Diving sites in the Var: where to dive?

The underwater landscape of the Var offers a multitude of shallows, drop-offs and wrecks at all depths. You can dive all year round in 3 areas:

  • Les Embiez and Cap Sicié,
  • the Hyères islands with the Port-Cros National Park,
  • the bay of Cavalaire, Saint-Raphaël and Cap Dramont.

We recommend that you go to a diving centre where you can enjoy the beauty of the seabed to the full and discover their dive sites.

The Var is a diving paradise.

Marine protected areas

The Var has a large number of protected marine areas. Almost 2/3 of the Var coastline is protected (fishing banned, anchoring prohibited, etc.) or under special surveillance. There are many different types of protected area: National Land and Marine Parks, Natura 2000 sites, Sanctuaries for the protection of marine mammals, Marine Protected Areas, Natural Areas of Ecological, Faunistic and Floristic Interest, etc

All of these contribute in large part to the richness and diversity of underwater life in Var waters. The main protected areas are: the Embiez archipelago and Cap Sicié, Hyères and its islands as far as Cavalaire Bay, the Saint-Tropez peninsula as far as the entrance to the Gulf, and the Estérel.

Find out more about the Marine Protected Areas

See all protected areas by type

Scuba diving in the "marine cores" of the Port-Cros National Park is regulated. It is compulsory to sign the regulations on https://capel.portcros-parcnational.fr/

Over 100 different scuba dives in the Var

The various dive sites in the Var offer a wide variety of diving opportunities. These sites are suitable for all levels of diver, from those wishing to take their first dive to the more experienced. You can discover the landscape, fauna, flora and wrecks.

Diving sites in the Var to discover the fauna and flora

Groupers, moray eels, scorpion fish, dentex, sea bream, girelles, gorgonians... So many beauties to discover in the world of silence on the shallows and drop-offs: les 3 fours, les Deux Frères, la pointe Escampobariou, la Grande Quairolle, la Cathédrale, la Roche Rousso, les Sardinaux..

Diving sites in the Var to discover shipwrecks

The Var has a huge number of wrecks to discover, of all types and from all eras! For divers at levels 2 and 3, we offer you the best of both planes and boats, with some gems like the P38 Lightning, the Tromblon, the Arroyo, the Spahis, the Prophète, the Togo, the Rubis..

From the surface to the deep sea, there's something for everyone, whatever their level, to satisfy their desire for blue... and colour.

Plongée sur la Ville de Grasse

Diving centres in the Var

As the cradle of technical diving, the Var has a large number of diving centres.

The centres are run by men and women who are passionate, demanding and very concerned about safety and the environment. Underwater activities take place in a specific environment and require particular attention to be paid to safety aspects: equipment (boats, diving and safety equipment), rescue procedures on board and in liaison with external services (CROSSMED, fire brigade, hospitals with hyperbaric chambers, etc.).

The Mediterranean is a magnificent but fragile living world!

The diving centres offer you not only scuba diving, but also a whole range of gentle activities that combine well-being and respect for the environment: snorkelling, freediving, themed diving, ecological diving, etc

Focus on responsible diving

All the centres are aware of the need to develop their activity in compliance with safety and protection conditions. Some of them wish to affirm and display this by adhering to certain labels and charters.

The Var is home to the first national land and marine park (1971), the Parc national de Port-Cros, which uses the national park brand " Esprit parc national ". Under this banner, you'll find all the services offered by professionals based in the Port-Cros National Park who have obtained the mark.

The "International Charter for Responsible Diving" was created by the Longitude 181 association. It has been adopted by a number of diving federations, including the Fédération Française d'Etudes et de Sports Sous-Marins FFESSM, and is designed to encourage signatory centres to consider and implement optimal diving conditions for the preservation and equitable sharing of the sea's riches. This charter is a guide whose proposals must be considered on a case-by-case basis, given the diversity of diving sites around the world. The proposals concern all stages of the diving and holiday experience. In the Var, although almost all the centres respect the spirit of the charter, 11 diving centres are members. Find out more about the member centres.

The "Qualité Tourisme" label guarantees quality service and facilities: a warm welcome, comfort, local resources, competent staff, etc. 4 centres in the Var have been awarded the "Qualité Tourisme" label.

Scuba diving in the "marine heartland" of the Port-Cros National Park is regulated. It is compulsory to sign the regulations on https://capel.portcros-parcnational.fr/

Snorkelling and underwater trails in the Var

Without needing to dive with tanks, discover from the surface the rich underwater environment of the Var and the different ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea. Simply equipped with flippers, mask and snorkel, these activities usually take place in shallow water. You can go snorkelling with a professional guide or discover the aquatic world of the Var on your own.

The same applies to the Var's underwater trails, which can be explored on your own using the buoys and information leaflets on site, or as part of an organised walk.

Apnea, a rejuvenating activity

We're all familiar with freediving in the Big Blue Bus, where divers descend into the depths along a rope. But freediving is now accessible to everyone! Discover the underwater world like a fish, with no equipment, no breathing noise, just gliding underwater.

It's an extraordinary sensory activity that gives you more thrills than parachuting, bungee jumping or paragliding! Freediving triggers latent physiological reflexes inherited from our aquatic ancestors: the heart rate drops, the blood feeds the vital organs, heart, brain and lungs. Everyone is capable of using these reflexes to discover powerful sensory pleasures in an atypical universe: water. This discipline teaches us to breathe properly, to relax, to refocus on ourselves and our sensations... We feel good, we're not breathing but we're living, everything's fine, a few seconds of plenitude offered in a world of stress. What if, in today's busy lives where we no longer take the time to breathe or listen to ourselves, apnoea was the new yoga?

Text based on the words of experts and freediving champions, compiled by Frédéric Simion - President of the Var freediving commission:

  • Béatrice Rouvier Del Negro - 3rd World Champion in Static Freediving 2018, French Champion and record holder in Static Freediving, "sport - health" ambassador for the 2024 Olympic Games
  • Stéphane Mifsud - multiple Freediving World Record Holder and Champion, current Static Freediving World Record Holder with 11 minutes 35 seconds
  • Guillaume Néry - quadruple Freediving Recordman and double World Champion
  • Vincent Mathieu - Static Freediving World Champion in 2016

Diving festivals in the Var

Films, conferences, cocktails, first dives, exploration dives, snorkelling trips, film competitions with on-board cameras... Every year, diving festivals in the Var offer activities based around scuba diving, for novices and enthusiasts alike!

September-October: the Var Environnement diving festival in Bormes-les-Mimosas, showing films for the general public and collecting rubbish underwater and on the coast.

November: the Galathéa Festival in Hyères

Information on our page: calendar

ile Porquerolles spot plongee sous marine epave bateau donator

Find out more

Download our brochure "Le Var - Nautisme & Plongée".

Diving centres and sites


See also...

Discover our other water sports activities.