Scuba Diving and Snorkelling in the Algarve
The Algarve is home to some of the most fascinating marine life in Europe. With a coastline surrounded by coral reefs and clear waters, snorkelling and scuba diving are among the most popular things to do in the Algarve.
Want to swim with seahorses, or glimpse a green turtle? Here’s everything you need to know about snorkelling and scuba diving in the Algarve.
Is the Algarve a good place to go snorkelling?
The Algarve is one of the best places to go snorkelling in Europe, thanks to its abundance of fish and other reef-dwellers. You can spot crabs, lobsters, and other marine life just off the beach, so you won’t even need to head into deeper waters to see some fascinating fish. Plus, with fantastic weather from spring to autumn, there are plenty of snorkelling opportunities in and around the Algarve.
The best places to go snorkelling and scuba diving in the Algarve
Albufeira has a raucous reputation, but it also has some great snorkelling spots. Swim off a night on the strip by snorkelling off Praia dos Aveiros, which is typically less crowded than other Albufeira beaches. There are also other fantastic areas for snorkelling that can only be reached by boat, so check out some of the boat trips you can take from Albufeira marina.
Lagos and Carvoeiro
Home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, Praia da Marinha, this area is popular with tourists. It gets busy in summer, but there are some great snorkelling spots nearby, with Marinha beach’s crystal clear waters, and the exotic Benagil caves ready to explore a little further down the coast.
While there are plenty of gorgeous beaches around Vilamoura and the Golden Triangle, your best bet for snorkelling is to book a boat trip from the famous marina. It’s an opportunity to visit all the most beautiful reefs up close — while taking a trip along the stunning Algarvian coastline.
While Sagres is a little off the beaten track, its remoteness means that the beaches are often untouched by tourists. And with some of the clearest seas in the region, it’s well worth making the journey to Praia do Martinhal or Praia do Burgau for serious snorkellers.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling in the Algarve
Most importantly, you need to be able to swim confidently without assistance. As a result, most snorkelling experiences are age-restricted — the minimum age is usually 10. If you’re looking for activities for younger children, see the best family friendly days out in the Algarve . Most snorkelling trip operators provide all the equipment you need, including snorkel masks and fins. They may provide wetsuits, although these aren’t always necessary if the sea is warm enough. Take suncream, snacks, towels, and a swimsuit.
What you’ll see on an Algarve snorkelling trip
The colourful reefs off the Algarve coast are home to an array of marine life. You’ll see crabs, lobsters, and shrimp scuttling around the rocks, while sea anemones undulate across corals. Octopuses and squid can also be seen, as well as shoals of other unusual fish.
Can you go scuba diving in the Algarve?
Scuba diving is another popular beach activity in the Algarve. Scuba diving trips take you further out into the Atlantic, where the sea is much deeper. Deep sea diving allows you to see a greater variety of fish and other marine animals. You may even be able to explore underwater caves, shipwrecks, and submerged cliffs. Scuba diving is a little riskier than snorkelling, since you’re submerged in the water for much longer periods. You must be able to swim with an oxygen tank. As a result, scuba diving trips tend to be more expensive and restricted than snorkelling. If you’re keen to experience the deeper Atlantic waters, there are plenty of places offering scuba diving lessons and experiences in the Algarve.
Snorkelling and scuba diving costs
Prices for snorkelling vary depending on the operator and location. Snorkelling boat trips typically cost more than beach snorkelling. The average cost of beach snorkelling in the Algarve is €30-35, while a snorkelling boat trip is closer to €50. Scuba diving trips are more expensive, and the price often depends on your prior experience. Expect to pay between €65 and €110 for a half-day scuba diving trip in the Algarve. This typically includes a minimum of 2 dives.
Where to book a scuba diving or snorkelling trip in the Algarve
If you want to take a scuba diving course or snorkelling trip, there’s no better place than the Algarve. You can book your experience online, through an operator — or let us take care of it for you. We pride ourselves on creating incredible experiences for all our holidaymakers. So if you fancy swimming side-by-side with some of Portugal’s most incredible sea creatures, book your luxury Algarve trip here and get in touch with our team. Take a look at our complete guide to things to do in the Algarve for more sun-and-sea-inspired holiday ideas.