There’s a new kid on the block in Egypt and it’s becoming an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers. Marsa Alam is the untouched tropical paradise at the southern tip of Egypt’s Red Sea coastline. Picture swimming in clear blue waters with a backdrop of the Sahara Desert and towering nearby mountains. A dolphin may even swim past as you paddle next to the coral reef. After drying off, lounge on quiet white sandy beaches along more than 30 miles of coastline. Yep, you’re beginning to see why Marsa Alam is attracting more and more holidaymakers.
You’re bound to spend much of your time in Marsa Alam at the beach and we don’t blame you. When you’re looking to get up from the sun lounger, try one of the many watersports on offer or take a stroll along the picturesque promenade. Away from the beach, there’s plenty to do in Marsa Alam. Fishing trips and kite surfing are available, along with excursions to see ancient temples and cave drawings. Those looking for a little more adventure can head into the desert on safari. The high-octane option is to explore the Sahara on a quad bike. But the more traditional form of transport (and our favourite) is to climb aboard a camel and hold on tight as you climb over the dunes. We can’t guarantee comfort, but you’ve just got to bounce along with the ride.
Abu Dabaab Beach
The main beach in Marsa Alam is a sprawling stretch of gorgeous white sand. The temptation to spend the whole day sprawling on this footprint-free sand is almost too overwhelming. But Abu Dabaab also boasts a wide range of watersports, including parasailing and windsurfing. Animal lovers will love Abu Dabaab too. Coral reefs just off the shore are packed with turtles, dugongs and dolphins. The dolphins will be happy to splash around with the whole family.
To the north of Marsa Alam, Port Ghalib is an upmarket new marina development. Under the shade of tree-lined boulevards, you can find international restaurants, high-end cuisine and several designer shops. This is the place to treat your loved one.
Wadi El Gamal
Anywhere known as the Valley of the Camels is surely worth a look. That’s the English translation of Wadi El Gamal - a national park to the south of Marsa Alam. Lying within the grounds of the park is an ancient emerald mine. Folklore suggests that Cleopatra wore some of these dazzling jewels. It’s an eye-opener to visit the mines and see how the ancient Egyptians unearthed these precious gems.
Exploring Marsa Alam...
It’s just you, the ocean and the sea creatures as you dive into the 25-metre depths of water off the coast of Marsa Alam. You won’t be bumping into other snorkelling swimmers, as is often the case in other Red Sea resorts. There will be plenty of company though. Dolphins, turtles, the endangered dugong sea cow and several species of sharks all play around the colourful coral.
Wadi Hammamat mountains
The mountains surrounding Marsa Alam are known as the Wadi Hammamat, or Valley of the Baths. They contain several fascinating prehistoric rock paintings and art. These show hunting scenes and pictures of animals. There’s even graffiti showing the era of the pharaohs. It’s like an ancient version of Banksy.
Wadi El Gamal park
The nearby Wadi El Gamal is a gateway to the Sahara Desert. You can enjoy a safari tour through the park to get up close and personal with the wild animals here. If you want to take things a little slower, then book a place on one of the camel trips through the desert. It really is the ultimate Arabian experience.
Beaches in Marsa Alam
If you’re simply keen to relax rather than seeing the sights, then Marsa Alam is the perfect resort for you. The beautiful local beaches are undisturbed and quiet. It’s a brilliant spot to unwind, enjoy the sunshine and admire the bright blue Red Sea.
As with many of the Red Sea resorts, freshly-caught fish is one of the specialities in Marsa Alam. Grilled grouper or sole will be served up within hours of emerging from the sea. Egyptian food packs a punch too with plenty of spices used. One of the traditional favourites is molokhia; a dark vegetable stew smothered in spices. Egyptian food has influences from many of its neighbours, particularly Turkey. A freshly-grilled kofta meatball or small dishes known as meze will be a fixture on most restaurant menus.
Marsa Alam restaurants
The upmarket Port Ghalib marina is the best place for eating out if you’re looking for a wide choice of restaurants. As well as eateries serving up delicious traditional Egyptian cuisine, there are plenty of international options available. Italian trattorias along with American chains such as TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut can be found here. Of course, there’s plenty of places offering fresh seafood too.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds of other Red Sea resorts, then Marsa Alam is the perfect place to get away from it all in Egypt. Its lush beaches and warm waters are perfect for that year-round tropical holiday. With the chance to explore the vast Sahara Desert, you can also get a flavour of Arabic life. To book a holiday to Marsa Alam, then look no further than easyJet holidays. The best bit is that you can save on your flight and hotel if you book them together with easyJet holidays. If you’re not quite convinced by Marsa Alam, then take a look at our other Egypt destination guides.