The best places to snorkel in Italy’s minor islands
With your head under the water and body above, mask, snorkel and fins on... you’re ready to go snorkelling!
1. Best places to snorkel in Ustica
Among the main snorkelling sites in Italy is the small inlet of Cala Sidoti, on the western side of the island of Ustica. This stretch of coastline falls within the Marine Reserve – a protected natural area.
The cove rises to the left of the Torre dello Spalmatore. Beyond the dark pebbles of the shore, you can admire a shallow but enchanting seabed. This unspoilt spot is a wild, fascinating meeting of black rocks and sand. Snorkelling here is truly addictive!
The ecological diversity will leave you open-mouthed: colourful small fish, molluscs, crustaceans and, a little further from the shore, barracudas. At the same time, you can enjoy the convenience of an easily accessible, child-friendly beach. In addition, if you visit the Marine Reserve reception centre in the village’s main square, you can ask for the assistance of expert sea-watching guides. Spectacular sunsets and delightful spots to dive into. All you have to do is look for them!
The Ustica Marine Reserve is not just the seabed and the creatures that inhabit all its nooks and crannies. The island offers snorkelers a unique, unrepeatable experience that fuses the splendour of the waters with history: a true underwater archaeological itinerary. In fact, the waters around Ustica are home to ancient artefacts dating back to different eras. A sort of underwater museum, which will allow you to discover what the islands of the Mediterranean were like in the time of the Ancient Greeks.
2. Best places to snorkel in the Pelagie Islands
If you’re afraid of swimming in the deep sea, but don’t want to miss out on discovering the underwater wonders of the Pelagie Islands, then snorkelling is for you.
The Sicilian archipelago, the southernmost in Italy, has such clear waters that they allow excellent visibility even from the surface.
Lampedusa boasts enchanting coves, each with its own delights. We recommend the Dead Sea beaches, a stone’s throw from the coast. In these caves and coves, you can discover numerous fish swimming and various aquatic plants growing. Once back on terra firma, head to Cala Pisana and Cala Creta: famous for the huge schools of fish that live there. But if you want to explore the biodiversity of Lampedusa with your mask and snorkel, then you must snorkel in Cala Francese, with its truly magnificent seabed, rich in marine flora and fauna. And then there’s Cala Galera, Cala Spugna, Cala Maluk, the Grottacce... In short, there are many, many places to explore, and they are all very special.
Moving on to Linosa, another small island in the Pelagie archipelago, known for its characteristic turtle beach with its completely black (and very hot!) sand, where the snorkelling is uniquely fun and exciting. The waters teem with life mere steps from the beach, thanks to the small number of people who visit the island and surrounding seabed. Like its “sisters”, Linosa is protected by the Area Marina Protetta delle Isole Pelagie nature reserve and its volcanic nature offers a visual feast of colours that lend themselves well to snorkelling.
Not to be outdone is Lampione, in whose depths you will have wonderful encounters with nature and can admire groupers, lobsters, and yellow and pink coral. But there’s more than just gentle snorkelling on offer – this small island has plenty to offer thrill-seekers too! This is the realm of the grey shark, and here you can get up close to these majestic creatures.
3. Best places to snorkel in the Aegadian Islands
There are many spots where you can snorkel in Favignana. The best known is the Galeotta: here you can admire shoals of bream and sarpa salpa, octopus and moray eels. Another ideal snorkelling location on the largest of the Aegadian Islands is Cala Rotonda – perfect for beginners. You will be captivated by the intense hues of its seabed. Punta Faraglioni and Punta Sottile are the less frequented coves, made up of rocks, sand, small pebbles and marine surfaces to explore.
The seabed at Levanzo, another Aegadian island, is also incredibly beautiful. In addition to enjoying incredibly rich marine flora and fauna, it is home to real archaeological treasures, filled with amphorae that are almost intact. Expert guides can take you on an in-depth tour of the seabed.
For experienced, licensed divers, we recommend two tours: Cala Minnola and Capo Grosso, both from Punic-Roman times. Beginners, however, have the opportunity to appreciate the variety of the seabed from different points along the coast and to swim in the company of octopus, amberjacks, groupers, moray eels and lobsters, immersed in a vegetation of sponges, astroides, red fan coral and Neptune grass – the largest and best-preserved ocean meadow in the Mediterranean.