Explore the beautiful sea and marine life around the Maltese Islands
Diving around the Maltese Islands is a real joy and there several caves, wrecks, walls and reefs to explore. Don’t forget to visit these top 10 dive sites during your holiday in Malta and experience the Mediterranean marine life. Swim with large groupers, dentex and as barracudas at Reqqa Reef in Gozo or explore the fascinating cave systems at Santa Maria caves in Comino, the choices are endless!
1. Santa Maria Caves
The Santa Maria Caves in Comino provide interesting dives for all levels of diving expertise
The Santa Maria Caves are located on the north side of Comino and this is a very popular dive site due to its fascinating cave systems.
Divers come here year after year and thus, arriving early to avoid the crowds is recommended. There are 10 caves known to divers as Santa Maria Caves and they each have their own particular beauty. Some of them offer great swim troughs, some with large underwater tunnels while others have fascinating views into the blue through their entrance.
The caves are quite shallow and some of the caves are even half above water, also ideal for snorkelers. The shallow Santa Maria Caves are rich in marine life and you can spot Nudibranch, octopus, crabs, spiny lobster, eels, mullets, shrimp, damselfish and morays.
Another attraction is the Banded Sea Bream that will swarm you when you feed them with bread. The pretty Santa Maria Caves are suitable for all levels of divers and offers plenty of things to explore and for the underwater photographer the possibilities are never-ending.
2. Reqqa Reef
Reqqa Point is a popular reef diving site in Ghasri, Gozo, giving you an opportunity to explore the underwater world and discover the marine life
The Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef dive in Ghasri, Gozo is a nice dive due to its beautiful view into the clear blue Mediterranean Sea and diversity of marine life of the north coast.
Diving at Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef you will see large groupers, dentex, rays as well as barracudas and if you look by the boulders you can also find lobsters and morays. Getting to the dive site might be slightly hard as the site is not easy to find and you have to walk a bit fully geared. It is recommended to dive at Reqqa Point with someone who has been there before and diving is not recommended during strong winds.
In the Reqqa Point dive you descend along a large wall that runs down to over 60 meters covered in sponges with a lot of small fish present. You can choose to stop on the sandy reef bottom before the drop at about 25m.
There are several smaller overhangs, caves to explore and at 18m you will find a spectacular chimney. When visiting Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef take the opportunity to visit the salt pans nearby.
The P29 dive in Cirkewwa is an interesting dive that combines the exploration of a wreck with the discovery of beautiful marine life
The P29 wreck dive is done around the 62m long, 16m high and 7m wide ex German Kondo class minesweeper that was deliberately sunk in 2007.
The P29 is situated 150 m from the coast off Cirkewwa Point and is easily accessible from the shore and marked by a buoy. The P29 dive site is very popular with both locals and tourists visiting Malta and can be explored by experienced divers.
If you are looking for rich marine life, the Rozi wreck is a better choice, however there is plenty of fauna and fish on the wreck and on the way to the P29 dive site. You will reach the P29 wreck at 30 meters and the seabed is at 38 meters.
You will find some amazing swim troughs, however the smaller and tighter areas are not recommended unless you are experienced in wreck penetration. The deck house has several openings, a lot of light and hardly any mud. The P29 dive is a fun and interesting dive that can be combined with several other dives such as The Arch.
4. The Blue Hole
The Blue Hole in Dwejra, Gozo is one of the most popular dive sites in the Maltese Islands.
The Blue Hole dive site in Dwejra overlooks the beautiful Azure Window and starts in a fantastic 10m wide inland sea pool which leads into a large crevice and through to the open sea. Once you start your dive you will see a natural rock arch with clear blue waters that is your doorway leading to the open sea.
After passing the Arch you will swim through the tunnel with very nice rock formations, you will discover fantastic marine life such as parrot fish, Schools of Bream, Moray Eel, Lobster, Octopus and much more.
Heading towards the reef wall you have to swim through a large vertical crack in the reef (The Chimney) starting at 18m and then go up to the coral garden located at 4m. If you do not wish to swim out to the open sea you can turn back and visit the cave at the far end of the Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole is a good dive for all level of divers as there are several depths and routes to choose from. The Blue Hole dive can be followed with the Inland Sea dive.
5. Ghar Lapsi
The Ghar Lapsi dive offers a great cave dive which is ideal also for beginners
The quiet and shallow waters of Ghar Lapsi offer a perfect dive for beginners and new divers who can descend on the reef to about 15 meters.
Divers with more experience can discover the natural beauty of the Ghar Lapsi Cave with azure blue and green waters and with beautiful underwater photography opportunities as the sun reflects through the entrance.
The Ghar Lapsi Cave has several entrances and exits and inside, the cave is wide and flat with plenty of marine life. Since large areas of Ghar Lapsi Cave are covered in sea grass, you have good chances of spotting nudibranches and sea hares.
The Ghar Lapsi dive is easily accessible by either a ladder or by a large slipway leading down to the sea. Diving at Ghar Lapsi can also be combined with swimming at this popular beach and diving at Um El Faroud.
