The Lisbon Coast of Portugal, known locally as Costa de Lisboa, offers a surprising variety of dive sites that are steeped in both natural beauty and historical intrigue. From the vibrant capital itself stretching to the estuaries and the Atlantic, the diving here is rich in encounters with marine life and the remnants of ancient maritime history.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers
Sesimbra: Just south of Lisbon, Sesimbra is a hub for experienced divers. The area is known for its shipwrecks and vibrant underwater ecosystems. Sites like the River Gurara wreck, a Nigerian cargo ship that sank in 1989, offer an adventurous dive with strong currents and an impressive array of sea life congregating around the wreckage.
Cabo da Roca: The waters around the westernmost point of mainland Europe are less sheltered, making them suitable for experienced divers. The area is known for its dramatic underwater landscapes, which include deep drop-offs and caverns that host a diverse range of marine species.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners
Cascais: The waters around Cascais are more protected, making them ideal for beginners. The local dive centers offer a variety of courses and guided dives that explore the area’s rocky reefs and marine life, providing a comfortable environment for those new to the sport.
Arrábida Natural Park: Located to the south of Lisbon, the park offers several dive spots that are perfect for beginners. The clear waters and abundant sea life near the park's beaches provide a gentle introduction to diving in the Atlantic.
The marine life on the Lisbon Coast is varied due to the convergence of river outflows and the Atlantic. Divers can expect to see schools of fish such as sea bream, bass, and the occasional octopus. Invertebrate species, including anemones, sponges, and nudibranchs, add color and texture to the underwater landscape.
Dive conditions on the Lisbon Coast can change rapidly, with visibility ranging from 3 to 30 meters. The best time to dive is from late spring to early autumn when the water temperatures are the warmest, hovering around 15-20°C (59-68°F). The Atlantic swell can affect visibility and sea conditions, so it's best to plan dives according to local weather forecasts.
Diving on the Lisbon Coast is reasonably priced, with dive excursions typically costing between $70 to $120, including gear rental. The price can vary based on the specific dive site and the level of experience required. PADI certification courses in the area may range from $400 to $600, depending on the level of certification being sought.