As you stand on the beach, sand between your toes, cool seawater washing over your feet, do you ever wonder what is going on beneath the gentle ripples?
Greece’s sparkling turquoise sea is enough to tempt you in, but there is also a whole world just waiting to be discovered beneath the surface.
Dive in and you’ll come face-to-face with colourful fish, as you weave your way around equally bright coral, before being wowed by fascinating marine life and intriguing shipwrecks.
You can either join a tour that will take you out to the very best and often harder to reach spots or simply jump straight in and discover it for yourself.
But, with nearly 10,000 miles of coastline, before you even consider putting your mask on, you need to know the best snorkelling spots.
Where will you find the best snorkelling in Greece?
Dafni Beach, Zante: If you want to experience the magic of swimming alongside sea turtles then this is the perfect spot. It is on this beach, after the sun goes down, between April and June, that loggerhead turtles leave the water to lay their eggs.
Which is why, during the day, you’ll find them swimming in the calm waters just off Zante. Join them and marvel as they glide effortlessly through the sea.
Need to know:
- This area is owned by National Marine Park and is protected
- Only 100 visitors are allowed here at one time
- Opening times are from 7am to 7pm
- It is accessible from 1st May and 31st October
- You can only use the first 5 meters of beach
- There are rules to follow to keep these sea creatures safe
- There is a 2 mile long dirt road you must take to access this beach
Where to stay: Keri Village by Zante Plaza
Foki Beach, Kefalonia: Just off the coast of this beach you’ll find one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. The Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus Monachus, that are found here, give the beach its name and are some of only a few hundred remaining.
Catching a glimpse of one will be a once in a lifetime experience and one you definitely don’t want to miss. It is arguably the best spot in the Greek islands for snorkelling, too. Above the water you’ll be surrounded by lush green woodland, while underneath it sea life thrives due to its serene spot tucked away from currents and predators. This beach can be found right next to Fiskardo on the northern tip of Kefalonia.
Where to stay: Ionian Emerald Resort
Marmari Beach, Paxos: Pure white rocks and dark green trees fringe the deep blue sea in this tropical paradise. Here the water is crystal clear with the vibrant and exotic fish adding a flash of colour. The rural setting, which you’ll find near Longos, ensures neither the beach nor the water are ever too crowded.
Afionas Beach, Corfu: On the east coast of this popular island, in Port Timone, you’ll find one of the best snorkelling spots on the island. This secluded area is divided into two bays, one facing Ag Georgios and the other facing towards the sea. The sea side offers the best opportunities for snorkelling. Under the water you’ll find colourful coral, interesting rock formations and an abundance of fish and sea plants.
Top Tip: Make sure you head down the peninsula away from the touristy beach that lines the town. At the bottom you’ll find a quiet cove that is protected from the wind, providing a safe, less crowded place to snorkel.
Where to stay: Aeolos Beach Resort
Kastellorizo: This remote island can be found on the easternmost edge of Greece. In the 19th century it was a major harbour and today the clear waters are the perfect place to explore wreckages and treasures.
You won’t find stretches of golden sandy beach here, but it is the perfect spot to jump off rocky coves and really make a splash before you snorkel.
Tragonisi Island Caverns near Mykonos: The cavern walls of this uninhabited rocky island have been formed by the waves washing over the rocks across thousands of years. You’ll find this protected nature reserve a few metres east of Mykonos.
As you swim here you’ll come across glassfish, darting in and out of yellow sea anemones, which can only be found in this area. You might want to book onto a tour for this one. You may also like to consider diving at ‘Seal Cave’ which allows you to come close to the Monachus monachus seal.
Where to stay: Yiannaki
Do you want to swap your snorkel mask for scuba equipment?
If you would like to go beyond breaking the surface of the sea, there are also brilliant opportunities for diving. A few places worth considering are:
- Karpathos: colourful fish in sea caves
- Milos: underwater caves, wreckages and dolphins
- Paleokastritasa, Corfu: reefs reach depths of 40 meters here
- Kea: one of the world’s most famous wrecks, HMHS Britannic, is here
- Nea Kameni, Santorini: lava formations, shipwrecks and sea caves
- Mykonos: the wreck of Anna II, a 62 meter long cargo ship
- Chios Island: a 30 meter underwater cliff covered in bright coral
- Shinaria Beach, Crete: manta rays, octopus and shoals of exotic fish.
- Elephant’s Cave, Crete: fossilized remains of an extinct elephant
How to stay safe while snorkelling in Greece:
The waters that surround Greece are both calm and safe but while you don’t have to worry about strong currents, there are a few things to consider.
- Keep an eye out for small boats and large cruise liners.
- Watch out for jellyfish, they are common in the Mediterranean.
- If you aren’t a confident swimmer, snorkel with a tour guide.
- Aim to snorkel early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid burning your back during the hottest part of the day.
- Don’t try to touch the marine life.
Now you just need to book your holiday to Greece and pack your snorkel, not forgetting your underwater camera to capture these special memories.