It also doesn’t matter if you never dived before a day in your life — Egypt is chock-full of PADI-certified, professional diving centers, instructors and liveaboards that will propel you from snorkeler to advanced diver in no time.

1. Diving in Marsa Alam

Marsa Alam diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Best dive spots: Elphinstone Reef, Daedalus Reef, Abu Dabbab, Dolphin House Reef

Marsa Alam might not be as well known or frequently visited as Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada when it comes to diving, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive (it might be even more so!). This coastal town is more off the beaten track for both Egyptians and foreigners alike, so it’s an excellent place if you want to relax and focus on diving and other sea activities.

dugong in Marsa Alam. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Marsa Alam’s dugongs

Beginner divers: the shallow bay of Abu Dabbab is perfect for newbies — there’s no current and the water is around 18 m deep. It’s also there where you can sometimes see Egypt’s very rare dugongs, cousins of the manatee.

Advanced divers: Famous dive sites like Elphinstone and Daedalus are must-sees for more advanced divers — you can see anything from hammerhead sharks to manta rays in these open sea sites. They’re accessible by either day trips from Marsa Alam or liveaboards.

Local tips:

How to get there: you can either fly into Marsa Alam airport or drive from Cairo (around an 8-10 hour drive)

2. Sharm El Sheikh/Ras Mohammed

Sharm el Sheikh diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Best dive spots: SS Thistlegorm, Dunraven, Kingston, Shark Reef, Yolanda Reef

According to Dive Magazine, “Sharm El Sheikh has been, for many years, the favourite Egyptian destination for scuba divers, and has probably contributed more to the European dive business than any other resort in the world.”

It’s also the starting point for most dive expeditions into Ras Mohammed, an Egyptian national park at the southernmost tip of Sinai, where the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez and the mixing of water leads to brightly-colored, healthy coral reefs.

SS Thistlegorm in Sharm El Sheikh. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Bike on the SS Thistlegorm wreck. Photo credit: Terry Steeley

Beginner divers: Dive sites like Ras Um el Sid are ideal for beginners; easy reef diving in a shallow bay with no currents.

Advanced divers: Sharm has some amazing wreck diving, like the SS Thistlegorm, a British ship that was sunk by Germans in WWII. Other great wreck dives are Dunraven and Kingston.

Local tip:

How to get there: fly to Sharm El Sheikh airport or drive from Cairo (6-7 hour drive).

3. Hurghada/El Gouna

Hurghada diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Best dive spots: Giftun Islands, Abu Nuhas reef and wrecks, Rosalie Moller

The coastal towns of Hurghada and El Gouna might be around 25 km apart, but they share many of the same diving sites. Hurghada, which used to be a small fishing village only a few decades ago, is now the biggest Red Sea resort town on the Egyptian mainland.

El Gouna diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Beginner divers: Hurghada and El Gouna are actually ideal for beginner divers because most of their reefs are shallow and easily accessible but still crammed full of marine life, like the Giftun Islands (home of the famous Mahmya beach restaurant/bar on the shore).

Advanced divers: the deep wreck of the Rosalie Moller is closer situated to Hurghada than to Sharm El Sheikh, where its sister ship, the SS Thistlegorm is. Rosalie Moller was a coal ship so it’s not as impressive as Thistlegorm with all its relics, but still an awesome wreck dive.

Local tip:

How to get there: fly into Hurghada airport and take a cab/car hire from there if you’re going to El Gouna. Or you can drive from Cairo (around a 5 hour drive).

4. Dahab

Eel Garden in Dahab. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Eel Garden

Best dive site: Blue Hole, The Canyon, Eel Garden

The Blue Hole in Dahab is probably the most famous dive site in all of Egypt, known even by non-divers, but it’s definitely not the only diving spot Dahab has to offer.

Diving in Dahab. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Beginner divers: most of Dahab’s coral reefs are right off the shore and easy for beginner divers to reach and explore, including The Blue Hole’s reef (but not the arch!).

Advanced divers: the deep arch of the Blue Hole is a 70m archway and passageway in the reef, and is popular with advanced divers and freedivers, but is also extremely dangerous — dozens of people have passed away there (the onshore tribute to the fallen divers is both moving and somber). The Canyon is also another favorite spot for advanced divers.

Local tips:

How to get there: fly into Sharm el Sheikh then make the drive to Dahab (around an hour away), or drive from Cairo (7-8 hours).

5. El Qoseir

Qoseir diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Ikhwa Islands/Brothers Islands. Photo credit: Robert Wilpernig

Best dive sites: El Ikhwa Islands (Brothers’ Islands)

Most would be surprised to see El Qoseir on the list, but it’s true — if you’re looking for great diving away from it all and untouched coral, then look no further. This 5,000 year old town is home to several ecolodges and diving camps on the cliffs overlooking a pristine stretch of sea between Hurghada and Marsa Alam, and there are lots of diving centers to choose from.

Qoseir diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Salem Express wreck

Beginner divers: most of the diving is close to the shore, easily accessible to the diving camps and shallow.

Advanced divers: El Ikhwa Islands is one of the undisputed best diving spots in the whole of the Red Sea, and a good place to see sharks and other big fish, since it’s 70 km off shore from El Qoseir. There’s also the Salem Express wreck, which is closer to Safaga but reachable from Qoseir by liveaboard.

Local tip:

How to get there: you have three options: 1) fly into Hurghada and drive south, 2) fly into Marsa Alam and drive north, 3) drive from Cairo (6-7 hours).

6. Safaga/Soma Bay/Makadi Bay

Safaga diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Tobia Reefs

Best dive sites: Ras Abo Soma, Abu Kafan, Tobia Reefs (aka Seven Pillars/Seven Pinnacles) and Panorama Reef

South of Hurghada are the neighboring resort towns of Makadi Bay and Safaga (technically Soma Bay is in Safaga), on the same coastline between Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Whereas El Qoseir is the destination to go if you want primitive camps and a more back-to-basics feel, Safaga, Soma Bay and Makadi Bay offer 5-star resorts and all-inclusive luxury hotels.

Safaga diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Ras Abo Soma

Beginner divers: the reef of Ras Abo Soma and its adjacent areas are great for beginner divers, and you even have the chance of happening upon reef sharks. North of Makadi Bay is Abu Ramada South, another good dive spot for beginners.

Advanced divers: there’s awesome wall and drift diving, and the Tobias Reefs are well-loved. You can also visit the Salem Express wreck, a controversial dive spot because of the sad story attached. The Salem Express was a passenger ferry between Egypt and Saudi Arabia that sank in 1991, killing over 400 passengers. Some divers choose not to visit the wreck, but other divers do and pay their respects to the remains of the ship and the lives lost.

Local tips:

How to get there: either fly into Hurghada airport and drive south, or drive from Cairo (5-6 hours).

7. Hamata, Wadi Lahami and the Deep South

Egypt deep south diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Best dive spots: St. John’s, Fury Shoals and Rocky Island

Ever wondered about the stretch of the Red Sea between Marsa Alam and Sudan? It’s known as the Deep South, where the tiny coastal towns/villages of Hamata and Wadi Lahami are, right before you reach the Shalateen and Halayeb protected areas. This pristine stretch of Red Sea is completely untouched and unspoiled.

Egypt deep south diving. 7 Best Diving Destinations in Egypt’s Red Sea For Divers Of All Levels

Beginner divers: because of the strong wind conditions, it’s not always the best place for beginner divers, but St. John’s has a few easier dives.

Advanced divers: the strong current leads to amazing drift diving, with an increased chance of seeing hammerhead sharks, pods of dolphins and manta rays.

Local tips:

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