In the Balearics, the bright turquoise water is so clear that you can see the shadow of the boat’s hull reflected on the seabed below, and scuba divers can see up to 50m through the glimmering blue. This exceptional visibility, coupled with numerous protected marine parks and more than 80 dive sites, ensures that this stunning Spanish archipelago is an ideal choice for a Mediterranean diving yacht charter.
Whether it’s wreck dives, giant caves full of stalactites, dazzling marine life, or swaying seagrass meadows that takes your fancy (or a combination of all of the above), the islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera have what you seek. Here are a selection of the top dive sites of the Balearics to visit on a luxury yacht charter.
Don Pedro Shipwreck, Ibiza
Between Ibiza and the tiny private island of Isla Tagomago, you’ll discover the largest shipwreck in the Mediterranean: the 142m Don Pedro roll-on freighter, which sunk after hitting a rock in 2007.
The wreck begins at 25m depth and slopes down to 46m, and the dive is suitable for advanced divers only. It is possible for highly experienced divers to safely enter the ship and explore the haunting interior, or you can stay outside and admire the immense propeller and the eerie views through the bridge, where a phone still dangles off its hanger from the height of the emergency. There’s also a large loading ramp aft where the vehicles drove on, and the ship is home to a wide array of marine life, from groupers and moray eels to sea squirts and amberjacks.
The Don Pedro has been voted one of the top 100 dives in the world, and multiple dives will be necessary to do the whole ship justice. Even the rock that sunk the ship is worthy of a separate dive, with incredible underwater topography creating a home for octopuses, moray eels, congers, groupers, barracuda and multi-coloured nudibranchs.
Pillars of Hercules and the Cave of Light, Formentera
With its powder-soft sand and bohemian beach bars, Formentera is well known as a chic recovery spot for yacht guests recovering from a wild night in Ibiza. But if you’re not content to merely bliss out on the beach with a restorative cocktail and a lunch of fresh-grilled octopus, this stunning island has a lot more to offer below the surface. The UNESCO-listed Poseidon seagrass meadow between Ibiza and Formentera filters the water, creating gin-clear waters that are some of the purest in the entire Mediterranean – meaning incredible visibility for divers.
Two of the best dive sites in the Balearics are located right next to each other beneath the spectacular cliffs of Formentera’s north coast. As you strap on your tank and swim between the surreal Pillars of Hercules rock formations, you’ll come to the Cave of Light, where you can surface in a cavern illuminated with dancing light from the sunshine streaming in from above. One for a fine day when the sun is high above.
Mariana Platform, Ibiza/Formentera
The Mariana Platform is an unusual dive. An abandoned fish-farm that sunk in a storm over 20 years ago, it now lies in sections on the seabed like a collapsed oil rig and has become home to a dazzling variety of fish. Large orange scorpionfish laze about, moray eels slither through the twisted iron girding, and mean-looking barracuda flit about like flashes of silver between concrete columns. There’s a touch of contemporary art about the scene, like an underwater modern art installation contrasting the hulking man-made frame against the vibrant marine life that has colonised it.
Pont d’En Gil Cavern, Menorca
If you’re looking for a genuinely superb cave dive, Pont d’en Gil will not disappoint. Located on the western edge of Menorca, the cavern extends for 220 metres, and is festooned with stalactites and stalagmites in fantastical shapes. There’s also a little beach at the far end of the cavern, and floating on your back to look up at the cave ceiling is a triumph. The entrance to the cave is only 12m down, making it accessible to divers of different levels.
Pont d’En Gil may be the best cave dive in the Balearics (many say the best in the entire Western Mediterranean), but there’s plenty more dive sites to explore along the rocky Menorcan coastline, from the Gran Canyons to the Lighthouse and the reefs of Cala Blanca. There’s also another immense cave at La Catedral on the south coast. The island has been a UNESCO Reserve of the Biosphere since 1993, meaning you’ll encounter more marine life around Menorca than in much of the Mediterranean.
Cave de Jeroni, Mallorca
Also known as ‘Jeronimo’, this underwater cave is accessed via a huge entrance that starts at just two metres below the surface, with moray eels, grouper, and scorpionfish poking their heads out from the rocks as you pass. The cave opens up into a lake, where you can surface and admire the stalactites hanging from the ceiling. This is a richly atmospheric dive that all certified divers can accomplish.
Palma Wrecks, Mallorca
This ship graveyard lies just outside Palma Harbour, and is the home of four large shipwrecks suitable for advanced divers to explore. There are two cargo ships and two smaller vessels, including one sailing yacht, and the largest vessel is a 40m cargo ship. Because the ships were sunk in 1980, they are all in fairly good condition and are still penetrable, with experienced divers able to swim inside bridges, passenger accommodation, and engine rooms.
The wrecks have attracted a wide range of marine life from barracuda to larger fish, although divers will find visibility relatively poor in comparison to much of the Balearics.
Llebeig, Cabrera National Park
The Cabrera National Park is a quiet Mediterranean archipelago just off the south coast of Mallorca. The perfect spot to anchor up and enjoy swimming off the back of the yacht or following walking trails on the rocky green islands, Cabrera also offers some superb diving.
One very special site is the Llebeig, also known as ‘grouper paradise’. Located in supremely clear water with visibility up to 40m, you’ll find large pellagics here, from barracuda, tuna, and of course, friendly grouper – including one curious fellow who is so human-friendly that divers have named him Bernando. Because the islands have been a protected marine park since 1991, they have become a haven for aquatic life, and you may well see turtles, dolphins, and even whales in the deeper waters.
Dive into the Blue with a Balearics Yacht Charter
These are just a few of the magnificent dive sites available in the Balearics. For a Balearics yacht charter tailored to your diving preferences, contact Bespoke Yacht Charter:
This article was written by Jo Morgan – Jo is a freelance writer for yachts and travel, offering targeted feature articles, content marketing, blogs and press releases for the yachting and travel industries.