Whether a long-term fan of diving or a beginner, Athens is a great city for the sport, due to the numerous different diving sites, all unique in their ability, history, and features. If you are thinking about going diving during your next Athens trip, here are 5 of the best diving spots in the area.
On the Athens Riviera, Vouliagmeni Lake is one of the most well-known diving sites in the city, as well as being one of the most incredible views. The Salt Lake has a labyrinth of caves, leading to a large, undiscovered cave home to a huge stalagmite. Cave diving is very different to open-water diving and so not interchangeable. If you are familiar with open water diving but not cave diving, it is not recommended to cave dive without the proper training, as it can be much more difficult and thus much more dangerous. For this reason, a few people have lost their lives attempting to see the beautiful caves under Vouliagmeni Lake, which has led to the creation of a myth that the lake is full of fairies who trap young men in the tunnels. Therefore, if you are not a very experienced cave diver, we recommend instead you try swimming and relaxing by the lake instead, as the waters are said to possess powerful medicinal properties.
Fleves Island, towards the west coastline of Athens, is an incredible diving spot due to the multitude of different sights to see. For one, the actual islands and coastlines of Fleves and Flevopoula are incredible to discover and explore. In addition to this, there is also a wreck close by called Panagis, where there is very clear visibility to see the colourful fish and wildlife, and sometimes even octopus. The cargo ship Panagis was wrecked in 1984, and the good visibility as well as the shallow depth make the carcass very easy to see for divers. Despite being only 15 minutes away from the port of Athens, Fleves Island feels like an entirely different place in the middle of the Aegean Sea, with crystal-clear waters and amazing landscapes.
Seal Cave is an incredible open water diving area, a huge cavern, so large that RIB boats from Athens can take you straight to the site. Named Seal (‘Fokia’) Cave due to the numerous sightings of Mediterranean Seal in the area, the area was created by a tsunami in Santorini nearly 3000 years ago. While half the cave is undiscoverable, the other half has become a beautiful diving spot full of complex caverns and ravines. With incredible visibility and warm temperatures, this is the perfect spot for diving, to view the colourful array of marine life from fish to rays. While the cave must be accessed by diving, there is a nearby bay which is an amazing snorkelling area, enjoyable for all ages.
If you were looking for an incredible day trip, the nearby island of Patroklos is a great spot for divers, due to the famous ‘Kyra Eleni’ shipwreck which is just off the coast. The cargo ship originally sailed from Lavrio to Bulgaria and headed the next day through Cavo Dove, where the weather worsened. The captain decided to take refuge on the island of Patroklos. When they attempted to anchor on the Patroclus rock, they collided with the rocks and began to sink. Luckily to crew and their wives (10 people total) managed to get off the boat to the bay safely, while the boat was cut in two and created some incredible wreckage to be explored on the sea floor. As it is only a few meters below sea level, that makes this dive easily accessible for amateur divers and is helped by the usual weak currents and good visibility, as well as the sandy bottom of the seafloor.
The Blue Well of the Devil
Right of the coast of Greece, in the popular area of Vouliagmeni which is known for its bars and restaurants, beaches and famous lake, there is one dive site which sounds much worse than it is. The Blue Well of the Devil (sometimes known as The Devil’s Hole) is a 20m deep hole 11m under the surface. To make the dive you must be experienced, however, it is not too difficult. The part that gives it its name is at the bottom, where there are protective rails which prohibit divers from entering the cave (rumoured to end up at Lake Vouliagmeni). Written on a sign over these gates are the words ‘Beyond this point, there is nothing to see that is more valuable than life itself’. Although the hole can be quite scary, the area around is an easy and incredible dive, and looking in from the top down is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As well as all the incredible places close to the coast of Athens, there are also some amazing diving spots slightly further away in the surrounding islands. If you are planning to get the most out of your diving experience in Athens, have a look at our week-long charter itinerary around Athens, where there are sure to be some great diving sites and places to explore.