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10 Best Diving Sites in Malta

by Klaudia Lesniowska 21 Days

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Malta is one of the most popular diving destinations in Europe, and no wonder why! The Maltese underwater world attracts divers with a variety of aquatic life and many mysterious wrecks to be explored. It’s a great destination for those who are in for their first dive, as well as diving experts looking for a thrill. With plenty of diving schools offering lessons and renting full equipment, diving has never been easier!


Are you up for an unforgettable adventure? Check out the 10 top diving sites in Malta and get ready to decompress!


1. Um El Faroud



Location: Coast of Wied iz-Zurrieq, Malta

Dive Type: Wreck Dive

Maximum Depth: 36m
Recommended Level: Advanced


For those fascinated with underwater wrecks, Um El Faroud is the best diving option in Malta. The ship assimilated well with underwater life, becoming a home for barracudas, squids, sea beams, parrotfishes and many other types of underwater flora and fauna. The ship is laying upright at an approximate depth of 34 metres, having a total length of 110 metres. Few years ago the wreck broke into two parts, but remains fairly steady, with easy access points. However, due to its length, only divers with wreck diving experience should enter the ship. Worth to explore are bridge hatches, cabins and the stairs down leading to the engine room.

History

Um El Faroud was an Libyan-owned oil tank, transporting fuel for 26 years between Italy and Libya. In 1995, when the ship was docked for maintenance work in the Maltese Drydocks, an explosion occurred. Nine shipyard workers lost their lives in this tragic event. Due to the extension of the damage, the ship was beyond saving. After three years, it was decided to scuttle the hull as a diving attraction.


Bonus tip: Keep in mind you should dive with an experienced diver who knows the local currents, as they can get strong around the wreck.


2. The Blue Hole




Location: Dwejra, Gozo

Dive Type: Reef dive

Maximum Depth: 25m
Recommended Level: Advanced


With its beautiful crystal clear waters and rich underwater life, the Blue Hole is a must see for all diving enthusiasts. The dive starts at inland sea pool near the former Azure Window. At about 9 metres deep in the hole, you will find an underwater archway leading to the open sea. During the dive, you will see many colourful sponges and plenty of small fishes swimming around. Nearby, there is also a Coral Garden and a nice large cave worth exploring. The site is not so easy to access and you will have to walk around 200 metres with the full equipment, hence, the spot can be explored only by divers in good shape.


3.  P29




Location: Cirkewwa, Malta

Dive Type: Wreck dive

Maximum Depth: 36m
Recommended Level: Advanced


The wreck of the patrol boat P29 is another great underwater attraction for wreck enthusiasts. Access to the boat is quite easy, as it lays about 150 metres offshore Cirkewwa, marked with a yellow buoy. The P29 is a very picturesque wreck, with rich aquatic life to explore around. Both engines and all contaminants were removed from the ship before sinking, leaving several easy entry points. However, some parts of the boat are narrow and can be explored only by experienced divers.

History

The history of P29 started in 1969 in East Germany. The ship was a Kondor I class minesweeper built for the German navy to patrol the border between East and West Germany. She was sold to Malta in 1997 and joined her sister ships P30 and P31, serving on the island since 1992 with the Offshore Command of the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta. The patrol boats were performing border control and protecting the coast against smuggling. All three ships were decommissioned in 2004. P29 and P31 were bought by the Malta Tourism Authority to become a diving attraction. The P29 was scuttled on 14th August 2007 near Cirkewwa while the P31 waited two more years to be laid underwater offshore Comino.


Bonus tip: One of the most characteristic elements of the wreck is the authentic machine gun, a great place to take a picture!


4. Santa Maria Caves




Location: Comino

Dive Type: Cave dive

Maximum Depth: 10m
Recommended Level: Beginner


Santa Maria Caves are the place where beginner, advanced and expert divers come together. And no wonder why. The cave system has 10 caves waiting to be explored, each with its unique beauty making it a great attraction for everyone. Some of the underwater residents you can spot here are octopus, crabs, shrimp, morays and eels. With its stunning natural beauty and rich aquatic life, the caves are a perfect place for underwater photographers as well. One of the popular things to do is feeding Banded Sea Beams, which will swarm all around you when fed with bread. Bonus tip: Santa Maria Caves are very popular among divers, hence, it’s best to get there as early as possible.

5. Rozi Tugboat




Location: Cirkewwa, Malta

Dive Type: Wreck dive

Maximum Depth: 35m
Recommended Level: Advanced

Underwater exploration of Rozi is one of the most popular wreck dives in Malta. Once serving as a tugboat, Rozi lays upright, between 20 to 35 metres deep, in the northern part of Malta. The wreck is about 35 metres long and has easy entry points. Rozi is still intact, apart from the engine and the propeller, which were removed before sinking. Thanks to the very good visibility of clear blue waters around the area, you can spot the wreck from a distance and admire the whole ship. Rozi became a home to many types of fishes so you will be able to encounter rainbow wrasse, scorpion fish, cardinal fish and sea beams. History

The ship was built in Bristol by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd, back in 1958. In 1972 she sailed from Liverpool to Malta serving first for Mifsud Brothers Ltd and later for Tug Malta. After the decommissioning in 1992 Rozi was bought by Captain Morgan Cruises and sunk to become and attraction for submarine trips and shortly after one of the favourite Maltese wrecks among divers.

6. Azure Reef




Location: Dwejra, Gozo

Dive Type: Reef dive

Maximum Depth: 40m+
Recommended Level: Advanced


After the collapse of the Azure Window in March 2017, the most popular tourist attraction of Malta transformed to a new hot spot for divers - Azure Reef. Even though the area was divided before it became much more interesting after the collapse. Rock formations created many swim throughs, and quickly turned into a home for underwater flora and fauna. As the spot is relatively new and still shaping, it’s a great dive for all those who love the thrill of being one of the first ones to see or experience something new. Bonus tip: You can start your dive at the Blue Hole or Inland Sea and combine it with an exploration of the Coral Gardens nearby.

7. MV Karwela




Location: Xatt l-Ahmar, Gozo

Dive Type: Wreck dive

Maximum Depth: 45m
Recommended Level: Advanced


Out of the three wrecks located on the offshore of Xatt l-Ahmar on Gozo, MV Karwela is, without a doubt, the most interesting one. The top deck of the wreck starts at 30 metres deep, with a maximum depth of around 45 metres. The wreck is 50 metres long and, thanks to many openings made before scuttling, it’s quite easy to explore. The most picturesque part of the wreck are the stairs leading to the lower deck. You will also encounter a variety of underwater flora and fauna including spider crabs, groupers, nudibranchs and cow beams, to name a few. Additional attraction of the wreck was a Volkswagen Beetle car sank by local divers on the starboard shortly after the scuttling of Karwela. Unfortunately, nowadays there is nothing left from the car wreck. History

MV Karwela was scuttled on 12th of August 2006, together with MV Cominoland. The ship was built in Germany in 1957 and from 1992 till 2002 it served as cruise ship of Captain Morgan with a capacity of 863 passengers. The first wreck to settle on the offshore of Xatt l-Ahmar was MV Xlendi, scuttled there back in 1999. However, as the wreck overturned and penetration is not allowed, there is not much to discover.

8. Double Arch