Dive Cyprus to discover an abundance of wrecks, accessible caves and an ancient underwater museum full of Greek artefacts. Shallow, sandy bottomed dives are perfect for beginners, whilst spectacular deep wall dives and reefs offer healthy coral gardens, macro treasures and a host of fish life.
A quaint, history-rich region on the north coast of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus provides divers with the opportunity for some relaxing but exciting dives in beautiful waters. From thrilling wreck to vibrant reefs to multiple marine species to unique topography, every dive will provide something exciting.
Diving in Cyprus
Cyprus has long been a popular holiday destination for Mediterranean travellers. Its warm climate, crystal clear waters and laid back culture make it the ideal place to kick back, relax and scuba dive!
There is a wide variety of dive sites in Cyprus, from the very popular Zenobia wreck in Larnaca Harbour, to reefs and cave diving. You can scuba dive all over Cyprus, with the highest concentration of dive sites located on the southern and western sides of the island.
It is the perfect island for any diving course. The waters are calm and clear and there are sites ranging from 10m in depth to 40m+. For beginner courses, there are shallow reefs and sandy areas to enjoy, and wrecks and caves for the more adventurous. The possibilities are endless!
Best time to dive
Due to its location in the southern Mediterranean, Cyprus enjoys very mild weather. During the winter, daytime temperatures are a very comfortable 17-18 degrees celsius. During the summer they can soar to a 33 degree average. Water temperatures vary from 17°C in January to a balmy 28°C in July and August.
The summer months are a more traditional time to scuba dive in Cyprus. The temperatures are warm, there are more flights and the island is busy with holidaymakers. This is also when the most dive centres and resorts will be busy and operating. If you are looking for a traditional beach holiday to go with your dive trip, diving from May to October is the best choice.
This is not to say that diving during the winter months is a bad idea. The waters may be a little chillier but there are usually plenty of days of sunshine to enjoy a mid-winter break! Though the temperatures may not allow for long days sunbathing, Cyprus is warmer than most of Europe during the winter months. The cooler waters also bring creatures such as squid and octopus up into shallower waters. Flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper too.
Types of diving
Cyprus has an enormous variety of dive sites for all diving levels. Off the coast of Limassol, there are many shallow, sandy bottomed dives that are perfect for beginners. Sites such as Jubilee Shoals, however, offer spectacular wall dives to a depth of 60m for more advanced scuba divers.
As previously mentioned, Cyprus hosts one of the most popular wreck dives in the world with the Zenobia Wreck in Larnaca Harbour. There is an abundance of wreck diving in Cyprus for all qualification levels. Though the Zenobia and the Lady Thetis begin at 18m, the Copper wreck and the Diana can be enjoyed by all levels of wreck diver. Located in shallower waters, they are perfect for beginners.
Due to the natural rock formations of this part of the Mediterranean, there are lots of accessible cave dives here. The Amphorae caves off the coast of Paphos offer not only amazing cave diving, but the opportunity to see an ancient underwater museum. Intact ancient Greek pots and other artefacts are visible on the seabed and embedded in the cave walls.
Night diving may not be for everyone - but it is a treat in Cyprus. Hunting octopus and free swimming morays are not an uncommon sight. During the warmer months, there is also bioluminescent plankton. Try turning off your torch for a few seconds and moving the water with your hand for your own personal light show!
As most of the dive sites in Cyprus are within easy reach of the coast, there aren’t many liveaboards operating. However, a good alternative to a liveaboard is a dive resort - as many dives, just with a bed on dry land! They also cater to a variety of budgets. The dive centres are more concentrated in busy areas like Larnaca Harbour, Paphos, Akrotiri Bay and Ayia Napa. However, there are some more off the beaten track for those wishing to escape the metropolis.
On the north side of the island, Kyrenia is the busiest and easiest to access city. It has several dive centres to choose from and there are lots of popular dive sites nearby. One of these is a WW2 bomber plane, located only a short distance from the beach!
What to see
The marine life in Cyprus is typical of a Mediterranean reef system. Its warm waters host wrasse, jacks, bream, moray eels, octopus, barracuda, stingrays, groupers and more. In the summer months, if you’re lucky, you might also spot green or loggerhead turtles! Certain dive sites such as Protaras near Ayia Napa are also well known for spotting cuttlefish and squid.
Because of the cooler water, the corals are generally very healthy. It boasts both hard and soft coral gardens including giant sponges and fans. The brightly coloured reefs attract lots of macro life including shrimps, crabs and nudibranchs - perfect for the underwater photographer!
Best places to dive
The Zenobia Wreck , Larnaca
The infamous Zenobia wreck in Larnaca Harbour, routinely listed in the top 10 wrecks to dive in the world. After sinking on its maiden voyage in 1980, it’s become one of the most famous wrecks in the world. With depths ranging from 16 to 42m, it can be catered to many levels - though having at least an advanced certification will allow you to see more. It is penetrable on all levels, including the bridge, the accommodation and the car deck - where over 100 vehicles are still hanging from the walls. For the more adventurous, the engine room can also be penetrated. Though with the entrance lying at 40m and no natural light - this is not one for the faint hearted!
Located off the coast of Limassol, The Lady Thetis is a smaller wreck and boasts schooling fish and some easy swim throughs.
Amphorae Caves - this dive site offers caves to explore and ancient Greek artifacts.
Green Bay - this shallow site is home to a feeding ground so you’re guaranteed lots of marine life. The underwater statues at the deepest point offer some great photo opportunities too!
The Caves - This cave complex lies near Ayia Napa. Another point of interest are the many amphora that lie on the seabed, a relic of the many ancient shipwrecks that occurred nearby.