Shore dive sites in Malta and Gozo.

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The quality of the water and the numerous dive sites found all around the Maltese islands makes diving in Malta a very popular activity on the islands. This popularity is enhanced by the fact that most dive sites are reachable from shore.

That makes it possible to dive in Malta all-year-round, even in the middle of winter. Below, we take a look at the top dive sites reachable from the shore, in Malta, Gozo and Comino.

Let’s dive in right away! (Pun very much intended 😉 )

The best shore dives around Malta

1) HMS Maori

2018.04 Malta, Diving, HMS Maori 02

The HMS Maori was a British WWII Destroyer, bombed and sunk on February 14th, 1942 in Valletta Grand Harbour.

The ship received a direct hit to the engine room, killing the one person who was on board at the time of the bombing. Since it was blocking the harbour, the Maori was towed out of the way.

The towing broke up the wreck into two parts, one of which is diveable. Although it is partly buried in sand, the swim through is relatively straightforward.

At around 14 metres depth, the Maori is considered a relaxed and easy dive.

  • WWII British Destroyer, bombed and sunk in 1942
  • 35 metres (115 ft) in length (when still intact)
  • Good visibility down to 10 metres (30 ft).
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Valletta 35.9026°N 14.5154°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (Destroyer)
  • Depth: 10-15 metres
  • Level: Easy

2) Żonqor Point tug boat

Sheltered from the northwest winds, the two tugboat dive has quickly become very popular with divers.

The relics, which for many years towed all sorts of ships around Valletta Grand Harbour, now sit upright on a sandy seabed 60 metres apart, at a depth of 22 metres.

The 20-metre long St Michael and the 16-metre long Tugboat 10 were stripped of all doors, windows and hazardous material before being sunk to make the wreck diver friendly. The wrecks have now created a large artificial reef that attracts all sorts of marine life.

  • 2 Tug boats sunk 60 metres apart with their bows towards the open sea
  • The wrecks lie north of the Bay of Marsaskala in 22 metres of water.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Marsaskala 35.8692°N 14.5732°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (Tug Boats)
  • Depth: 18-20 metres
  • Level: Easy

3) Delimara Point

Delimara Point

The dive at Delimara point consists of a beautiful reef hosting large shoals of fish, grassy areas, a cave and a vertical tunnel leading right back to the top of the reef.

If you’re lucky, you might spot the occasional octopus peeping out of holes and crevices. The underwater reef starts at 9 metres depth. A cave can be found at 20 metres and further down at 25+ metres, the reef rises up in a vertical cliff.

  • Delimara lies at the tip of a peninsula, past Marsaxlokk
  • This dive is for experienced divers
  • A small square rock indicates the diving area.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Marsaxlokk 35.8205°N 14.5614°E
  • Type: Reef (Cave)
  • Depth: 9-30+ metres
  • Level: Difficult

4) Tugboat 2

Tug 2 is an old tugboat that was scuttled to become a diving attraction off Exiles Point in Sliema in 2013.

The wreck of Tug 2 lies 20 metres below the surface in the Portomaso breakwater area. A variety of marine life has reclaimed the old boat since its sinking, which has become a very popular dive for all levels, both by day and also by night.

  • A 30-metre long, 9.5-metre high tugboat
  • Bought from Bezzina Marine Services Ltd and sunk in 2013.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Sliema 35.9211°N 14.4991°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (Tug Boat)
  • Depth: 12-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

5) Żurrieq Reef and Caves

The spectacular valley of Żurrieq has much to offer, both above and below the surface. This dive starts from the dock where tourist boats leave for the Blue Grotto trips.

In this dive you can see a variety of sea life, including colorful sponges, fish like grouper, bream, brown meagers, painted combers, damselfish, rainbow wrasse, saupe, goatfish, scorpion fish and even seahorses.

Starting from 10 metres, you can dive through an inlet before heading out towards the open sea. By following the natural contours of the reef to the right and dropping to between 12-30 metres one can find the ‘Bell tower cave’ which has 3 narrow entrances. Another cave can be found at 25 metres and has a much larger entrance than the Bell.

  • A reef dive with a chance to visit 2 caves
  • Theming with marine life
  • Be mindful of boat traffic on the surface.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Wied iż-Żurrieq 35.8196°N 14.4502°E
  • Type: Reef and caves
  • Depth: 10-30 metres
  • Level: Easy

6) Um El Faroud

Um El Faroud

The Um El Faroud is a wreck with a tragic history: Nine Maltese dock workers were killed when a gas explosion on board ripped through the ship in 1995.

