Egypt is a popular holiday destination, a real paradise for snorkelers and divers. The Red Sea is one of the few places on the world where you can find untouched coral reefs. The main tourist cities have different characteristics and atmospheres, but all of them are perfect for exploring the unique marine life. If you also want to see how healthy coral ecosystems look like, we highly recommend snorkeling in Egypt! This “Where to snorkel in Egypt” guide will help you to find the best place that suits your needs the most!
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Best time to go snorkeling in Egypt
What is the best season to travel to Egypt? This is an easy question! Egypt is a year-round destination! You might often face the problem that many holiday destinations have monsoon or trade-wind seasons, or just low sea temperatures that make swimming or snorkeling impossible. These will not happen in Egypt!
The conditions for snorkeling in Egypt are more than perfect anytime you go. The water temperature can reach 29-30 °C in the summer months (July-August). The sea is the coldest in December and January (20-21 °C) when wearing a 3 mm wetsuit might be useful for your comfort, although some people swim without it too.
For snorkeling in Egypt the best periods are the late spring-early summer and autumn months! During these times, the water is pleasantly warm but the air temperatures are not too high. If you would like to take historic excursions as well like visiting the Pyramids, best to go in winter or spring.
For snorkeling, plan your trip between May and end of June, or from mid-September until November! In these times the air temperature is 30-35 °C, the sea temperature is 26-28 °C, perfect conditions for snorkeling in Egypt! The summer months, July and August are for heat-lovers, the air temperature can reach 40-44 °C. In Egypt, the sun is really strong, always take care of UV Protection and use reef safe sunscreen!
Where to go snorkeling in Egypt?
You already decided to go snorkelling in Egypt but are unsure which area to pick up? The tourist cities are all different but share a common feature: the unique marine life. We visit the country at least once a year (we are real Egypt fans!) so here is a little comparison of the main destinations to help you to decide.
Popular tourist destination in Egypt, visited by thousands of holidaymakers every year. Hurghada once was a small fishing village, nowadays is the country’s main coastal tourism center
It has some modern areas with 5-star hotels, but the city center is rather “old-style”. You find traditional bazaars selling perfumes, papyrus, local spices, but modern complexes like the Marina or Aquarium too. If you’d like to visit Cairo to see the Pyramids, it is the best and easiest from Hurghada.
If the main reason of your holiday is not the nightlife rather snorkeling, be careful when choosing your hotel. Many hotels have sandy beaches only, especially in the city center. In these places you will find little marine life and you might be disappointed. But there are places with vibrant coral reefs: book your holiday in the Makadi Bay, Sahl Hasheesh or Soma Bay for having access to house reefs!
The Makadi Bay is the most famous area and one of the best spots for snorkeling in Egypt! Hurghada’s coral reefs are shallow without steep drop-offs. Visibility is excellent all year round, the wind might be strong sometimes. It is easy to take a boat excursion from Hurghada and explore other great snorkel spots like Saab Sabina Reef or Sharm el Naga. Book a Mahmya Island trip for some Caribbean feeling!
You also have a chance to swim with wild dolphins around Hurghada. You will be offered Dolphinarium tours for sure, but please don’t go, don’t support these activities. Look for an excursion that takes you to swim with free dolphins on the open sea.
Sharm el Sheikh
A newer city, much more European than Hurghada. Some people say this is an advantage, others see this as a downside because they do not feel the real Arabic atmosphere. You find here recently built bazaars and shopping complexes.
The city has a different character and so the shoreline. There are only a few sandy beaches but amazing reefs covered with colorful, vibrant corals. Moray eels, eagle rays, octopus and turtles are daily visitors in front of the hotels, but if you are lucky enough you will see manta ray or even a whale shark! If you are interested in history don’t miss out the Million Hope Shipwreck snorkeling trip!
Naama Bay is the city center, the sea is good for swimming but there are less corals. If you are in Sharm, take a trip to the Ras Mohamed National Park to observe untouched reefs! On this trip, you have a good chance to meet dolphins too!
The best snorkel spots in Sharm el Sheikh are the Ras Nasrani and the Ras um el Sid. Sharm is less windy than other cities, but if you want to be 100% sure that the wind won’t disturb your activity, choose a hotel in Ras um el Sid which lies is a sheltered, wind-protected bay.
Read our Sharm El Sheikh Hotel reviews:
It is the perfect choice if you would like a peaceful holiday far from the noise and grey weekdays and wish to relax and enjoy the beauty of the underwater world. Many people who visited Marsa Alam say that’s the best place for snorkeling in Egypt! The marine life is more untouched, the corals are healthier than at other touristy spots.
In Marsa Alam, you have a high chance to see big turtles, dugongs (sea cows) and sometimes sharks too. Don’t miss out visiting the Abu Dabbab Dugong Bay which is a sheltered bay visited by dugongs and home to turtles! There is a good chance to see dugong in Marsa Mubarak Bay too. Take a day trip to the Sataya Reef which is one of the best spots to swim with wild dolphins in Egypt!
Marsa Alam is a remote location, the hotels are situated far from the city and also from each other, so do not expect busy nightlife here. This is the place to enjoy nature and disconnect! The area could be windy sometimes, therefore it is recommended to book a hotel that lies in a wind-protected bay. If you would like to be close to facilities, choose Port Ghalib. This is a resort community with international luxury hotel chains, spas, shops and hospital.
Read our Marsa Alam Hotel reviews:
A former fishing village featuring Bedouin lifestyle, vibrant reefs and stunning marine life. Dahab, the Golden City is considered to be one of the Sinai Peninsulas’ most treasured diving, snorkeling destinations. It lies approx. 80 kilometers northeast from Sharm el Sheikh, one hour drive from the Sharm el Sheikh International Airport. This hippie-style location has a lot to offer for those who like laid-back vacations with the opportunity to observe and vibrant underwater life.
Dahab is rather a traditional village than a tourist city. Although it lies on the Sinai Peninsula, it is considered safer than bigger cities. You find only a few big hotels here, most accommodations adapted their service to the needs of divers, snorkelers and freedivers. The center of the village is a wide, open area with a long promenade where you can freely walk around.
You find here snorkeling opportunities for snorkelers at all level. Dahab best snorkel places can be found all around the village, but all are free and easily accessible.
Visit Ras Abu Galum Bedouin Village to learn how the Bedouins live in the desert! The place is a marine protected area, so don’t forget to take your snorkel set! The most visited snorkel spot in Dahab is the Blue Hole, which offers one of the most unique, spectacular snorkeling in Egypt.
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Snorkeling in Egypt has a great price value for money! The Red Sea has a lot of things to see, the weather conditions are almost always perfect. We highly recommend all sea-lovers to visit one of these wonderful cities (or all of them!). We hope our comparison helped you to decide on your holiday plans. Read our detailed post of the locations for more info and photos, or contact us if you have any questions!