Malta may be Europe’s smallest, independent state, but the rocky island in the southern-most part of the Mediterranean boasts some of the best diving in world.
Lists of “best dive sites in the world” are always problematic, but it has to count for something that Malta has a tendency to make it’s place on most lists compiled in dive magazines.
And with good reason.
And due to the compact size of the island (just over 300 km2), a dive spot can often be found, regardless of wind and weather conditions.
Where to go
Malta consists of three main islands, Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta is by far the larger of the three islands, and the more developed one, but good diving can be found on all three.
All dive sites on all three islands are within reach by car or boat.
A good place to stay is either in Sliema, a suburb of the capital Valletta, or in or around St. Paul’s Bay to the north, where many dive shops are located. If you’re looking for a spot of night life to go with your diving, try Pleasantville, near Sliema.
Rental flats are by far the most cost-efficient options, as hotels can tend to be expensive.
Best time of year to go diving in Malta
Malta is the most southern nation in Europe, located almost 100 km south of Sicily, and actually south of the North African coast!
So expect hot weather in the summer, often up to or above 40 degree centigrade. Water temperatures are very comfortable in the summer, 30 degrees centigrade or more in the surface. Spring is warm and pleasant, but water can be a bit chilly.
Best time is early autumn, as the temperatures will be pleasant but not too warm, and the water still balmy.
You can also try Diving In Denmark.
Where to dive
Dive sites about all around all three islands.The most famous dive sites are the The Blue Hole and Azur Window on Gozo, the P29 (a German patrol boat wreck) on Malta, and the Blenheim Bomber (a World War II British bomber wreck), also on Malta.
While marine is abundant, don’t expect many sharks or other large specimens, as you’d find in tropical waters. Instead, fish of various sizes and types, barracuda, murray eels, octopus, and the occasional turtle are seen.
But the real attraction is the underwater landscapes, which can be very dramatic, with rocky coastline plummeting to the water’s edge, and often very deep below it. Expect many deep dives.
Due to the geography, Malta also boasts plenty of cave dives, both for novices and the experienced tech diver.
Here’s more about Technical Diving.
And being so near to main shipping lines, combined with a willingness by the Maltese to place wrecks as artificial reefs, means that you’re never far from a good wreck site.
Dive tourism has been around for decades on Malta, so there are plenty of dive centers, and most can accommodate anything from OWD divers to advanced tech and rebreather divers. Courses are available, too, for all levels.
So next time you’re planning a dive trip in the vicinity of Europe, go Malta!