Liveaboard Diving in Thistlegorm

What to Expect On A Thistlegorm Liveaboard

A dive liveaboard to the SS Thistlegorm, one of the world's most famous shipwrecks resting in around 20-30 meters of water, should be on any divers '' dive' list in the Red Sea. She left Glasgow in June 1941 carrying locomotives for an Egyptian train company, military vehicles, and munitions for the Allied forces stationed in Egypt. She anchored off the coast with the HMS Carlisle as an escort waiting for transit through the Suez Canal.

The Thistlegorm never made it to the Canal, though. On the 6th of October, she was mistaken for a troop carrier and bombed by the Luftwaffe. She sank through a destructive combination of the German bombs and the ignition of her ammunition. Most of her cargo remains inside the ship's holds, except for two locomotives on either side of the shipwreck.

The Thistlegorm was rediscovered as a dive site by Jacques Cousteau in the 1950s, and during the diving boom in the 1990s, it became a world-famous dive site. The cargo is easy to view without wreck penetration because the wreck split in two, revealing trucks, guns, motorcycles, and many other military goods in the cargo holds. This is a dream for wreck divers, and there are plenty of eels, barracuda, batfish, and the occasional turtle around for wildlife lovers, too. Numerous Egypt liveaboards offer dives on the Thistlegorm as part of their Northern Red Sea itineraries.

Daily Schedule

Morning: The Thistlegorm is rated one of the best wreck dives in the world, which means that it is extremely popular. This means many divers visit every day, so if you are diving from a liveaboard you are in luck. The morning will be early, around 6 am, but getting in the water and exploring before any of the day boats arrive from Sharm is well worth it. For this reason, most liveaboards diving the Thistlegorm try to make two dives on the wreck before heading to another quieter site in the afternoon.

A light breakfast in the morning, followed by a briefing, will help you orient yourself for the dive. The wreck is very large, so maybe even take notes in the briefing to spot important points when you get down there. Liveaboards and other boats often anchor on or very close to the wreck, meaning divers can go directly from the main boat without a tender.

Thistlegorm Underwater

The Thistlegorm is over 128 meters long and sits upright on a sandy seabed. The wreck site has so much to see that it takes at least two dives, if not more, to see most of it. It is best to start with the deeper profile at the stern, around 30 meters, and then work your way up.

The Thistlegorm is split in two, with the smaller stern section on its side and a fantastic break that exposes the layers of cargo decks. On the stern, in addition to the propeller, tanks, and munitions, machine and anti-aircraft guns are hanging from the now vertical deck. They are a dream come true for divers with a passion for World War II hardware.

There are also two locomotives, one on the port and one on the starboard. They came out of the vessel when she sank, and sitting in the sand not far from the main wreck, they are a perfect subject for underwater photographers. Towards the middle, where the bowels of the ship have been exposed by the explosion that sank her, there are numerous layers of the holds. These holds are full of cargos, including everything from rifles and grenades to shoes and boots a veritable underwater museum.

The marine life is more concentrated towards the shallower area close to the ship's stem, although you will find cardinals in the holds and crocodile fish in the sand near the locomotives. Big barracudas hang out above the wreck, though, and eels are frequently seen poking out of different cracks and holes in the structure.

Top Tips for Thistlegorm

  • A liveaboard cruise which visits the Thistlegorm is the best way to see this wreck, with early morning dives you will avoid the crowds arriving by boat from Sharm el Sheikh.
  • The wreck can be a bit disorientating, so making a quick slate copy of the sitemap might prove helpful.
  • For photographers, a good flash is a big advantage. Many of the most photo-worthy items are in the hold, where the light is scarce.

Getting to Thistlegorm

Egypt liveaboards that include the Thistlegorm normally depart from Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada. Both resorts have airports offering international flights from mainland Europe with further afield connections. Almost all liveaboards offer transfers for guests from the nearby airport or hotels in the area.

Liveaboards, which dive on the Thistlegorm, usually embark from Sharm el Sheikh and will normally travel along the coast towards the Thistlegorm, taking in several dives in Ras Mohammed National Park and the wrecks at Abu Nuhas. Those that begin in Hurghada will head North via Abu Nuhas and other popular wreck sites such as Shaab El Erg.

Accessing the Thistlegorm by day boat starting in Sharm el Sheikh is also possible. The day starts very early, usually around 4 am, and returns around 5-6 pm. This long day is due to the 4-hour sail from the port at Sharm. Most of these day trips offer 2 dives on the Thistlegorm.


