Twenty years ago Egypt’s resort of Marsa Alam was little more than a sleepy fishing village, but the resort's beautiful beaches and virgin coral reefs, together with its recently opened airport, are set to make it a prime holiday spot. With the mountains and vast expanse of Sahara on one side and the sparkling blue waters of the Red Sea on the other, it’s easy to see why a holiday to Marsa Alam is a popular choice with wind surfers, divers and sun worshippers alike. Modern beachside hotel resorts are springing up around Marsa Alam and offer you plenty of choice of where to stay. For nature lovers, the resident spinner dolphins at the horseshoe shaped Samadai Reef, located just off the shore, are not to be missed. And Elphinstone Reef, a popular diving spot, has white-tip sharks, barracudas and angelfish. Looking for some retail therapy, a short drive outside the resort will bring you to the historic city of El Quseir with its many small shops and bazaars and also an Ottoman fort to explore. There is a new marina and leisure complex under construction in the nearby Port Ghalib. What’s more, flights to Marsa Alam only take just over five hours from most UK airports, so a relaxing holiday in the year-round Egyptian sunshine is never too far away!
Daytime on a Marsa Alam holiday is all about the beaches. For waterbased pursuits theres scuba diving, snorkelling, kite surfing and deepsea fishing to experience. Enjoy a desert safari by quad bike, horse or camel or explore deeper into the mountain valleys of the Sahara on a jeep safari. The newly built water park, Aqua Coraya, with its waterslides, children's pool and pool bar is the choice for a family day out. Discover the wonders of Luxor on a day trip or the Valley of the Camels national park is only 30 minutes away.
Nightlife in Marsa Alam is a relaxed affair and is mainly hotelbased, with theme nights featuring local folk music and dancing the whirling dervishes performing their intoxicating twirls are a sight not to be missed. There are a few bars around the harbour, if youre looking for a quiet drink after your evening meal.
The small harbour in Marsa Alam is home to a small selection of restaurants that specialise in seafood and most hotels in the resort serve international cuisine. Local dishes are heavily influenced by Turkish, Greek, French and Lebanese culture. Local delicacies include felafels, shish kebab and kofta are almost staples in tourist restaurants as are hommus, tahini and baba ghannouj. Egypt is a Muslim country but you will still find alcohol served in the hotels. Tea is served in glasses and comes dark and impossibly sweet; the same is true with coffee, which is taken in the Turkish style.
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