The Red Sea coast of Egypt, one of the world’s most beautiful snorkeling destination

The most popular destinations for snorkeling in Egypt are located along the Egyptian Riviera, a series of resort cities stretching along the western coast of the Gulf of Aqaba and along the Egyptian coast of the Gulf of Suez.

From north to south, the best-known resorts are Tawa, Nuweiba, Dahab, Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam.

Snorkeling with clownfish in Sharm El-Sheikh, Red Sea
The Red Sea clownfish (right, photographed at Ras Um Sid) is easily spotted at shallow reefs in the Egyptian Riviera, especially in Sharm el-Sheikh (left).

Located in the Gulf of Aqaba, Sharm el-Sheikh is arguably Egypt’s most famous snorkeling destination. Many spots are accessible from the coast, edged in many places by a fringing reef offering a drop-off to the open sea.

Ras Um Sid (or El Fanar Beach) is one of the best locations in the city for shore snorkeling, but most local hotels also have their own reef access.

Sharm el-Sheikh is also the starting point for snorkeling tours to fantastic nearby spots such as Ras Mohammed National Park, which protects exceptional coral reefs. Gordon Reef, a seashell-shaped reef known for the wreck of the Lovilla, is also a great spot accessible from Sharm.

Bluecheek butterflyfish at Gordons Reef
The bluecheek butterflyfish, endemic to the Red Sea, is one of the iconic fish you may spot in Egyptian waters (here, photographed at Gordon Reef).

About a hundred kilometers north of Sharm, the small town of Dahab is known to divers around the world for its Blue Hole, a vertical 394-foot-deep underwater sinkhole, located a few miles north of the city. Snorkeling the coral drop-offs that line the Blue Hole is an awesome experience.

On the way to the Blue Hole, you can also stop at the Canyon, where you can explore a shallow lagoon dug in the reef flat, as well as a coral drop-off. In Dahab, it is also possible to snorkel the reef that edges the city (in Mashraba) and at Lagon Beach.

Snorkeling with dolphins in Marsa Alam
Marsa Alam region is one of the Egyptian snorkeling hotspots: left, the coral reef at Abu Dabbab; right, spinner dolphins at Sataya Reef.

On the west coast of the Gulf of Aden, Marsa Alam is another snorkeling hotspot in Egypt. This region brings together everything snorkelers can dream of: dugongs, dolphins, and colorful coral reefs.

Marsa Alam boasts two of the best spots in the world to snorkel with spinner dolphins: Samadai Reef, a 45 minutes boat trip from Marsa Alam marina, and Sataya Reef, a 2 to 2:30 hours trip from Hamata Jetty. These two spots are also known as “Dolphin House”, which can be confusing.

Marsa Alam region is also known as a top destination to spot dugongs. Marsa Mubarak is the most renowned (with the best chances to see these creatures), but some dugongs are occasionally seen at other spots, such as Abu Dabbab. Encounters with green sea turtles, rather rare in Sharm el-Sheikh, are much more frequent in the region, especially in Abu Dabbab.

Snorkeling with sea turtles in Egypt
Abu Dabbab is considered the best spot in Egypt to swim with green sea turtles.

If you wish to explore vibrant fringing reefs with colorful life, you can choose between Abu Dabbab, the Gorgonia Beach Resort, the Royal Tulip Resort and Magic Tulip Resort, Aurora Bay, Coraya Bay, Utopia Beach Club or Brayka Bay (all with shore access, but some restricted to resorts guests – check the dedicated pages), or take a snorkeling tour to some neighboring small islands (like Shaab Marsa Alam).

North of Marsa Alam, the huge resort town of Hurghada is also home to some great snorkeling spots, especially around the Giftun Islands.

Woman snorkeling Dahab's Blue Hole
Snorkeling at Dahab’s Blue Hole.

The waters of the Red Sea, protected from oceanic currents, are particularly calm and warm. These conditions have allowed the development of lush underwater life, dominated by hard and soft corals, and marked by a high rate of endemism.

With more than 200 species of corals (8% endemic to the region), more than 1,000 species of fish (17% endemics), and 1,000 species of invertebrates, Egyptian waters offer a tireless spectacle.

While snorkeling on the Egyptian reefs, you will spot shoals of surgeonfish, schools of thousands of sea goldies, the unique Red Sea clownfish (endemic to the Red Sea), several species of angelfish (emperor angelfish, regal angelfish), and butterflyfish (including the bluecheek butterflyfish, maybe the Red Sea’s most iconic fish).

The absence of waves, the excellent underwater visibility and the accessibility of the reef drop-offs further make snorkeling explorations really easy.

When to go snorkeling Egypt?

Snorkeling is possible all year round in the Red Sea coasts of Egypt, where the water temperature is relatively constant, around 77°F/25°C.

The climate, which is dry and hot in this part of Egypt, becomes sweltering from mid-June to mid-September when the temperatures can get up to 104°F/40°C.

In winter, snorkeling can be trickier because of the wind and the air temperature, which is cooler (don’t forget your rashguard). April, May, September, and October are the best months to explore the region.

Best months for snorkeling the Red Sea riviera
Cool and windy
Warm and sunny
Hot and sunny

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