The Azores are an archipelago of nine islands 1500km west of Lisbon. Between April and October, you can see beaked, sperm, fin, humpback, and false killer whales. Keep an eye out for dolphins in your surface interval and get ready to put your shark identification knowledge to the test; hammerhead, blue, mako, and whale sharks frequent the sites. The underwater topography is varied and exciting, and the diving motto in these parts is, ‘Expect The Unexpected’ which tells you more about what might be around the next corner than any list of species you might reasonably expect to see.
Monk seals are rare, but diving in Madeira offers you a good opportunity to see one; sightings do seem to be on the increase, and it’s reported that the protected enclave of this species in Madeira is the only one growing. There’s plenty to see while hoping for a seal sighting; stingrays, octopus, cuttlefish, barracuda, eagle rays and moray eels will be sure to entertain. Shore dives, wall dives, drift dives, and a few wreck dives are available too.
North of Lisbon and famous for surfing, Peniche is the base for exploring the Berlengas Archipelago which has been a UNESCO Biosphere Nature Reserve since 2011. It’s a mecca for tech divers, but the three islands that make up this group have dives suitable for all. Wreck lovers will relish the largest concentration of shipwreck sites on the coast. Towards the end of the summer, you have the chance to see Sunfish here.
Want to dive a submarine? Then head to Porto where the German WWII U1277 lies in 31m (101ft) of water. This region is infamous for wrecks due to its treacherous coastline.
Two miles out from Portimao on the Algarve Coast lies a collection of four wrecks sunk to create a new diving playground. Sunk in 2012 and 2013 the Oliveira e Carmo, the Zambeze, the Commander Hermenegildo Capelo, and the Almeida Carvalho are collectively known as the Ocean Revival ships. The four range from 44m (144ft) to 102m (306ft) long and include a frigate, an oceanographic vessel, and two patrol ships.
You can dive the wrecks of Portimao from Lagos but also some interesting wrecks locally. The Wilhelm Krag is 100m (300ft) long freighter built in 1899 and sunk in 1917 by German U-boat U-35. The wooden Meia Praia wreck sunk about 100 years ago and is the home of plenty of eels but wreck enthusiasts will be keen to see the very rare five leaf propeller.
South of Lisbon and close to the Luis Saldanha Marine Reserve, the area exhibits coves and cliffs and dive sites that offer a range of sites for beginner to advanced. Photographers will love the nudibranch and bijou anemone, and all will enjoy the seahorse colony.
How Much Does It Cost To Dive In Portugal
Fun dives cost E75-90 for two boat dives. The exception to this is the far-flung sites and seamounts that you can visit in the Azores. Here you can pay E150-200 for a two dive trip, and this is simply due to the distance.
Open Water course range from E400-500.