Geographically, Turkey is home to a wonderfully diverse terrain and boasts countless spots that are ideal for underwater diving. Surrounded by sea on 3 sides, there are many different regions of the country that are great for sailing holidays and all the activities that come with it.
Underwater diving requires a certain degree of knowledge and experience, and you should complete a certain range of training in order to be properly qualified. The sport can be dangerous if you don’t know how to manage the risks and how to descend and come back to the surface properly. There are many different diving centers along the southern coasts and in the popular holiday spots in Turkey where you can obtain the necessary certificate. Even without a certificate, you will be able to take part in “discovery” dives conducted by qualified trainers on boat tours. Do not hesitate to check out Turkey’s most beautiful coves to visit.
Below, find viravira.co’s list of the most popular diving destinations in the country:
Saros Bay, which is one of the first regions that come to mind when it comes to underwater diving, stands out with its rich underwater world. The sea there is sometimes ice-cold and sometimes at normal temperatures. The bay attracts the attention of divers with its wide variety of sea creatures. While diving in Saros, you can see moral eels of various sizes, all kinds of sea stars, colorful anemones, snails, and many large and small fish species. After diving into the area in the 70s, the famous explorer Captain Cousteo expressed his admiration with the analogy of “The Red Sea of the North”.
Gokova is one of the favorite areas of diving enthusiasts with its sea of 200 meters in depth. You can see many insects, invertebrate species, anemones, corals, and rare fishes such as white and dusky groupers during your dives here. You can explore the underwater world through the diving centers in Gokova ports.
Another popular diving destination in Turkey is undoubtedly the Tekirova region of Antalya. Home to many kinds of underwater creatures, Tekirova is almost a reef area. This colorful view attracts the attention of both diving and photography enthusiasts. The region is easily accessible from land and from the sea. You can see many soft coral species, starfishes, anemones, and colorful fishes under the water. Get ready for a visual feast!
Kas – Flying Fish Reef, Antalya
Flying Fish Reef is a diving spot situated between the Greek island of Meis and Turkey, named after an Italian fighter jet that was gunned down and sank here during the attack on Meis in World War II. This spectacular reef, home to colorful fish and even the endangered Caretta Caretta turtle, measures 6-7 meters in length at the top, and 75 meters in depth. This is a favorite spot for divers and underwater photographers due to its remarkably clear waters.
Fethiye – Afkule, Mugla
Afkule, which is in an area known as Aladdin’s Cavern, is a diving point for advanced divers. Diving starts from the mouth of the cave which has a depth of 70 meters. During the descent, it is possible to see rocks at the entrance and hundreds of colorful sponges, laced anthozoans, yellowbelly groupers, and brown meagres. When diving in Afkule it is recommended to watch the sky by looking to the surface from the cave inside.
Kemer – Ucadalar, Antalya
Another popular diving destination is Ucadalar, which is located at Tekirova, a district of Kemer. Ucadalar is suitable for all different levels of divers with its extremely clear waters and sea floor that is teeming with marine life. The area is home to four islands: Marti, Magara, Piknik, and Kucuk. At Ucadalar it is possible to encounter huge batoids, shoals of bluefin tuna, Mediterranean monk seals, dolphins, and soft corals. The location is also highly suited for night photography and macro shooting.
Bodrum – The Great Reef, Mugla
Just 20 minutes from the center of Bodrum, the Great Reef is a pleasant dive spot that is easy to access. The reef begins at a depth of 4 meters and can reach a depth of 32 in the south and 36 meters in the north. Here you can encounter many diverse animal species from octopi to varying fish types such as the diplodocus vulgaris and black scorpionfish in the shallows. In the deeper, it is also possible to see leer fish, dusky grouper, white grouper, dentex, and morays, just to name a few.
Ayvalik – Deli Mehmet, Balikesir
Deli Mehmet, located in Ayvalik, has two underwater islands situated very close to one another. These different underwater islands are:
Deli Mehmet 1: This is a suitable diving spot for intermediate-level divers with a depth of 18-42 meters. Yellow gorgonians, violescent sea-whips, morays, insects, and different kinds of fish can be commonly seen when diving here.
Deli Mehmet 2: This is a suitable dive spot for more experienced divers with a depth of 27-50 meters. Coral reefs begin from a depth of 27 meters and extend to 50 meters. Here you may spot red corals, gorgonian trees, murens, insects, and a diverse array of fish species.
A popular spot for diving in Istanbul, Sivriada is an island in the Marmara Sea that is famous for its “67 Stone” site which is located to the southeast of the island. The underwater structure consists primarily of coarse rocks and the sea bottom which starts at 12 meters and continues downwards. Purple-colored Aplysia, old amphoras, seahorses, and pipefish can be seen when diving deeper at around 45 meters.
We also advise you to check out the best times to charter a yacht in Turkey for further information.