The 9 best diving and snorkeling spots in Crete

Blue Cave

Why not combine your discovery of this beautiful Greek island with an underwater adventure? Discover our selection of the best diving spots in Crete!

The long island of Crete in southern Greece is surely one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. An incredible destination for its landscapes and heritage, the island boasts some magnificent beaches and bays. With its pleasant climate for much of the year, it’s also a superb place for diving and snorkeling. Water temperatures range from 19°C in May to 22°C in October, with a peak of 25°C in August.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned diver, there’s plenty to do on this beautiful island in the eastern Mediterranean. So to help you on your adventures, we’ve selected some of Crete’s best diving and snorkeling spots.

The best diving spots

1. El Greco cave

Grotte El Greco

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SHIN-db

  • Departure point: Agia Pelagia generally
  • Water temperature: 21°C on average
  • Level: advanced
  • Fauna and flora: moray eels, lobsters, groupers, tuna

Accessible only to experienced divers, this diving spot in Crete is undoubtedly one of the most impressive. Here you’ll discover a superb underwater cave some 30 meters long. Here, you’ll admire astonishing stalagmites and stalactites, as well as beautiful lights filtering through the rock. The depth of the cave varies between 20 and 40 meters. A flourishing underwater fauna makes its home here. Lobsters, groupers, tuna and moray eels can all be seen.

2. Mononaftis

Mononaftis

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  • Departure point: Mononaftis
  • Water temperature: 22°C on average
  • Level: beginner to advanced
  • Fauna and flora: octopus, barracuda, moray eels, scorpion fish, stingrays

This incredible bay is a superb diving spot in Crete. Accessible to beginners, you can admire a rich marine fauna. The spot is also home to some charming reefs, canyons and beautiful underwater caves. There’s something for every taste and level. Rays and dolphins sometimes even cross the waters of Mononaftis! If you’re lucky, you may even spot one. As for depth, the spot goes down to 35 meters.

3. Grotte des Crevettes

Grotte des Crevettes crète

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aleksandra Tokarz

  • Departure point: variable
  • Water temperature: 21°C on average
  • Level: advanced
  • Fauna and flora: mainly shrimp, local flora, sometimes tuna

This diving spot in Crete is only accessible to experienced divers. Located off the coast of Hersonissos, this cave extends to a depth of 40 meters. As the name suggests, you can observe hundreds, if not thousands, of shrimp. Occasionally, other marine species come along too. For example, you’ll be able to admire a few large tuna pacing the cave. If you’re up to it, this dive in Crete is not to be missed!

4. Messerschmitt Me-109 wreckage

Épave du Messerschmitt Me-109

Photo credit: Shutterstock – frantisekhojdysz

  • Departure point: Anissaras
  • Water temperature: 21°C on average
  • Level: advanced
  • Fauna and flora: groupers, moray eels

The wreck of the Messerschmitt is surely one of Crete’s most famous and popular diving spots. This German fighter plane dates back to the Second World War. It crashed 800 meters off the island’s coast.

The wreckage of the German aircraft lies at a depth of between 23 and 29 metres. The cockpit is almost completely intact. Several fragments of the aircraft lie around it, including the tail, the propeller and one of the wheels. Shattered in the crash, these fragments lie just beside the wreckage. Local flora and fauna have also taken refuge in the aircraft over the decades.

5. Blue Cave

Blue Cave

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Piotr Krzeslak

  • Departure point: Agia Pelagia
  • Water temperature: 21°C on average
  • Level: beginner to advanced
  • Fauna and flora: white bream, shrimp, lobster from April to June, various corals

The Blue Cave is another exceptional diving spot in Crete. Depending on the depth, it can accommodate and delight both beginners and experienced divers. The cave itself is 20 meters wide and 60 meters long. Maximum depths range from 22 to 30 meters.

Divers can admire a variety of fish and coral. In the holes in the cave wall, you can even spot shrimp and other underwater species. Don’t forget your flashlight!

The best snorkeling spots

As well as diving in Crete, you can also go snorkeling! This island in the eastern Mediterranean is home to some superb beaches and rocky coves to explore with fins, mask and snorkel. Here are some of the best snorkeling spots in Crete.

6. Matala Beach

Matala Beach

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Georgios Tsichlis

  • Departure point: Matala Beach
  • Water temperature: 21°C on average
  • Fauna and flora: various fish, starfish, anemones, rainbow fish, loggerhead turtles

Located in the south of the island, Matala Beach is a superb snorkeling spot in Crete. This beach of fine sand and pebbles is 300 meters long. However, one whole side of the beach is occupied by a huge rock. Here you can observe a wealth of underwater flora and fauna. You may even come across a few loggerhead turtles. Isolated but touristy, this part of the island is also a very pleasant place to stay in any season.

7. Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach

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  • Departure point: Elafonisi Beach
  • Water temperature: 22°C on average
  • Fauna and flora: various medium-sized fish

Located on the west side of the island, Elafonisi Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots in Crete. It extends over the beach and the neighboring island of the same name. The beach is so beautiful that it attracts over two thousand visitors a day in high season! So expect to see a lot of visitors during the summer months.

Fortunately, you can avoid the crowds during your snorkeling session by moving a little further away. You’ll soon discover why this spot is one of the best on the island: exceptional visibility at depths of up to 30 meters, gentle currents, a wide variety of fish of all sizes, volcanic fissures and interesting rock formations. A Natura 2000 nature reserve, rare loggerhead turtles sometimes use the island of Elafonisi to lay their eggs. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of one!

8. Kedrodasos Beach

Kedrodasos Beach

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  • Departure point: Kedrodasos Beach
  • Water temperature: 22°C on average
  • Fauna and flora: various fish, seahorses, scorpionfish

Located just a stone’s throw from Elafonisi Beach, Kedrodasos Beach is much quieter and more peaceful than its neighbor. This wide stretch of fine sand is bordered by rocks and small cliffs. Perfect for snorkeling in Crete.

Protected from the wind, the beach also boasts calm waters. Underwater rock formations are home to large schools of fish. A variety of species can be observed, including scorpionfish, which should be avoided because of their painful spices. If you’re lucky, you may also come across a few seahorses.

9. Koutalas Beach

Koutalas

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Xydas Yiannis

  • Departure point: Koutalas Beach
  • Water temperature: 22°C on average
  • Fauna and flora: starfish, anemones, rainbow fish, seahorses

Located below the charming village of Kokkino Chorio, this little-known beach is a superb snorkeling spot in Crete. This narrow bay is surrounded by rocky cliffs. With few visitors, you’ll have plenty of room to explore the seabed and its flora and fauna. To do so, head as far as possible into the bay. The crystal-clear waters generally offer good visibility down to 20 meters. You’ll be able to spot starfish, anemones, rainbow fish and even seahorses!