The long coast line of Spain on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea as well as the islands that are part of the country gives divers almost unlimited options. There are really hundreds of places where you could head to for diving but for explanations it would be best to group these destinations into some broad destinations.
· The Canary Islands present some of the best open ocean diving in the Atlantic Ocean. The Canaries are located about 100 kilometers off the coast of Africa and receive about 12 million tourists per year. The islands have a subtropical climate, with long hot summers and moderately warm winters. Diving is excellent year round. Visibility greater than 30 meters/100 feet is common, and water temperatures never drop below 17-18° C/63-64°F. Marine life is abundant and feature species found in the Atlantic Ocean as well as those that are from the Mediterranean Sea. Rays, Whales and Dolphins are found year round. The seven main islands, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, are the tops of a volcanic mountain range. A dozen smaller islands and islets are also considered part of the islands.
· The Balearic Islands is an archipelago in western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The islands are a popular year round tourist destination and diving is possible year round as well. The four largest islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera each have a different “personality” and attract different markets. The Balearic Islands have over 80 dive sites. The winter months cool the water some but not to the level that requires a dry suit. Visibility of 30 meters/100 feet is the norm. There are some liveaboards in this area and you can find yacht charters that will support scuba diving.
· Costa del Sol, translates to Coast of the Sun which sums up nicely this part of Spain. Costa del Sol is a 200 kilometer stretch of coastline centered on the Mediterranean city of Malaga. The coast line is rocky in many areas and the area is rich in shipwrecks and marine life. This portion of the Med is narrow and seems to concentrate the marine life. Dolphins and whales making their way to the Atlantic Ocean are often found here. The warm water allows great year-round diving conditions that may be subject to currents.
· The Costa Brava is the northern Mediterranean coastline. It represents 260 kilometers of rocky coves, quaint villages, sandy beaches, and mountain scenery. The area includes three marine reserves. The water temperatures here vary more than most Spanish locations and many of the dive centers are only open during the summer months. Those who dive off season consider it a temperate water dive. Barcelona is the main entry point to this area.
The Bay of Biscay is a vastly different animal then the rest of diving in Spain. The Bay of Biscay offers outstanding cold water diving for a short summer season. The Bay is a portion of the Celtic Sea and shared by Spain and France. The bay is noted as having some of the most unpredictable weather of any marine location. During the winter months, the storms are a danger to shipping. The summer season is more predictable and generally there is enough notice to avoid bad weather. The summer also sees a large population of basking sharks and other large marine life. The underwater landscape is breath taking. This is a location primarily for experienced divers used to cold water diving, however there are coves that are protected that may be dived by less experienced divers.