Whether you’re a seasoned diver or looking to venture beneath the waves for the very first time, Sicily is the perfect destination for an underwater adventure. Located south of the Italian peninsula, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and boasts stunning coastlines, warm crystal-clear waters and a wealth of wildlife, shipwrecks and other sights.
No idea where to begin? Read on for some tips on planning your perfect Sicilian diving experience.
Often the first question on a would-be traveller’s lips is: how much will this grand adventure set me back? It doesn’t have to cost the earth – inclusive flight and hotel deals for seven nights can be had for less than £400. Cut out the daily £4 lattés and you could be there in a matter of months!
Getting certified isn’t absolutely necessary to enjoy the diving experience, as many dive sites offer a beginners’ course consisting of some basic theory and an instructor-led dive in deep water. However, if you fancy a bit more independence, you might want to pursue some sort of certification, which will allow you to undertake a wider variety of diving experiences.
A basic certification from an organisation such as PADI typically takes three or four days, and is a mixture of classroom work and practical time in the water. You can complete the whole thing before you go so you don’t eat into your precious holiday time.
If you’re the more adventurous type, once you’ve obtained your basic certification you can then take more advanced modules, such as wreck diving and underwater rescue.
Accommodation can be found in many of Sicily’s coastal towns and villages. Look online for websites offering Sicily villas to rent – you’ll be able to find something to suit all budgets from the frugal to the luxurious.
The waters around the island cater for all diving abilities, from shallow spots for first-timers all the way up to deeper waters and stronger currents for the professionals. Notable underwater landmarks include the Ciclopi Rocks off the coast of Aci Trezza, and the wreck of a World War II Italian merchant ship near Castellammare del Golfo.
The west coast of Sicily is an especially good location for divers due to it being the location of the Femmine Marine Reserve. A protected area, the dive sites here are suitable for divers of all levels and you’ll find wrecks, beautiful reefs, rocky areas, and walls to explore.
Many dive sites offer all-in-one packages that include equipment hire, boat transport and experienced guides. If you’re an absolute beginner, this might be the best place to start – you’ll be looked after well and everything will be taken care of, allowing to you to focus on enjoying the experience.
If you’ve already got a few dives under your belt, you might want to do things a bit more independently. Make sure you have your equipment serviced before you leave if you’re bringing your own with you, and don’t forget to bring your certification card. Research any potential dive sites to ensure they’re suited to your skill level. Specialist diving insurance is also an excellent idea.
By taking just a little bit of time to plan out your Sicilian diving trip, you’re much more likely to avoid pitfalls and create an adventure experience that you’re sure to remember for a long time to come.