Considered the best destinations in Europe to swim with sea turtles, Cyprus is a great choice for a snorkeling trip in the Mediterranean. While snorkeling alongside peaceful green and loggerhead turtles will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip, the island offers plenty to explore! Coves, shipwrecks, caves, underwater museums and submerged archaeological sites dot the coasts of Cyprus, providing extraordinary underwater adventures within everyone’s reach.
The Cyprus coastline is dotted with an abundance of beaches, bays and coves that offer snorkeling opportunities. Some of the regions stand out for the quality of their sea bottoms and the marine life that can be found there. Check out the best places to experience Cyprus snorkeling!
The southeastern tip of the island, around Cape Greco, is Cyprus’s snorkeling hotspot. No other part of the coastline can match this underwater haven. Here you will find gin-clear rocky coves, an underwater museum, as well as one of the very best locations to snorkel with sea turtles in the Mediterranean.
Green Bay, in Protaras, is considered to be Cyprus’s favorite spot for snorkeling. This shore-access rocky cove features seagrass beds visited by green sea turtles which are really easy to spot. In addition to turtles, the bay is also home to underwater statues and rocky beds teeming with fish.
In the same area, sea turtles are also frequently seen at Sirena Bay and Kalamies Bay, north of Protaras, as well as at Konnos Beach, a not-to-be-missed location ranking among the island’s most beautiful beaches.
Still in Protaras, but a little further north is Fig Tree Bay, another must-visit spot for Mediterranean snorkeling enthusiasts. This small island which lies in the center of the bay, is easily reached by swimming about a hundred yards from the shore. Shallow rocky beds with crystal clear water, await you there.
In Paralímni, about six miles northwest of Cape Greco, the coast has numerous small coves lying amid rock points. Most, like Malama Beach, Trinity Beach (Agia Triada) or Titsiros Beach, are good locations to spot schooling fish, and occasionally encounter sea turtles.
In Ayia Napa lie two famous snorkeling locations: Nissi Beach and its small island, which shelters vibrant rocky beds, as well as the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN) at Katsarka Beach. Opened in 2021, the museum features more than 90 statues immersed at different depths, attractingmultitides of fish around them.
Finally, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle then the Cape Greco National Park, a nature haven, should be your top pick. With its limestone cliffs dropping into a deep blue sea, it is another magnificent rocky part of the coastline.
At the foot of the cape, the Blue Lagoon, which is accessible by car, is the most visited. However, the coast holds many other wonders, including half-submerged caves.
The west coast of Cyprus is famous for its loggerhead sea turtles and green sea turtles, which lay their eggs on the beaches north of Paphos from May to August. The main nesting site is Lara Bay. This bay is not really recommended for snorkeling, but here you can visit the Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station.
To snorkel with sea turtles in the area, book a boat tour to Turtle Reef instead. Most of these excursions depart from the port of Paphos.
If you are more into shore snorkeling, head a little further north to Peyia, where several coves, such as Coral Bay and White River Beach, are located. These are considered to be some of the best snorkeling places in Cyprus because of their crystal-clear water teeming with life.
Another popular snorkeling location in the area is the Edro III wreck, resting off the rocks about twenty yards from the coast. Right next to it, as well as on the one mile of coastline that extends north of the wreck, several underwater caves can be explored when sea conditions allow.
At the northwestern tip of Cyprus, the Akamas Peninsula is one of Cyprus’s signature undeveloped shorelines, a perfect option for those seeking a secluded beach escape on the island. A National Park protects its wooded hills and rugged coastline, along which untouched creeks follow one another.
The best snorkeling spots on the peninsula can be reached from Latsi: hop onto a 4×4 and follow the dusty coastal road to reach Manolis Bay, the Blue Lagoon, or the Baths of Aphrodite Beach. These locations can also be reached by boat from Latsi harbor.
Limassol is the largest coastal city in Cyprus. Its long, highly urbanized sandy beaches have fairly poor seabeds. For snorkeling near Limassol, drive the extra miles to the southeastern coast.
About ten miles east of the city center, you will first reach Amathus Port, a unique insight into the island’s rich history. These extraordinary archeological remains are one of the things that make snorkeling in Cyprus so special. In addition, many fish shelter in the ruins, and are occasionally visited by sea turtles.
About 15 miles further on, don’t miss White Rocks, near Governor’s Beach. At the foot of stunning chalk cliffs, hundreds of fish swim in a crystal-clear sea.
Cyprus is one of the only Mediterranean destinations, along with Greece, to offer a good chance of snorkeling with sea turtles. Significant populations of two species of turtles, the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle, are present around the island.
The turtles can be easily observed in specific locations, particularly in the regions of Ayia Napa (in must-see Green Bay, but also in Konnos Beach, Kalamies Bay, and Sirena Bay) and Paphos. The best chance of encountering turtles is during the summer months when they’re regularly seen in June, and in their greatest numbers from August to October.
The common marine fauna of the coastal waters of Cyprus includes several species of seabream and wrasse, salema, damselfish, as well as more iconic (and rarer) species such as the dusky grouper, the Mediterranean moray or the parrotfish.
Octopus, cuttlefish, sea anemones, and red starfish are also common in Cypriot waters. In total, nearly 300 species make their home in the shallows, providing the perfect opportunity for even beginner snorkelers to witness spectacular underwater life.
Due to its position close to Egypt and at the entrance of the Suez Canal, Cyprus is one of the Mediterranean areas which is the most affected by Lessepsian migration, which is the migration of marine species from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
Even in the shallows, you will probably encounter many exotic species, including lionfish, Red Sea goatfish, bluespotted cornetfish, and the very invasive marbled spinefoot and dusky spinefoot. The spreading of these exotic species negatively affects the Mediterranean marine ecosystems, where they are gradually replacing some native species.
With hot, dry summers and cooler yet humid winters, Cyprus experiences a typical subtropical Mediterranean climate. Conditions are best during the summer months, from June to October, which offer warm, sunny weather, and the best chance of seeing sea turtles.
It is also during this time that the water temperature is the highest (it can reach 30°C/86°F in August and September) and the sea is the calmest. However, the seaside can be very crowded in summer, particularly in July and August, which can make snorkeling less pleasant if there are too many people in the water.
The rest of the year, the subtropical Mediterranean climate of the island also makes it possible to consider snorkeling the shallows, but it is recommended to wear a wetsuit.
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Common in Green Bay, occasional sightings along the coast from Paralímni to Cape Greco.
Relatively common in Paros region.
Common on all spots with rocky beds.
Occasional sightings in all locations, usually at moderate depths.
Rocky bay with sea turtles, fish and statues
Free shore access
Rocky and sandy bay visited by sea turtles
We have a group with beginner’s and moderate level snorkelers but no experts and we’re planning a trip to Cyprus. We have questions, like is it better to access from the beach or take a boat tour?
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