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Scuba diving and snorkeling

Diving in the ocean in Norway .
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen / Visitnorway.com
Diving in the ocean in Norway .
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen / Visitnorway.com

Dive into a secret world.

Below the surface of Norwegian seas and fjords, you’ll find ...

Diving in the ocean in Norway .
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen / Visitnorway.com
Diving in the ocean in Norway .
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen / Visitnorway.com

... unique marine life.

Look for luminescent sea snails ...

Sea snail in Saltstraumen .
Photo: Vebjørn Kalsen
Sea snail in Saltstraumen .
Photo: Vebjørn Kalsen

... and explore potholes, dressed in colorful anemones, shaped by nature itself.

You’ll find one in Saltstraumen near Bodø, which has one of the world’s strongest tidal currents. Always scuba dive with a local guide.

Scuba diving in Saltstraumen .
Photo: Vebjørn Karlsen
Scuba diving in Saltstraumen .
Photo: Vebjørn Karlsen

"The changing tides reveal Norway’s unique underwater nature and rich marine life. Kelp forests and sea anemones are just two examples of spectacular nature experiences that are available to all divers," says Gunnar Midtgaard of the Norwegian Diving Association.

Catfish and anemones in Saltstraumen .
Photo: Vebjørn Karlsen
Catfish and anemones in Saltstraumen .
Photo: Vebjørn Karlsen

"The fjord off Trondheim even has coral reefs at accessible depths," says Midtgaard.

The coral reef is located at a depth of 39 meters on Tauterryggen in the Trondheim fjord, and is the shallowest reef of its kind in Norway.

Coral reef .
Photo: Jan Helge Fosså / Havforskningsinstituttet
Coral reef .
Photo: Jan Helge Fosså / Havforskningsinstituttet

"Pure, clear water from the North Sea provides excellent visibility and contributes to a rich diversity of marine life along coastal Norway," continues Midtgaard.

Below the surface of Namsfjorden .
Photo: Rune Haldorsen
Below the surface of Namsfjorden .
Photo: Rune Haldorsen

If you’re lucky, you can encounter orcas while exploring Norway’s underwater world. The likelihood is greatest in Northern Norway.

Orca underwater in Skjervøy .
Photo: Ismaele Tortella / Visitnorway.com
Orca underwater in Skjervøy .
Photo: Ismaele Tortella / Visitnorway.com

You can rent equipment at one of the diving centers along the coast. They also offer guided tours to incredible diving sites.

Scuba diving from boat .
Photo: Dykking Magazine
Scuba diving from boat .
Photo: Dykking Magazine

Get ready to dive into the water from a scuba diving boat in Southern Norway ...

Scuba dive from boat in Southern Norway .
Photo: Dykking Magazine
Scuba dive from boat in Southern Norway .
Photo: Dykking Magazine

... or take a guided tour with experts to incredible wrecks, such as Frankenwald in Gulen in Fjord Norway (pictured).

Frankenwald in Gulen .
Photo: Alex Dawson
Frankenwald in Gulen .
Photo: Alex Dawson

"I also recommend the Konsul Carl Fisser, which is a wreck that is accessible to many scuba divers," says Midtgaard.

The cargo ship wreck lies at an almost vertical position at a depth of 20-60 meters in the Valderøy fjord, near Ålesund.

Ålesund in Fjord Norway .
Photo: Geran de Klerk / Unsplash
Ålesund in Fjord Norway .
Photo: Geran de Klerk / Unsplash

"It’s more challenging to scuba dive in cold water, but it makes the experience exotic and its worth it," believes Midtgaard.

Water temperatures can vary from 2 to 22 degrees celsius, depending on the season and location.

Diving with crabs .
Photo: Yngve Ask / Visitnorway.com
Diving with crabs .
Photo: Yngve Ask / Visitnorway.com

"Due to the temperature, there’s only a short time window when it’s possible to scuba dive in wetsuits. Therefore, drysuits are most commonly used," says Midtgaard.

Scuba diving in Southern Norway .
Photo: Rune Haldorsen
Scuba diving in Southern Norway .
Photo: Rune Haldorsen

Find Norway’s most exciting scuba diving and snorkeling sites below.

Regardless of your skill level, you’ll always find underwater adventures suited for you. Go scuba dive with your own equipment or learn how to dive at a PADI-certified diving center – you’ll find several along the coast. You can enter the water directly from land, or ride a boat to a unique site. Snorkeling in crystal clear waters is also recommended!

Here are some of the most well known and popular snorkeling and scuba diving sites:

1. Cold and clear waters in Northern Norway

Saltstraumen near Bodø

A 30-minute drive from Bodø, you’ll find the world’s strongest tidal current, Saltstraumen, which is one of the most famous places to dive in the country. Here you can see loads of fish, fluttering kelp forests, colorful anemones, and sea snails, if youre lucky.

Due to the strong current, you must always scuba dive with an instructor who knows the local area well. The dive is recommended for experienced divers only.  Beginners can join guided scuba diving trips and courses in beautiful locations, where the current is less powerful.

