Reading Time: 15min. / Max. Diving Depth: 40m
Central Europe isn’t famous for the greatest diving but still it is pretty unique in the world. We put together our 10 best Dives in Central Europe. Happy discovering! 🙂
Diving in Verzasca – Ticino/Switzerland
Transparency in shades of green and blue in front of polished granite. In the clear waters one has the feeling to recognize fairy tale figures in the rock formations.
And there are also turtles in the Verzasca river course. In the Swiss canton of Ticino – carved into stone by the primal power of water. Flora and fauna are rather sparse. Some gobies and trout prefer the corners of the Verzasca, where it bubbles and pulls. That is where divers should take off their equipment for safety reasons, to get to the next diving site on foot.
The Verzasca is a water that requires good condition and diving experience. You have to climb to the entrances. After heavy rainfall, the current in the river can sometimes become unpredictable. We recommend the entrance at the Roman bridge near Lavertezzo. You can park there and climb below the bridge left or right into the gurgling mountain river. The entrance at Ristorante Posse is also popular. It offers accommodation and a bottle-filling service. But be careful! Here is the outlet of a basin – and there is a danger of suction. A safety rope should always be part of the diving equipment.
Arrival: Best by car to Lugano in Ticino. The distance from Basel is about 270 kilometres.
Diving in the Green Lake – Styria/Austria
The view under the water surface is breathtaking! You can see up to 100 meters, in the background a deep blue stripe. Lighter blue envelops the diving buddy. The whole scenario reflected in the water surface. The colour is reminiscent of glacial ice – why is it called the
Green lake, not “Blue lake”?
This gem, situated at an altitude of 780 metres, is not too well known in diving circles. In autumn you won’t find it at all. Then you can hike over alpine pastures instead. Where descents were possible just weeks before.
The Magic of the Green Lake
Big rocks, a few sunken trees, only little flora and fauna. The magic of this freshwater above the village of Tragöß lies in its farsightedness. Large chalk areas reflect the sunlight. Even when the sky is overcast the mountain gemstone stands out with its beguiling blue. The constant play of colours makes the lake a must for underwater photographers. The photographer as well as the model should always pay attention to good buoyancy. Otherwise the attraction of the Green Lake will be lost quickly due to the fine chalk mud on the bottom.
Arrival: Via Salzburg and the Südautobahn towards Graz. Pass Schladming and continue to Leoben and Bruck an der Mur. From here it is best to follow the signs to Tragöß/Hochschwab.
Diving in the Walchensee – Bavaria/Germany
Cold water, steep cliffs, overhangs and great depths. Those who dive in the Walchensee face many a challenge. The 802 metre high mountain lake, about 80 km south of Munich, appeals above all to the “free climbers” among divers. At the gallery one hangs on a spectacular undersea steep wall, that drops vertically to a depth of 200 metres. Climbing ropes? No way. The hydrostatic balance in the fresh water must be enough.
Also for Beginners
But it doesn’t have to be the difficult to conquer gallery. Whose light-flooded regions are ideal for eel rods, perch, pike and char. On its 16 square kilometres, the Walchensee also offers suitable terrain for beginners. From gently sloping sandy ground to scree slopes to areas with abundant vegetation. And it has another plus. Almost all divespots are easy to reach by car on the shore road. The tedious carrying of the diving equipment is no longer necessary. Parking cars can also be seen in the lake. You decide which vehicle you like better. The post-war Ford near the gallery or the old VW Beetle at the Hackl?
Arrival: From Munich on the A 95 to Garmisch- Partenkirchen until exit Sindelsdorf. Then take the B 472 in the direction of Bichl/Bad Tölz. Continue in the direction of Kochel am See. In Kochel follow the main road and go straight on over a winding road uphill to Walchensee.
Diving in Soca – Slovenia
It doesn’t always have to be the ocean. Even in some rivers you can dive fantastically, as long as the water is clear.
The Soca is a precious stone among river divers at Bovec. She makes her way flat over the gravel bed. Sometimes whispering, sometimes rushing wildly through a gorge. And changes colour like a chameleon. Sometimes in emerald green, sometimes in turquoise blue. Bizarre rock formations characterize the underwater landscape especially in the “lower gorge”.
