Greece opens up diving at 91 historic shipwreck sites to tourists

Wreck off the coast of Ithaca. Image: Greek Ministry of Culture, press release.
Wreck off the coast of Ithaca. Image: Greek Ministry of Culture, press release.

Recreational scuba diving will now be permitted at 91 sites in Greece’s oceans, following a decision from government ministers.

The wrecks are mostly from the World War II period, and include ships, planes, submarines and a truck, all lost to the waves. Whilst the majority of the wrecks are of Greek origin, there are remnants from various European armies, as well as tourist and cargo boats. The deepest wrecks are at 120m down, but for less experienced divers, there are some warplanes to see at only 20m.

We have to use it, as it adds value to tourism and creates conditions for sustainable development of local communities

Lina Mendoni (Official Press release, translated from Greek)

The rules remain strict, however. Anyone who wants to dive at one of these historic sites will have to fill out paperwork and submit it to the ministry. There is a firm prohibition on disturbing the sites, and visitors are forbidden from taking any objects. However, the opportunities for tourism that these sites offer are not being underestimated by the Ministry of Culture.

In 2020, an underwater museum was opened on the islet of Peristera. During summer season, tourists are welcome to dive at the Alonissos museum – an ancient shipwreck with thousands of intact amphorae.

Underwater wrecks offer a unique perspective on heritage, and these new rules will allow visitors and enthusiasts to see many more sites for the first time.

For the list of sites that are covered by the new rules, check out the government announcement (In Greek).

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