Overhead view of divers at the Blue Hole in Dwejra, Gozo

Incredible Scuba Diving Spots in Malta

14 Mar 2019 By Ryan Burton
Overhead view of divers at the Blue Hole in Dwejra, Gozo

Malta’s mix of mysterious caves, extensive reefs and aquamarine waters make it a diver’s paradise. Despite its notoriously small size, this Mediterranean archipelago packs plenty in. From submerged vessels to striking coral reefs, a variety of sights are waiting to be uncovered across its ocean floor.

Whether you’re a newbie dipping your toe in the water or a master diver on the lookout for a new underwater playground – all levels are welcome. And our essential guide to scuba diving in Malta is everything you need when planning your deep sea adventure. Alongside the best locations – difficulty ratings, diving schools and top tips are also covered. Go on, dive right in.

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Gozo

Shot of divers in the Blue Hole's underwater tunnel

Why visit?  Often referred to as one of Europe’s best diving spots, Gozo is highly regarded for its warm temperatures and crystalline waters. While you can drive across Malta’s sister island in less than 10 minutes, indulging in its coastal delights takes up more time.

Start at Dwejra Bay, home to some of the world’s most dramatic rock formations – the Azure Window was its premier attraction before its collapse in 2017. But that hasn’t deterred divers from flocking to its foamy shores. The Blue Hole and its 10-metre wide sinkhole leading to the open ocean is a great starting point.

For something more unique, the Inland Sea is on hand with an 80-metre-long tunnel to explore. And for a spectacle in marine life, Coral Cave flaunts a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, where you’ll come across Barracuda, Damselfish and Starfish on your journey.

Suited for? Intermediate/Advanced

Other diving spots:

  • Xlendi Reef – Situated in southwest Gozo, this site caters for both novice and expert divers. The inner reef drops to just 12 metres but the outer reef can plunge as low as 60 metres! You’ll spy an abundance of fish along the way, while the nearby tunnel offers a great introduction to cave diving.
  • Reqqa Point – Set on the most northerly part of the island, this dive site is one for the seasoned pros. You can dive down as low as 70 metres, meaning you’ll come across plenty of sights along the way. Facing out towards the sea, its chimney provides a truly stunning entry point.
  • Mgarr ix-Xini – A maximum depth of 14 metres makes this popular for less experienced divers. There’s also a great snorkelling area where everything from octopus and Moray eels can be spotted whilst a cavern plays host to even more sea life – if you’re lucky, you might spot a seahorse.

Diving Schools nearby:

Did you know?With hundreds of dive sites scattered across its three inhabited islands, more than 50,000 people per year flock to Malta for diving holidays.

Cirkewwa

Diver studying the anchor next to Tug Boat Rozi wreck site in Cirkewwa

Why Visit? Set on the northernmost part of Malta, this is one of the island’s most visited diving spots. All of its major lures are accessible from the shore, that means no boat rides, so you can just jump in and start exploring.

A duo of deep wrecks makes up Cirkewwa’s leading attractions. Firstly, there’s P29 – a former patrol boat that lies just 150 metres away from the bay. Sat upright on the ocean floor at a depth of 34 metres, this vessel invites advanced divers to weave through and explore its interiors. Located nearby is Rozi tugboat, which has been attracting undersea explorers since 1991.

Measuring in at around 35 metres in length, there’s plenty to uncover across the different rooms. And with beautiful clear waters and lots of fish life to add to the ambience – it’s little wonder why these two sites continue to pull in the crowds.

Suited for? Beginner/Intermediate

Other diving spots:

  • Paradise Bay – A reef dive site is all about diverse rock formations, an abundance of caves and a wealth of swim-throughs – with so much variety, this is the perfect place for beginners.
  • Cirkewwa Arch – This natural underwater archway lies 12 metres below the surface. The surrounding reef,  limestone caves and schools of fish passing means there’s plenty of scenery along the way.
  • Reef beyond Rozi – If you’re a veteran diver looking for more of a challenge then head north past the Rozi wreck. Plunging to depths of over 40 metres, a myriad of caves, overhangs and sandy bottoms are the reward.

Diving Schools nearby:

Top tip:At just 316 square kilometres, Malta’s compact size gives you the chance to visit more than one diving spot each day. Plan ahead, make a list and see how many you can tick off!

Where to stay

  • Db Seabank Resort & Spa: This award-winning hotel is placed on the largest beach in Malta and enjoys sweeping countryside vistas. It’s lagoon-style pool invites you to swim its depths, while the spa offers hydrotherapy baths and pure tranquility. There’s a kids’ club for tiny tot entertainment and its contemporary rooms offer jaw-dropping Mediterranean views.
  • Solana Hotel & Spa: Prepare to be instantly captivated as you walk into this luxury 4 star accommodation. Gaze out onto the islands of Gozo and Comino from your sunlounger, indulge in a la carte treats and admire city scapes from the rooftop pool. Rooms feature mod-cons including air conditioning, Wi-Fi, a mini bar and TV all for free.
  • Pergola Hotel & Spa: Overlooking Mellieha Bay and its sun-soaked sands, enjoy all the perks of this 4 star hotel. Highlights include the state-of-the-art Da Vinci Spa, 91 elegantly designed rooms and an Italian themed a la carte. You’re surrounded by boutiques, chic bars and gourmet restaurants, after all the resort centre is footsteps away.

Comino

School of fish swim under a boat in Comino

Why visit? At just two kilometres long and 1.7 kilometres wide, tiny Comino is the land that time forgot. But despite its minute size, where its population can be counted on one hand, this island holds a big reputation amongst divers.

