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Ask any diver what their top 3 diving locations in the world are, and chances are they’ll place the Red Sea somewhere in that list. And no country in the world is positioned better to take full advantage of everything the Red Sea has to offer than Egypt. Never has this been more important than now. Egypt is set to be among the first countries to jumpstart its tourism industry following Covid. Already, the country has opened its borders to foreign tourists, and multiple resorts along the Red Sea area have likewise reopened.
What people tend to forget, however, is that Egypt shares its northern border with another sea: the Mediterranean. With so much water to enjoy and so many areas claiming to offer the best experience, it can be difficult to decide where to go diving.
This article lists 5 of what we believe to be the absolute best diving locations in Egypt.
If you’re a beginning diver and you’re looking for a place to get some experience (or just want to take it easy for a change), Hurghada is your destination. Many of its diving sights are located in not too deep waters, while still providing wonderful views of reefs and marine life. Hurghada is also a great staging area for trips to other parts of Egypt’s Red Sea area. For instance, the Giftun Islands are only 45 min away by boat. And perhaps most importantly, you can easily find direct flights from Europe to Hurghada, without stopovers. Many of the other premier diving spots do not offer such luxury, which is one of the reasons Hurghada is the perfect place for beginners.
Similar to Hurghada, El Quseir is an excellent location for beginners, but it also has plenty to do for more experienced divers. Hurghada has become increasingly popular over the years, making it a very busy area especially during the holidays. Some people don’t enjoy that, and would rather have a bit more quiet. El Quseir offers all of the lovely views with fewer crowds. This allows you to truly immerse yourself in the waters.
Divers that limit themselves to Egypt’s eastern coast miss out on the beautiful waters of the north, and no city offers a better opportunity to explore these waters than Alexandria. Most people know it for its rich history, and this is precisely why it’s such a great scuba diving location. Explore ruins from ancient Egypt such as Cleopatra’s palace or Alexandria’s legendary Lighthouse. Take note, however: diving in Alexandria should generally be done by more experienced divers, as visibility can be poor compared to the Red Sea diving areas. Additionally, you won’t find much marine life here.
These twin islands, called the El Ikhwa Islands in the native tongue, are found further out in the Red Sea and are notorious for the sheer amount of sea life which can be spotted here. There are so many small colourful fish that the waters at times resemble a vivid paint job. Bigger fish such as sharks are also regularly seen here throughout the year. The Brothers should only be tackled by advanced divers, as the waters are known for having strong currents. They can only be reached by liveaboard boat, which usually departs from either Hurghada or Marsa Alam.
No diving list is ever complete without mentioning Sharm el-Sheikh. It is by far Egypt’s most popular diving destination, and among the most popular in the world, home to the immensely popular Shark and Yolanda Reef. Because it runs along both the Gulf of Suez and Aqaba, Sharm al-Sheikh offers a level of diving arguably unmatched in all of Egypt. While beginner shore diving is possible, most divers head out further into the waters by boat, for example, to catch a sight of the famous wreck SS Thistlegorm.
Getting to Egypt: visas and itineraries
Egypt is among the most accessible countries in the world for tourists, which has led to its current reputation as a tourist hotspot. This is in part due to its easy to use visa system. Rather than having to go to the embassy or wait in line at the airport, tourists can get their Egypt visa online by filling in a digital e-visa application form. If everything proceeds as expected, the visa is then sent to you by e-mail, after which you can print it. Egyptian customs are also known to ask for a basic itinerary outlining what you will be doing in Egypt during your stay. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated, a simple outline of your activities is already enough. If you’re staying with a specific person, make sure to have their address ready as well, as you might be asked for it.