Are your eyes tired of temple viewing, needing a little breather? Yet, you think Luxor is a little too far from relaxing beach towns? Think again: Escape to Marsa Alam!
Located about 237 km from ancient Thebes, this relaxing beach town is no secret to experienced divers. For years now, Marsa Alam has been featured on several scuba diving magazines and websites due to its pristine coral reefs and abundant marine life.
Beaches and Wildlife
Whilst swimming, you may spot dugongs, spinner dolphins and even hammerhead sharks. If you are more of a sun-bather, you are in for a treat as well: Marsa Alam’s sandy beaches are perfect for laying out and burying yourself in a book!
What sets Marsa Alam apart?
My favorite thing about Marsa Alam, though? How proactive its dwellers and visitors are being about preserving its beauty. Several initiatives, most directed by divers themselves, are focused on maintaining the great health of the corals and crystalline waters. With its up-and-coming beach resort vibe, we are hoping this trend continues as the amount of visitors increases every year.
How to get there
Unfortunately, regular buses between the Nile Valley and Marsa Alam are only available to Egyptians. Thus, any foreigner must travel between these areas as part of a caravan. For this reason, I recommend you arrange private transport with a tour operator in order to add Marsa Alam to your temple-viewing itinerary. You may ask the experts at my favorite online hangouts, the Tripadvisor forums and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, to get the valuable travel advice you seek.
Where to stay
Another feature you will love about Marsa Alam is the unique character and charm of its accommodation. Most hotels and resorts share Arab and desert architecture, including domes and arches that are both decorative and practical. The design makes the rooms naturally breezy, without the need of extreme heating or air conditioning.
To find out which hotel or resort is right for you, I recommend you take a look at Tripadvisor’s rankings, which seem to be the most accurate year after year. Guests themselves submit their votes and reviews after their stays, so you can be confident in selecting one of the hotels with good rankings. Accordingly, the top 5 for Marsa Alam at time of this writing (in order) are: The Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort (213 reviews), the Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort (542 reviews), InterContinental The Palace Port (143 reviews), Sol Y Mar Dar El Madina (267 reviews), and Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza Beach (1,104 reviews). However, many other hotels have good rankings, beyond the top aforementioned.
Ready to discover this Egyptian hidden gem? Fly into Luxor (LXR) for a temple-and-beach vacation or fly directly into Marsa Alam’s own international airport (RMF) for an unspoiled beach getaway.