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Snorkeling in Egypt – Complete “Where to go” guide

Egypt is a popular holiday destination, a real paradise for snorkelers and divers. The Red Sea is one of the few places in 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 what 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!

Anett Szaszi - Snorkel Around The World

Written by Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver, and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years of experience. She fell in love with the ocean while snorkeling in the Red Sea on a vacation to Egypt back in 2008. Since then, she has been traveling to discover the world’s best snorkeling spots and sharing her experience and tips to inspire others. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

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) so wearing a 3 mm wetsuit might be useful for your comfort, although some people swim without it too.

Red Sea - Aerial Photo
Red Sea

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 the end of June, or from mid-September until November! In these times the air temperature is 30-35 °C, and 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, so always take care of UV Protection and use reef safe sunscreen!

Where to go snorkeling in Egypt?

Have 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 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.

Jetty in Makadi Bay - Hurghada
Hurghada Makadi Bay

If the main reason for your holiday is not the nightlife but 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 Makadi Bay, Sahl Hasheesh, or Soma Bay to 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 does the shoreline. There are only a few sandy beaches but amazing reefs covered with colorful, vibrant corals. Moray eels, eagle rays, octopuses, and turtles are daily visitors in front of the hotels, but if you are lucky enough you will see a manta ray or even a whale shark! If you are interested in history don’t miss out on the Million Hope Shipwreck snorkeling trip!

Beach in Sharm El Sheikh and Tiran Island
Sharm El Sheikh Tiran Island

Naama Bay is the city center, the sea is good for swimming but there are fewer 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 in a sheltered, wind-protected bay.

Ras Nasrani - Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh – Ras Nasrani

Read our Sharm El Sheikh Hotel reviews:

Marsa Alam

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.

cactus on the Beach in Marsa Alam
Marsa Alam

If you go snorkeling in Marsa Alam, you have a high chance to see big turtles, dugongs (sea cows), and sometimes sharks too. Don’t miss out on 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 - Aerial Photo
Marsa Alam – Aerial Photo

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 a Bedouin lifestyle, vibrant reefs, and stunning marine life. Dahab, the Golden City is considered to be one of the Sinai Peninsulas’ most treasured diving, and snorkeling destinations. It lies approx. 80 kilometers northeast of 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 vibrant underwater life.

Blue Hole - Dahab, Egypt
Blue Hole – Dahab

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 levels. 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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Egypt snorkeling places - pin image

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!

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  1. Hi,
    We really want to visit Masa Alam but cannot find transport there from Luxor or Hurghada, only Cairo. How do you normally get there? Thanks

    1. Hi Sasha,

      Yes, you are right, there are not too many direct flight to Marsa Alam due to its remote location (we were flying from Vienna, but it was a charter flight and everything was organized by a tour agency). Usually people fly to Hurghada, than take a taxi to Marsa Alam (the trip takes about 3 hours, depending on your hotel’s location). The best and safest way is to ask your hotel to arrange the driver for you (they have to register your ride due to security reasons in advance). Or alternatively, you can book it through the Hoppa transfer site. We used it once in Egypt and everything was OK.
      Hope this helps,
      BR, Anett

  2. stacey garrison says:

    Dear Anett
    I have not been to Egypt but hear wonderful things. My wife and I would like to rent a cottage or apartment near a great snorkel area. We don’t want a big commercial area but somewhere with nice local shops and resturants. We would like to rent a car and visit other nearby snorkel areas and cool places to visit-we are NOT 5star kind of people

    1. Hi Stacey,
      Yes, Egypt is definitely a wonderful place to stay and the marine life is just amazing! However, it is not that developed that most Caribbean or Mediterranean destinations, therefore most tourists use to stay at hotels rather than apartments to make it easy (an all-inclusive package is not expensive at all). Of course, there are some apartments to rent, but it might be difficult to find a good supermarket nearby and you might be far from the sea. Moreover, most beaches are private hotel beaches, public beaches are not that well-kept and often don’t have a jetty to get into the deeper water where the nicest corals are. Regarding renting a car, it is not that simple in Egypt, because you need different permits, but taxis are very cheap. To make it short, if it is your first time there, I would choose a hotel with a nice house reef and easy water access. If you stick to an apartment, make sure it has security and shops close-by. Reg the location, the Makadi in Hurghada, or the Ras Nasrani or El Farana in Sharm el Sheikh are my recommendations.
      Hope this helps,
      Br, Anett

  3. Joseph Vassallo says:

    Hi thanks for your posts. Is Marsa Alam sea choppy in July? I like diving and snorkeling but gets easily seasick. Thanks.

    1. Hi Joseph,
      Marsa Alam is windier than Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh so the sea can be choppy, but during summer usually it is not that bad, actually July is one of the less windy months according to the charts, so I think this shouldn’t be a problem and the sea should be calm most times. If I were you I chose a hotel that is in/near to a sheltered bay (for example Brayka Bay or Abu Dabbab) so even there are bigger waves in the open water you can go swimming/snorkeling in the bay.
      Hope this helps,

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