Travel to the best beaches in the Middle East & Africa (photo essay)

It is Beach Thursday and this week I will feature some of the best beaches in the Middle East and Africa.

best beaches in the Middle East

gorgeous beach between Dahab and Taba, Sinai peninsula

There is no debate that some of the clearest, most azure waters in the world are found in the coasts of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. While this is a “Travel the Middle East” site, I like to include many attractions of other Arab countries as well. Therefore, on this post, you will find many other destinations located in North Africa and the Mediterranean coast, such as Tunisia, Morocco and Western Sahara. Hope you enjoy and are inspired to travel to the Arab world! =)

Western Sahara

Barely on traveler’s radars, Western Sahara is a mystical place, where this beach in Dakhla takes the breath away of those adventurers that dare to explore it. My friend Nicholas (above) crossed the border from Morocco and, as a white man, said was not difficult to do. Take the plunge while in this area of Africa – it is well worth it!

Best beaches in the Middle East & Africa

My friend Nicholas Smith (right) at a deserted beach in Dakhla, Western Sahara


According to locals, Manzil Tmim and in El Hawaria are among the best beaches in Africa, unlike popular belief by tourists that prefer the overcrowded beaches in Sousse and Hammamet. Why? The former do not have the crowds, lack the seaweed and you can actually see your toes through the crystalline waters. And while the towns of Manzil Tmim and in El Hawaria do not have much to offer tourists in terms of attractions and glitzy accommodation, some travelers might prefer just that – to get away from it all. Other honorable mentions for those seeking peace are the beaches surrounding Tabarka and the island of Djerba.

best beaches in the Middle East and Africa

El Hawaria beach, Tunisia (Photo:


There are so many fabulous options in this ancient empire – too many to even mention on this post. All types of travelers – from the demanding business traveler and honeymooners to penny-pinching backpackers, will find their perfect spot on the Egyptian coasts in the Mediterranean, Red Sea or Sinai peninsula. As a budget traveler myself, my favorite spots are all located in Sinai (Dahab, Nuweiba, Ras Shitan), except for Mersa Matruh, which is located on the North Coast, west of Alexandria.

best beaches in the Middle East and Africa

Mersa Matruh, Egypt - on the Mediterranean coast (Photo:


Like Egypt, Israel’s beaches deliver a variety of experiences, thus which one is “the best” depends on what you are looking for. Interested in a World heritage site that might disappear soon, plus happens to be the lowest point on Earth? Then head to Ein Gedi beach (Dead Sea). Looking for nightlife, beautiful people and lots to do in the city? Gordon beach in Tel Aviv is for you. What about the history buff? Either Aqueduct Beach (just north of Caesarea) or Ein Gev Resort Village Beach (Sea of Galilee) will deliver. What about a typical family beach vacation? Swim with wild Red Sea dolphins that come visit the Dolphin Reef Beach in Eilat daily.

best beaches in the Middle East

Swim with wild dolphins in Eilat at Dolphin Reef Beach!


best beaches in the Middle East

Socotra island was named UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 (Photo: Martin Sojka, Flickr)

The best, most unique beaches in the Arabian Peninsula are, without a doubt, in the island of Socotra. In fact, I will dare to say that this is in the Top 2 list of the best beaches in the Middle East. Part of the Republic of Yemen, not only its isolation and blue turquoise waters will drop your jaw right away, but also its unique flora and geography. Camping out for a few days can be arranged and what I most highly recommend. Definitely a must-have item on your travel bucket list!

best beaches in the Middle East and Africa

deep within Socotra island (Photo:

And that shall be all for part one of the Best beaches in the Middle East and Africa! Stay tuned as next Beach Thursday I will feature other azure hidden gems of the Arab world.

[Featured photo on header:]

In your opinion, which are the best beaches in the Middle East & Africa?

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10 Responses to “Travel to the best beaches in the Middle East & Africa (photo essay)”

  1. Kiley Says:

    That shot of Socotra is incredible…looks like a magical place!


  2. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista Says:

    I love the colors of beaches. Blue water up against white sand – very pretty!


  3. Jackie Smith Says:

    Most interesting series of beach photos!


  4. Michael Figueiredo Says:

    Beautiful photos! I don’t think that many people in America think of the Middle East or Africa for beaches, so I’m glad that you shared these.


  5. Leigh Says:

    What a great set of beach photos – all sorts of places I’ve never heard of. The Western Sahara is my favourite – I like the fact almost no one goes there. The beach in Tunisia looks very beautiful.
    Nice change to see so many new places.


  6. Maria Laborde Says:

    Such kind comments – thank you! My goal with this post was exactly that: To introduce you to some magical, yet unknown beaches in the Middle East and Africa =) Stay tuned as I add more in a future article, to include other Arab countries as well


  7. Cheryl Says:

    Very lovely photos. Def makes me want to head there, especially as fall is setting in around me in Berlin.


  8. Muza-chan Says:

    Beautiful pictures 🙂


  9. Liv Says:

    I love that beach between Dahab and Taba but can’t remember the name. Had a fantastic few afternoons there when I lived in Dahab – thanks for reviving the memories!


    • Maria Laborde Says:

      Hey Liv! The Sinai is indeed a magical place. The beach you are thinking about, does it happen to be Nuweiba? Or it could be either Basata or Ras Shitan, all between Dahab and Taba. All lovely places! 🙂


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