©istockphoto/ateseCoral reefs might claim the most col­or­ful and crowd­ed div­ing expe­ri­ences in the world, but there are plen­ty of beau­ti­ful views to be seen where the sun doesn’t shine quite so bright. Ice div­ing has been gain­ing trac­tion for years and it offers some tru­ly unique sights to see for those who are will­ing to brave the cold. Here are some of the best spots around the world to see what’s hid­ing under­neath the frozen surface.

The Antarc­tic Peninsula
The Antarc­tic Penin­su­la is one of the pre­mier ice, or polar, div­ing spots in the world for fair­ly obvi­ous rea­sons. If you’re tough enough to slap on a div­ing suit and brave the frigid waters, you’ll be treat­ed a pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar light show under the sea. When the sun­light hits the ice beneath the sur­face it cre­ates an array of daz­zling col­ors that ric­o­chet off the walls, almost cre­at­ing the illu­sion of move­ment under the sur­face. The area is also chock full of sea life that can still thrive in sub-zero temps, includ­ing starfish, anemones, squat lob­sters, sea but­ter­flies and more. For the best expe­ri­ence, check out McMur­do Sound.

Hańcza, Poland
For those look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle less treach­er­ous than a dive in the sea, you might find your­self bet­ter-suit­ed ice div­ing in one of Poland’s thou­sands of lakes. The coun­try becomes a ver­i­ta­ble win­ter won­der­land for a good por­tion of the year and the lakes here freeze over pret­ty quick­ly, pro­vid­ing ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore beneath the sur­face. Hańcza Lake is one of the most pop­u­lar spots and a great place to explore; it’s 108 meters deep and home to numer­ous fish species that thrive in the cold. There are also boul­der fields beneath the ice to explore and the views from the sun shin­ing through the ice above are brilliant.

Sas­so­lo Lake, Switzerland
Switzer­land has no short­age of amaz­ing places to slip beneath the ice, but Sas­so­lo Lake is leaps and bounds above the rest. Glac­i­ers dot the land­scape of this moun­tain­ous clear-water lake and beneath the sur­face, they pro­vide a labyrinth of tun­nels and under­ground ice caves to explore. The high alti­tude here makes it unsuit­able for inex­pe­ri­enced divers, but experts will find it to be one of the most mes­mer­iz­ing places on Earth.

Russia’s White Sea
You might find the name “White Sea” a lit­tle mis­lead­ing once you find your­self below the icy sur­face off the coast of Rus­sia. Europe’s only sea to freeze com­plete­ly dur­ing the win­ter is loaded with col­or­ful arrays of marine life from sea anemones, sponges, starfish, and even soft corals. The wave for­ma­tions here have also helped to craft some of the most exquis­ite under­wa­ter ice caves and fis­sures in exis­tence, mak­ing it a must-try for any expe­ri­enced div­er who wants to take a dip under the ice. It’s a pop­u­lar spot for those seek­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, so if you plan on sign­ing up with a div­ing out­fit, make sure to secure your spot early.

Sil­fra Rift, Iceland
The Sil­fra Rift is one of the most excep­tion­al dive spots in the world for a pret­ty incred­i­ble rea­son: it’s one of the few spots where you’re actu­al­ly div­ing right between two sep­a­rate con­ti­nents. The rift is actu­al­ly an enor­mous crack between the Amer­i­can and Eurasian con­ti­nents and cer­tain areas freeze over ear­ly on in the year. Vis­i­bil­i­ty ranges from 50 meters all the way up to 100 meters in cer­tain areas and the sur­round­ing lakes and alleys are teem­ing with under­wa­ter wildlife to dis­cov­er. The water here reg­u­lar­ly dips below 4 degrees Cel­sius, so make sure you get some prac­tice under your belt before jump­ing in.