5 of the best places to snorkel in Europe with kids
I think it’s fair to say that most kids love the water. Give children a pool, a pond or a beach and it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll be happy. This summer we spent some time in Morzine in the French Alps, which is a brilliant destination for kids and one of my favourite summer destinations. There are no beaches nearby but there are plenty of lakes and we spent a lot of our time at the Lac des Ecoles, swimming, kayaking, jumping around on an inflatable water park and snorkelling.
Pre-summer we were gifted some snorkelling equipment by Simply Scuba and ended up using the kit a lot over the holidays, especially during our time in Morzine. We were given two sets of children’s equipment that come in adorable sea creature-inspired bags (we have a purple squid and a blue whale) and two adults sets of fins, masks and snorkels. As it turned out, however, Alfie (the soon-to-be 11-year-old) has very big feet and had to use the adult’s snorkelling gear because the children’s set was too small.
Now, the place where the kids tried out their snorkelling techniques was not what I would call one of the best places to snorkel in Europe with kids! It’s a popular Alpine lake with a muddy bottom that gets very busy during the summer holidays (and therefore rather cloudy and murky). There’s little chance of seeing much in the water, save for the odd tadpole or salamander, but it’s a great place to practice (if your kids don’t know how to snorkel yet, take a look at my post on teaching kids how to snorkel).
However, despite the lack of Caribbean waters, the big kids enjoyed themselves so much that it made me think that we really should go somewhere were they can snorkel…and actually see something! There are some brilliant places in Europe to enjoy a family snorkelling holiday and I’ve already started researching where we could go next summer.
The following five places are destinations regularly ranked as having the best snorkelling in Europe and the ones on my current shortlist. If you’ve got any recommendations, please do let me know in the comments.
Snorkelling in Croatia
There is lots of fantastic snorkelling in Croatia but one of the best places for families is Susak island and, in particular, Spiaza beach. The crescent-shaped beach is at the edge of Susak village and is very child-friendly because of its shallow waters. You can paddle out for almost half-a-kilometre before the waters get deep, making it brilliant for young kids in particular. Makarska Beach, on the Adriatic Sea, is another one of the best places to snorkel. The sea bed has fresh water springs, which means that the area is home to a unique collection of corals and plants and the water is beautifully clear. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a seahorse as you snorkel along!
Snorkelling in Spain
In Spain, the Medes Islands are one of the best places to snorkel as a family. This group of seven islets are located off the coast of l’Estartit in a protected zone, which means that the waters surrounding them are filled with a huge amount of marine flora and fauna. Expect to see sea bass, sea horses, barracudas, sea stars, moray eels, groupers and much more as you snorkel along.
Snorkelling in France
There are lots of popular places to snorkel in France but one destination that comes highly recommended for a snorkelling holiday is Palud bay in the Port Cros National Park, which also happens to be the oldest National Marine Park in the Mediterranean. The waters here are ranked as one of the top snorkelling spots on the Mediterranean coast owing to its crystal-clear waters and filled with hundreds of fish. There’s also a marked underwater path that you can follow and discover the area’s sea life with six marked buoys floating at intervals with explanatory panels. This sounds like a particularly fun trip to take with kids (following the trail takes 30-40 minutes).
Snorkelling in Malta
One of the most popular places to snorkel in Malta is the beautiful Blue Lagoon, located between the islet of Cominotto and the island of Comino. The azure blue waters here are incredibly clear, allowing you to see the white sand on the seabed as well as countless underwater wonders including sea urchins and tuna fish. Calm waters make it a great option for kids as well as novice snorkellers. Plus, it just looks really, really pretty!
Snorkelling in Italy
Much of the best snorkelling in Italy can be found in Sardinia including Cala Luna and Isola Rossa. Cala Luna, often called the ‘beach of the moon’, is one of the island’s most famous and popular swimming destinations. The waters here shift from turquoise to azure and are filled with sea life. It’s a little harder to reach than some other destinations (it can only be accessed by boat) but by all accounts, it’s worth it! Isola Rossa, in northwest Sardinia, makes for a particularly good snorkelling vacation if you have little kids. The red rock sandy beaches are peppered with warm pools and inlets, perfect for exploring – an you might even spot a Moray eel!
Where else should we consider for our family snorkelling holiday? Please share your top destinations and recommendations in the comments below!
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Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Simply Scuba. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own.
Photo credits: Unsplash and Shutterstock.