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Need help Deciding between Southern France, Italian Riviera, Malta, British Isles & Spanish Islands

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Diver Nicholas, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Diver Nicholas

    Diver Nicholas Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: UK/Australia
    Hi i'm a PADI Open Water Diver with SSI Deep and SSI Night, I've got 71 dives and fairly new only 1.5 years since I became certified.

    Dive History - Poor Knights Island NZ. Fakarava and Rangiroa FP. Amedee Island and Lifou NC. Yongala wreck and GBR Aus. Lembeh, Bunaken, Derawan islands and Komodo Islands Indonesia. SS Coolidge Vanuatu. Viti Levu Fiji. Guadalcanal SI.

    Things I like
    The Exceptional stuff. Love muck diving. Hunting around with a torch and looking into hidden places. Great visibility. Interesting topography. Biodiversity. Colorful coral. Sponges. Gorgonians!! Walls. Nudies. Cephalopods!!
    Crustaceans. Ugly/Creepy/Unusual fish (frog fish, groupers, big wrasse, lion fish, flat fish, stone fish, morays etc). Big silvery muscular fish (Tuna, Mackerel, Barracuda, Trevally or schools or these!). Reys!!

    This would be a purely diving holiday as I've not dived since October and want to keep up my hobby. But a destination that has not only diving to offer would be a plus. I'm looking to do this in either End of Feb, March, April or May. Coldest I've dived is 14 degrees with a 7mm.

    Based on my travel budget of a £60 return flight, and based on my research on this forum (which has been an excellent source of information) i've decided i'm going to make a selection from the below choices.

    French Riviera Marseille, Les Calanques - Strong contender, Love the food, culture, Chateaus, plus there's hiking, and know a tiny bit of the language. But I'd have to fly into Lyon and take the train to Marseille.
    Rhuys Peninsula, Brittany - very cheap plane tickets

    Around Naples - Pizza, History, Pompeii, Hiking vesuvius, looking like a top contender.
    Portofino Marine Park
    Cinque Terre marine reserve
    Giglio Island

    Medes Islands
    Balearic Islands - Ibiza looks good
    Canary Islands Fuerteventura and El Hierro - look very good, volcanic islands is there Muck diving?

    British Isles
    Kilkee, Ireland
    Isle of Man

    Malta - Although I'll need a lot of convincing as it seems to be the place to be for wrecks not so much on fish or coral.

    Just looking for input from this forum? Which place matches some of my criteria best? And also what's your favourite out of the list and why?

    Thank you
  2. Berend

    Berend New

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Utrecht
    Hello Nicholas,
    I dove once in the South of France and swam there numerous times and the main thing about the mediterranean sea is that there are not that many fish and coral colonies are slim to none as you might know. The sea is usually too deep, close to the shore in order for successful colonies to establish. However if you love vast underwater landscapes with amazing rock constructions then the South of France is a good choice. Moreover I lived in the Cote D'azur for half a year and the landscape on land is truly stunning. Perfect for hikes and the french cuisine is considered on of the best. Regarding Spain, Ibiza might be expensive and therefore Mallorca or minorca might be a good alternative.

    I hope that you will have an amazing holiday
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  3. Diver Nicholas

    Diver Nicholas Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: UK/Australia
    Thank your contribution and for the well wishes! Funny I'm actually applying to study at your local University.

    Yes I've heard that coral and fish in the Med are sparse. Although considering this, I have seen some pretty good videos on you tube (which i've included) of divers diving in the inlets of Calanques National Park and around Cassis. I think I'll watch a few travel documentaries and go to the library and take out some travel guides and see what each of my options have to offer regarding other attractions. I do love Hiking though. And if I were to go to the Cote Dázur it would involve flying to Lyon first then taking the train down, so It would be nice to try Lyon's legendary cuisine as well. But yes southern France, Naples are top contenders at the moment. Along with Canary Islands the diving there looks good and they are a lot of nice hiking routes, however it would be expensive to island hop.

  4. chrisch

    chrisch Solo Diver

    I have dived round Cassis and the calanques and I think you will be disappointed to be honest. I love Ile Planier and the wrecks, but the wildlife is sparse. Port-Cros is better known for wildlife, but I have not yet managed to dive there. I have also dived Portofoino and there isn't much fish life there either. Brittany has some very interesting and varied wildlife but the sea will be cold in spring and I think you might want a drysuit. The Medes islands are good and there is a fair bit of life there. I have dived Menorca and it is not as good but does have superb vis and some cave features that might be interesting.

    Where are you flying from? I see you have passed over Malta but have you looked at Gozo? It's worth a look if sea life is more your thing.

    If you are keen on France have a bit of a research on the area round Port-Cros (see: Parc National de Port-Cros - Lavandou Plongée)

    We are based in Montpellier and for walking the Cévennes take some beating (see: The Cevennes National Park)

    Don't forget a current (no more than a year) medical cert for France (advised for Spain too).
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  5. Vicko

    Vicko Contributor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Croatia
    Consider Croatia. Northren part has all that you are looking for (Krk is reaaly nice)
    I work in a dive center on Vis island, thats closer to the South, but we are a deeper diving location most of the dives are 30+ meters. World class diving though.

    EireDiver606 and Diver Nicholas like this.
  6. Diver Nicholas

    Diver Nicholas Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: UK/Australia
    Hello Vicko,

    Oh yes i'm well aware of Croatia. I've come across a lot of praise for it on this forum. And definitely know of Krk and will now add Vis to my to do list. Is Susak good as well? This time I won't be able to visit, as flights are too expensive from my local airport and I am limiting myself to spend under 60 GBP return. But as you can see it's on my list of places I want to dive in europe. The stuff I've seen in your videos is just what i'm looking for.
  7. Diver Nicholas

    Diver Nicholas Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: UK/Australia
    Hello Chrisch,
    I'll look into Port Cross, just had a quick look on on google images and it does look impressive. I'm shocked that there's not much fish at Portofino, as I've been told it's a marine reserve. Yes I won't be doing Brittany, Ireland and Isle of Man as they will all be drysuit temperature until August. Thanks I'll also look into Medes Islands. Any of the other Balearics good or are they all similar in quality?
    I'd be flying from Midlands or Birmingham, Malta does look interesting now, as I got a travel guide on the place today and due to its size it seems i'd be able to get a lot done in a short time, plus the actual place looks quite interesting.
  8. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 Public Safety Diver

    I strongly advise against going to Naples. One of the worst crime rates in Europe It’s a kip. Go to somewhere like France or Malta.
  9. George Ivanov

    George Ivanov Registered

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St.Petersburg, Russia
    In France I'd rather go for a Port Cros. The diving there is OK, but you depend on the weather. Not cheap.
    In Italy - Giglio is good for deep deco dives with at least normoxic trimix. The shallow part is not very good. Good logistics to/from Rome.
    Spain - Medes isles are good for 3-5 diving days, more or less protected from the sea, not deep, good marine life. No wrecks. Dollar friendly.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
    Diver Nicholas likes this.
  10. CamC

    CamC Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Isle of Man
    You'll be looking at a 7mm with all the trimmings for the Isle of Man at pretty much any time of the year. I've dived Malta in February and found a 5mm was more than sufficient.
    Diver Nicholas likes this.

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