The Best of Egyptian Beach Towns

“City of peace” is an ideal synonym for the idyllic south Sinai city of Sharm el Sheikh. Its nickname stems from the number of international peace conferences held there and some may say the venue was chosen for its transcontinental location, but I believe the tropical climate, coastal breezes and clear waters were the real attractions. It’s a struggle to be anything other than peaceful in such a vivacious setting and that’s precisely why Sharm el Sheikh is one of the Red Sea’s most popular destinations.

Watersports are an integral part of the Red Sea lifestyle. With its mountain backdrop and rocky terrain, Sharm’s beaches are often gritty, making it difficult to enact any summer holiday fantasies of dashing over the sand and into the water. Instead, Sharm’s major appeal is in its untouched marine ecosystems, offering a unique opportunity to explore some of the world’s most rich and striking coral reefs. Na’ama Bay presents the city’s best sandy beaches and an eclectic mix of Bedouin and western cultures, but for a truly authentic Egyptian experience you should venture into Old Sharm for a cup of Saiidi tea with the locals.

South-east of Sharm is Hurghada, a hub for beach lovers. Its 20 kilometres of sandy beaches are attractive to swimmers, sunbathers and sportspeople alike. Glass-bottomed boats offer non-divers an opportunity to see the region’s vibrant fish; however, its calm waters and excellent visibility make Hurghada a perfect place for beginners to learn scuba diving basics. If you’d rather stay above water, other aquatic sports available include windsurfing, kite surfing and parasailing, all within easy reach of the city’s mosques and bazaars, giving travellers the perfect blend of city break and summer holiday.

With so much development happening in Hurghada, you may prefer a quieter part of the surrounding region such as the emerging Marsa Alam with its offshore Elphinstone Reef, upmarket El Gouna or family-friendly Makadi Bay. The latter provides all you need to relax comfortably and safely with children of all ages. It offers the usual water sports and numerous land-based activities, including volleyball, junior discos and playground areas. Most hotels offer babysitting services, leaving adults free to enjoy the luxurious Makadi Spa or challenge their minds with Arabic language courses.

An array of leisure activities can also be found at picturesque El Gouna, the “Venice of the Red Sea”. Comprised of islands and lagoons, this romantic resort is perfectly situated for windsurfers, drawing a cool, mellow crowd to its shores. Visitors might also enjoy the area’s two golf courses, one of which being newly designed by the world-famous architect Karl Litten.

On the eastern side of the Sinai peninsula there is the distinct Middle Eastern flavour of Taba. Near the borders of Israel and Jordan, this historic region offers traditional Arabic experiences such as camel rides and Nubian entertainment in addition to boasting a beautiful marina and outstanding water sport opportunities.

Still to the east but much closer to Sharm el Sheikh is the laid-back region of Dahab. Meaning “gold” in Arabic, this bohemian location is just a few kilometres south of the Blue Hole, a well-known and ambitious diving spot, but inexperienced divers may prefer to enjoy Dahab’s Jeep safaris, quad biking or trekking, or simply to walk its pleasant and hippyish streets.

Whichever resort you choose, there are several things the Red Sea Riviera can promise: sunshine, serenity and stimulation. Between seeing the reef fish and sampling the popular rice dish kushari, you are guaranteed to revive your spirit and senses and return home feeling revitalised, rejuvenated and ready to plan your next Egyptian escapade.

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One Response to “The Best of Egyptian Beach Towns”

  1. Adam Ross June 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    The beaches you are showing are indeed very beautiful, they defintely look peaceful and romantic although i am a bit worried about the water. Aren’t they infested with sharks? I am sorry this question is terrible but, very interesting post it is.

    Cheers!

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