By Soren Rivero
Did you know that Greece has an enormous amount of underwater sunken crafts? Over 90 planes and ships have been discovered near Greece that all have some unique history behind them. If you’re interested in learning which shipwrecks in Greece you can dive at, here are some you should check out!
Kyra Eleni, Patroklos Island, Athens
Take a short journey from Athens over to the sandy shores of Patroklos Island and you’ll find the remnants of Kyra Eleni. This freight ship sank on January 6th, 1978 due to extreme weather conditions. You can only access this shipwreck in Greece by boat, but it's a rather short and inexpensive experience. This particular shipwreck is also a great beginner-friendly diving spot in Greece! The wreck is located in shallow, clear waters and has the best views from outside the ship (exploring inside is limited).
German Arado AR196, Alimia, Iraklia
This next diving area in Greece isn’t a shipwreck per se, but rather, a sunken plane. During the gruesome time of World War II, this aircraft sank after it was fired down by German naval convoys sailing near Iraklia. Though the plane did crash into the sea, luckily, the crew were rescued. The destroyed plane was discovered by a fisherman deep below Alimina Bay.
Queen Olga, Lakki Port, Leros
Have you heard the story of the legendary Queen Olga? Known as the “pride of the Greek fleet”, Queen Olga was Greece’s most diligent and hardworking WWII destroyer. Originally built in Glasgow, it was at the forefront of over a hundred military campaigns. Queen Olga had a tragic ending when German fighter planes bombarded the ship on September 26, 1943. The ship’s captain along with 72 passengers were lost during the attack. The shipwreck is mostly noticeable from a medium-distance, but even then, divers can still spot holes in the funnels from the battle. Belenis Tower Museum in Alinda holds some of the items recovered from the shipwreck.
HMS Perseus Submarine, Kefalonia
Diving in Greece isn’t just a fun activity to do, it’s something educational as well. As with Queen Olga, there’s a famous backstory to this next shipwreck. HMS Perseus Submarine was a British submarine sailing through the surface of the Ionian Sea when, on December 6, 1941, the submarine ran into an Italian underwater mine. The accident killed 60 people including the captain. The sole survivor, John Capes, managed to escape from the ship to tell officials of the incident – to which no one believed. You can read more about his brave and dangerous quest here.
The shipwreck is quite an interesting one to explore. Nearly the entire ship remains intact as if nothing had happened. The engine was undamaged upon examination, and the steering wheel was oriented to the right side. From that alone, we can tell that there was some effort put into maneuvering the submarine to safety. Experienced divers will have the absolute time of their life exploring this seemingly-undamaged sunken ship in Greece.
Patris Shipwreck, Kea Island, Athens
Just under 70 miles south of Athens (via boat) is Kea Island in the Aegean Sea. On the southwestern edge of the Cycladic island, you’ll find the Patris Shipwreck (Patris meaning homeland here). The paddle steamer boat sank on February 28, 1868 after crashing into a reef. All of the passengers survived, which is incredible considering the steamer was split in two. One of the halves is in shallow water, while the other is much deeper, and should only be explored by experienced divers.
Underwater Diving Museum, Peristera Shipwreck, Alonnisos
Off the east coast of mainland Greece are the Sporades Islands, which consist of 24 islands of varying sizes. The atmosphere of these islands are typically more calm and relaxed as they don’t see nearly as much tourism as the more popular islands in Greece. With that being said, taking a ferry to explore the islands is an excellent way to explore the hidden gems in Greece.
There are also a few great places to dive in the Sporades Islands as well! Consider visiting one of the cluster’s biggest islands: Alonnisos. That’s where you’ll find Peristera Shipwreck. Famously crowned “the Parthenon of Shipwrecks”, this underwater museum and Greece diving area hybrid will take you back to the 5th century. That alone makes this one of the best places to dive in Greece. The ship is visible from above sea level, however, the diving area is much deeper. Just be aware that you need to be a certified advanced diver and observed by a local guide here.
Anna II, Lia Beach, Mykonos
From white sand beaches to lively parties, Mykonos is definitely one of the most popular places to visit in Greece. But it’s not all beaches and late night partying – the island’s location and clear waters make it an amazing choice for places to go diving in Greece.
Avid divers will want to visit Lia Beach, where you can find the (almost) fully in-tact Anna II cargo ship. The ship sank quite recently in 1995 after operating for about 30 years, and is surprisingly still in good condition. You can even enter the wrecked vessel and explore it via a small port on the side. If you'd rather not venture inside, the surrounding area is beautiful to explore as well.
There are many more amazing places to dive in Greece, but now that you know a few, are you ready to start exploring?