The entrance to the approximately 70 meter long diving route is from the opposite side of the canyon. In several hairpin bends you can let yourself be driven by the current in the maximum six meter deep water. Until the gorge ends at a shallower point and you can get out comfortably again. During the rapid “river trip” you might come across a rare trout species, the Marmorata. It was already considered extinct. But one discovered some specimens of this species in higher tributaries of the Soca. With the help of offspring it is hoped to save this fish. Which is conspicuous above all for its imposing size and marbling, from extinction.
Arrival: By car to Villach/Carinthia, further to Tarvisio/Italy and over the Predil pass to Bovec in Slovenia. We continue to Podklanec and the Lepena Valley.
Diving in Fernstein- and Samaranger Lake – Tyrol/Austria
Diving in Fernsteinsee – Diving in fairyland.
In the lake an island with castle ruins. On the shore a castle hotel where you can stay princely. And under water crystal worlds, miraculously like castles in the air. At an altitude of 1050 metres you float above sunken tree trunks. Their branches decorated “in the natural look” – with slime algae. The 4 star hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee watches over the access to the crystalline wonder world. Because both Fernsteinsee and the neighbouring Samaranger See are owned by the hotel. Diving permits are only granted to the guests of the hotel. Understandable, as both lakes are part of a nature reserve that must be preserved.
Watch your Buoayncy
Water protection means correct buoyancy for divers. If you can’t do that, you’re not in the right place in Fernstein- and Samaranger See. So training is generally not offered there. At least 50 descents must be in your logbook. The ten degrees water temperature does not invite to the training, anyway. Certified divers can explore the two jewels located at the Fernpass in North Tyrol in spring and autumn. Best equipped with a warm hull. 😉 The hotel isn’t open from November to the end of March. Dives with it off limits.
Arrival: The See-Duo is located directly on the Fernpass in North Tyrol. Easily accessible via the A 95 from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Then via the Bun- desstraße in the direction of Landeck to the Fernpass.
Diving in the Kulkwitzersee – Saxony/Germany
Good visibility all year round. Comfortable entrances and a good infrastructure with diving bases straight on the water. Also an attractive recreation area with green areas and forest. A campsite right next door. There the diver’s heart beats faster. Hardly any other body of water in Germany can boast so many plus points as the Kulkwitzersee in Saxony. Also the attractions of the underwater world are not inferior. If you go into the water at the east shore at the diving base Delphin, you will quickly come across a big anchor. There are also technical legacies from the time the water was created. Railways and wagons remind us of the times of brown coal open-cast mining. The mine operated on this terrain until the 1960s.
The Piper Seneca II Wreck
More recent is the wreck of a six-seater Piper Seneca II, which was sunk into the “Kulki” in 2002. The relic rests at a depth of 18 metres. You can also get there from the practice platforms of the Dive Center.
With so much technical stuff one forgets that one actually wanted to see fish. Fat grass carp, vendace, eels, perch and tench are abundantly represented. Also the flora in the shallow water area with picturesque candelabra algae and spawning weed is a feast for the eyes.
Arrival: On the A9 motorway take the Leipzig West/ Merseburg exit. Continue on the B 181 to Leipzig. Then on to Lau- sen. At Gasthaus Lausen turn right towards the lake.
Diving in the Baltic Sea – Germany
At the latest at your lead quantity you will notice that dives in the Baltic Sea are almost like descents into fresh water.
The salt content of the water surface before Rügen is just one percent. In the eastern and northern parts even below 0.5 percent. Besides, the Baltic Sea offers “a sea of attractions”. Especially for wreck fans. Take Rügen, for example. Germany’s largest island is home to countless ship relics from different eras.
The best kept Secret
But, marine archaeologists have laid their hands on some of them by banning diving. They guard the GPS positions of many located wrecks like the apple of their eye. For example you can dive the ferry “Jan Heweliusz” without restriction. It lies east of Sassnitz.
Further west in Mecklenburg Bay you should take a closer look at the wreck of the “Waltraut Behrmann”. And also the extreme west of the Baltic Sea offers a wreck at a depth of nine metres, which even beginners can visit. In general, you should also check out the flora and fauna of the wreck.
and fauna more closely under the magnifying glass. Around Fehmarn, the sea carnations are up to 25 centimeters in size next to the barnacles.
and mussels dominating. In the Wismar bay, they are already significantly smaller and less often. East of Rügen they almost do not appear anymore. The Baltic Sea is extremely diverse. Not only as far as their different salt content is concerned. 😉
Arrival: To Fehmarn: via Lübeck to Oldenburg/ Holstein in the direction of Puttgarden. Further over the Fehmarnsund bridge to the island of Fehmarn. To Rügen via Rostock and Stralsund.
