The Maltese archipelago, with its almost crystal clear waters, friendly and warm seas, is very popular as an all-year-around diving destination. Local and international divers have come to appreciate Malta’s excellent wreck and reef dives that offer teeming marine life as well as a kaleidoscope of underwater colours.
As an addicted diver, I spend most of my free time under the water. When I started diving two years ago I had to find the best dive sites in which to develop my skills and gain confidence. Now, as a more experienced diver, I can say that Malta and its sister island Gozo can offer a wide variety of wrecks and deep reefs with easy access from the shore
So, whether you’re a beginner or holiday diver working out which dives offer the optimum to get you to learn and experience more, here is my list of top dive sites. Enjoy your diving on the Maltese islands and remember – respect the sea, plan the dive and dive the plan!
DIVING SITES FOR THE LESS-EXPERIENCED
Madonna and the Arch – Cirkewwa
This is a brilliant dive for beginners and people that enjoy diving in the sunlight. The dive starts with drop off to 18 meters where you’ll find the statue of a Madonna situated and continues with the reef until it reaches a rock formation called the Arch. A lot of fish and marine life, such as shoals of jacks and barracudas, are common in this area.
Maximum dept: 18meters.
This is a very nice dive with the opportunity to choose from two directions – the left or the right side of the reef. There’s a good variety of marine life including octopi. Here, you can also glimpse some barracudas on the prowl too. But be aware of the boat traffic in this area as you’re not at a great depth at times.
Average Depth: 9 metres
Maximum Depth: 30 metres
Located off the south coast, this dive is very popular on account of its navigable cave and the crystal sand. The cave is full of colors and a paradise for photographers.
Maximum depth: 18 meters
St Michael and Number 10 in Marsascala
The St Michael wreck is a ‘Tanac’ type 20-metre long vessel, built in 1944 by a Canadian company; the smaller Number 10 wreck is a ‘Melita’ type 16-metre long vessel. Both served for many years towing numerous ships around Grand Harbour. Both boats have been prepared for divers and are safe for penetration.
Maximum depth: 20 meters
HMS Maori in Valletta
Malta’s most famous and historical wreck, this World War II destroyer was launched in 1937 and saw considerable action in her life, and provided valuable assistance to the defense of Malta. However, in1942 she received a direct hit as a bomb exploded in her engine room while in the docks.
Depth: 12-16 metres
DIVING FOR THE MORE EXPERIENCED
Um El Faroud in Wied iz-Zurrieq
This wreck is 150 meters from the shore. The vessel is a single screw motor tanker. For those who like wreck diving, the Um El Faroud offers a lot of passages with relatively easy exits. You’re likely to see a lot of marine life and big fish such as barracudas, amber jacks and groupers Be careful of the boat traffic in the entrance and exit point and the currents that might occur. My advice is to do this dive early in the morning and with 15l tank.
Maximum depth: 37 meters
Tug boat Rozi – Cirkewwa
The Tug boat Rozi was scuttled in 1992 as attraction for the divers and became one of the emblematic dives in Malta. Close to the shore and easy for navigation this dive gives the unique opportunity to combine a wreck and reef dive in one. You’ll likely come across a range of marine life, including groupers and hunting barracudas, Moray eels and similar. After exploring the boat, approach the reef and enjoy the natural rock formation named the Arch.
Maximum depth 35meters
Patrol boat P29 – Cirkewwa
Located in Cirkewwa, the 51 metre Condor Class patrol boat was scuttled on 14th August 2007. Marine life including groupers and barracudas.
Depth: 33 meters
The Blue Hole – Dwerja, Gozo
Situated at the bottom of Dwejra Point in front of the one of the main attractions in Gozo – Azure Window. The dive does start with a long walk on the rocks, but believe me it’s worth it! Once you enter in the Blue Hole you can take the right or left side. If you take the right side you can dive under the Azure Window and if you have good visibility you can see it clearly from the bottom. On your way back as soon as you swim under the arch you can explore the large cave on left hand side.
Average Depth: 20 meters
Maximum Depth: Beyond 60 meters
Reqq point – Gozo
Located on the most northerly point of Gozo, this is a famous deep dive with clear water, great visibility and big fish on the reef. Very often you’ll spot large groupers, some over 1m in length. Dive there if the sea is calm because it is difficult to enter and exit when sea is choppy.
Average depth 25 meters
Maximum depth 70 meters
Photo of divers approaching the Tug Boat Rozi: Dragan Donkov.
See related posts: Globe-trotting divers rate Malta highly; and Underwater photography in Malta.
Joan Ricard says
If you are looking for instruction in Malta I suggest you see Hubert at Seashell dive cove in Mellieha. A family operated shop with excellent instructors.
Mary Anne Buttigieg says
Hi Happy New Year !
Day off ! Wishing you the best for 2011 … I just discovered this website. I’m a Maltese Canadian with extended family still in Mellieha whom I visit semi regularly (as often as I can afford usually). Would like to plan a trip this year around diving but I have to learn – have snorkeled and swim – got any suggestions of good dive schools in Malta?
Mikko Heikkilä says
Wrecks? More wrecks?
Where is Mtahleb? What about the Fortizza reef?
I’d prefer the Ghar Lapsi caves any day to Wied-iz-Zurrieq.
Yes, I hope that next time we can add few more brand new dive sites:)
Antonio Anastasi says
Good selection Dragan!
Can you imagine the dive sites we still have to discover???