Guide to the beaches of Egypt's Red Sea resorts
When considering a holiday in Egypt you'd be forgiven for focusing just on the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, camel rides and the Nile Valley.
While these wonders of the world are fascinating reasons to visit the country, there are also some fabulous Egypt beaches away from the main attractions to spend time in and soak up some of the local culture.
Dubbed the Red Sea Riviera, the Egyptian coast on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba and down the west coast of the Red Sea, south of the Sinai Peninsula, has become a popular holiday destination over the past 20 years.
1. Sharm el-Sheikh
By far the most widely visited Red Sea destination is Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula.
This vast resort offers a huge variety of choices to the holidaymaker with the option to partake in many aquatic adventures as well as peaceful old town walks and vibrant nightlife.
The sunshine and warm waters are the main draws and with daytime winter temperatures quite similar to the Canaries but with more sunshine, it's not difficult to see why.
Visitors to Sharm el-Sheikh who don't fancy the beach and underwater world can take a safari into the Sinai Desert or pamper themselves in one of Egypt's famous spas. You can do as little or as much as you wish in this varied location.
Most, however, come for the crystal clear waters, and Sharm is particularly popular with divers because it has the nearest coral reefs to Europe.
Hurghada is one of the most northerly resorts on the western shores of the Red Sea. Although there are fewer hotels here than in Sharm it feels much busier because the tourist facilities have grown up around what is now a fairly large city.
With its selection of luxury, mid-range and modern resort hotels there is something to suit everyone from golden sandy beaches to fine restaurants.
As with Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada has its own international airport and boasts a splendid old town as well as all the beach and desert activities you'd expect, especially quad biking.
Also with its reputation as one of the top three diving destinations in the world, it is easy to see why loyal travellers come back year after year.
Once a traditional fishing village Dahab is now a world-renowned windsurfing destination and wildly popular with those looking for a more authentic and less hectic get-away.
The first visitors to this golden sand beach resort were backpackers; they still come because cheap accommodation remains on offer but they now rub shoulders with the smarter set staying in four and five-star hotels.
Dahab is a small resort compared to most others; by road, it is about 55 miles north of the airport at Sharm el-Sheikh and it has some excellent diving for both experts and beginners.
4. El Gouna
The driving force behind the creation of this 'man-made' resort was to build an environmentally friendly destination offering world-class accommodation for every occasion.
Luxury yachts caress the marina boulevard and the resort caters well for high-end conferences. Weddings and honeymoons are another of El Gouna's top services with many couples choosing the luscious gardens or golden beaches as their wedding venue.
As with other Red Sea destination, El Gouna has a large selection of outdoor activities such as the usual water sports, diving and golf. Visitors are also able to indulge in spa treatments and while away the sunny days in style.
5. Marsa Alam
Situated between sea and desert, this most southerly of Red Sea resorts has been more widely frequented by tourists since the opening of its international airport in 2001.
Although named after the town of Marsa Alam most hotels are located nearer to the airport. The area is remote but popular with diving enthusiasts and those seeking luxurious hotels and pristine golden sands.
You'll find a tempting array of relaxation, entertainment and dining options located within the newly built marina at Port Ghalib.
A starting point for safaris and wilderness exploration and with nearby national parks, this diverse resort offers something to suit every personality.
6. Taba Heights
Located at the north end of the Gulf of Aqaba is the resort of Taba Heights.
This up-market destination attracts those looking for something special and offers luxurious accommodation with many four and five-star hotels.
First-class amenities, including a golf course, and all year round sun make Taba Heights a haven for discerning holidaymakers.
The underwater world around Taba Heights is as magnificent as is further south but the security situation in Northern Sinai means that trips into the desert are not possible these days.
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