Diving the Chalk Lake from Hemmoor – Germany
Between Cuxhaven and Stade in Lower Saxony. The chalk lake is located in the village of Hemmoor. The water is very popular with North German divers. Because far and otherwise the diving infrastructure looks rather weak. And this water wasn’t there by nature either. But it was created by man. In former times the formerly 120 meter deep and 50 hectare large chalk pit from 1886 was used for mining.
When the mine closed in 1981, it began to fill with clean spring water. So fast that the dismantling of the conveyor systems and the refilling of the mine was not possible. So today divers can still float between sunken industrial monuments. And admire old concrete mines from the time of open-cast mining. Mostly with good visibility.
Today, with a maximum depth of 60 metres, it also offers an attractive scenery in other respects. Especially the area of sunken trees and bushes offers photogenic views. But also the plateaus and steep banks in the front part of the lake should be explored extensively.
Arrival: To Hemmoor in Lower Saxony. The village lies between Stade and Cuxhaven. An old windmill without wings on a small hill points the way to the neighbouring Kreidesee.
Diving in Zeeland – Netherlands
Zeeland lies in the southwest of the Netherlands. A province with a beautiful landscape. But also with its diving possibilities in the Grevelinger Meer. A calm water. As well as in the tidal Oosterschelde. Both areas are the result of the heavy storm surge of 1953, when the then still open arms of the sea were diked.
The Grevelinger sea is ideal for beginners and current inexperienced divers. Most places are accessible from land. As a rule, the initially stony seabed falls moderately into the depths. Due to the hardly existing water exchange and the supply of fresh water a biotope of its own has developed here.
A lot to see
Mussel and sea grass fields dominate the scenery in the shallow water area. Thousands of crabs and shrimps crawl along between them. Small fish, feather and starfish can be found everywhere. But also sea carnations, anemones and sea squirts. The most famous places are Scharendijke, in Den Osse or at the Gemaal of Dreischor. There, stingfish, starfish and hermit crabs belong to the companions of the diver. Visibility can vary greatly. Experience has shown that spring and late autumn are the best times to enjoy a view of ten metres and more.
Diving in the Oosterschelde means changing tides, currents, darkness and sometimes poor visibility. But this partially open estuary is full of life. Including fantastic macro scenes, encounters with cuttlefish and lobster in early summer. As with other inhabitants of the North Sea. Spectacular descents at wrecks and the mighty pillars of the Zeeland bridge underline the attractiveness of this water.
Arrival: Via various motorway connections to Holland/ Zeeland. Continue on the island after your own planning and booking.
Diving Lake Constance – Germany
With 539 square kilometres, Lake Constance is Europe’s third largest lake. It is divided into Ober-, Unter- and Überlinger See. And borders on Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The deepest point of the lake is 254 metres. It lies between Friedrichshafen and Utwill. This makes it off limits for “normal” recreational divers. Just like the infamous Teufelstisch. A rock needle in the Überlinger See that reaches close to the surface of the water. The wreck of the “Jura”, which sank in 1864, can be explored. But one should have enough diving experience. The paddle steamer relic demands a lot from the divers. It is standing upright on the ground at a depth of 40 metres between Bottighofen and Münsterlingen. Descent in open water with the help of a buoy and anchor rope. Cold water, darkness, bad visibility. All by no means ingredients for easy diving.
Also the steep walls, caves and rocks in Lake Constance should only be for advanced divers. Those who travel to the “Swabian Sea” with little diving experience do not have to be banished to ‘s “dry dock”. The local bases also know divespots for beginners. In shallower depths with a considerable flora and fauna. So it doesn’t have to be the “Jura”. Aalrutte, trout, carp and Co. are also happy to receive visitors from the “Oberwelt”.
Arrival: Via the motorway to Lindau. On the northern shore of Lake Constance, the B 31 winds its way from Lindau towards Überlingen. From there the B 34 and B 33 lead to Radolfzell and Constance.