diving (6)

Dodecanese is a popular Scuba Diving Destination

Ideal conditions and fantastic visibility make Greece one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. Underwater caves with stalactites, shipwrecks that date from World War 2 to the Byzantine period and even earlier, rock walls and reefs, ancient amphorae, Mediterranean coral, fossilized plants, sponges and a multitude of fish. Scuba diving in Dodecanese is a journey through natural underwater worlds and a search for treasures left behind by ancient civilizations.

Specialized diving centers operate on islands and all along the coastline of the mainland, with qualified and certified divers on hand for training, equipment to rent and speedboats to take you to the most interesting spots. So, which are the most popular dive sites in the Dodecanese and why?

There are interesting rock formations, fantastic Aegean marine life and, in deeper waters, the chance to see dolphins. Combine that with the ancient history that is all around and you have a great and varied dive destination for beginners.

There is a lot to see in the waters around the Dodecanese islands and each island offers a slightly different set of marine life off its shores.

Kalymnos Island, for example, is famous throughout the world for its sponge fishing and harvesting. The International Diving Festival convenes here every year. Magical worlds – like Nera, Telendos, Platy and the nearby island of Pserimos – will stay carved in your memory as you explore their depths. You can also visit the sunken ancient city in the Myrties-Telendos sea channel. The first Scuba Diving Park in Greece is also in Kalymnos, offering 12 km of clear coastline just for scuba dives, being among the biggest in Greece.

The island disposes a technology of cultivating sponges which is unique in Europe.

What have the Britannic (a fleet mate of the ill-fated Titanic), the Patris, a Greek passenger steamer, the German submarine U-133,” QUEEN OLGA” destroyer and a German Junkers – 52 aircraft have in common?

They are among the 91 ship and plane wrecks on the Greek seabed recommended for scuba diving from the Central Council of Modern Monuments to the Culture Ministry that will create a vast, visitable marine museum. More than a quarter (24) of the listed wrecks are located on the seabed of the Southern Aegean.

diving (2)

The waters of Leros have been likened to an underwater museum and boast vibrant and colorful seabeds. Leros was used by the Italians as the main naval base mostly due to the main port of the island, Lakki, which is the largest natural harbor in the eastern Mediterranean. This is why the island has a rich history. During the Second World War, the Germans’ attempt to occupy the island lasted 52 days, and during that time many ships and planes were sank. The bottom of Leros is a unique museum. Below the list of the 8 wrecks in Leros:

“Queen Olga” destroyer - 40metres depth

Antisubmarine net - control ship - 43metres depth

American Barge ship - 40metres depth

Landing craft ship - 18metres depth

Junkers 52 aircraft - 51metres depth

Arado Ar 196 - 20metres depth

Heinkel 111 - 16metres depth

Italian Barge ship - 41metres depth

The seabed of Rhodes is full of surprises: Caves in Kallithea and Lindos, shipwrecks in Plimmiri and Kamiros, marine biotopes. And all these are surrounded by calm and warm waters. Until recently scuba diving was allowed only in designated spots, in order to avoid incidents of illicit trade in antiquities. Today these restrictions have been lifted and scuba diving is allowed almost everywhere. One of the most spectacular dives on the Dodecanese Islands is the Cave of Seal. Found off of Rhodes Island, divers enter the cave to discover families of seals greet and interact with you. With fantastic visibility and thriving marine life year-round, Rhodes Island divers can encounter unique species such as basking sharks, tuna, and wild dolphins.

There are many dive shops on the developed islands, especially on the most populated island of Rhodes. Many sites on the island are good for beginners and training, but are still well worth a visit. There are wrecks, too. The Plimmiri is found in shallow water, and is a superb spot to get your wreck diving certification.

The volcanic background of Kos offers those scuba diving in the Dodecanese Islands fantastic underwater views of incredible rock formations and a wide array of Mediterranean marine life.

Arki Island Complex and the N. Patmos Islets - Formerly used for military exercises, this area consists of 14 islands and tiny islets and is now protected as a permanent wildlife refuge. Greece established the Permanent Wildlife Refuge of Arki Island Complex & N. Patmos Islets in 2004.

The Thor Star Wreck is a scuba diving site off the coast of Pserimos island. The Thor Star was a Syrian cargo ship built in 1965 and abandoned off the coast of Pserimos in 1997. It eventually sunk. No one knows for sure why the Thor Star sunk. There are strong probabilities that the ship owes its ill fate to adverse weather conditions. The site of the Thor Star Wreck dive, which is at the southeast side of Pserimos, can be accessed easily by boat from Kos Island. The wreck makes a good habitat for all kinds of marine creatures, including fish large and small and Thuridilla hopei sea slugs. The dive is suitable for all skill levels. With excellent visibility conditions, the Thor Star Wreck diving site is also ideal for underwater photography

Underwater shoot of a woman diving with scuba and showing love signal
diving (4)

When to dive in the Dodecanese Islands

The Dodecanese islands are welcomed with hot, dry summers with sea temperatures ranging from 22-26°C, to a cooler 15-18°C in the winter meaning scuba diving in Greece can be enjoyed year-round.

A 3/5mm wetsuit is recommended in the summer and 5/7mm wetsuit in the winter months.