Northern Region Diving
Much different than Southern Portugal's warm beaches, Northern Portugal is culturally vibrant and filled with historical monuments. This region is famous for its fine wine and excellent food. Nature lovers will enjoy the many national parks, and divers will be suprised by the abundance of shipwrecks and underwater canyons, swim-throughs, and unique rock formations found while diving in the Northern Region of Portugal.
Although famous for its port wine production, Porto is also home to some of the best dive sites in Northern Portugal. As one of the oldest European regions, Porto has a rich history evident from sites seen on land and the many shipwrecks found along the coastline.
Diving in the Northern Region
Scuba diving in the Northern Region of Portugal is not an activity most associate with this beautiful, culturally rich area. However, with this country's rich maritime past, there is an abundance of shipwrecks sitting just offshore, making for excellent wreck diving.
Portugal's Northern Region diving is not just for wreck divers. The sea bed is teeming with life, including a mix of anemones and gorgonians that provide a colorful backdrop for many different fish species, eels, octopus, and squid.
The best time to dive in the Northern Region is during the summer months when ocean conditions are calm, and the water is warmer. Temperatures, however, are still cool enough that you will want a wetsuit as it can fluctuate between 13C/55F and 16C/61F.
We recommend hiring a local guide as some dive sites can be challenging to find and potentially dangerous due to old fishing lines and heavy boat traffic. There are several Northern Region dive centers to choose from.
Best places to dive
Some of the best dive sites in Portugal's Northern Region are just off Porto's coast. Enjoy diving several shipwrecks and thriving reefs during the day and sipping on Porto's famous wine and eating excellent seafood at night.
Besides Porto, Matosinhos is where you can find most of Northern Portugal's best dive sites. Dive the U-1277, a sunken WWII submarine, and experience extraordinary marine life like giant jellyfish and massive octopuses.
Vilarinho das Furnas
Making the drive inland to the Vilarinho das Furnas reservoir is worth the trip. This freshwater lake dive lets you explore a submerged mountain village located in the reservoir.
The Batelao is one of the more popular wreck dives in Northern Portugal. Sitting in the sand at 27 meters deep, you can explore this huge barge thriving with life.
This is an easy wreck dive that is accessible from shore. A great dive for less experienced divers, the Barbosa is only 12 meters deep. This ship has a fascinating past as it ran aground trying to carry 100 Jewish refugees to Brazil while fleeing Germany.