Three years after the accident, the ship was taken to its current location and scuttled to serve as a dive site. As a memorial to those who died in the accident, a brass plaque was placed on the wreck.

The ship is a huge vessel at 10,000 tonnes and well worth the dive, but the swimming distance is relatively lengthy, which means that the time on the wreck is reduced to around 10-15 minutes if diving on a single cylinder.

The ship offers multiple swim-throughs around the decks and the bridge and the wheelhouse is accessible as well. There is plenty of sea life around, including barracuda, sea bream and scorpion fish.

  • 10,000 Tonne container ship
  • 110 metres (361 ft) in length
  • Lies at a depth of 36 metres (118 ft), with top of the funnel at 12 metres (40 ft)
  • and lowest deck at 25 metres (82 ft)
  • Good visibility down to 30 metres (100 ft).
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Wied iż-Żurrieq 35.8188°N 14.4492°E
  • Type: Shipwreck
  • Depth: 18-36 metres
  • Level: Medium

7) Għar Lapsi

The Għar Lapsi dive starts from shallow water, which makes this site ideal for beginners. In fact it is a very popular place for try dives. The dive starts right in a cove, sheltered from strong currents and winds and from there divers can visit a system of underwater caves, bays with sandy bottoms, rocks and large reefs.

Divers with more experience can explore a cave at 22+ metres containing an underwater crib with life sized metal figures of the nativity scene, which are now covered in colourful sponges and algae.

  • Għar is Maltese for ‘cave’, while Lapsi means ‘ascension’
  • Shallow, 40-metre long cave system
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Siġġiewi 35.8253°N 14.4224°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 10-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

8) Anchor Bay

The anchor at Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay is the location of the popular theme park ‘Popeye Village’, which is based on the preserved set of the 1980 film ‘Popeye’ starring Robin Williams.

The picturesque bay lies in the northwest of the island and is frequented all year round. Divers can enter the water from the jetty, then follow the left wall out of the bay towards the open sea

There’s a big cave reachable at just 10 metres depth. You can surface inside the cave where you can admire a dome shaped ceiling.

  • Popular training location, fairly easy dive
  • Two reefs opposite entry point and large cave
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Mellieħa 35.9596°N 14.3405°E
  • Type: Reef and cave
  • Depth: 10-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

9) P29 Patrol Boat

Sitting upright at a depth of 33 metres just off the Ċirkewwa reef, the wreck of the P29 was scuttled on 14th August 2007 as a diving attraction. The 52-metre ship was built by Peenewerft shipyard as a minesweeper for the East German navy, later used by the Armed Forces of Malta as a patrol boat in border control operations.

Entry into the water is easy via a set of stairs carved into the natural alcove of Susie’s Pool, a shallow training area in Ċirkewwa where waist-deep water leads into a plateau 6 metres deep. The wreck lies at the edge of a drop in the Ċirkewwa reef, with the top at about 12 metres below the surface.

Currents can get strong in this area, so be careful!

  • German built minesweeper, 52 metres in length
  • Sits upright with the top part at 12 metres depth.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Ċirkewwa 35.9885°N 14.3261°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (Patrol boat)
  • Depth: 18-34+ metres
  • Level: Difficult

10) Ċirkewwa Reef, Caves and Tunnels

This popular dive site lies just besides the Gozo ferry terminal in Ċirkewwa. It is frequented by beginners and experienced divers alike, by day and also by night. The dive starts with a shallow plateau of 10+ metres depth.

At 18 metres, you can find the entrance to a small cave in which divers placed a statue of the Holy Mary. Experienced divers may proceed down the plateau to 26 metres depth where there are several small caves and tunnels.

  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Ċirkewwa 35.9888°N 14.3282°E
  • Type: Reef, caves and tunnels
  • Depth: 10-24 metres
  • Level: Easy

11) Ċirkewwa Arch

Cirkewwa Arch

The Cirkewwa Arch is what remains of a large underwater cave that collapsed. It stands just before the drop-off at a depth of 18 metres, rising up to 6 metres below the surface.

The dive can start at the Ċirkewwa reef where skipjacks, amberjacks and barracuda are often encountered.

  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Ċirkewwa 35.9904°N 14.3276°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 10-20 metres
  • Level: Easy

12) Tug Boat Rożi

Tugboat Rozi
Located about 100 metres from the ferry terminal, the Rożi was scuttled in 1992 to serve as an underwater attraction for Captain Morgan’s Underwater Safari Tours, a local company that organises guided aquatic tours around the islands.

The Rozi was a 40-metre long harbour tug boat that operated in the Valletta Grand Harbour until 1992, when it was sold to Captain Morgan Cruises.

