While slipping below the sun-warmed waves of the Mediterranean from the sandy beaches of Sardinia is the perfect way to begin your scuba-diving life, the Italian island is also home to diving spots to impress even the most experienced underwater explorers.
One such gem is the maze-like Grotta di Nereo, a network of tunnels and caves with multiple openings, home to slipper lobsters, groupers, conger and moray eels, as well as the largest mussel species in the world.
In the north-eastern corner of Sardinia you’ll find La Maddalena Archipelago National Park, a marine reserve famed for its thriving colonies of seabirds, plus dolphins, whales and loggerhead sea turtles. With more than 30 dive sites, there’s something for all levels, from adventure divers to those recently qualified. Without needing to have a log book full of big dives, you’ll still get to enjoy the colourful sponges, sea fans and red coral, along with all the sealife that resides in and around here.
There are also plenty of man-made ‘reefs’, such as the Angelica, a huge Japanese tanker which has been
a seabed resident for some 40 years. It is accessible for all levels, due to it resting between 12m and 20m, and has plenty to explore, even without needing the experience to go inside.
At the other end of the scale, the KT12, an armed German ship that was torpedoed by a British submarine in 1943, is one for advanced divers, coming to rest from 20m to 35m beneath the waves. It's well worth clocking up the dives in order to visit this well-preserved wreck. Other sites of note include an 8,000-tonne Italian freighter, also a relic of the Second World War, and Grouper Reef, home to a thriving colony of 50 hefty groupers.