Because of the mild climate the whole year Madeira is a very interesting and popular diver’s spot. We went to Madeira in the middle of March. During this time of the year it is still winter there but the temperature is about 17 to 23 degrees Celsius. Basically it is the beginning of spring. Though, the weather is much milder than in Germany. You definitely won’t need a jacket during the day. The air is super clean and you can feel the wonderful sea breeze. The water temperature is about 17 to 19 degrees Celsius. For me it was a little too cold to swim in a bikini, but just right for scuba diving with a neoprene suit. Though, I would suggest you visiting Madeira starting from the beginning of April.

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Madeira Scuba Diving

In only two weeks I discovered the beauty of Madeira’s varied and fascinating underwater world with its big species richness. It’s enormous! Due to the warm Gulf Stream, the underwater world around Madeira has a strong tropical influence. I saw parrotfish, several puffer fish, trompetfish, blacktail combers, the red hogfish, zebra breams, lizardfish, very cute blennies, brown, black or tiger morays, garden eels, various crabs and seastars, many shoals of barracudas, cow briems, different jack fish, Turkish wrasses and many more. As well I met many octopuses, cuttlefish, the warty umbrellasnail, the purple-yellow seaslug, cotton spinners, very many sea urchins and fireworms, various sponge types, the spiny fan mussel and some sea anemones … and so on. Especially in the underwater national parks there are many fish which are already used to the divers and very curious about them. This is why they might come very close to you. For me it was THE highlight, when we went by boat in about 10 minutes to the national park called “Garajau” to meet the famous groupers there. They joined and followed the diver’s group like a dog and we were even able to pet them. They are huge and weigh about 60kg. The big one we met is called Elvis and the local divers consider him to be about 50 years old. Groupers get very old! They can reach an age of about 70 years.

Unfortunately I haven’t met the triggerfish, monk seals, and the sting-, eagle-, and butterfly ray, but it is also possible to see them there. At least my boyfriend was lucky to find a huge butterfly ray covered in the sand area.

butterfly ray covered in sand

Since Madeira is a rocky island and the top peak of an underwater massif, there are impressive underwater panoramas around the island. Underwater reefs, clefts in the rocks, caves, sandy areas and steep slopes offer something for everyone.

At the southern coast, there is the big underwater national park “Garajau”, where several diving schools settled down. We chose the diving school “Scuba Madeira” which is located in the basement of the Pestana Hotel in Funchal. The guide Stefan is very friendly and nice.

Already at the house reef in Lido (Funchal) there are so many animals to see.

warty umbrellasnail

warty umbrellasnail

warty umbrellasnail

fangtooth morey

spiny fan mussel

purple sea-star

spiny starfish

blacktail combers performing a courtship display

cleaner shrimps


blacktail comber

a very big mussel

sharpnose puffer

zebra bream

Better check the prices a few days before online on their website The online prices are a little bit cheaper if you book it before your holiday and there are multiple scuba diving packages to choose from. We decided to book a „10 dives package“ for 190€. In the school directly it costs 200€. So at least a little saving! For boat tours you will have to add another 10-18€ on top. The national parks cost 18€, but it’s worth going there to see the groupers for example. In the diving school Manta Diving in Caniço it is even possible to rent a gas bottle only and go diving without a guide, but there are some disadvantages: It is very remote though and far from Funchal. There is no bus line as far as I know, so you will have to rent a car. And there aren’t any AirBnB accommodations in that area yet. That’s why you will have to book a full package – flight and hotel together. So in the end it will cost the same or even more.

red hogfish

Like I wrote in my post about Madeira’s vegetation before the water temperature in March is about 17 to 19 degrees Celsius. A little bit fresh! I was happy to have my 5mm neoprene suit in combination with my 7mm ice vest with integrated hood, gloves and neoprene shoes. Otherwise it would have been too cold for me but like this it was just fine even though it was in between winter and spring.

Please find an overview (from our dive school) of the best diving spots around Madeira below.:

On Instagram I opened a new account today to share all diving impressions with you! Check it out: @scubaholicgirl

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