1. Salstraumen, 2. DS Frankenwald, 3. Skarberget, 4. Lofoten Archipelago, 5. Lake Lygnstøylvatnet, 6. Narvik, 7. Korsvik. Norway is the land of the Vikings and a country of incredible beauty, culture, and most importantly top dive sites. If you haven’t already been to Norway, this is a place not to be missed off your bucket list. Home to stunningly beautiful fjords and glacial valleys, Norway is just waiting to be explored. Here are the top best dive sites in Norway!
Saltstraumen is the first of the top best dive sites in Norway. Salstraumen is an excellent dive site for adventurous and experienced divers, and certainly one to avoid for the faint of heart. Hosting the world’s strongest currents that can reach up to 26 knots, there are an estimated 375 million cubic liters of water that passes through the narrow, shallow straight of Sastraumen every 6 hours. This current means that there is nutrient-rich water to feed the unique marine life. You can see massive schools of cod and coalfish, the impressive wolf fish, nudibranch, and anemones in a kelp forest. This is definitely an unforgettable dive.
The strong currents and steep walls make it demanding to dive here. So to dive in the Saltstraumen, you must be a certified dry suit diver and master the dry suit well. And preferably be AOW-certified. How demanding the diving is depends on the lunar phase, and how big the difference is at high tide.
Location: Nordland county, Norway.
Frankenwald is one of the world’s best wreck dives and also is among the best dive sites in Norway. Frankenwald must be regarded as one of the best wreck dives in the world, as it stands today in all its splendor, it is an amazing experience to dive into this monster ship. It’s still in extremely good condition after over 70 years at the bottom of the sea, and several dives are necessary to explore all its secrets. The deck lies at 24 – 34 meters. The bow of Frankenwald at 34 meters depth is truly a stunning sight. In good visibility, you can see all the way to the mast and bridge almost 40 meters further behind! The foredeck is full of interesting details like bollards, winches, ventilation pipes, and much more.
Frankenwald was built in steel in Hamburg in 1922 and is a full 122 meters long. Although it is possible to swim the entire length in one dive, you need several dives to see and explore the whole wreck. The stern is epic and the place at Frankenwald with the most pictures and the rest of the story you hear in Gulen.
Location: Gulen, Norway.
There are many spectacular dives to be had in the beautiful Lofoten Islands. One of the top sites in the area is the one at Skarsberget, a location that has a reputation for being one of the best wall dives in Norway. The clear waters in the area allow divers to see the colorful reef and many amazing sea creatures. There are various types of Crustaceans, Sea Urchins, and Starfish that have made these waters their home.
The wall can also be explored at night, offering a different type of diving experience. There is a very steep wall with overhangs and crevices so it feels like you’re exploring a mountain underwater. This is a fantastic spot that offers the opportunity to spot orcas hunting herring so if you’re lucky you could encounter that. Night dives at Skarberget have become increasingly popular in recent years, – armed with just the light from an underwater torch, it’s eerie and exhilarating in equal measure.
Location: Nordland, Norway.
Lofoten is a safe bet when you are thinking about going to Norway for a dive holiday. Not only is it great underwater, but the natural beauty, in general, will take your breath away. Add to this a very competent and knowledgeable dive resort, cool digs, and great food – and you will have a perfect time! In terms of diving, there is nothing amiss in Lofoten. You will be able to enjoy wrecks, walls, kelp forests, and critter diving, almost regardless of your certification.
Some of the wrecks (of course, the best-preserved ones) are a bit deeper and require more experience – but no matter what your level is, you will be very well taken care of and will be almost guaranteed a great experience. The coastal current that unremittingly pumps clean water from the Atlantic Ocean between the islands and beyond, is largely responsible for the distinctive and diverse marine life found in Lofoten. Beneath the current and on the cliff walls lie blankets of soft corals that filter the nutritious waters.
This dive site is quite different because it’s a freshwater dive, but you could dive in the ruins of a sunken town. That is Lake Lygnstøylvatnet which is among the best dive sites in Norway. This lake was formed recently, just a hundred years ago after a rockfall. In 1908 a rockslide blocked the river Lygna which in turn filled up the Norangs valley submerging the road and the farmhouses. The farmhouses of Norang and Stylstad, the road with gates as well as surrounding trees have now been underwater and preserved in the cold waters for more than a hundred years.
Today the place attracts tourists passing by, stopping to take the pictures of the remnants of the houses which are visible through the clear water even from shore, but also divers from all around Norway and abroad that explore the ruins underwater. You can dive along the old road, a bridge, and ruins of farmhouses, but it’s very important to respect the site and not touch the ruins to cause further degradation.
Location: Norangsdalen, Norway.
Northern Norway has a host of great dive locations, but Narvik is perhaps the most popular place for wreck diving. The town’s diving scene is tied to its position as a point of interest during the early part of World War II when both the British and the Germans raced to occupy the ice-free port in order to control the iron ore that came across the border from neighboring Sweden and left via the sea.
As a result of the conflict in Narvik, many wrecks are present in the area. One of the most interesting is the Dornier, a German plane that crashed and sank there in 1945. The wreckage sits only 36 meters below the surface on the muddy seabed. Because it lies in shallow waters, dives to the site can be inhibited by windy conditions above the surface and strong currents below it. But if you are lucky enough to find a gap in the weather that corresponds with the tide, then this is a hugely rewarding dive.
Location: Norland, Norway.
On Norway’s south coast in Kristiansand, there is plenty of fun to be had in the water and not just on the city’s famous sandy beaches. And Korsvik is one of the best dive sites in Norway. Beneath the surface in nearby Korsvik fjord, lies one of the county’s most famous shipwrecks, MS Seattle. It was a German cargo ship that sank in 1945, and luckily for divers, its remains are still in relatively good condition. The wreck of Seattle was located by Erling Skjold/NSA in 1988 and the vessel rests today at a depth of twenty to seventy meters. However, there is some controversy around visits to the site.
In 2010, two Danish divers lost their lives on a dive after sections of the wreck collapsed in on them. Although dives to the site are not forbidden, it is strongly recommended that you go with a fully qualified and experienced diver.
Location: Kristiansand, Norway.