When it comes to underwater pursuits, there is a whole lot to love about snorkelling - not only is it suitable for all ages and abilities and only requires minimal equipment, it also offers the chance to see a multitude of marine species closer to the surface. From the vibrant coral reefs of Indonesia and Belize to the world's first underwater sculpture park in Grenada - read on to find out where to go for the best snorkelling in the world…
The Best Snorkelling in Europe
Europe might be the second smallest continent but it is home to the second highest number of countries, so snorkelling in Europe is all about diversity. If you are an adventure lover, head to Norway to fulfil your snorkelling daydreams - swim with orcas between October and February as they gather in a remote fjord to hunt migrating herring. Iceland is another epic snorkelling spot and happens to be the only place in the world where you can snorkel between tectonic plates, in Thingvellir National Park - trust us, it's worth the freezing four-degree water temperature. If you prefer warmer waters, head to Gozo. Home to some of the best underwater sites in the Mediterranean, you can snorkel by day and unwind at night with dinner at one of the island's many excellent seafood restaurants.
The Best Snorkelling in the Americas
With its legendary underwater landscapes, Mexico has to be near the top of the list when it comes to the best snorkelling in the world. Between the underground caverns in Yucatan, to the largest ray migration, which takes place in May, it's like stepping (or swimming) into the set of Blue Planet. We have to mention the Galapagos Islands - with their wealth of endemic species from reef sharks and green sea turtles to a friendly sea lion colony off San Cristobel island, the islands are a snorkelling spot that cannot be missed. If marine animals are at the top of your snorkelling 'must-see-list', head to Belize to snorkel over the world's second longest barrier reef or you might want to swim among submerged sculptures in Grenada - which is home to the world's first underwater sculpture park.
The Best Snorkelling in the Indian Ocean
With its crystal clear waters, colourful corals and marvellous marine life, the Maldives is one of the most magical snorkelling destinations. If you visit between June and November, you will get to see hundreds of manta rays who come to feed on the plankton-rich waters of Hanifaru Bay. If you can drag yourself away from the waves, we can recommend some of the best hotel hideaways (which is saying something in an area that's filled to bursting with luxury properties). Another spot to add to your snorkelling bucket list has to be the Seychelles. The archipelago of 115 tiny islands, sprinkled into turquoise blue waters, are home to some of the best sites of the underwater world, including the chance to see silvery sailfish - the fastest fish in the ocean, these remarkable animals can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.
The Best Snorkelling in Asia
Indonesia is the place to be if you fancy seeing a little bit of everything on your snorkelling trip. As well as underwater sculptures, wrecks and reefs, the archipelago and its 17,000 islands are home to an amazing array of marine species including turtles, mola mola (ocean sunfish) and nudibranchs - not to mention the many species of whales and sharks that call the waters home. Our diving experts can fill you in on all the secret snorkelling spots, from swimming with Blue whales in the Banda Sea, to diving around reefs in Komodo and Raja Ampat. Make for the Philippines to witness underwater magic when you encounter millions of shimmering sardines or swim with the marvellous marine life of the eight reefs found off the small volcanic Apo Island.
The Best Snorkelling in Australia & the Pacific Islands
If your diving bucket list includes snorkelling with whales (and we hope it does) the long journey to Australia's Ningaloo Reef is worth it. Here, you'll encounter whale sharks between March and July and Humpback whales between August and October. Another prime spot for whale watching is French Polynesia, where large numbers of Humpback whales gather in July and November to rear their young in the warm, sheltered waters. If corals are more your thing, head to Fiji - known as the soft coral capital of the world. Snorkelling over the aptly named Rainbow Reef you'll see everything from blue ribbon eels to red-tooth triggerfish. After a day in the water, unwind in some of the world's finest hotels, snoozing in the sun on powder soft beaches, or hiking into the lush interiors.
The Best Snorkelling in Africa & the Middle East
For a sheltered snorkelling spot, the aquarium-like conditions of the Red Sea in Egypt are sure to delight. Close to the shore, shallow bays are protected from ocean currents and are home to corals that are teeming with life. Chole Bay in Tanzania offers similarly spectacular snorkelling conditions, with calm waters and excellent visibility - it the perfect place for spotting macro critters.