It now sits perfectly upright and fully intact on the sandy seabed, just off the Ċirkewwa reef. The upper deck of the wreck lies at 25 metres while the rudder is at a depth of 36 metres.

The engine and propellers were removed before sinking.

  • Built in Bristol, England in 1958 by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd. for Johnston Warren Lines Ltd. of Liverpool
  • Sold in 1969 to Rea Towing Co. Liverpool and renamed Rossgarth
  • Bought in 1972 by Mifsud Brothers of Malta Ship Towage Ltd
  • Sold in 1981 to Tug Malta and renamed Rożi.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Ċirkewwa 35.9898°N 14.3269°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (Tug boat)
  • Depth: 18-32 metres
  • Level: Difficult

13) L-Aħrax Tunnel and Reef

This exciting dive leads you through various swim-throughs onto a reef made up of large boulders, gullies and into a large cave 4 metres deep. Since the top part of the cave is exposed, forming a large circular rock formation, light penetrates inside. The tunnel is shallow and short, making it easy to navigate.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Mellieħa 35.9979°N 14.3679°E
  • Type: Reef and tunnel
  • Depth: 5-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

14) Exiles

Exiles Reef is a shallow reef dive that goes between 10 and 20 metres depth. It’s an ideal dive for beginners, training dives and night dives with its sandy areas, narrow gullies and overhangs.

It’s also a great place to enjoy a diversity of fish life and for the daring, the Tug 2 wreck lies very close by and is full of aquatic activity.

  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Sliema 35.9181°N 14.4987°E
  • Type: Reef and shipwreck
  • Depth: 5-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

15) Fortizza

A series of arches, overhangs, valleys, gullies, interesting rock formations, tunnels and caves full of marine life lie within easy access just off the main promenade in Sliema. With a maximum depth of around 15 metres, this is a shallow reef dive that offers plenty of interesting things to see for both beginners and experienced divers.

The Fortizza dive is also considered an excellent place for underwater photography.

  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Sliema 35.9151°N 14.5089°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 5-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

16) Qawra Point

With quick access from shore, this site offers a reef dive with a maximum depth of 20 metres where you can discover several big caves teeming with bigger fish, octopus and eels.

Barracuda, dentex, tuna and amberjacks are regulars in this area, which is a very popular site for beginner and intermediate level divers, with rich marine life and very clear waters.

At a distance from the shore, divers can visit L-Cave, Qawra Reef and the Imperial Eagle wreck with a statue of Christ (Kristu tal-Bahhara / Christ of the Sailors) nearby. These sites are usually dived from boat.

  • 20 Metres (65 ft) depth
  • Good visibility down to 20 metres (65ft)
  • Beautiful location with plenty of marine life
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Qawra 35.9589°N 14.4250°E
  • Type: Reef and caves
  • Depth: 5-36 metres
  • Level: Easy

17) Coral Gardens

Situated off the main promenade in Sliema, Coral Gardens is a shallow reef dive with valleys, canyons and gullies with some interesting rock formations and swim through tunnels for divers to explore, as well as excellent marine life. Coral Gardens reef is popular for underwater photography and navigational skills training.

With a maximum depth of around 15 metres, Coral Gardens is perfect for beginners.

  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Sliema 35.9131°N 14.5083°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 5-18 metres
  • Level: Easy

18) X127 Lighter ‘Coralita’

The X127 was one of 200 lighters built by the British for the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. A lighter is a type of flat-bottomed barge used to land troops on a beach.

The ship arrived in Malta in 1921 and was converted into a water carrier. It was sunk on 21 April 1942 after a torpedo hit her in the stern.

The X127 now lies upright on a slope. Her bow is at 5 metres depth and the stern at 22 metres.

For years, the wreck was thought to be an ordinary barge, and some even said it was a submarine wreck until an archaeological diver from the Isle of Wight identified the vessel’s historical significance.

  • X127 is a wartime wreck formerly known as the Carolita
  • It was sunk in 1942 and lies 22 metres underwater off Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour
  • Built in 1915 for transporting troops, horses and field guns.
  • Island: Malta
  • Location: Manoel Island (Gżira) 35.9009°N 14.5038°E
  • Type: Wreck (British Lighter)
  • Depth: 10-22 metres
  • Level: Easy

The Best Gozo Shore Dives

19) MV Karwela

The MV Karwela dive can be accessed from shore and also by boat. The 50 metre long ship sits pretty in an upright position on the sandy bottom at a depth of 40 metre. She has a beam of 8 metres and is 23 metres high.

The wreck has various openings and is safe to penetrate because obstacles were removed before scuttling. It also has multiple decks, so there is plenty to explore.

