For some of the best diving in the Mediterranean, don´t miss Sardinia! Beloved of tech divers and history buffs, the caves, wrecks, and drop-offs well-populated with sea life offer the diver a myriad of possibilities. Float around in the cobalt blue and spot eagle rays, tuna, groupers, barracudas, dolphins, octopus, lobsters, pipefish, breams, squid, crabs, scorpionfish and moray eels. If you are really lucky you might have an encounter with the hard-to-find sunfish (March-June).
Marine Life in Sardinia
As a protected marine area, Sardinia has some of the densest marine life in the Mediterranean Sea. Barracuda, bream, groupers, scorpionfish and the ever-present damselfish are in abundance here. The macro life is also impressive with a range of different colored sponges, sea fans, red corals, nudibranchs, sea horses, Pinna Nobilis fan mussels and more. Bottlenose dolphins are often spotted from the boat on the way to the dive sites and sometimes you can see the strange and elusive sunfish (mola mola) here.
Dive Conditions in Sardinia
Located west of the Italian Peninsula, Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is a wild and mountainous island with generally good diving conditions and a typical Mediterranean climate. Most dive sites are the east coast, which is protected from the prevailing south-westerly winds. Sardinian diving offers extensive cave systems, many wrecks, and steep drop-offs in mild conditions for all levels.Sardinia is an ideal place to learn to dive.
Best Time to Dive in Sardinia
Diving is possible year-round, but the best time to dive Sardinia is in the summer months from June to October when the marine life is richer and the weather pleasant. Sardinia has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summers and humid, cool winters. In summer, water temperatures can reach 26 °C (82 °F). There are, however, thermoclines as you descend, usually at 12m (40 ft.) where the temperature drops to about 15 °C (59 °F). In winter, water temperatures are approximately 12 °C (54 °F) and most marine life disappears. The visibility in Sardinia is generally good at about 15 to 30 m ( 50 to 98 ft.) and only in the north are there mild to strong currents.
Best Dive Sites in Sardinia
Sardinia is best known for its caves and historical wrecks. The marine protected areas of the Archipelago of the Maddalena and the Marine Park of Lavezzi host an array of sea life. Here are my top Sardinian dive sites.
Grotta del Nereo
The top dive in Sardinia, if you like caves, is the Grotta del Nereo, a series of caves and tunnels extending over 350 m (1150 ft.). The cave is thought to be one of the biggest marine caves in the Mediterranean Sea. With around 10 entrances, arches and tunnels, it is possible to make dives from 0 to 35 m, through long, spacious tunnels with air chambers. There are 3 common entry points to the cave system. Two are reasonably shallow while the third is at 30 m (100ft.) From this third entrance, you can dive through a chimney and exit through one of the other openings. A variety of marine life clings to the walls of the caves here, such as slipper lobsters, octopus, nudibranchs, Mediterranean sponges, and red coral and yellow leptosamnia.
Secca Del Papa
On the north-eastern Sardinian coast lies the Seece del Pappa dive site in the heart of the Tavolara Marine Reserve. Ranked as one of the top ten dives in the Mediterranean, there is usually a current at this site which is why the groupers, barracudas, dentexes, jacks, brown meagres, morays, and white seabreams gravitate there. A spectacular granite structure full of furrows and crack lies on the seabed reaching a height of 18 m (60 ft.) and a depth of 42 m (138 ft.)
An excellent site for all levels and home to Bue Marino caves, Orosei Gulf is a dive site you can keep coming back to. The 45m WWII Nasello wreck, at 45m (147ft.), lies here and is of particular interest. Bianka´s Garden is another great and unique part of this site and has an ancient volcanic lava flow meandering down to about 24 m (78ft.) The KT-12 This impressive, intact wreck is an excellent dive. The German military transport ship was sunk in 1943 on its way to North Africa. It is 65m (213 ft.) long and rests at 20-35m (65-115 ft.)
This site, as the name suggests is home to a colony of 50 large groupers. They are curious and used to divers. You can also see a number of other fish like snapper, sea bass, jacks and schools of barracuda as well as the ubiquitous sponges and anemones of the Med
How to Get to Sardinia
There are three airports on Sardinia ( Cagliari-Elmas Airport, Olbia Airport, and Alghero-Fertilia Airport), all welcoming domestic and flights from Western Europe.It is also possible to travel by ferry from the Italian mainland, Sicily, Corsica, and Barcelona to Sardinia´s ports of Cagliari, Porto Torres, Olbia, Golfo Aranci, Arbatax, and Santa Teresa di Gallura.
Good to Know
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and about 600,000 hectares of it is environmentally preserved.Sardinia is known for its nightlife, excellent cuisine, and breathtaking landscape.