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North Coast, Egypt: A Complete Travel Guide For First-Timers

Updated: 5 days ago


North Coast Egypt

For a long time, Egypt’s North Coast on the Mediterranean Sea and its pristine white sand beaches were Egypt’s best kept secret from the rest of the world. And why is that, you may ask? Let us explain.


The North Coast (called Sahel el Shamali in Arabic, or Sahel for short) wasn’t getting as much international recognition as Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera, which is best known for its resort cities Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. This was mainly because the Red Sea area was developed with year-round tourism in mind, while the Mediterranean North Coast started off as mainly summer beach homes for Egyptians. 


Egypt has a ton of beaches, but what made the North Coast such a desired place to buy a pricey seaside home is that the beaches there are nothing less than SPECTACULAR. No seriously, just look at the pictures. A common statement you’ll hear from Egyptians at world-famous beaches across the globe is: “This is nice, but not as nice as our beaches in Sahel”. And while we may be biased, we invite you to visit the North Coast yourself and see if we’re wrong!



And the good news is, the North Coast has slowly begun developing over the years to allow for more tourism, more hotels, more restaurants and just easier and better beach access for visitors to Egypt to really experience it for themselves! 



A Few Quick Facts


North Coast Egypt
Credit: Mada Masr. These are some of the biggest compounds/villages on the North Coast but not all of them

  • When we refer to the North Coast, we’re specifically talking about a stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea in the north of Egypt, stretching from the city of Alexandria westwards to the town of Marsa Matrouh, about 230 km

  • Well-off locals flocking from Cairo and Alexandria have been ‘summering’ at the North Coast for decades, but the real development boom for summer homes happened in the 1990s and 2000s, continuing on to present day

  • Private gated residential compounds or ‘villages’ were built directly on the coastline, making beach access for non-owners difficult until recently


North Coast Egypt

  • These days, hotels and beachfront restaurants in different compounds have been built with the express purpose to boost tourism for both visitors and locals who don’t own property there

  • New Alamein City, smack in the middle of the stretch of the North Coast, will be a year-round, open-to-the-public seaside city by 2030. It’s not fully finished or operational yet, but one of the North Coast’s best hotels, the Rixos Premium Alamein, is already up and running there, as well as a few malls and entertainment venues where summer concerts are held



Best Time To Go


North Coast Egypt

The North Coast is a summer beach destination, with ideal beach weather from June through to September. The water is warm and it’s sunny all summer long, but not scorching like in Cairo or other Egyptian destinations due to the temperate Mediterranean breeze. 


Summer is also when the restaurants, shops and general services will be open. From October through to May (especially during the winter months), 90% of what’s open during the summer months will be closed, and some of the hotels might close certain amenities. Transportation between different spots on the coast will be difficult during the winter unless you have a car with you, because most taxi and car services run during the summer months only.


Don’t get us wrong – you can still go to the North Coast outside of the summer months, but in that case just make sure you’re staying at a hotel (and know that the water will probably be cold!).



Getting There



By car: Driving to the North Coast from Cairo or Alexandria is pretty easy and direct via main highways. Depending on where exactly you’re staying at the North Coast, it’s anything from a 2.5 hour to 5 hour drive from Cairo. 


By bus: there are several different bus companies (eg. Go Bus, Superjet and West & Middle Delta) that run bus routes daily between Cairo and the North Coast. They don’t stop at each village on the coast though, so you might have to take a taxi from the closest North Coast bus stop to your final destination. 


By limousine service/car service/ride hailing app: there are several different services/apps that can take you from Cairo to the North Coast, such as Uber, Careem, InDrive or London Cab, but you need to book in advance. You can also hire a limousine or car service through a limo company or travel agency; just do a Google search for “limousine service to the North Coast” and a bunch will pop up.


By plane: if you’re not already in Egypt, the closest international airport to the North Coast is the Borg El Arab Airport in Alexandria. You’ll then drive westwards along the Mediterranean to your final destination. New Alamein City for example is about an hour’s drive from the Borg El Arab Airport, while the far ends of the North Coast are about two and a half hours away by car.


Starting July 2024, there's a twice weekly domestic flight between Cairo Airport and El Alamein Airport.



North Coast Accommodation Tips


North Coast Egypt

First, let us be clear when we say that choosing carefully where to stay is very important, because getting around the North Coast without your own car is a huge hassle – you don’t want to have to be jumping around different compounds/villages and waiting forever and a day for an Uber to show up. You should aim to spend most of your time in the same compound that your hotel or rental is in.


Like we explained briefly above, the North Coast consists of a series of gated residential compounds/villages. Because they’re gated, you can only enter via QR code or gate entrance permission sent by the hotel or rental owner. 


Each compound/village has its own beach that you’ll have access to if you’re staying there, and usually a handful of shops or places to get food (the bigger/more popular compounds obviously have more restaurants and shops than the smaller, quieter compounds). 


Local tip #1: our personal recommendation is that if you’re a non-Egyptian visiting the North Coast for the first time, your best bet is staying at a hotel instead of a rental. At a hotel, you’ll have everything you need and won’t have to worry about tracking down the nearest restaurant, and they can arrange any kind of transportation you need. After all, you’re there to enjoy the incredible beach, not worry about logistics!


Local tip #2: If you do decide to go down the rental route, make sure to read reviews and ask the owner or property manager a lot of questions about what restaurants and services you’ll have easy access to. Also ask how far a walk it is to the beach if you don’t have a car with you.



