Basque Country, an autonomous region in northern Spain, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, delectable cuisine, and scenic landscapes. Bordered by the Bay of Biscay, it also offers some of the most captivating diving experiences in Spain. The rugged coastlines, combined with the deep Atlantic waters, provide divers with a variety of sites to explore, from vibrant reefs to historic shipwrecks.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers
Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve: This UNESCO-listed site is not only a haven for birdwatchers but also a magnet for divers. The marine reserve is home to a variety of dive sites, some of which are perfect for advanced divers. With underwater caves, cliffs, and walls, it offers plenty of challenges and wonders.
Gorliz Wreck Dive: For those who have a penchant for wreck diving, the waters near Gorliz house a number of shipwrecks. Over time, these vessels have turned into thriving artificial reefs, attracting a multitude of marine species.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners
Plentzia: Located near Bilbao, Plentzia is known for its sandy beaches and calm waters, making it ideal for novice divers. Dive schools in the area offer introductory courses, ensuring beginners are well-acquainted with diving techniques before exploring the underwater wonders.
Ogeia Lake: This freshwater dive spot offers clear, calm conditions, perfect for those new to the sport. The visibility in the lake is excellent, allowing divers to enjoy the underwater landscapes without any challenges.
The Atlantic waters of the Basque Country are rich in biodiversity. Divers can expect encounters with octopuses, lobsters, conger eels, and various species of fish like seabream and sea bass. Shipwrecks in the area have also become a sanctuary for marine life, with anemones, sponges, and crabs taking refuge in these structures.
Being on the Atlantic coast, the waters of the Basque Country can be slightly cooler compared to other parts of Spain. Water temperatures range from 50°F in the colder months to about 68°F in the summertime. Visibility varies, with an average of 20 to 30 feet, but it can sometimes exceed 50 feet in certain spots. The presence of currents and occasional surge means that divers should always be cautious and check conditions before diving.
Scuba diving in Basque Country offers a range of pricing options. A single dive, including equipment rental, typically ranges from $60 to $130. Beginners looking to get certified can expect to pay around $400 to $500 for a full course, which usually includes training, multiple dives, and equipment use. Always consult local dive shops for accurate pricing and potential package deals.
Basque Country, with its mixture of Atlantic charm and rich maritime history, offers a unique diving experience. Whether you're navigating the remnants of a shipwreck or marveling at the marine life in a biosphere reserve, the region promises underwater adventures that are both thrilling and unforgettable.