The 5 best places to discover Mediterranean sea life

By Kanika from SamBoat - February 4, 2022

The Mediterranean is one of the most amazing places if you are craving for sea activities and will make you fall in love with the nature and diversity that inhabits it. It hosts over ten thousand species with about 25% of endemic creatures, a place you should definitely explore if you are a sea life enthusiast!

What makes the Mediterranean so special for marine ecosystems is the mix between temperate and tropical biomes, making it a perfect environment for plenty of different fish species. The sea is surrounded by twenty-two different countries, each with different cultures and extraordinary natural sea habitats to visit.  To help you choose the perfect sailing destination to witness Mediterranean sea life, we compiled a list of 5 of the finest sea life hotspots.

1) Zakynthos, Ionian Islands, Greece.

You have probably seen it on a desktop wallpaper, or even on your Instagram feed, a mesmerizing shipwrecked beach in between dramatic cliffs. Some people even dare to base jump this place! Sounds amazing? Zakynthos is one of seven of the Ionian islands and constitutes over 120km of coastline that you can discover by renting a boat in Zakynthos. Sealife is the main attraction there. Visit the Islet of Marathonisi if you want to swim with endangered loggerhead turtles. They are easy to spot during the breeding season from May to October because they lay eggs on the beach. You will also be able to see other amazing creatures, such as dolphins, octopuses, barracudas, eels, and many different reef fish. If you are lucky enough, you might even notice a Mediterranean MonkSeal!

Here are some other common fish in Zakynthos: Parrot fish, white bream, greater amberjack, lionfish, flathead grey mullet.

2) Portofino, Italy

This area is considered as one of the most densely populated places in the Mediterranean for sea life. A sea floor filled by caves and crevices have made it a perfect place to welcome a variety of sea species to live there. Red corals make for a wonderful ecosystem where different fish such as barracudas, brown groupers, big moray eels and red starfish can prosper. Fishing is strictly regulated for a more sustainable marine environment, but you can still enjoy the sun and explore the sea by renting a boat in Portofino. If you are looking for a breathtaking experience, head to the Portofino Marine Park and discover underwater wrecks, coral seafloors and the stunning statue of Cristo Degli Abissi. While on your boat trip, you can also go south to Cinque Terre and hike from one town to another if you aren’t too lazy! Make sure to stop for local wine and pesto before jumping into the transparent water.

Here are some other common fish in Portofino: Snapper fish, spiny dogfish, ornate wrasse, salpa, painted comber.

3) Mljet, Croatia

Croatia has many islands, most tourists like to see the bigger and more popular ones like Hvar or Korcula. If you are the type that prefers more peaceful and relaxing places, we suggest that you rent a boat in Dubrovnik and head to Mljet. It’s not too far off the coast from the city and you will be surprised by its wilderness and the sound of nature. The island hosts big lakes filled by amazing sea life, easy to spot are the numerous species of small fish, octopuses and sea floors covered by different meadows and sea creatures like anemones, sea cucumbers and starfish. If you are lucky you could also see venomous red scorpion fish that live there during your snorkelling sessions! One of the best activities in Mljet is to rent bikes in Polace and to ride around the lakes, find a hidden spot and take a dip in the crystal clear water.

Here are some other common fish in Mljet: European eel, cardinal fish, white trevally, greater amberjack, blotched picarel.

4) Port-Cros, France

This island is just off the coast of France and will make you feel blessed. Sail to one of the best places to go snorkelling in Europe by renting a boat in Hyeres. In 2012 the National Park was totally remodelled and therefore protects the sea creatures that live in surrounding ecosystems. Sign specific regulations before scuba diving as wildlife protocols are in place. You could follow the underwater trail of La Palud for a snorkelling excursion, with depths up to 10 meters it will bring you all the way to the Ilot du Rascas. Sea life is beautiful in the area, you will spot multiple different fish like sar, bream, comber and even barracudas, eels and octopuses.

Here are some other common fish in Port-Cros: Girelle Paon, monkfish, combtooth blenny, damselfish, opah.

5) Medes islands, Costa Brava

Costa brava is part of Catalonia, a region located in southern Spain. Warmer climate than most European countries all year round, it is also a great snorkelling destination. Meadows, corals and multi-colored fans for the seafloors make for a breathtaking experience. Sailing at the Medes Islands by renting in l’Estartit. will allow you to fully immerse yourself into the splendid diversity of the mediterranean sea. You might see seahorses, barracudas, big groupers and even bigger animals like dolphins and different kinds of whales. Make sure you anchor in small towns along the Costa Brava to taste the delicious patatas bravas and traditional seafood.

Here are some other common fish in medes islands: East Atlantic peacock wrasse, damselfish, salema porgy, painted comber, two banded seabream.

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