Egypt's Best Beaches

The beaches of the northern Sinai are made unforgettable by their backdrop of sheer, jagged mountain peaks. Farther south, along the mainland Red Sea Coast, the allure is in just the right combination of pale golden sand and shimmering azure waters.

The long coral reef running the length of Egypt's Red Sea Coast is the source of these superb beaches; over thousands of years, dead coral has eroded into fine grains of golden sand. The lack of tides and strong currents—or extreme weather events such as hurricanes—means the sand is pretty stable.

The best beaches, an almost unbroken stretch of sand, are found down the west coast of the Sinai, with the more easterly Hurghada region having only a handful of sandy bays. Until the latter part of the 20th century, these strands were almost untouched by human development, but even today, despite the popularity of the Red Sea Riviera as a tourist destination, it’s possible to escape the crowds, especially in the Sinai.

Turtles in the Sinai

Green, hawksbill, leatherhead, and loggerhead turtles nest in the region, coming ashore on beaches in early summer to lay their eggs. Immediately after hatching, the young make their way to the water and out into the open sea. The males never come ashore again, but the females will return to their birthplace at around the age of 20, to lay their eggs and begin another life cycle.

Egypt's Best Beaches

Generally, the best beaches in Egypt are located on the Sinai Peninsula; diving is generally better on the Red Sea coast.

El Gouna

Hotel beaches in El Gouna are private, reserved solely for the guests of the resorts; however, the region does have a couple of public beaches.

Mangroovy Beach. The sand is plentiful and golden, but the main draw here is the kite surfing in the seemingly endless offshore shallows. As the name suggests, the groove here is cool throughout the day and wild at night, when the beach parties kick off.

Zeytouna Beach. El Gouna's main and only public-access beach is set around an offshore island with gently lapping waters and a whole raft of facilities from salsa lessons to a genuine coral reef just offshore.


On the whole, Hurghada's beaches are just not as good as those on the Sinai coast. Since there are no good public options, it's important to pick a resort with one of the better stretches of sand.

Makadi Bay. A house reef just a few feet offshore mirrors this long, sinuous golden beach. A series of luxury resorts have sprung up here since the late 1990s, each looking to cater to your every whim.

Giftun Island. Great swaths of pale sand surround this small island 45 minutes offshore, leading into iridescent shallows that are perfect for snorkeling. This is a picture-perfect beach, and the marine life is amazing.


With both good beaches and good offshore reefs, Nuweiba offers some of the best of both worlds to divers and resort goers looking for a more laidback destination.

Basata Beach. This unspoiled ribbon of sand washed by cerulean sea with a rustic eco-resort of tropical shacks, nestled against the serrated treeless peaks of the Sinai Mountains is the perfect place to escape from the world.

Sharm El-Sheikh

Sharm has some of Egypt's best beaches and most lavish resorts.

Main Beach, Ras Muhammed National Park. This relatively short strand at the heart of the protected area offers options for sunning, snorkeling, and diving around the corals just offshore. The sea life is incredible, even in the shallows.

Na’ama Bay. A beautiful arc of fine golden sand fronted by azure shallows and backed by excellent restaurants, bars, and water sports shops couldn’t be better. But you must love company because this beach draws crowds.

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Diving in Egypt

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Getting Oriented in The Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea Coast

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