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1. 800 years of pyramids

2. Ancient temples

3. Ancient tombs

4. Just relaxing

5. Diving and snorkelling

6. The great river

7. Desert and oases

8. Christianity

9. Islamic sights

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El-Arish Taba Taba Heights Pharaoh's Island Nuweiba Dahab El-Gouna Hurghada Safaga Quseir Marsa Alam INTRODUCTION
Just relaxing

In recent decades, the coasts of Egypt has been heavily developed, aiming at attracting tourists from Europe and the Arab world. It is mainly along the Red Sea coast and in the Gulf of Aqaba that new tourist villages have been built.
These places seem to share the same pattern: Located along fine beaches, with offshore diving opportunities and framed by wild mountains in the back.
Today the foremost destinations are Sharm el-Sheikh, which really is 30 km of separate resorts, and Hurghada which is divided into two centres with kilometres of hotels continuing to the south. Sharm el-Sheikh caters tourists with fat wallets, Hurghada sees a good share of tourists trying to squeeze as much out of their expenses as possible.
There are, however, two great alternatives. El-Gouna is brand new and very delicate, located conveniently close to Hurghada (and its airport). Dahab is a great favourite north of Sharm el-Sheikh, the most laidback and natural of all Egypt's beach resorts.
South of Hurghada, new resorts are popping up, mainly near existing towns. Safaga is a dull village, but with a few fine hotels. Quseir is a true Red Sea port, while the resorts in the region of Marsa Alam are built on the same patterns as El-Gouna, yet with variations great enough to give them a unique identity.
Egypt's Mediterranean coast is also a destination, but much less so for non-Arab visitors. The easy explanation is that while the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is a winter destination, and then the only proper so within 4 to 5 hours or less flight from Europe, the Mediterranean coast operates only in summer. And in summer, all the classic resorts of every Mediterranean country puts Egypt in the shadow. Still, Egypt's Mediterranean beaches are truly crowded, but only by Egyptians. In the cases of Alexandria and Marsa Matruh, better infrastructure could have made these decent options to foreign resorts. El-Arish, the furthest to the east, has a communist touch to it, but I have rarely seen a beach any longer than here; it even continues into the Gaza Strip and Israel.
In the desert and along the Nile, there are few real options to the true beach resorts. The oasis of Fayoum and the city of Aswan allows swimming in Nile water, while taking a dip in the oases in the Western desert is unproblematic. Among the oases, it is in particular Siwa that has many pools to take swim or a dip, while Farafra offers a few keyhole shaped wells, to small for swimming but a great place to dip your body. In Dakhla there is a lake, but no pleasant entry for swimmers.

By Tore Kjeilen