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PORTUGAL DIVING HOLIDAYS

For world class diving you have to travel into the Atlantic to a small collection of islands, The Azores. A set of nine Atlantic Ocean islands, located due west of Portugal, about a third of the way to the USA. The nine islands were formed by ancient volcanoes which left their mark upon the stunning landscapes. The hills and mountains are often rich in vegetation and have a surprise around each corner, maybe a deep crater, a sparkling lagoon, a steaming geyser, a sea of flowers or an incredible view over the ocean.

If you are considering a holiday with some diving, perhaps diving on some purpose sunk wrecks, then Portugal's Algarve coast is accessible and offers a choice of accommodation.
 
Diving the Azores offers a haven of calm in the mid-Atlantic. The Azores are the perfect retreat for divers who seek unspoilt dive sites. The Azores offer dive sites to suit a variety of experience levels but to get the most from Azores' diving go with a little experience. Steep walls, gentle slopes, volcanic arches, seamounts, caves and islets make the underwater scenarios diverse and unique. The marine life is diverse and abundant with some colourful subtropical fish species. Morays, stingrays, dusky groupers, comb groupers, wrasses, parrot fishes, trigger fishes, breams and damselfishes are common in most dives.
Portugal has some differences in weather between the north and south and between the coastline and places more inland. In general though, summers are warm to hot. Winters average between 15 °C and 20 °C during the day and between 5 °C to 10 °C at night, again from north to south. Nights average around zero though on the higher plateau inland, where temperatures can drop below -10 degrees and snow is certainly not uncommon during the months of December to February. 

For diving on mainland Portugal the season is the summer months May - September. In the Azores pelagic fishes like tuna, barracudas, jacks, sardines and mackerels are best spotted from July to September, when the warm Gulf Stream raises sea temperature to about 20-23ºC. Manta Rays are spotted every year around seamounts during July, August and September.

Around 25 resident and migratory whale species can be seen in the blue Atlantic waters. These include resident Sperm Whales and migratory species such as the magnificent Blue Whale which passes the island en route north during the summer months. The Azores whaling community sets an example of how to successfully transform to be reliant on whale conservation rather than whaling. In the Azores you also have a rare opportunity to swim alongside wild dolphins in their wild natural habitat. Just jump off the boat and join in. The dolphin will often approach swimmers out of curiosity, making this a truly exhilarating experience. The numerous species include Orcas, Bottlenose, Spotted and Striped Dolphins.

Top regions in portugal

Best for - Beginner (7/10), Intermediate (9/10), Beginner (9/10), Intermediate (9/10)

The stunning Archipelago of the Azores consists of nine volcanic islands found in the North Atlantic Ocean, situated around 1,300 km west of Portugal and 3,900 km from North America. The islands in the Azores archipelago are separated into three groups. The Eastern group includes Santa Maria and Sao Miguel, the Central group is made up of Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial, and the Western group includes Flores and Corvo. The distance between Pico and Faial is a mere 6km, whereas the maximum distance between two islands is from Santa Maria to Corvo, measuring 600km.

The Archipelago is influenced by the Gulf Stream, providing the islands with ideal conditions for a resting place to some of the world's largest pelagic species. Featuring a rich and unique marine biodiversity, the Azorean waters host five species of sea turtles, over 20 different species of cetaceans, and about 600 species of fish, including large schools of pelagic fish, several species of sharks, graceful manta and devil rays, and friendly dusky groupers. Along with the abundance of fascinating marine life, an Azores diving holiday offers numerous underwater arches, tunnels, caves, and cliffs, providing a haven for subtropical fish and stunning silhouette photography opportunities.

 

Sao Miguel is the island in the Azores with the most variety to offer visitors. The cosmopolitan town of Ponta Delgada offers the visitor a mixture of contemporary lifestyle with a historic flavour. Sao Miguel's monuments, turn of the century architecture, parks and cobblestone streets are interlaced with a modern marina, nice restaurants, shopping, bars, night-clubs, and ocean-front cafes.

Go to The Azores (Sao Miguel) Page