Middle East Diving Holidays: An Overview

If there's one positive to come from the recent tension between the West and the Islamic world, it's a renewed fascination with the Middle East, although recent troubles haven't helped the region's cause. While Africa can claim to be the cradle of mankind, the Fertile Crescent incorporating latter day Israel and Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran remains the place where sophisticated societies first evolved. That the three great monotheistic world religions also sprung from the region only adds to a heady sense of cultural significance. There can be, for instance, few places that feel quite so deliciously lived in as the old town of Damascus, claimed as the longest continually inhabited place on earth.

Neill and Louisa are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • An often misunderstood region, the Middle East is endlessly fascinating, culturally unrivalled and home to some of the finest hotels anywhere in the world.
  • The Egyptian Red Sea, despite the crowds in some places, still offers world-class diving.
  • Oman is one of our favourite countries. The diving is very interesting and the landscapes beautiful.

Our Guide to Middle East Diving Holidays

And what a lot on offer. Aside from some of the most glorious Islamic architecture to be found anywhere, there are well-preserved Roman sites stretching the length of the Mediterranean Coast, shopaholic sating souqs, excellent luxury hotels and romantic riads, and yes, some lovely beaches and diving as well. We've visited them all and believe strongly in the power of comparison that allows us - which city has the best souqs, Marrakech or Istanbul? Tough one, but Marrakech wins, and we can tell you about our favourite shops in the depths of those souqs. Which ancient city is more of a must-see? Petra in Jordan or Leptis Magna in Libya? If you had to choose, it has to be Petra, but both should feature on any wishlist of future travels.

One of the things that sets us apart from other companies is that we can offer both cultural trips and diving. And what a treat lies in store beneath the waves. The staple for UK divers is of course the Red Sea, and a trip to Sharm El Sheikh or less crowded parts of this coastline is the most accessible, world-class diving destination for those of us based in the UK. Undiscovered it is not but it is still home so some stunning coral and abundant marine life, especially if you know where to look.

Apart from Egypt there is diving in the Middle East in the far less crowded Oman which has long been a favourite destination of ours and offers a very different diving experience to the Red Sea. And we are constantly on the lookout for new hotels and boats that fit the bill. Soon to come we hope Sudan and Djibouti. Watch this Middle Eastern spaceā€¦


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Original Highlight

Personally, the highlight of my Middle Eastern diving adventures to date has been our private desert, mountains and diving safari in Oman. Quite simply an epic trip.

Neill, Original Diver


Top picks for Middle East

Egypt

Egypt

Middle East

Egypt has vast historical and cultural aspects, and also offers world class diving, all within striking distance of Europe.

Where to go

Oman

Oman

Middle East

Oman has spectacular scenery, both over and under the water. And the bonus, it's relatively quiet and untouched when compared to its Middle Eastern neighbours.

Where to go

Picture of Northern Red Sea Scuba Diving

Northern Red Sea

Egypt

Sharm el-Sheikh is an oasis in the desert covered Sinai peninsula, featuring luxurious hotels and world class diving.

Where to go

Picture of coral reef Southern Red Sea near Safaga Egypt

Southern Red Sea

Egypt

The southern Red Sea combines what we love about Red Sea diving with a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere, that is to say, not as many people know about it as they do Sharm.

Where to go

Picture of Aerial view Zighy bay Oman

Musandam Peninsula

Oman

Dramatic underwater landscapes and abundant marine life make the Musandam a must for divers looking for something different.

Where to go

Picture of turtle in Muscat

Muscat

Oman

Great hotels, good diving and very few crowds. It's easy to see why Muscat is a viable alternative to the more crowded Red Sea.

Where to go

Picture of the garden at the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh

Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh

Pyramids and the Red Sea

The place to stay in Sharm El Sheikh is the Four Seasons, an island of peace and security.

Where to stay

Six Senses Zighy Bay, luxury hotel in Oman

Six Senses Zighy Bay

Musandam Peninsula

Set in an almost deserted bay on the Musandam Peninsula, Oman, the Six Senses Zighy Bay enjoys a truly dramatic setting surrounded on all sides by steep arid pink cliffs and also offers the most novel optional check in you could imagine, by hang glider!

Where to stay

Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh

Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh

Pyramids and the Red Sea

The Oberoi at Sahl Hasheesh is a wonderful base from which to explore. An all suite hotel spread over seemingly endless acres and with a wonderful wide beach, this resort offers traditional Egyptian hospitality at a very competitive price. A Red Sea bargain!

Where to stay

Pool at Shangiri- la Barr al Jissah, luxury hotel in Muscat, Oman

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah

Muscat

Situated on a dramatic stretch of coastline just outside Muscat, the three hotels comprising the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, are set amid 124 acres overlooking a private bay, with rugged mountains to the rear.

Where to stay

We had a wonderful time, unforgettable. Thanks for the amazing organisation, everything was perfect!

Sabrina

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