6. The Inland Sea and Tunnel
The Inland Sea dive is one of the most spectacular dive sites in Malta and Gozo, offering beautiful lighting effects and plenty of marine life
The Inland Sea is a very popular and spectacular dive that can be can be done on the same day with the Blue Hole dive located close by.
The dive at the Inland Sea and Tunnel starts in a 60m wide scenic inlet surrounded by high cliffs. The unique tunnel connected to the inland sea is 80m long, however be careful when diving in the tunnel as boats pass through it as well.
At the end of the tunnel you will see some stunning lighting effects created by the sunlight hitting the water. Light inside the tunnel is usually not a problem; however some divers prefer to bring a torch along to explore the tunnel walls. Once you exit the tunnel, the seabed drops to beyond 30m and you can choose to dive on the right or left side of the tunnel.
Whichever you choose you will have fantastic wall dives and see plenty of marine life such as John Dory, Octopus, Cardinal Fish, Barracuda, Parrot Fish, Spotted Doris. Even though the reefs and the walls are beautiful, the Inland Sea and the tunnel are very unique and is a must dive if you visit Malta and Gozo.
7. Billinghurst Cave
The Billinghurst Cave dive in Gozo is an interesting dive that allows you explore the marine life and enjoy beautiful play of lights
The Billinghurst Cave dive is situated in Gozo and is one of the longest cave dives in Gozo near Reqqa Point.
The Billinghurst Cave is about 50m long with the entrance only 3m under the surface with a maximum depth of 30m. At the entrance of the Billinghurst Cave the sunlight hits the water and creates fantastic lights perfect for silhouette photographs.
However, bring a torch with you as there is very little natural light penetration to be able to see all the colourful fish, red sponges and lace coral covering the sides of the tunnel.
The marine life is not as rich in the Billinghurst Cave as it is elsewhere. If you swim to the end of cave you will enter another cave called Railway Tunnel and at the end of this cave it is possible to surface. Diving in this site is only possible with a dive centre.
8. The Madonna Statue – Cirkewwa
The Madonna Statue is a very popular dive site situated in the northern part of Malta.
The Madonna Statue is the ideal diving site to explore during your holiday in Malta as it is suitable for both open water divers and more experienced ones. One of the main attractions of this dive is the Madonna statue which was placed in the sea over 25 years ago by a local dive club at the entrance of a small swim-through at 18m.
The dive starts from the shore with an easy access through a 1m deep pool and offers diving around shallow plateaus of maximum 10m. More experienced divers can dive off the plateau until around 30m.
The wall has several tunnels as well as two amazing swim-troughs. This dive site is also popular for fantastic night dives. Be prepared to see interesting marine life such as amberjacks, barracuda, and scorpion fish and if you’re lucky, you might even see trigger fish.
9. Qawra Reef
The Qawra reef is an interesting reef on the Northern part of Malta, ideal for both beginners and intermediate level divers
The Qawra Reef is one of the most beautiful reefs in the touristic resort of Qawra in Malta and is a perfect dive for beginners and intermediate divers. Access to the Qawra Reef is easily done from the shore and offers a drop off until 40 m with a nice wall as well as several big caves on the right side of it.
The caves are going inside and under the reef and are safe to enter as they have wide entrances and do go deep. If you like marine life this is the place for you as you will find Spiny or Slipper Lobsters, hermit crabs, nudibranchs and spider crabs.
If you follow the drop off to the deeper parts there are large boulders, which are home to barracudas, dentex, tuna and amberjack hunting for smaller fish and it is here that you can spot the rare Axinella verrucosa (Mediterranean ‘finger’ sponge).
The Qawra Reef dive site has several shallow parts where the reef top comes to around 15 m for the beginners to explore with parrot fish, different types of groupers and cardinal fish to watch. This dive is not well known, so you might be the only one exploring the Qawra Reef.
10. The Rozi Tugboat Dive
The Rozi tugboat in Cirkewwa is an interesting dive giving you the opportunity to explore the underwater marine life
The Rozi is a 40 m tugboat that was purposefully sunk in 1991 in Cirkewwa and is one of the most popular dive sites in Malta today.
The dive starts from the shore with a swim over one of the most beautiful reefs in Malta towards the wreck which is only 150 m away from the shore and very easy to find as it is marked by a large yellow buoy. The Rozi wreck is still intact in an upright position at about 34 m, except for the engine and the propellers that have been removed.
Thanks to this, the engine room and the wheel house are now empty and can be safely entered; while exploring the rest of the wreck is also possible. Behind the wheelhouse you can dive into several doorways and explore different rooms.
The beautiful clear blue waters around the Rozi are filled with a lot of fish including rainbow wrasse, cardinal fish, lots of Sea breams and scorpion fish. The Rozi dive in Malta is a spectacular dive that can be combined with the Madonna Statue dive. If you have time, explore the reef on your way back as it offers a few swim troughs in the rock and has a very rich marine life.