While diving involves a lot of training, a steep learning curve, and expensive equipment and guides, Who can do snorkeling with little experience as long as you check information on any dangers and riptides before heading out? However, many of the beaches on this list are available for guided tours.
Snorkelling is incredibly peaceful, and you can quickly lose hours taking in underwater landscapes and the following fish from a distance, watching them in their natural habitat, almost unaware of your presence.
These ten snorkelling beaches are, in many cases, far from ideal for relaxing in the sun, but this makes some of them suitable for snorkelling with no disturbance by other tourists and their activities.
Illes Medes, Costa Brava, Spain
This means the Illes Medes is a protected marine reserve great for snorkelling as fish remain undisturbed, and plants remain growing naturally: undisturbed by nets of trawlers or dredgers.
The rocky coast here even means that you’re unlikely to be disturbed by those enjoying the beach or water sports, such as jet skiing and water skiing, which can make snorkelling difficult and potentially unsafe. The fish include many schools of colorful smaller fish and larger lone fish like Groupers; you have a good chance of seeing some Barracuda in schools too.
Ghar Lapsi, Malta
Another great, hard to reach, and therefore unspoiled spot, these Maltese waters are apparent, and you are more likely to have good weather than not in summer.
You can snorkel a little into some of the open caves here, which are an excellent shelter for many fish and, therefore, often teeming; scuba divers can go much further into the network of caves, however.
Outside the cave are great sandy reefs with a huge variety of fish, including Scorpion Fish and a lot of Octopus and brightly colored Seagrasses. Eels and Gurnards are also common in this area.
Isola Rossa, Sardinia, Italy
The beaches around this small town are of beautiful red rock, and there are many pools and inlets to explore while snorkelling, where many fish will seek refuge.
There are sandy beaches nearby, and the reefs are sandy, too; the water is still evident, though with little or no sediment, even on days with a little swell.
Moray eels are common here, hiding amongst the rocks, but there is a wide variety of fish close to shore and a little further out.
Coco Beach, Nice, France
You would never think this beach was so close to an important port and industrialized city. Tourism has always been important to Nice, but it is incredible how beautiful this section of the French coast remains.
Coco beach is a short walk from the port of Nice and does get busy, but it has fantastic clear waters with the yellow sand giving a green hue from above.
There are plenty of dive companies nearby too, but for snorkelling, you can enjoy exploring the rocky coves that are a little less busy, though you will still need to look out for Jetskis, Speedboats and the like.
Those who have snorkelled the beaches of western European countries such as France, Italy and Spain to the point where they think they have seen everything will have to think again after snorkelling at Makarska in Croatia.
The Adriatic, of course, has slightly different species from other parts of the Mediterranean. Still, at Makarska, you also have freshwater springs on the seabed leading to a unique collection including some very colorful reefs and plants, including Golden Sponges.
Plenty of octopuses and crabs are hiding amongst the rocks to add even more color and, best of all, enough seahorses that you would be unlucky not to spot any.
Visibility can sometimes be poor if there is some swell; also, frog kick to avoid disturbing the sediment yourself. If you get a good view, this is a great place to snorkel on this small rocky island with a few hidden beaches.
Some beaches have beautiful white sand stretching for miles, but the small rocky beaches are best for snorkelling. You can see octopuses, crabs and fish, including some vast eels, while snorkeling, but also you may be able to find and keep some fantastic shells from the seabed that will make great souvenirs.
With gently sloping seabed, the beaches around Paphos and a little further along the coast, where there are a number of smaller secluded beaches, which are ideal for snorkeling.
Around the lighthouse is famous for snorkeling, but there are also many large and small sea caves that you can either visit where they are open caves or peer into: perhaps glimpsing some larger marine animals in the background, such as Octopus, of course.
- World’s Top 10 Beaches to Visit Year Round
- The 7 Best Beaches in Thailand
- Top 7 Uninhabited Islands Around The World
- What To Know About Location Voiture Ibiza
There are plenty of small fish here, such as pipe fish, who will not be too bothered by you, meaning you can watch them and follow from a distance through the wonderfully clear waters.
Russalka, Black Sea, Bulgaria
It isn’t just the Mediterranean that provides snorkelling opportunities. Generally, the black sea does have a lot of sediment, but Russalka is one place where visibility can be good on a calm day.
The marine life tends to be pretty small in the Black Sea though there are dolphins. The wrecks are the main draw, and while most of Europe’s best impacts are reserved for those scuba diving, you can get a good view of them snorkelling at sites close to the shore at Russalka, including old wooden ships of war and world war two battleships and submarines.
Bovisand, Devon, UK- More famous as a dive center, Bovisand, on the edge of Plymouth harbor, is one of the UK’s most apparent snorkelling sites, protected from the worst of the weather by the harbor and breakwaters further out.
The shallows here are along a sandy bottom, but there are a good number of larger fish, and also, a little further out, you have a chance to see sharks, which is the main attraction of snorkelling here.
Lake Silfra, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland – The glacial waters of Lake Silfra mean that visibility is crystal clear; from the surface, you can see deep into the fissures, where two continental plates meet.
The nearby geothermal geysers mean the waters are pleasantly warm and as you head into the lake, expect to see some freshwater fish, including Brown Trout.
Beyond the lake is the lagoon, with its shallow bottom and golden sand. The view is fantastic, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the tropics: looking right across to the other end of the 120m long lagoon without any sign of sediments, you’ll wish your local swimming pool was this clean.
This list includes some of Europe’s best and most straightforward snorkelling; other great snorkelling beaches depend on good weather. If visiting other beaches with good potential for diving, it may be a matter of waiting for the right calm conditions to enjoy snorkelling.