Spain is one of the most favorable summer vacation destinations in Europe. The country’s long Mediterranean coastline features a warm climate and superb beaches that offer ideal conditions for water sports. Snorkeling in Spain is a fun activity that young and old can enjoy and also a great way of exploring rich underwater life in the clear, calm waters.
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Best time to go snorkeling in Spain
The southern coastal areas of mainland Spain are popular throughout the year thanks to the good climate that features hot summers and mild winters, but outside the summer period, the sea temperatures might be cold for water activities.
The best time for snorkeling in Spain is between June to October. This is the period when the underwater visibility is the best, the sea is the calmest and warmest with temperatures of 22-25C/71.6-77F depending on the location.
If you are looking for winter-time snorkeling in Spain, head to the Canary Islands that are considered a year-round holiday destination in terms of water activities too. The Atlantic Ocean clear waters offer pleasant temperatures (19-20C/66.2-68F), however, to spend a longer time in the water, wearing a snorkeling wetsuit is a must.
6 Best Spain Snorkeling Spots
There are numerous rocky beaches and extensive marine reserves that are worth exploring along the more than 1600 km/1200 miles long Spanish Mediterranean coastline, but let’s start with the 6 best ones!
Medes Islands – Costa Brava
The Medes Islands is an archipelago off the coast of Catalonia’s Costa Brava consisting of 7 tiny islands. The region enjoys being a marine reserve since 1983. This high-level protection and the fact that nutrient-rich sweet water reaches the area ensure that the Medes Islands invite a wide variety of sea plants and animals.
Corals are a rare sight while snorkeling in Spain, but this nature reserve belongs to those few areas in the Mediterranean where reefs can be found featuring soft corals, yellow and red sea fans. Besides the common Mediterranean fish species, snorkelers and divers can encounter barracudas, groupers and tunas here, sometimes also sunfish and dolphins can be spotted.
Tip: Looking for a nice family-friendly hotel nearby? Check out the Hotel Panorama!
Lanzarote – Canary Islands
The Canaries in the Atlantic Ocean geographically belong to Africa, but politically to Spain and are part of the European Union. Thanks to the great climate, pleasant sea temperatures and rich marine life, the Canary Islands are a year-round vacation destination and have often been called the best snorkeling in Spain.
The archipelago consists of 8 main and several smaller islands that are all different in history, landscape and culture, but if it comes to snorkeling and diving, Lanzarote is the best one to visit which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993.
The island’s less-windier south and south-west coast is the best to snorkel. Our favorite spots are Playa Chica in Puerto del Carmen and the Papagayo beaches. For more information, read our full Lanzarote snorkeling guide that includes detailed information on all the best snorkeling places on the island.
Masia Blanca – Costa Daurada
The Costa Daurada coast in the Catalonia region attracts thousands of visitors year after year to enjoy the area’s shallow, calm beaches. There are plenty of rocky coves above Tarragona (the region’s main city) that offer ideal conditions for those who wish to go snorkeling in Spain.
The most famous snorkel spot here is the Masia Blanca protected natural area in El Vendrell, near Coma-Ruga. Masia Blanca covers 280 hectares that include a long beach with sand dunes and a marine reserve area. Thanks to the thermal waters of the Brisamar Spring that reach the reserve, the water is extremely nutrient-rich so it creates ideal conditions for marine life to thrive.
The sea bed features corral barriers that can be found in the deeper waters, while the shallower part has sandy surfaces and seagrass meadows that host a wide variety of marine species including eel, octopus, mullet, and cuttlefish. Those who are interested in learning more about the reserve and the species that live here can visit the Aquatic Classroom of the El Vendrell Tourism Office where introductions are held.
Tip: our accommodation choice in the area: Apartamento Aurimar
Mallorca – Balearic Islands
Two groups of islands form the Balearic archipelago that lies in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The larger group consists of 3 main islands Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera, while the smaller of Ibiza and Formentera besides many smaller islets. The clear waters of the Balearic Sea offer ideal conditions for all kinds of water activities that young and old can enjoy.
If you would ask us which Balearic Island offers the best snorkeling in Spain, we recommend Mallorca that is a perfect combination of sandy beaches and rocky bays with endless opportunities to enjoy the sun and sea. The south-eastern coast’s small bays are considered to be Mallorca’s best snorkel places with colorful fish and octopus around.
If you wish to explore the rich underwater diversity of Mallorca, don’t miss out on visiting the Mondrago Natural Park and the Cala Santanyi! (If you look for prime-location accommodation, check out the Hotel Apartamentos Cala Santanyi!)
Cabo de Gata – Andalusia
Cabo de Gata (also known as the Nijar Nature Reserve) is Andalusia’s largest protected area and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve along the southeast coast. The mountainous landscape features high cliffs, secluded coves, sandy beaches and small rocky outcrops in the sea that make Cabo de Gata a top spot for diving and snorkeling in Spain.
This is the only region in Europe with dry and hot desert that makes water activities possible almost all year round (having the right equipment).
The numerous tiny outcrops, underwater rock formations and extensive Poseidona sea grass meadows attract a wide variety of marine species. For scuba diving permission is needed, but those who go just snorkeling in Cabo de Gata find several beaches that offer easy access to the water. Our top recommendations are Los Escullos, Playa de los Muertos, La Isleta del Moro and Playazo de Rodalquilar that are certainly among the top Spain snorkeling places.
Tip: should you look for an authentic Spanish hotel in Cabo de Gata, consider staying at the Hotel las Salinas!
Cape Palos – Murcia
Cape Palos (also known as Cabo de Palos) is a cape in Mar Menor, Cartagena. The area is known as a top Spain snorkeling spot in the Murcia region since it has been designated as a marine sanctuary (along with the close-by Islas Hormigas) in order to protect the species that live here. Snorkelers will certainly enjoy swimming around in the clear, marine life rich waters, while scuba divers can explore shipwrecks too.
There are numerous small beaches and secluded coves along the Cape Palos coastline that are perfect for snorkeling, technically you just need to walk around and pick up a place you like the most, but we recommend checking out the less-visited spots such as la Cala Fria, Cala Reona, Cala Tunez.
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