Best Hotels at the North Coast


North Coast Egypt
Rixos Alamein

There aren’t a ton of hotels in the North Coast (yet), but we recommend going for one that’s established and has a high rating and good reviews, because you’ll be spending most of your time at your hotel’s beach, pool and facilities. If you don’t like it or it’s not up to snuff, then there won’t be much else to distract you!


So here’s our list of the best North Coast Hotels:


  • Rixos Premium Alamein (in New Alamein City)

  • Rixos Alamein (in Ghazala Bay)

  • Address Marassi Golf Resort (in Marassi)

  • Jaz Almaza Beach Hotel (in Almaza Bay)

  • Al Alamein Hotel (in Marassi)

  • Casa Cook North Coast (in Hacienda White)

  • Caesar Bay Resort (in Caesar Bay)



How To Get Around


North Coast Egypt

We touched on this above, but we’ll summarize it all here as well:


  • The easiest way is obviously if you have a private car with you or access to one

  • During the summer months, there will be Uber, Careem and InDrive (all riding hailing apps) to go between compounds, but keep in mind the distance isn’t short so you might have to wait for a while for the driver to arrive. You can book in advance to be on the safer side

  • Your hotel can arrange transportation for you

  • There are car and limousine services you can book to and from your accommodation to the Borg El Arab Airport in Alexandria, or to Cairo



Best Activities and Things to Do at the North Coast



  1. Enjoy the beach, obviously!



The North Coast is 100% a relax-at-the-beach kind of destination. It’s not an adventure spot, or a cultural spot, or an Ancient Egyptian historical spot – Egypt has plenty of those. The North Coast is all about spending several stress-free, guilt-free days on an unbelievable beach, without feeling like you should be getting off your beach lounger or FOMO over not seeing this or that landmark. 


So our recommendation is to wake up early, have some breakfast, and nab the best spot on the beach – and just spend the day swimming, tanning, reading, relaxing, eating and just enjoying one of the best beaches in the world!



2. Water activities


North Coast Egypt

If you’re the type that gets antsy if you sit still for too long, then never fear: there’s still things you can do to get your body moving. The North Coast isn’t much of a diving destination, but there are other more low-key water activities you can partake in. 



Many of the hotel beaches will have a water sports center, where you can rent kayaks, boogie boards, banana boats and more. 



3. Spend a day at a water park


North Coast Egypt

If you have kids with you (or even if you don’t, honestly) waterparks are always fun for all ages. Marassi Water World (in the Marassi compound/village) has 12 massive slides and water chutes, rafts, a surfing pool, a kids’ complex, a lazy river and more. For more info and to buy your tickets: https://marassiwaterworld.com/



4. Visit the Alamein War Memorials and Military Museum


Alamein War Memorial

El Alamein, an area on Egypt’s North Coast, was the battleground in 1942 for two of the most important fights in World War II between the Allies and Axis forces. Thousands of lives were lost, and today stands several vast cemeteries and memorials, such as the Commonwealth War Memorial and the Italian War Memorial, for the fallen soldiers both named and unnamed. There is also a military museum nearby for those interested in learning about the El Alamein Battles.



5. Day trip to Alexandria


day trip to alexandria from north coast

If you’re spending an extended stay in the North Coast and find yourself with a free day on your hands, then a day trip to Alexandria is a nice way to inject some Egyptian history and heritage into your otherwise pure beach vacation. Alexandria is only an hour or two away by car, and worth a visit if you’re interested in the ancient city’s illustrious history.





Restaurants and Nightlife on the North Coast


nightlife north coast
Lemon Tree & Co

There are some beautiful restaurants and beach bars peppered along the North Coast in different compounds/villages. They’re only open during summer months, so that means that they’re in high demand and prior reservations are usually needed. 


  • Sachi by the Sea (in Almaza Bay)

  • The Lemon Tree and Co (in Hacienda White)

  • Tap North (in Almaza Bay)

  • Blue and White Restaurant/Greek Club (in Ghazala Bay)

  • Pier 88 (in Almaza Bay)

  • Capitaine (in Marassi)

  • The Smokery (in Bianchi)

  • Izakaya (in Marassi)

  • Kiki’s Beach Bar (in Hacienda White)


Also there are usually various musical concerts by both international and Egyptian singers, bands and DJs held throughout the summer in different locations across the coast, so keep a look out online for those! Seacode, a beach club and musical venue in New Alamein City, has held concerts by Jennifer Lopez as well as parties for world-famous DJs recently.



Parting Local Tips


North Coast Egypt

In summary, Egypt’s North Coast is a place that’s dearly loved by locals, and slowly but surely opening up to visitors. What it looks like now is very different than what it’ll look like in a few years – but with one thing in common: it’s ridiculously beautiful beaches.


Here are a few of our last local tips:


  • Try to go to the North Coast on weekdays as opposed to weekends; it’ll be less crowded

  • Book your hotel in advance as much as you can, because during the summer things get fully booked quickly

  • Bring a book, cards or games with you to entertain yourself at night 

  • Speaking of nights, mosquito spray is always a good idea



But mostly, just sit back, relax and enjoy the sun and Mediterranean Sea from Egypt’s own little stretch of paradise.




1 comentário


Convidado:
20 de mai.

Can’t believe how blue the water is 😍

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