Diving in Malta, Gozo, and Comino

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Miranda diving the Um el Faroud wreck.
Diving the Um el Faroud wreck, previously a Libyan oil tanker. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Today we are diving in Malta! An island country in the Mediterranean Sea and the world’s 10th smallest country. It consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino.

WHY ARE WE DIVING IN MALTA?

The Maltese islands are most famous for the abundance of shipwrecks. Malta boasts several historical wrecks as well as ships scuttled down that have created artificial reefs.

All 3 diveable islands of Malta (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) have fascinating wrecks, calm and clear waters, beautiful reefs, and unique cave and cavern formations.

Fun diving in Malta. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.
Fun diving on the P29 wreck. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

Learning to dive in Malta is a fantastic choice as the accessibility is incredible. There are dive sites on virtually every corner of the country and most are accessible by shore. Beginners and advanced divers alike can appreciate the diversity of diving that Malta has to offer!

HOW DO WE GET THERE?

Malta has one airport, Malta International Airport, and is only a few hours flying time from most mainland European countries. The national airline, Air Malta, operates flights to all major European airports as well as North Africa and the Middle East. Many low-cost airlines fly in and out of Malta (Ryan Air, EasyJet). Several Mediterranean ports also have direct ferries to the island.

WHICH DIVE SITES ARE MUST-SEE?

There are so many dive sites in Malta but here are a couple of my favourites. All of the dives listed are accessible by shore!

Diving the P29 wreck in Cirkewwa
Diving the P29 wreck in Cirkewwa. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

P29 Wreck

(34m Max depth, 24m Avg) is a very popular wreck in Cirkewwa. It was a German patrol boat scuttled down for divers in 2007.

The Blue Hole Gozo

(25m Max depth, 15m Avg) The Blue Hole Gozo is a sinkhole formed in limestone that has created a sheltered pool which is also popular with snorkelers. There are large boulders to explore where the famous Azure Window collapsed.

The Blue Hole Gozo in Malta.
The Blue Hole Gozo in Malta. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

Cirkewwa Arch

(25m Max depth, 15m Avg) is a beautiful underwater archway. On the way to and from the arch, there is plenty of reefs to explore and a couple of swim-throughs.

The Inland Sea Tunnel

(Beyond 40m Max, 15m Avg) is a spectacular dive on Gozo in which an inland lagoon connects to the sea through an 80m long tunnel, on the seaside of the tunnel, the reef walls can be enjoyed at a variety of depths. 

The Um el Faroud

(36m max, 20m avg) The Um el Faroud was a Libyan oil tanker scuttled down for divers in 1998. The wreck is 115m (377 ft) long and weighs 10,000 tons. For many advanced divers, this wreck is on their bucket list!

Bristol Beaufighter Plane Wreck

The Bristol Beaufighter plane wreck is located about 900m offshore St. Julian’s in Sliema. The airplane wreck lies upside down at a depth of 38 m on a sandy seabed. Most of the plane is buried in the sand. The wings and the main fuselage are quite intact, while both undercarriage frames with shredded tyres stick out behind the radial engines, and the port side propeller is still attached to the engine! 

TELL ME MORE

Shore diving is the most popular way of diving in Malta! Every dive center has the appropriate vehicles to load all passengers and gear and get them comfortably around the islands.

Depending on where you stay in Malta, all dive sites are reachable within an hour. The boat diving available in Malta is generally for deeper dive sites or technical dive sites. If you wish to dive any sites on Comino, you will go with a dive boat.

Miranda diving the Bristol Beaufighter plane wreck.
Miranda diving the Bristol Beaufighter plane wreck. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

DO I NEED ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT?

There is no equipment that you need to bring that cannot be rented from the dive centers. For exploring many of the wrecks and caverns, a torch will be necessary as well as appropriate exposure gear. If you are visiting in winter, bringing your own drysuit is a good idea. However, plenty of divers stick to a 7mm or layering a warm long-suit with a shorty on top.

Read More: Use our Wetsuit Temperature Guide for Scuba Diving

WHAT LEVEL CERTIFICATION SHOULD I BE?

As the diving around Malta is so diverse, any dive certification is fine to enjoy the beautiful Maltese waters.

If you have specific wrecks or sites in mind, you may be required to have an Advanced certification or Deep Diver certification.

Read More: Find out how long your scuba certification lasts.

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS?

Diving in Malta is available year-round and visibility remains fantastic all year.

The main tourist season is June through September meaning a very crowded island but also very warm water temperatures.

In summer the sea reaches 28 to 29° Celsius. My favorite diving months are late September through to November as the dive sites are less busy and the water is still relatively warm.

In the winter months, the water can be as cold as 15°C, however, in a drysuit or appropriate exposure gear, the water is still pleasant and you can have dive sites all to yourself!

Um el Faroud, the largest wreck in Malta. Split in the middle
Um el Faroud, the largest wreck in Malta. This shows the “crack” that splits the wreck into 2 pieces, bow and stern! Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND?

Most dive centers offer dive packages with the option of renting a full kit, or bringing your own gear, with the latter having a reduced price.

Two dives range between 85 and 100 Euros including full kit rental. If you want to go boat diving, there is usually an extra fee.

Open Water courses range from 420 to 500 Euros depending on the certification agency and dive shop chosen.

WHERE TO STAY IN MALTA FOR DIVING?

Malta has many hotel, hostel and AirBnb choices as does Gozo. Comino only has one hotel but most people do not head to Comino for an overnight stay. Staying in the busier cities (St. Julians, Sliema, Bugibba) is ideal for some but for those who prefer quiet, there are also great boutique hotels and guest houses in rural Malta and on Gozo.

Divers in the inland sea tunnel in Malta
Divers in the inland sea tunnel in Malta. Photo courtesy of Miranda Bowman.

WHERE DID YOU STAY?

I have lived in Malta for 2 years now and although rent is high in my opinion, the cost of living otherwise is quite low.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I would recommend diving in Malta to anyone looking to try diving or earn their first dive certification!

There are dive shops all over the country with many specializing in specific languages (French, German, Spanish, Polish and more).

For those already certified, there are incredible sites for every level to enjoy. If you are interested in wrecks, diving in Malta is truly the perfect place to visit.

WHAT DO WE DO ON SURFACE INTERVALS?

There is a ton to do and see in Malta when not underwater!

Because the islands are all so small, it is very easy to see the whole country in just a matter of days. I like to spend my dry days hiking (Victoria Lines is a must-do trek for any hikers!) and visiting the abundance of gorgeous beaches (Golden Bay, Ramla Bay, Riviera, St. Peter´s Pool) Malta has to offer.

For those interested in history, exploring the ancient cities (Mdina, Birgu, Senglea) and visiting the famous temples are a must. The Hypogeum in Malta is the only prehistoric underground temple in the world! Throughout the country, you will also find a variety of restaurants and cafes to try Maltese delicacies such as pastizzi, fenek, bigilla and ftira.

I am a PADI MSDT and SSI AOWI as well as a TDI Full Cave Diver. I have been diving for 7 years now, and professionally for 4. My passion in diving stems from my love for sharks and fascination with underwater cave systems. I am currently working on becoming a technical diving instructor with the goal of visiting some of Malta´s deeper historical wrecks. Before Malta, I was living and working as a diver in Mexico. I am originally from Toronto, Canada and visit my home country as much as I can!

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