The Best Ice Diving Location

With the arrival of winter, the cold weather makes us shiver involuntarily. However, in the world of divers, extreme cold can also become a uniquely extraordinary experience.

Ice diving is a type of diving activity conducted in extremely cold environments. In the frozen underwater world, the wonders beneath the ice surpass the boundaries of our imagination. For those brave divers, ice diving is not just an extreme challenge; it is a magical adventure into uncharted waters.

So, which frozen places can be considered the best ice diving location for ice divers, where they can embark on a unique ice diving adventure?

Ojamo Mine, Finland

The Ojamo Mine is actually an ancient limestone mine located near the town of Lohja, about 60 kilometers from the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Mining operations in the mine started in the early 19th century and continued until 1939 when Finland was at war with Russia. It was temporarily transformed into a prisoner of war camp during the war and resumed normal mining activities after the war. However, in the 1960s, mining operations permanently ceased due to cheaper alternatives and reduced demand for limestone.

Over the past few decades, the mine gradually filled with water. Since Finland has almost no naturally formed caves, this submerged mine has become one of the most popular diving destinations in Scandinavia and the world, known as the "Gateway to Hell."

Divers entering the mine need skills and experience in cave diving and cold-water diving, as well as proficiency in deep decompression and closed-circuit rebreather techniques. The water temperature averages around 4°C/39°F, and the shallowest tunnel entry point is at 28 meters/92 feet. The water near the surface is murky, serving as a habitat for water pigs, northern pikes, and crayfish. As divers descend, the water becomes clearer, allowing them to enjoy the long-forgotten enchanting scenery.

Tobermory, Canada

Tobermory is located in the Fathom Five National Marine Park in Canada and typically reaches its peak ice cover from late February to early March. A popular entry point is through the opening above the sunken ship Sweepstakes, where divers can descend below the ice to explore a shipwreck from a century ago.

Lioson Lake, Switzerland

Switzerland not only boasts magnificent snow-covered mountains but also lakes suitable for ice diving. Lioson Lake, with an average water temperature of 2°C and a maximum depth of 32 meters, displays a gentle blue glow from the ice layer beneath the surface. Divers immerse themselves in the beauty beneath the ice, swimming on the frozen lake surface and showcasing their exceptional buoyancy skills, creating a unique upside-down walking experience.

Lake Baikal, Russia

During the long Siberian winter, Lake Baikal's ice cover can exceed 2 meters in thickness. As the world's oldest and deepest lake, it remains frozen for up to five months from January to May. Lake Baikal is a must-visit ice diving destination for any adventurous diver. Divers can discover unique marine life, including Baikal oilfish, the world's deepest freshwater fish (active up to 500 meters deep), which lacks scales and swim bladder. It is inedible for humans but serves as a food source for the Baikal ringed seal.

Baffin Island, Canada

If you haven't tried ice diving yet and are looking for an ideal place to witness the wonders of Arctic wildlife, Baffin Island is your best choice. Here, you can navigate through the cracks between icebergs and submerged ice layers, diving into the frigid ocean. The water temperature remains between -2°C and 5°C throughout the year. In addition to incredible underwater landscapes, divers can encounter jellyfish, starfish, and sea urchins in the clear water. Baffin Island is home to numerous Arctic creatures, offering glimpses of narwhals, seals, and even polar bears in the distance.


Antarctica is the jewel in the crown of ice diving, the ultimate diving destination. At the southernmost tip of our planet, Antarctica nurtures many unique species found nowhere else. Playful and curious marine mammals like seals, easily spotted whales, and flocks of penguins dive into the crystal-clear blue waters. Experienced divers can embark on ice diving expeditions in Antarctica through liveaboard arrangements. To ensure safety, divers must meet minimum dive records, undergo medical checks, and possess internationally recognized qualifications.

Hokkaido, Japan

For those eager to experience ice diving, Hokkaido in Japan is a must-visit! As the northernmost island in Japan, Hokkaido's fishing villages are home to numerous sea eagles, spotted seals, and a plethora of invertebrates, including Alaskan king crabs the size of truck tires and transparent sea slugs known as clione. The region also offers a range of high-quality, comfortable facilities for divers.