is not the first destination you think of to go diving, but is emerging as a new diving area. The diving is in the Black Sea. This is an inland sea which connects to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus Strait via the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait. Surface water from the Black Sea travels into the Mediterranean, whilst deeper water from the Med goes the opposite way. It is also fed by freshwater from large rivers and rain which means that the Black Sea is less salty than the Mediterranean, and has a lower salinity (in the top 50 m) than the oceans.

The diving season runs from April until November. The SCUBA Travel Photographer dived Bulgaria some years ago and remarked that there was nothing there but mussels. But he must have been in the wrong place as there are many World War II and more ancient wrecks.

The best time for diving the Black Sea is in the summer, between June and September. Sea temperature will then be warm, up to around 24 oC.

Bulgaria Dive Sites Bulgaria Diving Operators Your Comments

Where to Dive in Bulgaria

Our thanks to Iliana of Dive Center Baracuda for much of the dive site information and photos here.

Regele Carol I lies at 24 m in the Black Sea (Bulgaria). She sank in 1941.  Image courtesy Dive Center Baracuda

"Regele Carol I" was launched in 1898. On 6 October 1941, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Florian Popescu, Carol laid anti-submarine mines in the southern part of Midia-Tuzla barrage, together with the NMS Amiral Murgescu and NMS Dacia mine laying ships, during Operation Varna. On 10 October 1941, at 11:50 hours, after having left Varna harbor with a new load of mines, Carol hit a mine and sunk in 13 minutes, 2 miles away of Galata Burnu lighthouse. The ship was found on 23.5 meters depth. Elevation above the ground 6.1 meters. There is another version of the death of the ship, its torpedo attack by the Soviet submarine U-211.
Image courtesy Dive Center Baracuda

Submarine U-211 was launched in 1938. Lost after 14 November 1941 near Cape Akburnu south of Varna, Bulgaria. Most likely mined in Romanian minefield S-18. All hands lost. 15 Aug 1941 ShCh-211 torpedoes and sinks the Rumanian merchant Peles north east of Cape Emine, Bulgaria. The Italian tanker Superga is missed in the same attack. 16 Aug 1941 At 1425 hours ShCh-211 fires a torpedo against the Romanian merchant Ardeal near Cape Emine, Bulgaria. The torpedo missed its target. 29 Nov 1941 ShCh-211 torpedoes and damages the Italian tanker Superga off Cape Emine, Bulgaria. 27 Dec 2005 The wreck of SC-211 found at cape Galata, near Varna-off the Bulgarian coast. Confirmed by Russian navy divers to be the SC-211. The submarine was found on 25 meters depth.

Submarine U-211, Bulgaria. The wreck is at 25 m off cape Galata, near Varna on the Bulgarian coast. Image courtesy Dive Center Baracuda
Image courtesy Dive Center Baracuda

Lieutenant Pushchin, sunk in 1916

It was launched in November 1904 in the Black sea city Nikolaev (now in Ukraine) and came into service in August 1907. On 26th March 1907 its initial name "Zadornai" was changed to "Lieutenant Pushchin" (in Russian - Pushtin). Lieutenant Leonid P. Pushchin was a naval officer, participant in the Russian - Turkish war (1877-1878).

In September 1907 the ship was classified as a destroyer. In the period 1910 - 1912 "Lieutenant Pushchin" was entirely rehabilitated and its artillery and steam generators were renovated.

Yet during the first day of the First World War the ship came into battle with the Turkish-German battleship "Gyoben" and suffered severe damages. It was rehabilitated to enter the artillery support of the Russian troops at the Caucasian front and participated in battles near the Bulgarian Black sea coastal lines. During one of the battles, on 25th February 1916 it hit a Bulgarian mine. As a result of the blast it hull was broken in two and plunged. The sailors who survived the blast reached the Bulgarian shore with two boats and were held in captivity. The destroyer sailing right after "Lieutenant Pushchin" - "Jivoy" quickly abandoned the position and reported in Sevastopol that the ships were attacked by German submarines.