The MV Karwela was a passenger ferry built in West Germany in 1957. Her original name was M/S Frisia II. She was renamed MV Nord Paloma in 1977. In 1986, she was brought to Malta and renamed MV Karwela.

  • Passenger ferry, scuttled in 2006 as a diving attraction
  • Most popular wreck dive in Gozo
  • The wreck is upright at 40 metres depth.
  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: 36.0168°N 14.2864°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (passenger ferry)
  • Depth: 35-45 metres
  • Level: Medium

20) MV Cominoland

MV Cominoland -5050403

The MV Cominoland is a medium difficulty dive that lies very close to the MV Karwela relic. The wreck is safe to penetrate as it has a lot of openings. It lies on a sandy bottom at a depth of 40 metres in a perfectly upright position.

The MV Cominoland was originally a mine layer, built in England for the Royal Navy. It is 34 metres long with an 8 metre beam.

Her original name was Miner VI. E. Zammit & Sons bought the ship in 1966 to use it as a ferry boat. They renamed it Minor IV, then MV Minor Eagle and afterwards changed the name to MV Cominoland.

It offered ferry service between Valletta and the island of Comino. In 1980 she was renamed MV Jylland II, then sold in 1982 to Captain Morgan Cruises who renamed it MV Cominoland again.

  • Similar wreck to MV Karwela
  • MV Cominoland lies 100 metres away from the MV Karwela
  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: 36.0173°N 14.2873°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (WWII mine layer)
  • Depth: 30-45 metres
  • Level: Medium

21) MV Xlendi

The MV Xlendi wreck is an interesting dive. Going inside the wreck is considered dangerous and potentially unsafe because the wreck lies upside down on a sandy slope at a depth of 42 metres.

In fact, a number of signs have been placed on the bottom besides the wreck to warn divers. Marine life is abundant all around the area. A wreck of a car can be seen just a few metres away from the ship.

For 7 years, the MV Xlendi was used by by Gozo Channel to ferry cargo between Malta and Gozo. Originally, the ship was built to serve as a train ferry in 1955. It is 80 metres long, with a beam of 12 metres and height of 23 metres.

  • MV Xlendi was an 80 metre ferry, scuttled for scuba diving in 1999
  • The wreck lies upside down at 42 metres depth
  • It is strongly advised not to penetrate the wreck.
  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Għajnsielem 36.0163°N 14.2849°E
  • Type: Shipwreck (Passenger ship)
  • Depth: 30 – 42 metres
  • Level: Medium

22) Mġarr ix-Xini

The Mġarr ix-Xini dive is pretty straightforward with a very easy start from the shore at the end of a narrow inlet that shelters the area from rough North Westerly winds.

The sea around Mġarr ix-Xini teems with marine life, including John Dory, seabream, scorpionfish, small octopus and large cuttlefish. More experienced divers can also dive inside two caves towards the edge of the gorge.

During the rule of the Order of St John, the gorge served as a small harbour for galleys, from were the place got its name.

  • A dive easy accessible from the shore
  • Picturesque setting inside a gorge to the west of Mġarr Harbour.
  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Mġarr ix-Xini 36.0204°N 14.2711°E
  • Type: Cave, reef and wall
  • Depth: 5-45 metres
  • Level: Easy to Difficult

23) Xlendi Caves, reef & tunnel

xlendi_cave_004

Xlendi is very well known for its clear blue waters, attracting many tourists all year round.

There are many caves, small or large, on both sides of the bay. The main and most known caves are Caroline Cave, to the right of the bay and Catherine of Siena Cave, just outside the bay on the right side.

The tunnel dive is a shallow dive with a maximum depth of 10 metres. The 55 metre-long tunnel can be entered from inside the bay. The reef dive starts at the left, just as you’re exiting the bay. Divers can admire the diverse and rich underwater landscape where dentex, amberjacks, manta rays and groupers are frequently seen roaming around.

  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Xlendi 36.0298°N 14.2142°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 10-70+ metres
  • Level: Easy

24) Dwejra

blue hole

Dwejra is for many divers the best place for diving in all of Malta and Gozo.

The location is characterised by very clear waters, rich and diverse wildlife and spectacular underwater features.

