Marsa Alam | Discovering the Red Sea

Marsa Alam was until a few years ago a small fishing village on the west coast of the Red Sea (Egypt), 270 km south of Hurghada and 132 km from Quseir. In recent years following the opening of the international airport it has grown rapidly to become a popular tourist destination. Inhabited until recently by no more than six thousand people who were responsible for fishing and pastoralism, but above all they were mostly miners who worked in the ancient marble mines and phosphates that are found in the interior of the desert. The local population of Marsa Alam is derived from two different Bedouin tribes who have undergone over time the Arab influence but today Marsa Alam has lost all its old connotations and is now a series of hotels that are slowly invading the whole coast.

Marsa Alam Beach

Marsa Alam Beach

Marsa Alam Resort panoramic

Marsa Alam Resort panoramic

The best times to visit Marsa Alam are from June to August. The weather is perfect for those who want to enjoy the beaches, but be careful not to overdo it and do not expose yourself to the sun from 12.00 to 16.00. If you prefer a milder climate without sacrificing the good weather, it is advisable to start in spring and autumn. From December to February the temperatures drop but the sun is still up. So you can easily get a tan on the beach and enjoy the beautiful sea in the winter months.

Marsa Alam Resort pools

Marsa Alam Resort pools

Marsa Alam Resort Garden

Marsa Alam Resort Garden

There are many things that you can see during a holiday in Marsa Alam, apart from the underwater wonders you can take many excursions to the ancient mines. Two sites that I recommend are the Wadi Miya, a camp where the miners and the Wadi Zubara lived. There are the ruins of a settlement of the Ptolemaic era. Then there are the classic desert safaris and if you want to leave at dawn and return in the evening, Luxor is worth a visit.

Marsa Alam Town

Marsa Alam Town

Marsa Alam sunset

Marsa Alam sunset

In Marsa Alam there are no restaurants outside the villages and resorts, where the cuisine is international.  If you have the opportunity, enjoy one of the delicacies like Egyptian fuul and ta’amiyya (fried balls of mashed fava beans) usually served in a shammy (similar to pita bread) or even try the shwarma, a version of the famous turkish doner kebap. The nightlife outside the village in Marsa Alam is virtually nonexistent. However, do not worry because every night the hotel or resort will organize traditional festivals, dancing and entertainment. So they will do anything to prevent you from getting bored. Helpful advice: when you decide to shop be careful and always remember to bargain to get a fair price. You might want to offer half of what they ask you to get them to agree on a fair price for both you and the seller.

Marsa Alam Resort

Marsa Alam Resort

Marsa Alam photos: buratomarco, Boschidelnord, R.o.c.k., werner boehm, D0ominik.

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Categories: Extra Travel, Seas and Oceans, What to See

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