Situated on the west coast is the world-famous Blue Lagoon. With its blend of azure waters, rich marine life and spectacular rock formations – this hotspot serves a piece of paradise and a brilliant snorkelling spot. Most dive sites are only accessible by boat, but don’t let that put you off, each one is worth the trip.

Rookies will be enticed by the Santa Maria Caves, where its collection of gulleys, caverns and swim-throughs can be enjoyed alongside fish feeding. For a more technical plunge, Lantern Point provides an L-shaped tunnel and a vertical wall that goes down to 50 metres!

Suited for? Beginner/Intermediate

Other diving spots:

  • Crystal Lagoon – Set on a sheltered lagoon, some of Malta’s clearest waters and a 30-metre tunnel can be experienced here.
  • P31 – Located around 350 metres from Blue Lagoon, this is the only wreck site on the island. At only 20 metres deep, this former patrol boat is easy enough to get to – making it ideal for your first wreckage dive.
  • Cominotto – An uninhabited island a stone’s throw from Comino, there’s an array of sites across its mini coastline, with Alex’s Cave and Anchor Reef delivering the pick of the bunch.  

Diving Schools nearby:

  • Comino DiveShack

Did you know?In 1943, French seaman Jacques Cousteau invented the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). However, Leonardo da Vinci drew up the first designs for a diving suit all the way back in 1500!

Qawra

An underwater statue of Christ sat on Qawra bay's ocean floor

Why visit? With its close proximity to the party resort of Bugibba, Qawra goes under-the-radar. However, it welcomes a steady stream of people to its shores looking to unearth its hidden gems.

Despite its modest standing in the diving charts, Qawra plays host to one of Malta’s best reefs. Set offshore, inexperienced divers will need to take a boat to reach the drop-off point. Taking you down to 40 metres below the surface, its steep slopes leads you to a glut of sights, made up of a series of caves, shoals of Barracuda and even an underwater statue of Jesus Christ sat on its sandy bottom.

The coast is 500 metres away, so it’s possible to reach the reef from there. But we recommend this only for accomplished divers who are up for a challenge.

Suited for? Intermediate/Experienced

Other diving spots:

  • Fra Ben Cave – With its entrance just six metres below the surface, this is the perfect place for newbies to start their cave diving adventures. An open ceiling hosts bright rays of sunlight, enhancing your deep sea exploration.
  • L-Cave – A tight fit and a depth of 35 metres makes this underwater cavern a delight for experienced divers. While you navigate its L-shaped bend, you’ll notice the walls are covered with sea urchins and marine plants.
  • MV Imperial Eagle – Weave through the hallways and rooms of this sunken ferry boat. The 9.2 metre beam and 32 metre deck provide further highlights.

Diving Schools nearby:

Did you know? The typical cost of a three-day course for beginners is €200 in Malta.

There’s a wide choice of courses with world recognised certification – with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) and CMAS (Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques) to name a few.

Wied iz-Zurrieq

Diver marvels in Malta's largest wreck site - Um El Faroud

Why visit? The small village of Zurrieq is a haven for scuba divers. Nestled on the sparkling south coast, it is often referred to as the ‘Blue Grotto’. A great mix of caves, reefs and wrecks are waiting to be discovered from its tiny harbour.

At an impressive 110 metres long and with the bottom resting 36 metres deep, Um El Faroud serves up the crème de la crème of Malta’s wreck dives – drawing in divers across the globe since 1998.

Weaving in and around underwater wreckages isn’t for everyone, so there’s a couple of sites of hand that are more about showcasing stunning caves and marine life. And if you’re up for something different, one of the best night dives on the island can be relished here.

Suitable for: Beginners/Intermediates

Other diving spots:

  • Valley – Overhangs and diverse sea life are the order of the day on this shallow bay. Going no deeper than 15 metres, this is a great place for your first shore swim.
  • East Reef – Another one for the learners – this reef is all about its excellent visibility and the shoals of fish that swim by. Starfish, Goldfish and Brown meagre can all be spotted.
  • West Reef & Caves – As popular as Um El Faroud, there’s plenty to do here. After you’ve explored Bell Tower Cave, see if you can spot the diving helmet statue on its sandy bed – placed here in 2005 to commemorate a local diving club’s 50th anniversary.

Diving Schools Nearby:

  • Corsair Diving Malta
  • Diveshack

Did you know? Sean McGahern, from the UK, currently holds the record for the longest open saltwater scuba dive in cold water. A total of 49 hours and 56 minutes was clocked up back in October 2013.

And St George’s Bay in Malta is where he did it!

Further must-visit diving destinations in Malta

There are plenty more exclusive places to discover across the island’s underwater oases.

  • Anchor Bay – The home of Popeye Village, ideal for training and an iconic view.
  • Exiles Reef – Combine turquoise waters and artificial reefs with St. Julian’s city backdrop.
  • Ghar Lapsi – Experience a world of shallow dives and sheltered coves on the south coast.

Best time to scuba dive in Malta

Scuba diver looks on from a distance at the sea life in Malta

Year-round sunshine means that you’re not restricted to when you can go diving in Malta. With average sea temperatures of 26°C, any time between June and September are the best months for warm waters.

Unsurprisingly, these summer months are also the peak times. However, if you want to avoid the big crowds and explore the underwater sights in peace – April, May, September and October are great times to visit.

Top tip:Mix a small amount of dishwashing detergent with water and apply it to your arms and legs before putting on your wetsuit – and it’ll slip right on!

Now that you’ve seen the best of Malta’s waters – it’s time to dust off your GoPro and set your sights on its glistening shores for your next aquatic adventure.

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