13-day Diving Tour in Portugal
The winner of the World Travel Award for 3 years in a row, Portugal offers fantastic locations, suitable for recreational and technical diving. You will have 19 boat dives overall, descending at Porto, the Berlengas Archipelago, Sesimbra, Fonte da Telha and the Ocean Revival Park at Praia da Rocha. The tour will also include Port wine tasting in Porto, a dinner at Fado restaurant and private tour in Lisbon.
Day 1. Porto, Matosinhos. You will arrive at the Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro International Airport and get to a 3-star hotel. At around 8.00PM, your guide will meet you at the hotel reception and give a briefing, providing useful information and answering any questions you may have about the tour. Porto is the second-largest city in the country and is particularly famous around the world for Port wine. With the city's splendid geographical location on the mouth of the river Douro and its architectural heritage of the historic center, Porto had gained the status of UNESCO World Heritage in 1996.
Day 2. Porto, Matosinhos. You will explore the U-boat 1277, the most iconic dive in Portuguese waters. U1277 is a WWII shipwreck and a former German submarine Type VIIC/41 from the Kriegsmarine. On 3rd June 1945, it was scuttled by its crew to avoid the capture of the submarine by the Allies. The wreck is located northwest from Porto, lying at the depth of 31 meters. Underwater, you will see small white and pink anemones, thousands of pouts, big octopuses and lobsters.
Day 3-4. Peniche, the Berlengas Archipelago. After you will get to the base camp at Peniche, you will dive at the Berlengas Archipelago that consists of a group of small islands. Berlenga Grande is the only inhabited island that can be visited by boat from Peniche, while the other 2 islands, Estelas and Farilhões-Forcadas, are formed by reefs. The area has a unique ecosystem and very particular fauna and flora, so it became a nature reserve in 1981. There, you will dive at Parede de Rabo de Asno that translates as Donkey's Tail Wall. The location features a wall covered with red gorgonians and a cave. Inside the cave, you will find walls lined with gorgonians, shoals of pouts, pelagics, sea bream and mola-mola.
Day 5. Lisbon. Lisbon has been influenced by many different cultures over time. Your guide will take you on a stroll through the Pombaline streets in the Baixa district that opens on to the Tagus in Praça do Comércio. Then, you will follow the river to discover some of the city’s most beautiful parts, visiting the Cais do Sodre, the monumental area of Belém with its World Heritage monuments, and returning to Alfama, the medieval quarters on the hill. At the end of the day, you will have dinner at Fado restaurant.
Day 6-8. Sesimbra. For the next three days, you will dive in the Sesimbra Marine Reserve. For Portuguese divers, Sesimbra is a kind of sanctuary. Formerly a fishing town set in a sheltered bay, it was founded on the hilltop around the Moorish castle that Dom Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, captured from the Moors in 1165. Sesimbra's abundance of seafood made the locals go down the hill and explore the neighborhood, turning this town into one of the region's main fishing ports. It was the sea that has attracted outsiders in search of the excellent sheltered beaches with prime conditions for water sports and diving, making this peaceful place a busy summer resort. Jardim das Gorgonias (the Garden of the Gorgonians) is one of the most popular diving spots in the area due to its diversity of life. As you descend, you will see seabreams accompanying you until you reach the bottom at 15.5 meters. There, you will encounter the rock floor with some gorgonians dancing with the flow and fish that lurk among the corals. If you look closely, the holes and cracks in the rock bottom will be full of life, featuring forkbeard fish, octopuses, morays, sponges, anemones, algae and lots of starfish of different colors. You will also find a huge variety of nudibranchs, cuttlefish, pipefish, white seabream and zeus faber.
Day 9. Fonte da Telha. You will go further south, to the Algarve, diving at Fonte da Telha, a beautiful beach south of Lisbon. It is the only diving center in Portugal with the entire operation on the beach. You will dive at Pedra da Lagoa or Lagoon Stone. Usually, there is some current, and it is considered a diving location for experienced divers that should know how to behave in such conditions. The average visibility is 10 meters, and the maximum depth is 30 meters. This spot consists of two stones that stand 20-30 meters apart. You will observe lobsters, rock crabs, Mediterranean slipper lobsters, octopuses, as well as sponges, soft corals and sea urchins.
Day 10-11. Algarve, Praia da Rocha. Located by the mouth of the Arade river, Rocha Beach extends for 3 kilometers. It houses many facilities for different water sports, including the Ocean Revival Park. You will stay there for the last part of your trip, diving the wrecks of the Ocean Revival Park and enjoying everything that the Rocha Beach has to offer. Algarve is universally recognised as one of the best destinations in the world for those who wish to go to the beach and have lots of fun. You will dive at one of the shipwrecks that is part of the Ocean Revival Project, the Comandante Hermenegildo Capelo Frigate. It is the second frigate in a group of four ships ordered in 1964 by the Portuguese Navy. The Ocean Revival Project was born with the intent of promoting Algarve's underwater tourism, making it an exceptional destination. The other three ships are Corveta Oliveira e Carmo, Patrulha Zambeze and Navio Hidrográfico Almeida e Carvalho. The lower decks are only accessible to experienced divers, since it is necessary to have reasonable buoyancy control and not to raise sediments. However, there is still a lot to explore on the superior decks. There, you will find lots of life. You can observe schools of fish, such as triggerfish and seabreams, that act almost like guides, accompanying you throughout the entire dive.
Day 12. Algarve, Sagres. You will have some leisure time, get around the Algarve and go to Sagres, the site from where, many centuries ago, Portuguese sailors departed for the discovery of Brazil.
Day 13. Faro. This will be the departure day. You will go to the Faro International Airport.
Highlights: diving, Porto, Matosinhos, Port wine, the U-boat 1277, Peniche, the Berlengas Archipelago, Parede de Rabo de Asno, Lisbon, Baixa district, the Cais do Sodre, Belém, Alfama, Fado restaurant, the Sesimbra Marine Reserve, Jardim das Gorgonias, Fonte da Telha, Pedra da Lagoa, Praia da Rocha, the Ocean Revival Park, Algarve, Sagres.
Duration: 13 days and 12 nights. Departure: daily. Includes: a guide (instructor), wet suits and equipment, accommodation for 13 days and 12 nights in a 3-star hotel (room for 2), breakfast, 9 days of diving with 19 dives overall (recreational, boat dives), car with GPS for the whole trip (13 days), 'Portugal Dive' hoodie, Port wine tasting in Porto, a private tour in Lisbon, dinner at Fado restaurant in Lisbon.
Cancellation Policy: 30% non-refundable deposit. 100% cancellation fee will be charged if booking is cancelled 5 days or less prior to the event. 90% cancellation fee will be charged if booking is cancelled 5-14 days prior to the event. 50% cancellation fee will be charged if booking is cancelled 15-29 days prior to the event.