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Sandy beaches, scorching temperatures and colourful coral reefs await in Marsa Alam, a resort town on the Red Sea in Egypt. Once the well-kept secret of the diving community, its coasts have since been commandeered by sleek hotels, making it a popular choice for couples and groups looking to chill out by day and dress up at night.
A holiday in Marsa Alam is all about relaxation and luxury, from week-long wellness retreats to waiter service at your sun lounger. Some of the best spas in Egypt have set up shop here – try a treatment beneath the beachside massage tent at Planet Spa in the Hilton Nubian, where Ancient Egyptian techniques meet modern methods.
You won’t have to go far for a fun evening, either. Alcohol isn’t served everywhere so hotels host party nights around their pools with drinks and live DJs to keep you dancing all night long. If you’re not a guest, you can buy a ticket. Should you want to go out, Port Ghalib Marina is the place to be thanks to a variety of sports bars, shisha lounges, authentic Egyptian cafes and several restaurants with plush outdoor seating, overlooking the yachts.
While Marsa Alam is fast becoming a modern metropolis, it’s still an unspoilt, underwater paradise in many places. There are sites and beach camps for novice and seasoned divers who want to spend a lot of time below the surface.
Diving isn’t the only activity on offer. Try dugong spotting at Abu Dabab Bay or kitesurfing around El Nabaa Bay. You can even make a day of it with a boat trip to Gamal Island for sunbathing and snorkelling.
Marsa Alam is also a smart place to base yourself if you want to venture into Egypt’s vast Eastern Desert, where the Romans used to mine for gold and emeralds. While it’s a bit of a drive – four and a half hours – it’s well worth the trek. Karnak Temple in Luxor is a must-visit for amateur Egyptologists.
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