Thistlegorm Diving Reviews

  • 9.3 Superb
  • 360 Verified Reviews
  • 9.2 Superb
  • Philip M
  • United States United States

Great wreck dive but visibility was a challenge

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Rebeca R
  • United States United States

Feels like an underwater museum, so much to see

Diving Thistlegorm in March on the Snefro Pearl

  • 6.0 Review score
  • pendar A
  • United States United States

Mediocre, spent way too much time in one wreck!

Diving Thistlegorm in March on the Discovery II

  • 8.4 Very good
  • James B
  • United States United States

Amazing !!! Biggest wreck I have ever experienced. Incredible sights inside and out

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Blue Melody

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Sharon E
  • United States United States

Loved it. We got three separate dives of the Thistlegorm so that we could thoroughly explore all all three decks of this extraordinary wreck. Too bad the railroad/train was too far away to explore.

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Blue Horizon

  • 9.2 Superb
  • David H
  • United States United States

Great...in terms of no significantly strong currents, decent / medium Viz and no other divers 80% of time due to dive master planning !! ✔️

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Blue Pearl

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Diane C
  • United States United States

Very good, I especially enjoyed the life on the outside

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Snefro Pearl

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Steven S
  • United States United States

We are not wreck divers but found this wreck very interesting with all the trucks, motorcycles, tanks and all still there

Diving Thistlegorm in September on the Blue Melody

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Patricia B
  • United States United States

This was my favorite. It’s like opening a World War Two time capsule under water.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jennifer A
  • United States United States

Stunning history - like a time capsule with WW2 equipment well preserved - like diving in a museum

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the SS Serena Dreams

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Thomas R
  • United States United States

High point of the trip--especially the ghostly night dive.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Kenneth G
  • United States United States

Excellent, had some current but a lot of fun.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jordan L
  • United States United States

Only did exterior dive. Pulled out of first dive at the site as the current was VERY strong and choppy.

Diving Thistlegorm in June on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Sharon E
  • United States United States

Always a thrill, especially the night dive although externally the sea was stormy. I got in four (4) Thistlegorm dives, which was my desire as I like wreck dives. Giannis D was also thrilling.

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Ghazala Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Cyr Geraurd O
  • United States United States

Very fun wreak with a lot of things to see narrow inside, current, and many other divers can make diving challenging

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Julie L
  • United States United States

Vis not great. Too many divers on the site but great wreck

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Nouran

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Sarah R
  • United States United States

Really interesting site, but water is a little silty due to so many divers probably.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Eric E
  • United States United States

Great, even though we only got one dive in due to current and weather conditions that day

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Tillis

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Bartosz R
  • Poland Poland

Wreck is great, need to come back and see more. Little bit crowded with other boats and dive teams.

Diving Thistlegorm in September on the Blue Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Javier G
  • Spain Spain

Amazing, I'm not a wreck person but this is amazing. 3 dives was too much though, I would have done just 2.but still was great.

Diving Thistlegorm in September on the Snefro Spirit

  • 8.0 Very good
  • daniel T
  • Israel Israel

good dive very interesting and unique

Diving Thistlegorm in September on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Coen E
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Thistlegorm was truly impressive - a massive wreck with tons to see outside and inside. Easily a highlight of this trip and of all the diving I've ever done so far.

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Snefro Target

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Tatiana K
  • Russia Russia

4 dives including the night dive. a lot of time to discover all parts of the wreck

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Snefro Target

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Miriam S
  • Germany Germany

Amazing and a bit challenging due to strong current

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Target

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Benjamin B
  • France France

One of the best wrecks in the world... but can get quite crowded!

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the South Moon

  • 4.4 Review score
  • Boris V
  • Russia Russia

Их было слишком много и я считаю просто опасно.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Laura S
  • Germany Germany

Very good, we were the ONLY BOAT!

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Sea Serpent Excellence

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Milda P
  • Lithuania Lithuania

Really amazed by this big wreck - it's like a museum!

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Firebird

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Michael M
  • Switzerland Switzerland

It has every thing! Historical interest, Easy to go in and discover, animal life

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Red Sea Blue Force 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jeroen M
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Great wreck. Luckily less divers at that moment

Diving Thistlegorm in December on the Sunlight

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Alex D
  • Italy Italy

Nice, I just wish there were less boats and specifically less divers around but it's not something that snefro can change

Diving Thistlegorm in December on the Snefro Target

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Julia M
  • Sweden Sweden

A bit crowned but still great!

Diving Thistlegorm in December on the Emperor Superior

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • David V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Out of this world, I had not expected to dive so deep into the ship and it was definitely an amazing experience.

