• Local's Guide To Egypt

9 World-Class Beaches in Egypt

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

Fact #1: Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east, plus two gulfs. Fact #2: we have around 360 days of sunshine a year and swimmable water temperatures year-round. When you add those two facts together, you equate for pretty ideal beaches.

Call us biased, but we’ve travelled around the world and we’re convinced that some of Egypt’s beaches can easily compete -- and even win-- against other world-famous beaches. Don’t believe us? Visit them yourself!

Disclaimer: we’re obviously not including all famous Egyptian beaches (we can hear other Egyptians now: “Where’s Gouna! Where’s Ain El Sokhna! Where’s Ras Shitan!”); we included the ones that we think offer the most when it comes to color and quality of water, soft white sand, picturesque views and overall beach experience.

North Coast

Photo credit: @lookatmydrone

Location: Egypt’s north Mediterranean coast, west of Alexandria

Best time to go: June through September

How to get there: Car or bus

Egypt’s North Coast, called Sahel el Shamali in Arabic (Sahel for short), stretches out for about 1,000 km on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast and has arguably some of the most pristine white sand beaches in the region.

Now obviously 1,000 km of coast is a lot, but it’s currently comprised mainly of private residential beach compounds with a few sporadic hotels, so it’s mainly the summer playground of moneyed locals. Recently though more tourism development has taken root, so those who don’t own beach homes can still enjoy Egypt’s (hands down) best summer beaches.

Giftun Islands

Mahmya on Big Giftun

Location: Red Sea off of Hurghada

Best time to go: April through to November

How to get there: by boat from Hurghada or El Gouna, which are reached by car/bus/plane

Off the coast of Hurghada are the two Giftun Islands in the Red Sea: Giftun El Kabeer (Big Giftun) and Giftun el Sagheer (Little Giftun). While both are surrounded by equally dazzling clear azure water, Big Giftun is the one where the real action is at because it’s home to beach havens Mahmya and Orange Bay.

Mahmya on Big Giftun

These daytime destinations offer beach restaurants, bars and water activities as well as bathrooms and showers for those who’ve spent a long day diving or snorkeling and want to kick back and relax.

For more tropical islands in Egypt, head here.

Wadi El Gemal National Park

Photo credit: @mazznico

Location: Red Sea coast south of Marsa Alam

Best time to go: year-round, but it gets a tiny bit chilly in winter and very hot in summer

How to get there: drive down from Marsa Alam, which is best reached by plane

Wadi el Gemal (Valley of the Camels) is an Egyptian national park that encompasses both desert and sea. The biodiversity of its large mammals, reptiles, birds, plants and untouched marine life make it unlike anywhere else in Egypt -- and its coastal area alone is home to 450 species of coral and over 1,200 species of fish.

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

For a small entrance fee, you can spend the day on the coastal beaches of the park, with the comfort of a local guide nearby (the park is massive!). Most visitors spend the night in nearby lodges or in Marsa Alam, and then enjoy the day on the untouched beaches of the national park.

Marsa Matrouh

Agiba Beach, one of Marsa Matrouh's most famous

Location: Mediterranean Sea coast, 240 km west of Alexandria

Best time to go: June through September

How to get there: car/bus from Cairo or Alexandria

Marsa Matrouh is a small port city to the west of the North Coast we talked about above. Unlike the North Coast, Marsa Matrouh is an actual coastal city with year-round inhabitants and not just seasonal private residences. If you want to experience Egypt’s Mediterranean Sea but don’t want to deal with exclusive compounds or ridiculously high hotel prices, Marsa Matrouh offers equally beautiful beaches, albeit in a more crowded and less chi-chi atmosphere.

Photo credit: Paghera

Local tip: if you’re in Marsa Matrouh, it might be a good idea to also spend a few days in Siwa Oasis to the south. It’s about a 4.5 hour car trip, which sounds like a lot, but imagine tacking on the extra 5 hours it would take to get from Cairo to Marsa Matrouh, PLUS the 4.5 hours from there to Siwa (via Marsa Matrouh is the safest and easiest route to Siwa).

Ras Um Sid

Location: Sharm el Sheikh

Best time to go: spring and fall (summer too if you can handle the heat)

How to get there: fly to Sharm el Sheikh (or drive, but we prefer to fly)

While all of Sharm el Sheikh is a beach-goer’s dream, the popular Naama Bay area can sometimes feel crowded with tourists on the hotel beaches. A few kilometers away, almost on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula is the more peaceful Ras Um Sid beach, which you can use after buying an entrance ticket.

Besides having umbrellas, sunbeds, a restaurant, bar, shisha and spectacular views, it’s also one of the best beaches in Egypt for snorkeling -- swimmers sometimes see more marine life than divers do!

For the best diving destinations in Egypt, head here.

Sahl Hasheesh

Photo credit: Omar Refaat (@omar__refaat)

Location: About 20 km south of Hurghada

Best time to go: April through to November

How to get there: Drive or fly to Hurghada airport

This resort town was built on a bay in the Red Sea south of Hurghada back in the 1990s, and is known for its beautiful stretch of coastline and long boardwalk. It’s home to some of the most highly ranked beach resorts in the country, such as Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh and Baron Palace.

Photo credit: Omar Refaat (@omar__refaat)

Another claim to fame that Sahl Hasheesh has is its man-made sunken city -- a partially submerged city that acts like a reef and attracts both marine life and snorkelers galore.

Blue Lagoon

Photo credit: @bluelagoondahab

Location: north of Dahab

Best time to go: year-round

How to get there: hiking, by camel or by boat from Dahab

The Blue Lagoon is a beautiful but remote beach camp spot north of both Dahab and the Ras Abu Galum national park. It's very bare bones -- huts on the beach and no electricity, so perfect for unplugging.

Daily activities range from windsurfing, snorkeling, swimming, kitesurfing, hiking, sunbathing, reading or just relaxing by the beach. At night you can watch for shooting stars by the fire and revel in the fact that there’s no one else for miles around.

Because it’s so remote, you can only get there by either hiking/camel from Dahab (for the more adventurous) or by boat.

Qulaan Islands

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Location: in the Red Sea off of Wadi El Gemal National Park

Best time to go: year-round, but it gets a tiny bit chilly in winter and very hot in summer

How to get there: boat from Hamata harbor

Qulaan Islands are an archipelago of four islands in a protected bay in the Wadi El Gemal National Park area that we talked about above. These empty, remote islands are known for their mangrove trees and ecosystem built around the mangroves; marine life flourishes under the trees and it’s a great bird-watching spot.

Photo credit: Farida Bustani (@faridabustani)

You can take a boat from the Hamata marina and spend a few hours picnicking, swimming and snorkeling on the islands.


Photo credit: Kempinski Somabay

Location: 45 km south of Hurghada

Best time to go: April through to November

How to get there: driving or via Hurghada Airport

A peninsula jutting into the Red Sea, Somabay is another small resort town similar to Sahl Hasheesh. Because it’s surrounded by the sea on three sides, Somabay is famous for its water sports, especially kitesurfing and windsurfing due to the ideal wind conditions.

Photo credit: Kempinski Somabay

Somabay is home to only 5 beach resorts, so it’s a good place to go if you want to avoid the crowds found in other popular Red Sea Riviera destinations (Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, etc).

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Hi and thanks for visiting! We're a group of Egyptian locals who love to share our insider info with travelers when it comes to all things Egypt.

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