Diving with children can be an exciting adventure. Introducing children to the exciting world of scuba diving promises them a lifetime of adventure. There are lots of fantastic venues around Britain where children aged 8+ can join PADI courses and build up their diving certificates. Once they’re confident in the water and ready to try something new, these sites in Europe are perfect for beginners and young divers.
1. Gozo Island: This tiny island is located just off of Malta and is famous for its world class diving sites, which makes Gozo holidays perfect for families who want underwater adventure. Confident divers can explore Xlendi Reef where there are plenty of small fish and marine wildlife, and the pinnacle of the reef reaches to within one metre of the surface. At Mgarr ix-xini, children can snorkel the shallow waters and see eels, octopodes and combers.
2. Malta: This small island has an abundance of sites that cater for new divers to the very experienced. For young divers and beginners on diving holidays in Malta, St Paul’s Islands in the north has a maximum depth of 25m. The dives here include exploring sunken boats as well as an open-water reef dive with lots of sea urchins and fireworms to spot on the sea bed.
3. Comino Island: The third island of the Malta archipelagos is Comino and Malta holidays are the perfect way to explore this exotic isle. Comino is so small that it has no permanent residents and it’s reached by a water taxi from Cirkewwa Harbor. Children will love snorkeling and diving in the Blue Lagoon – a gentle bay with soft golden sands and clear turquoise waters.
4. Elba Island: This small island in Tuscany, Italy has an excellent diving centre at the island’s only hotel, Hotel Hermitage. The hotel has its own private bay and there are a variety of dives with exciting marine life to discover. The staff at the hotel are fantastic with children, creating the right balance of fun and safety.
5. Sicily: Another Italian island, Sicily offers good spots for young or inexperienced divers. The Grotta Azura (Blue Grotto) dive is only 18m and at the bottom is the exciting ‘Shrimp’s Cave’ where you can plenty of small fish and colourful marine life.
The Red Sea
6. Sharm-el-Sheikh: Although not technically in Europe, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt is an easy resort to fly to and has some of the best diving in the world. Ras Mohammed Natural Park has crystal clear waters and there are plenty of marine animals and plants to spot. Sharm has lots of diving centres that offer lessons to young divers and beginners.
7. Sharm-el-Sheikh: So good it has to be mentioned twice! Sharm is also a great destination for snorkeling – a great alternative to scuba diving for younger children. Families can explore the azure waters of Shark’s Bay, Na’ama Bay and Ras Um Sid.
8. England: Compared to the exotic seas of southern Europe, English waters may seem rather cold. However, they can prove an exciting challenge for daring beginners – children must be at least 12 years old before trying a UK dive. At the rocky coasts of Devon and Cornwall, there’s a chance of playing with curious seals and there are reefs on the Cornish coast that have abundant marine wildlife. For younger children, these coasts are great for rock-pooling and snorkeling.
9. Scotland: Scotland is known for having the best cold water diving sites. There are many wrecks to discover and people choose to dive here for the “heavy metal” rather than the marine wildlife. A popular dive is the Hispania – a wreck nearly 70m long and weighing 1337 tonnes!
10. Ireland: Northern Ireland’s dramatic coastline has dives for the technical, more advanced divers as well as some good shore dives. Family holidays to the Antrim Coast are great for some time by the sea; there are charming fishing villages, secluded beaches and a picturesque coastline. There are wreck dives off east Antrim and good visibility and spectacular scenery to the north.