Diving Thistlegorm in January on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Ekaterina Z
  • Russia Russia

Awesome massive wreck with lots of stuff in there

Diving Thistlegorm in January on the Emperor Superior

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Igor S
  • Russia Russia

Only our boat was there, we did 3 dives in a relaxed way including one night dive.

Diving Thistlegorm in January on the Emperor Superior

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Dagmar Risbøl H
  • Denmark Denmark

Very cool and interesting. Very Nice with the documentary before going diving and Also great to have more than one dive there.

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Emperor Superior

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Petra V
  • Finland Finland

Super nice that we did three dives in the Thistlegorm (had the time to get a good understanding of the dive site and pay attention to details; night dive was exciting)

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Emperor Asmaa

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Peter J
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Good. Viz wasn’t great; again the weather didn’t help. Looks deferent to 15 years ago!

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Thunderbird

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Catriona C
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Truly a superb wreck to visit.

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Rob M
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Diving was simple and quiet at this time of year with lots to see.

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Blue Pearl

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Christoph W
  • Germany Germany

Three great dives inside & outside Thistlegorm including night dive

Diving Thistlegorm in March on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Ingemar H
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Crowded, blurry water but interesting

Diving Thistlegorm in March on the South Moon

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Kobus M
  • South Africa South Africa

The visibility wasn’t very good but the wreck was exciting to dive. The artifacts left on the wreck are amazing.

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Red Sea Blue Force 2

  • 8.0 Very good
  • MARK E
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Fantastic. Once in a lifetime. I was the last diver to leave the Thistlegorm. We had the whole wreck to ourselves.

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Blue Melody

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • colin W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Very good we where the only dive boat on there 👍

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Blue Melody

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Adrian S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Good but would have been nice to have done a night dive on it

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Blue Melody

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Daniela Z
  • Germany Germany

visibility was ok... wreck was very cool

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Lucia M
  • Italy Italy

Insane! The current was very strong, but once we reached the wreck, it was much more gentle. The dive inside was crazy good! Super interesting, and everything was very well covered during the briefing, including the history behind it all.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Goran M
  • Slovenia Slovenia

It was some current at the begginig of the first dive, other than that everything was perfect.

Diving Thistlegorm in June on the Snefro Pearl

  • 7.2 Good
  • Roxane P
  • France France

Exciting - a bit of currents

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Emperor Superior

  • 7.6 Good
  • Michael K
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Dark and crowded with other divers

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Snefro Target

  • 9.2 Superb
  • nicolas M
  • Norway Norway

Very good , but the visibility was not the best at the time!

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Snefro Love

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Abed S
  • Lebanon Lebanon

Excellent and interesting advance divers highly recommended

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Tala

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Kelly Ann A
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Awesome - I was quite nervous as not the biggest wreck diving fan, but I loved it. I even chose to do a night dive on the Thistlegorm.

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Benjamin G
  • Israel Israel

Busy site too many divers but good wreck all the same.

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Red Sea Blue Force 2

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Wolfgang F
  • Germany Germany

Best Diving experience inside Wrack, Very Strong Currently

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 7.6 Good
  • Sebastian S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Outstanding. Easily the best wreck I’ve ever been on

Diving Thistlegorm in September on the South Moon

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • YUEN FAI DICK W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

excellent but strong current on entry

Diving Thistlegorm in September on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Joël D
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Great! Specially the night dive was amazing.

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Linda G
  • Germany Germany

Impressive wreck with stuff in it like cars and motorcycles, you can dive through the different levels

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the South Moon

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Rory M
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Best Wreck Dive in the World

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Laura V
  • Belgium Belgium

L’épave était incroyable et superbement préservée. Plongée challenging en raison des courants mais superbe.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Sebastian G
  • Germany Germany

Amazing wreck with many things to discover.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Love

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Pau H
  • Spain Spain

I didn't like the first dive (outside) but the second one was better. Too many boats, strong current on the outside so we needed to fight against it a lot. The second one was better but i don't think it's worth 2 dives.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Salha A
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Scary current but very beautiful diving site

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Ying L
  • Singapore Singapore

Amazing. Crowded, but that was to be expected.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Bert M
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Unbelieveable, what a magnificent wreck, and we were lucky with no current, great visibility and just 3 other liveaboards that were there as well

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Brendan M
  • Ireland Ireland

The Dive guides gave us 3 dives on this Wreck. It never disappoints. Great dive site

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Ghazala Explorer

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Joel B
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

We did one outside and three inside, really got to soak up the interior and multiple experiences in each area. Large beautiful wreck.