Raftsundet in Nordland 

Far north, in the 20-kilometer-long Raftsundet in Northern Norway, you’ll find the wreck of D/S Nordstjernen. In September 1954, the 76.5 meter-long passenger ship sank after erring off course. The wreck is considered one of the most rewarding diving experiences on the coast, but it’s not for beginners, as the ship wreck is located at a depth of about 50 meters.

Kilbotn near Harstad

Two more exciting wrecks await in Kilbotn near Harstad. Explore the German submarine U-711 and the depot ship M/S Black Watch, which sank during Operation Judgment in 1945. If you’re scuba diving to the submarine you should be experienced, as it’s located at a depth of 44-60 meters. The Black Watch is located at a more accessible depth of 15-44 meters.

If you’re at the beginning of your scuba dive-adventure, you can take courses, or go snorkeling and free diving in the waters surrounding Harstad.

Skarberget in Tysfjord

Skarberget outside Narvik is known as one of the best wall dives in the northern part of the country, and is especially popular for night time diving.

Mingle with species like starfish and sea urchins. Massive concentrations of herring make the fjord a giant meal for orcas, which is why there is a decent chance of catching a glimpse of these whales.

Nyksund in Vesterålen

Pure untamed nature, both above and below the water, awaits in Vesterålen. The clear, arctic water surrounding the small fishing village of Nyksund offers large kelp forests and rich marine life. Go snorkeling or join a scuba diving safari, either directly from one of the beautiful beaches, or from a RIB boat. Courses in freediving are also offered here. 

Reine in Lofoten

With its dramatic mountain peaks, long, white beaches and crystal clear water, Lofoten attracts tourists from all over the world. In addition to having beautiful nature, the archipelago is also an exciting area for wreck diving! Just outside of the small fishing village of Reine, you’ll find the wreck of the Norwegian steamer MS Hadsel resting on the sandy seabed. The cold arctic water has kept the wreck in good condition, making it a popular diving site.

2. A paradise in Trøndelag

Dolmsundet and Frohavet off Hitra

Many scuba diving adventures await in the Hitra area in the Trøndelag region. Take in the beautiful nature or go underwater fishing for halibut, turbot, mussels and crabs in a large freediving area.

Looking for exciting wrecks? Check out MS Kletten on the northeast side of Hitra island.

3. Wild and beautiful in Fjord Norway

Gulen in Sogn & Fjordane

Youll find numerous underwater treasures in Fjord Norway. A top attraction is the DS Frankenwald shipwreck, a German steamship that ended its days in the Sognefjord in January 1940.

The wreck is still in very good condition after many years at the bottom of the sea, and has even been named Norway’s most beautiful shipwreck. The deck lies at a depth of 24-34 meters. In good visibility, you can see all the way to the mast and the bridge, almost 40 meters further below the surface!

Lyngstøylvatnet in Møre og Romsdal

If youre looking for a unique scuba diving experience, travel to Lyngstøylvatnet lake in Ørsta, about a two-hour drive from Ålesund in Western Norway. The lake was formed by a rockslide by the Norang river in 1908, which flooded a farm and a small forest. Here, you can scuba dive among old trees and farm walls, and even see the ruins of the old road. If you’re a beginner, this is the perfect scuba diving site.

Vevangstrømmen in Møre & Romsdal

Many exciting diving sites await you close to the amazing Atlantic Road on the west coast of Norway. One such diving site is the Vevangstrømmen current in Hustadvika, a 40-minute drive from Kristiansund. Remember to dive with a guide if you want to explore the current! It’s not recommended for beginners to dive at this site when the current is strong.

4. Underwater adventures in Southern Norway

Wreck diving in the Korsvikfjord

The coastline between Kristiansand and Søgne is packed with exciting wrecks and incredible fauna. The MS Seattle, located in the Korsvikfjord outside Kristiansand, is one such wreck.

The cargo ship sank during the German invasion in 1940, and now rests at a depth of 20-70 meters. Although entering the ship is strongly discouraged, you can admire it from the outside with a guide who is knowledgeable about the local area.

Read more about diving centers nearby:

Skottevik in Lillesand

The warm Gulf Stream creates a unique underwater world around Skottevik in Lillesand. Scuba dive in great visibility with a variety of flora and fauna. Here, you’ll always find new things to explore! If you’re looking for a picturesque scuba diving site, you’re at the right spot. Get up close to beautiful nature, colorful seabream, large flounders, cod and catfish, to name but a few of the species of marine life you can see here.

Tregde in Mandal

Tregde is situated in Southern Norway, about ten kilometers east of Mandal. Tregde is a paradise for scuba diving among shipwrecks.

There are about 60 wrecks in the Tregde area, some of which are especially impressive.

If you’re more interested in experiencing nature on your dive, try nearby Slettingsundet. Here, you can scuba dive among wrasse, lobster, and scallops.

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