Beautiful coral reefs, sunken shipwrecks and an abundance of marine life make the Red Sea a wonderful place to explore. We've compiled a list of the best Red Sea diving sites as rated by international travellers. *
Taba in South Sinai, Egypt
Pharaoh's Island in Taba
The border town of Taba sits to the east of the Sinai peninsula on the northeastern arm of the Red Sea, and travellers rate it as the region’s best destination for diving. On land, the town’s main attraction is the cliff-top Castle Zaman, which overlooks Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf of Aqaba.
While there are a number of diving options around Taba, first-time visitors to the town are recommended to use one of the established dive centres, like the one at the Mövenpick Taba Resort & Spa. It’s not necessary to check into the hotel to use the dive facilities, but guests staying there will find a wide-range of classes and expert instruction available.
Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt
The green waters of Dahab
Dahab, a small village on the south of the Sinai peninsula, benefits from a coastal and desert location. Recent years have seen it become a hotspot for kite-surfing, rock-climbing, trekking and scuba diving, while regular visitors praise its open, friendly atmosphere.
There are dozens of dive sites around Dahab (most diving is done from the shore) and just as many dive schools, with courses ranging from fun beginner lessons to highly technical expert instruction. Hotels that run their own dive courses include The Bedouin Moon Hotel, Dahab Divers and the Red Sea Relax Resort.
Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt
A shipwreck off the shore of Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh completes the Sinai peninsula trio. Thanks to carefully monitored coral reefs and numerous shipwrecks, there are plenty of underwater adventures to be had. Snorkeling is especially popular around the Al Fanar and Al Montazah beaches, and the flora and fauna at National Park Ras Mohammed are worth at least one day’s diving.
There are dive schools all along the coast, and hotels with their own diving facilities include the independent Oonas Dive Club – which is recommended for wheelchair users – and The Cleopatra Luxury Resort Sharm el-Sheikh.
Calm waters and coral reefs
Hurghada is popular with all kinds of divers, although the calm waters and breathtaking coral reefs make the former fishing village particularly well suited to diving newbies. Less than 10 metres from shore, you’ll find a dazzling variety of marine life and, if you fancy spending some time on dry land, Luxor is within driving distance.
Just like on the South Sinai Peninsula, most hotels have their own dive centres and offer reef tours. Standouts include Dana Beach Resort, the Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel, Jaz Makadina and Iberotel Makadi Beach. Private properties like the View Villa Apartments will arrange for diving and snorkeling on their guests’ behalf.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the destinations bordering the Red Sea that were highly endorsed for ‘diving’ by travellers.