Among the interesting things you can see underwater are an inland sea, a tunnel leading to the open sea, the reef where the Azure Window used to be, the Blue Hole, the Coral Gardens and a number of caves.
Inland Sea

The inland sea at San Lawrenz/Dwejra in Gozo is a small inland bay surrounded by tall cliffs and open sea access through a large cave. As you enter the 2 metre-deep water at the inland sea (easy to reach, convenient location) the first part of the dive takes you through an arch in the rock with clear blue water and colourful reef, inhabited by a variety of species of fish.
Blue Hole

The Blue Hole is perhaps the most beautiful dive in Gozo. It provides access to all the other dive sites in Dwejra. Once you dive out of the inland sea you will get to the Blue Hole, which is a 15 metre deep sink hole in the limestone where you can enter for a safety stop and then surface from.
Coral Gardens

The so called Coral Gardens are a shallow rocky basin a few dozens of metres wide and between 1 to 10 metres deep. You will find the Coral Gardens close to the Blue Hole, reachable via a series of small tunnels and narrow canyons. The place teems with abundant sea life, especially schools of damselfish and thicklip grey mullet. Starfishes, sea urchins, jellyfishes, morays and small groupers are also regulars in this area. The good quality of the light and the rich seabed make this spot very popular for underwater photography.
Big Bear

Big Bear is a large rock formation that can be explored all the way around. To the south of the reef are a number of large boulders surrounded by areas of sand and small rocks.
Crocodile Rock

Crocodile Rock is a small rocky mass jutting out of the water to the north of Fungus rock. It is called so since it resembles a crocodile. Some divers prefer to dive here by boat, but it can be also easily reached from shore.
Coral Cave

This spectacular cave is covered with brightly coloured coral. Shrimps are also very common inside this cave. Great care has to be taken not to take any chances and enter any of the tight spots in this cave. These can look very enticing but can become very precarious at times. It is advisable to stick to the open spaces in this cave.

  • Dive from a small inland bay through an underwater cave to the open sea
  • Depth of 60 metres max
  • Good visibility down to 30 metres.
  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: San Lawrenz, Dwejra 36.0525°N 14.1898°E
  • Type: Reef and caves
  • Depth: 2-40+ metres
  • Level: Easy to medium

25) Cathedral Cave/Blue Dome

Għar ir-Riħ (Cave of the winds), or more commonly known as Cathedral Cave or Blue Dome, is a dive site located between Reqqa Point and Forna Point on the north coast of Gozo.

To get to this dive site, you must walk down to the impressive valley of Għasri, with its shingle beach and crystal clear water encapsulated by tall cliffs on both sides.

Cathedral cave is 5 metres below the surface and leads to a domed vault, where you can surface and breathe freely. The seabed of the cave is covered in boulders and anemones. Encounters with plenty of fish and marine life are guaranteed.

  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Għasri 36.0811°N 14.2300°E
  • Type: Cave
  • Depth: 12-30+ metres
  • Level: Difficult

26) Reqqa Point

The Reqqa Point or Reqqa Reef dive in Għasri, Gozo is one great dive with plenty to see and explore. The limpid blue waters and exquisite marine life are a bonus for any diver willing to take the plunge.

Groupers, dentex, rays, barracudas, lobsters and morays are only a few of the species you’ll likely encounter in these areas. Although it’s a bit hard to find the dive site and to get down to the water, it surely is worth your while. Just be mindful that you’ll have to walk quite a distance in your full gear. And whatever you do, don’t go in strong winds.

Among the places of interest in this area there are Shrimp Cave, Billinghurst Cave which is one of the biggest caves in Gozo with its colourful sponges, coral and crustaceans, Anchor Reef and Bottleneck Cave.

  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Marsalforn 36.0817°N 14.2365°E
  • Type: Reef and cave
  • Depth: 20-70+ metres
  • Level: Difficult

27) Double Arch

Double Arch

The arches are 200 metres offshore, just outside the salt pans in Marsalforn and the topmost part of the reef is at 15 metres of depth.

There are also some small caves near the arch and a bigger cave further out. Big barracudas, groupers, dentex, and amberjack are frequent visitors of these arches.

  • Two natural rock arches on top of each other give this dive its name
  • The Double Arch dive ranges from 15 metres to 45 metres.
  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Marsalforn 36.0844°N 14.2472°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 15-45 metres
  • Level: Easy

28) Ras il-Ħobż

Ras il-Ħobz, also known as the Middle Finger, is a rocky pinnacle rising out from the seabed. The water around the Middle Finger is beautiful and there is plenty of sea life in the area, including amberacks, dentex and moray eels.

The rock splits in two near the summit where you can sometimes spot lobsters, slipper lobsters and octopus. Crayfish and hermit crabs populate the cracks, along with various types of corals.

  • Island: Gozo
  • Location: Għajnsielem 36.0169°N 14.2784°E
  • Type: Reef
  • Depth: 20-100+ metres
  • Level: Easy

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