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What to expect on a Madeira diving holiday

A Madeira Holiday
Madeira diving encounters: beauty and the beast?

Discover a little piece of paradise with special interest for divers! The beautiful, mountainous island of Madeira has a lovely sub tropical climate and with lush vegetation and spectacular flowers it has been described as a 'floating garden'. It is located in the clear waters of the Atlantic and, thanks to the warmth of the gulf stream, water temperatures range from 22ºC (72ºF) in summer to 16ºC (61ºF) in winter. Diving is possible all year round. Email us to book your trip or check out the Madeira dive trips.

Underwater you can explore lots of reefs, gullies, crevices and caves teeming with interesting marine life. There is an excellent chance of seeing both reef and pelagic (open sea) fish with frequent sightings of, amongst others, parrot fish, puffer fish, octopus, rays, cuttlefish, starfish, moray eels, sea urchins, trigger fish, tuna, barracudas, tarpons and large groupers. If you're lucky you may have an encounter with a giant manta ray or even spot sharks, dolphins and whales travelling between Africa and the Northern Atlantic.

The top dive sites near Madeira include:
  • Garajau national park, seen as the ultimate Madeira diving site, it is a popular dive for photographers and has huge, tame groupers and big schools of fish.
  • the house reef shore dives which are also ideal for snorkelers.
  • T-reef national park with its 30 metre pinnacles
  • Ponta de São, where visibility can reach 50 metres.
  • Canical and Canico for caves with interesting marine residents!
  • Monastry reef and Machico for colourful reef diving.
  • the wreck Bowbelle (also known as Bom Rei) is a 90 metre long sand-dredger that accidentally sank in 1996, it is 32 metres down and is particularly popular with photographers.
  • the Madeirense which in 2000 became the first and, as yet, only ship in Portugal to be purposely sunk to create an artificial reef for divers.
  • and there are lots more sites and wrecks for you to discover!


    The Selvagen Islands lie about 165 nautical mile south of Madeira Island and are classified as nature reserves under Net Natura 2000. True to their name the islands are still wild and free- two Madeira Natural Park wardens are the only permanent human inhabitants. Their isolated location has ensured that humans have had little impact on them so the Selvagens Islands remain a haven for marine life, flora and fauna. Jacques Costeau declared these islands one of the best spots in the world for diving thanks to their crystal clear waters, high visibility and abundant fish life

    Some Madeira diving sites can be directly accessed from the land and others are just a short boat ride away. Whatever your diving experience(or lack of it) you can be sure of an adventure as there are trips, guides and tuition for all levels.

    Meeting a wild monk seal while diving in Madeira! Check out the video:

    Plan a Madeira dive trip!

    The archipelago of Madeira is located in the North Atlantic, 535 miles from Lisbon and 360 miles from the African coast. Only two of the islands are inhabited- Madeira Island and Porto Santo Island. Reasonably priced flights are available from national and regional airports in the UK and Ireland. There are also flights from Portugal, Germany, USA and South Africa amongst other countries. Flights arrive at Funchal airport on Madeira Island or Vila Baleira on Porto Santo Island.

    Return to the diving in Portugal main page

    Madeira diving photos copyright: RPC Silva, Laura Kennedy, Rick Hawkins

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