Scandinavia, with its crystal-clear waters and diverse landscapes, has fantastic scuba diving, with something for all dive preferences. From the fascinating corals of Denmark to the mystique of Norway’s underwater caves and Finland’s Ojamo Mine, this region is a paradise for adventurous divers. Picture yourself freediving with majestic orcas, exploring beautiful shipwrecks, or even going ice diving. Read on to discover the wonders that make scuba diving in Scandinavia an absolute must.
Top 10 dives in Scandinavia
1. Freediving with orcas, Norway
In the Arctic waters surrounding Tromsø, you can go freediving with orcas. These magnificent creatures visit the coastal areas off Tromsø during the Arctic winter as herring migrate there in vast numbers.
While the water might be chilly at around 1°C, the thrill of being in the presence of orcas makes it worthwhile. There are dedicated orca expeditions you can join and you also have the chance to witness the Northern Lights and spot humpback whales.
2. Ojamo Mine, Finland
Finland’s Ojamo Mine, a labyrinth of submerged tunnels with crystal-clear waters, presents a unique freshwater diving experience. Mining operations were discontinued at Ojamo in the mid-1960s, after which groundwater slowly filled the entire mine. Diving there is a mind-blowing experience and attracts cave divers from all over Finland.
The shallowest tunnel at Ojamo starts at around 28m and some tunnels penetrate for almost 2 km. There are also enormous chambers, with many tools and remnants of the mining days. Ojamo Mine can be dived all year, with a constant temperature of 4°C in the tunnels and the open water warming up to around 20 °C in summer.
3. Ice diving, Finland
Scandinavia’s icy winters offer a unique opportunity to take the plunge and go ice diving. There are lots of places to go ice diving throughout Scandinavia including in Finland. The Ojamo Mine is popular for ice diving, as is Lake Päijänne, the second-largest lake in Finland. The UNESCO Rokua Geopark near Oulu is also a great choice, with numerous features to explore besides the main body of water.
In Norway, there is a submerged village beneath the ice at Lake Lygnstøylsvatnet. Winter transforms this location into a surreal underwater museum that experienced ice divers can explore.
4. Saltstraumen whirlpool, Norway
Saltstraumen is home to one of the world’s strongest tidal currents, where the water can move at speeds of up to 20 knots or about 10 meters per second! This phenomenal whirlpool attracts numerous fish and seabirds and you can experience the full power of it during a boat tour. Alternatively, if you’re an experienced diver, you can go drift diving there.
5. Lillebælt Strait, Denmark
Denmark’s Lillebælt strait offers easy scuba diving for all experience levels, with numerous dive sites and also snorkeling trails. Explore rocky reefs covered in orange sponges, spectacular wall dives, and sunlit seaweed beds with diverse marine life. Summer is ideal for this popular dive spot, with water temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C.
6. Pluragrotta Cave, Norway
If you’re an experienced cave diver in search of a new adventure, delve into the heart of Norway’s subterranean world at Pluragrotta Caves. This 3-kilometer-long underwater cave system is the deepest cave in Northern Europe. It has spectacular marble formations created over millions of years and attracts cave divers from around the world.
7. DS Frankenwald, Norway
Descend into the depths of Sognefjord to discover one of the world’s best wreck dives, the DS Frankenwald. This 122-meter-long German freighter sank in 1940 and is in remarkably good condition, with upright masts, steering gear, and easy access to the interior. Considered to be Norway’s most beautiful shipwreck, the DS Frankenwald has enough features to warrant multiple dives there.
8. Ransvik, Sweden
Head to Ransvik, Sweden, for a peaceful diving experience off a small, sheltered bay. The bay’s large rocky boulders gradually give way to a sandy bottom at just 13m deep. There is abundant sea life at 4-10m and a charming café on the cliffs above is perfect for refuelling and warming up afterwards. This dive site is suitable for all levels, making it ideal for those seeking a tranquil underwater diving day.
9. Arctic Circle diving, Norway
Immerse yourself in the Arctic waters of Reine, a picture-perfect fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago. This destination is stunning – think towering peaks and bright blue waters – and offers wreck diving and Arctic snorkelling in the midnight sun. Summer has the best conditions to explore Reine’s waters, with water temperatures ranging from 7°C to 12°C, though winter turns this destination into a snow-dusted wonderland.
10. Silfra, Iceland
Whilst technically not in Scandinavia, we had to include Iceland and its most famous dive – the Silfra Rift. This fissure is where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet and offers diving with over 100m water visibility. The water is chilly, at around 2°C, but the unmatched visibility makes this dive a must.