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Dominic C
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Excellent, nicely guided tour

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Paulo P
  • Portugal Portugal

It was awesome. No more boats around, possibility of 4 dives on the site, awesome details on the penetration

Diving Thistlegorm in January on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Stephen W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Fantastic! 3 day dives and we were the only boat there.

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Blue Horizon

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Michael W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

An amazing wreck dive a privilege to visit this WW2 piece of history

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Serdal T
  • Germany Germany

Incredible Wreck, especially the night dive was unforgettable

Diving Thistlegorm in March on the Ghazala Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Anna Olivia E
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Amazing wreck, maybe challenging with the current, be aware its very crowded in high season. Recommend to go off season. Many nudys inside the wreck.

Diving Thistlegorm in March on the SS Serena Dreams

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Ana G
  • Colombia Colombia

Multiple dives here, to enjoy the complexity of the wreck and all of its attributes. Very impressive how well preserved it remains and the guides set us up very well to handle the drift and maximize time under water

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Andre C
  • Brazil Brazil

That's really amazing! A dive in the red Sea and in the history of the world, as the WWII has changed the world depply.

Diving Thistlegorm in April on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Margaux P
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

I'm not a fa of wrecks usually, but it was a lot of fun to see all the gear still on board.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Tillis

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Oscar V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Certainly a highlight. Diving in such a iconic wreck is always something special. Not the most challenging wreck dive, but for sure one of the most impressive you can do.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Snefro Love

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Marc V
  • Canada Canada

A little too crowded when we were there but an amazing wreck to dive nonetheless.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Snefro Love

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Elise F
  • Australia Australia

such an incredible shipwreck to dive we did a night dive as well and it was amazing.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Snefro Pearl

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Claire S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing experience to see and swim through the interior of this WW2 wreck. Our first wreck dive.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Freedom III

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Paul H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Great, good visibility and very little current

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the Red Sea Blue Force 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jacek P
  • Poland Poland

One of the best wreck dive sites in the world. Few dives

Diving Thistlegorm in June on the Emperor Superior

  • 9.2 Superb
  • David R
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Busy but we were there early enough to have a clear route through

Diving Thistlegorm in June on the Freedom III

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Matt S
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing. Best to do it at night as it makes you focus on the small details. Brilliant.

Diving Thistlegorm in June on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Daniel H
  • Australia Australia

Great, very authentic and just as it was when it sank, a little bit crowded with multiple groups but worked out ok

Diving Thistlegorm in June on the Snefro Pearl

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Marc F
  • France France

For divers which are attracted by wreck dives, this is one of the best sites I’ve ever known !

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Hammerhead II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Gregory V
  • Canada Canada

Eerily wonderful. Sad that all those supplies never made to the men who needed them.

Diving Thistlegorm in July on the Red Sea Aggressor II

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Johann M
  • South Africa South Africa

As expected, We did 4 Dives there to explore the full wreck including a night Dive.

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Freedom III

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Petri K
  • Finland Finland

A huge wreck that is quite deep considering the currents in August.

Diving Thistlegorm in August on the Ghazala Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jean-Francois L
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Excellent, nive dive was amazing

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Sea Serpent Excellence

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Anis R
  • Pakistan Pakistan

This was a memorable experience to be remembered for a long time. We did two dives on the wreck and enjoyed both.

Diving Thistlegorm in October on the Tillis

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Paul A
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Excellent. Four dives, only one of which with any real current

Diving Thistlegorm in November on the Snefro Love

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Ioannis T
  • Greece Greece

Just stunning, feels like being a part of the WW2 history! Visibility and currents can be tricky in the area, but we spent almost a full day there and dove the wreck a few times with the night dive being the highlight!

Diving Thistlegorm in December on the Ghazala Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Justin G
  • Italy Italy

Amazing! Not crowded, light current, great visibility and a beautiful dive through a living museum

Diving Thistlegorm in December on the Emperor Elite

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Bartosz R
  • Poland Poland

Lack of usual crowds that normally dive during high season. Good vis.

Diving Thistlegorm in January on the Golden Dolphin

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Gian Luca G
  • Italy Italy

Amazing, 3 dives of which one was a night one!

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Ocean Lovers

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Isabelle K
  • Germany Germany

great wreck sometimes with strong current

Diving Thistlegorm in February on the Ocean Lovers

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Olivia L
  • Canada Canada

The Thistlegorm is a go to for its historical significance as it gives divers a window into another time. The level of preservation of the equipment transported by this vessel is very impressive.

Diving Thistlegorm in May on the All Star Red Sea