Similarly, recent events in Libya mask the rise in tourism of the beautiful coastal city of Benghazi. Likewise, prospective tourists to Egypt are frequently put off by political uprisings that seem to strangle the country, impede democracy and serve as a warning sign to tourists to stay away.
This is a huge shame, as the Red Sea resorts are some of the most luxurious getaways in the world. Opulence and decadence mix with Biblical locations and stories, the place is awash with a fusion of cultures surrounded by spectacular scenery and rich, blue waters. Sharm El Sheikh holidays are ideal for tourists looking for a feeling of peace and relaxation, as well as a sense of wonder.
For some of the best beach resorts in North Africa, Sharm El Sheikh boasts the most expensive beach in Sinai at the Four Seasons. If you like your beaches upscale, then the Mediterranean feel of Na’ama Bay with its international hotels, bars and restaurants lining the bay may be just what you’re seeking.
There’s a range of wide sandy beaches in Sharm to suit every type of traveller however; Sharks Bay, for example, is fantastic for relaxing, swimming and snorkelling, Terrazina beach in the Ras Umm Sid area, lies directly across the road from an old market and great for children to safely paddle in. Perhaps the nicest beach in Sharm El Sheikh though, is at the end of El Fanar street. El Fanar, or lighthouse, has warm waters where you can escape the masses and spy the colourful fish darting in and out of the coral reefs.
Sharm El Sheikh is on the Sinai Peninsula whereas Marsa Alam is in mainland Egypt. Marsa Alam simultaneously benefits from only growing over ten years rather than the nearly fifty years of development that Sharm has seen; and suffers from that growth being largely due to the opening of an international airport sixty kilometres away. Nevertheless, the beach resorts of Marsa Alam such as Abu Dabbab or Sharm El Luli are perfect either for sunbathing or to use as a base for snorkelling and diving.
Marsa Alam enjoys the warmest year round sea temperatures – from 29 C in August down to a nevertheless still pleasant 23 C in January. Plunging in and you will soon be surrounded by schools of curious colourful fish, swimming out and you will be met by sea turtles, inquisitive dolphins and even dugongs – once mistaken for mermaids.
More adventurous underwater explorers will also be attracted to the fragile coral reefs and shipwrecks. As Marsa Alam is also the closest Egyptian resort to the historical sites of ancient Egypt, it also makes for a great place to swap your sun hat for a pith helmet before you go exploring. So whether or not you choose Sharm or Marsa Alam, you will find a fabulous resort in which to enjoy, whatever your budget!
Marianne Staunton loves to wander around the most unspoilt beaches in the world. Once back in her native Wales, she usually writes about her favourite spots and discoveries.
*Photos Credit to Svetlana Grechkina | Wikipedia.org