After the plunge of "Lieutenant Pushchin" ten Bulgarian officers were rewarded with military decorations for the successful implementation of the mining barrage, which destroyed the ship. Historians consider the plunge of "Lieutenant Pushchin" as the second Bulgarian naval victory after the successful attack of the torpedo boat "Drazki" against the Turkish cruiser "Hamidie" on the 8th November 1912. "Lieutenant Pushchin" displaces 450 tons of water, it is armed with two 75-mm guns, four 7,62 mm machine-guns, two torpedoes and 18 mines. Two steam generators of 5500 horsepower allow it to reach a velocity of 24 knots. The ship is broken in two and it lies at 33 m. depth.

Image courtesy Dive Center Baracuda

"Series of shallow wrecks including steamship."
Scott Kelbie

Reviews: 3 stars

"Visibility was not that good"

Bulgaria Diving Operators: Who to Dive With

Recommend a dive operator or list your diving company on this page.

Nessebar / Tzareo

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

Central Bulgaria
Nessebar, Passanger terminal
Sveti Vlas, Marina dinevi
Tel: +359 888 849 341 Momchil Bashev

South Bulgaria
Tzareo, Complex Lalov Egrek
Tzarevo, Nestnarka Beach
Tel: +359 894 447 432 Gleb Kopichenko

PADI 5 star resort located in Nessebar, and to the South Tzareo.


Dive Center Baracuda

"We may show you wreck submarines and ships from the World War 2 and many beautiful reefs. In Black Sea you may see: Sea horses, Blue fish, Black Sea turbot and Common stingray. Our dive center has two compressors for air and for Enriched Air and twenty full Mares equipment sets. Our team consists of two Dive Masters and two Diving instructors who are speaking English, German, Russian and Estonian. "
Iliana Ivanova, Dive Center Baracuda, Bulgaria, 2011


DUE-Deep Underwater Education
Hotel Laguna Beach
Tel: +359897848030
E-mail: slavchev_m@abv.bg

TDI SDI Facility N 1003563 all type of diving and gases. Open June to October.

Reviews: 4 Star Rating: Recommended

Sofia / Varna / Nessebar
Black Sea Scuba

Black Sea Scuba
Branches in Sofia, Kaliakra/Varna and Sunny Beach/Nessebar
Tel Bulgaria: 00359 897 300 367
Tel UK: +44 (0)7799 473921
E-mail: scott@blackseascuba.com

BSAC diving school, PADI centre, IDC and CMAS. Have three dive boats and regularly dive up to 20 wrecks.


Nessebar / Bourgas / Primorsko

Branches in Nessebar, Bourgas and Primorsko
Yacht Port
Nessebar Bulgaria
Tel: +35 9894415195

BSAC diving school, PADI centre, IDC and CMAS. Have three dive boats and regularly dive up to 20 wrecks.


Albena Diving Center
Hotel Laguna Beach
Tel UK: +359 888 980 409
E-mail: info@bgdiving.com


Open May to October.

Harrys Dive Shop
Golden Sands Resort
Central Beach, in the front of Grand Hotel "International" and the Aifel Tower Cafe
Tel/Fax: +359 52 356701
Mobile:+359 893 327744

Reviews: 1 Star Rating: Avoid

"We came just back from Bulgaria and I tought that you should know about Padi's dive shop there... We used Harrys Dive shop in Golden Sands .
1. security was the first issue I was worried about: tiny boat, 6 divers + 2 "guides" in the boat. Two of the "tourist divers" were less than 10 years old - so kids... No briefing, impossible to move in the boat (so full) and we needed to wear all gear as no space in the boat. Both younger boys felt sick after the fist dive, anyhow they were allowed to jump in to the water with us for the second one.
2. Tanks & security: we agreed that we will make 2 boat dives during the same day. We did not understand that it means 2 x 35 minute dive with the same tank... And the first dive was max 5.4 meters and the second in 10 meters... We saw millions of shells, few crabs, some fish, and that was about it....
3. Finally: we agreed on the price 2 days before we went for diving. Then when we came back, the price doubled... We have never had such a misunderstanding anywhere in the world and especially as the "dives" were really not dives there were just "cashing the money"...

I wanted to let you know and we cannot recommend this dive shop! There are naturally big differences in different countries, but this was the worst dive center I have used so far...we have been enthusiastic scuba divers nearly for 15 yrs with my husband and have been diving in 54 different countries so far.
Looking forward to the new dives elsewhere though."

Nina & Petri Torkkel , Finland


Marina Diving Center
next to Hotel Marina
Tel: +359 878 161 169
E-mail: info@divebul.com


Your Comments

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