Egypt's Red Sea Coast is the Caribbean of Africa. Turquoise waters. Colorful corals. Tropical sea creatures. This stretch of seashore, more than 800 km from the Gulf of Suez to Egypt's border with Sudan, offers one marvel after another. And they aren't all underwater. Egypt's Eastern Desert - the mountainous fringe that meets the deep - boasts monasteries, ancient rock art sites and even a national park. What's more, the Red Sea Coast has many kid friendly hotels. It's no wonder families - from budget conscious to luxury travelers - are flocking here in the thousands.
Numerous charter companies and low cost airlines offer direct service between Hurghada and Marsa Alam and many European cities. Egypt Air offers service between Cairo and Alexandria and both Marsa Alam and Hurghada. Air Memphis, an Egyptian charter company, connects Marsa Alam to Cairo and Hurghada but all flights are sold exclusively as part of a package.
Hurghada and Al-Quseir are the only true towns on the Red Sea Coast. Resorts and dive camps in Marsa Alam and Berenice are located a considerable distance from the airport and villages. Area hotels offer a variety of sightseeing excursions. Most hotel tours are outsourced to local companies thus with a bit of legwork you can do it yourself for a much lower fee. Taxis can be booked at most front desks and are valid alternative for independent travelers.
The best time to visit Egypt's Red Sea Coast is spring (March - April) and fall (September - October). And while it might be too chilly to swim in Hurghada in January it is warm enough to snorkel in Marsa Alam and Berenice. The coldest month is February with an average daytime temperature of 22°C (71°F). The mercury pushes 40°C (104°F) in July and August. (Evenings are significantly cooler throughout the year.) The temperature of the sea ranges between 22°C (71°F) and 29°C (84°F). The windiest months are April and May and it is frequently too rough to snorkel and dive in the south - Marsa Alam and Berenice - at this time of year. There are three peak seasons: February - April, July and August and 25 December -10 January.
Traveler's diarrhea is the most common aliment afflicting tourists in Egypt. Egypt boasts a low rate of crime but warrants caution like most everywhere. Drink bottled water. Don't eat uncooked vegetables or unpeeled fruit. Avoid unpasteurized milk. Safeguard valuables including passports and money. Keep a firm grip on daypacks and handbags. Don't leave valuables lying about the hotel room. Keep an eye, if not a hand, on the kids. Check government sources for travel advisories before booking a trip.
Each of the holiday resorts has a unique atmosphere. Hurghada is the oldest resort and most popular destination on the Red Sea Coast. It boasts the best nightlife and most sights but it has a packaged feel and the top snorkeling and dive sites are only accessible by boat. Marsa Alam is a divers paradise but not all reefs are reachable from shore. Snorkeling at many hotels means traversing a pier to the far side of the reef and swimming in water several feet deep. Berenice is most upscale local and offers the best snorkeling from the shore.
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