Scuba diving tourism
Taking advantage of 2005 legislation allowing recreational diving throughout Greece, with the exception of designated archaeological areas, local government administrations throughout Greece have launched a campaign to attract “diving tourists”.
Some 250,000 divers from abroad, with their families, are expected to visit Greece through the end of October 2011. Some 70 percent of the divers who have already visited Greece this year are from Germany, Russia, Spain, France and Italy, and the other 30 percent are from the U.S. According to a recent study, Greece was selected as the favored diving destination by 95 percent of a total of 7,500 divers who responded to questionnaires in the period 2006-2007. Greece earned this “title” for three main reasons cited by the respondents to the survey: “theme,” given that there are more than 20,000 shipwrecks in the Greek seabed, of which 6,000 have been formally recognized; “price,” as diving in Greece costs about one-third of that in other diving destinations such as Malta, Italy, Croatia, Turkey and Cyprus; and “family,” since the families of the divers are quite happy to accompany them to Greece, which offers a plethora of other activities for an enjoyable holiday.
Greece has an impressive 16,500 kilometers of coastline suitable for diving, with the main destinations of foreign divers being the islands of Kos, Corfu, Zakynthos and Crete, while the recent approval of the re-delimitation of the Northern Sporades area, with 14 new diving spots, creates a new momentum to the Greek market for diving tourism.
Experience the deep blue
Deep down the seas, in the deep blue, there exists a wonderful unknown world, one of enchanting beauty. The few that visit it experience the sensation of being accepted into a silent paradise, filled with infinite forms and colours and myriads of sea species. The Greek seas are recorded as the cleanest in the Mediterranean. Thus, diving into the “big blue” of Greece represents a unique experience for those who attempt it, provided they have prior training and special precautions are taken.
Scuba (Scuba=Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving using the proper equipment is allowed in all sea areas where no specific prohibition is in force for the protection of archaeological resources. Any discovery of an ancient object in the course of scuba diving must be immediately reported to the nearest Port Authorities. It is prohibited to bring to the surface or to move objects of archaeological or other significance, located in the deep. Underwater photography or cinematography requires the permission of the local Port Authorities, which is granted after the concurrence of the competent Underwater Archaeological Findings Inspection dept. of the Ministry for Culture & Tourism.
There are numerous scuba diving centres operating in Greece, as well as scuba diving schools, while there are also scuba diving vessels that combine a holiday with scuba diving and offer an infinite variety of sights both in and out of the water.
Here are some ideas for diving destinations
Discover a Volcano’s underwater beauty in Santorini.
The Aegean Sea is a very popular destination for divers, with magical waters that offer a wonderful selection of beautiful dive spots, colourful sea life, shipwrecks, caves, and many other unique underwater settings.
Seize the opportunity to explore them and discover Greece’s many hidden sides!
Santorini, with its volcanic past, truly stunning landscape of steep mountains, black sand beaches, and pure blue waters is a very popular dive site for divers from all over the world. The waters around Santorini offer a wealth of underwater charm and beauty, including craters and shipwrecks.
Unveil the mysteries of Kalymnos, “The Sponge Diver’s Island”!
Sponge fishery, processing and trading were the main professions on Kalymnos Island for hundreds of years. In fact, the use of sponges was described by Aristotle and mentioned in both Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
In Kalymnos, there are a number of professional diving centers, offering you training facilities and the opportunity to be certified in scuba diving. Many of these centers organize excursions, and they even offer your children the chance to dive and get to know the underwater life, proving that the island can provide you and your family unforgettable underwater experiences.
The rocky coast of Pano but also Kato Koufonisi is ideal for diving. The deep sea at Koufonisi is captivating and friendly and as we approach Kero it becomes fascinating. It is an ideal diving site which will reward its visitors.
Mykonos is one of the oldest diving destinations in Greece. Organized diving centers operate on the island with many years of experience and modern equipment. They provide a series of programs for beginners and advanced divers. The best month for diving in Mykonos is September due to the suitable water temperature and the high visibility found at the bottom of the sea.
Diving takes place at the impressive shipwreck, near Amarides, as well as other points on the island.
On Syros there are several sites for scuba diving with scuba diving gear. There is a continual flow of tourists coming on two or three day diving escapades throughout the year. The island has plenty of sites and attractions to visit under the sea such as caves, shipwrecks, coral reefs and other. In this way many alternative choices for exploration are made possible. To make your diving experience on Syros possible, contact the tourist agencies in the area or the Port Authority.
Sources: visitgreece.gr, investingreece.gov.gr, magazine Greece
Υou can obtain more info about scuba diving as well as the areas which have received clearance by contacting:
Greek Federation of Submarine Activity – Sports Fishing and Technical Swimming
16604 West Airport Mail Office
Tel: +30 210 9819961. Fax: +30 210 9817558.
The local Port Authorities or the competent Underwater Archaeological Findings Inspection department
30 Kallisperi str. 11742 Athens
Tel: +30 210 9293089, +30 210 9239038, +30 210 9235105, +30 210 9247249
Fax: +30 210 9235707, +30 210 9221888.