Marsa Alam Travel Guide

General Information About Marsa Alam

About 220 km south of Hurghada  lies Marsa Alam; a tropical paradise boasting rich blue sea with coral reef barriers, paradisiacal beaches and palm trees. It’s among the fastest growing holiday resorts on the Red Sea Riviera, and is popular with windsurfers, scuba divers, snorkelers and sun worshipers fortunate enough to have already discovered the resort’s remote tranquility.

For diving enthusiasts, Marsa Alam’s diving sites  are considered to be a glorious treasure waiting to be discovered, boasting beautiful coral reefs and an abundance of magnificently colored sea life where spinner dolphins and sea turtles swim freely.

Adventure seekers have plenty of attractions to discover in the deserts near Marsa Alam. Visitors can go on quad bikes or jeep safaris off-road into the desert, and combine it with a visit to a Bedouin village, marking an unforgettable and adventurous experience. A mouthwatering barbecue dinner and a camel ride cannot be missed while visiting a Bedouin village.

If history is what you’re after, then this is the right city. It is believed that the Pharaohs mined brilliant green emeralds in the mountainous areas of the Eastern Desert southwest of Marsa Alam. The Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus  became the most famous mining complex in the ancient world, and at various times the mines at Wadi Gemal , Wadi Nuqrus and Gebel Zabara were in use during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. If you are interested in tracing back the Roman glory, the Roman Settlement of Myos Hormos  is not far from Marsa Alam.

Being a relatively remote location that enjoys a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, Marsa Alam is considered the ideal destination for honeymooners. As the night falls, the stars light up the sky and Marsa Alam is magically transformed into a romantic getaway. Cuddling up on the beach or in one of the many cozy cafes along the water and watching the countless shooting stars, while drinking freshly brewed tea definitely qualifies as a perfect end to the day.

With crystal blue waters, tranquil sandy beaches, and the mysterious touch of the desert, Marsa Alam is the ideal gateway from a mundane life and conventional vacation spots.

Marsa Alam Beaches

Marsa Alam hotels have their own private beaches exclusively available to hotel guests.  Long stretches of natural white sand beaches and a year-round dry and temperate climate make this area an ideal destination for sun seekers and water sports enthusiasts.  The waters of the Red Sea are clear and calm for most of the year and are popular for watersports such as scuba-diving and snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing and deep-sea fishing.


Other water sports including water skiing, pedalo hire are available on the doorstep and you can also learn to surf and windsurf.  Marsa Alam is reasonably close to the popular Red Sea destinations of Hurghada and Dahab where many international wind and kite surfing competitions are held.  Marsa Alam’s hotels can also offer a large choice of other more relaxed and fun water sports, from banana rides to parasailing.

Jaz Solaya Madinat Coraya, Egypt

Jaz Solaya is located in the beautiful Madinat Coraya overlooking Coraya Bay. Just 5 km from Marsa Alam International Airport, it’s perfect for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts as its warm

Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort Madinat Coraya, Egypt

Iberotel Coraya Beach is perfectly placed to allow you to explore the unspoilt delights of Marsa Alam's virgin waters and coral reefs. Nestling on the shores of the private and secluded Coraya Bay,

Jaz Lamaya Resort Madinat Coraya, Egypt

Jaz Lamaya Resort is a beautiful five-star family hotel in Madinat Coraya at Marsa Alam. This all elegant inclusive resort overlooks a peaceful and unspoiled private bay that allows easy access to the water...

Jaz Samaya Resort Madinat Coraya, Egypt

Jaz Samaya Resort is a stunning family resort overlooking a peaceful, unspoilt private beach and bay, situated in Madinat Coraya in the Marsa Alam region.

Jaz Dar El Madina Madinat Coraya, Egypt

Jaz Dar El Madina is an elegantly simple, well designed and tastefully decorated resort overlooking the tranquil and beautiful Coraya Bay in Madinat Coraya.

Marsa Alam Attractions

Cleopatra’s Emerald Mines

The Emerald Mines in Marsa Alam are located in the desert between Marsa Alam and the Nile Valley. Emeralds were highly valued by the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of eternity and power and these mines were used during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.   The mines have been confirmed as the legendary Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains) that produced some of the best emeralds in the world and were still being mined up to the 14th century. You can still see a number of ruins near around the Emerald Mines, Marsa Alam. The structures are well preserved and still have mine shafts as well as some temple structures.

Mons Claudianus

Mons Claudianus is one of the best preserved sites of Roman civilization in Egypt.   It’s located at the base of Jebel Fatira and was a Roman penal colony and quarry worked from around  68 AD to 282 AD,  This stones quarried  by the prisoners here were used as building materials for the Roman Empire. The shiny black stones from Mons Claudianus, Marsa Alam are still visible in Hadrian's Villa, in the portico of the Pantheon, in public baths and in the columns and floor of the Temple of Venus in Rome.  The ancient remains at Mons Claudianus also show that there was a Roman camp with apartments, workshops and stables on the site as well as luxuries like steam baths (for the guards and garrison only) using  the hot springs that still exist there today.

Mons Smaragdus

One of the most interesting things to see in Marsa Alam is the location of the Cleopatra Mines. Also known as the ancient emerald mines or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains), this is one of the most famous and oldest mining complexes of the ancient world and is believed to have been used by the Pharaohs. Because the emerald is the oldest known gemstone, the deep green color is thought to be a symbol of eternity.

Myos Hormos

Myos Hormos, a rare historical site with a huge significance, is an ancient port that was once a thriving haven for trading ships departing from India. When visiting this site you will be dazzled by the Roman remains that are still standing, including Roman vases and artifacts.

Temple of Seti I

Marsa Alam is close to some stunning ancient Egyptian and Roman archaeological sites.  The Temple of Seti I is situated in Kanais to the east of Edfu along the desert road which leads to Marsa Alam.  This gorgeous temple was cut into the living rock around 1305-1290 B.C.  The temple chambers feature scenes from Seti’s life. Tourists are only allowed to view the entrance of the Temple.  The chambers  within are closed off to preserve them,  but visitors can see the ancient well close to the Temple of Seti I and  examples of unique rock art from pre-dynastic times  that are about 6000 years old.

Wadi Gemal

Wadi Gemal or Valley of the Camels is one of the last places in Egypt where you can still find wild gazelle. Covering over 6000 square kilometers, it has several entrances, but the main one is situated close to the Shams Alam resort about 30 minutes south from Marsa Alam. It has many spectacular mangrove and thorny acacia trees.

Marsa Alam Holidays

Explore Egypt in 15 Days - 14 Nights Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Marsa Alam

15 Days / 14 Nights

A beautiful journey across Egypt, starting off by Cairo & Alexandria followed by a fascinating cruise down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan; at the end of the journey, unwind by the Red Sea, under the shining sun in Masra Alam.

fromUSD SELECT

Scuba Diving in Marsa Alam, the Red Sea

Daedalus Reef

If sharks are your favorite, then pay a visit to this reef. It is a huge round reef with a lighthouse more than 40 miles away from the coast. If features an excellent opportunity for spotting big pelagic all around its steep walls with an extreme variety of fish and coral.

Elphinstone Reef

El Phinstone Reef is one of the most frequented dive sites in the southern Red Sea area. It’s a long narrow reef reaching approximately 300 meters, and lies 12 km away from Ras Abu Dabbab. Its spectacular walls drop far below 100 meters on both sides of the reef. The reef is famous for its grey reefs, hammerheads, and thresher sharks. The north plateau is where most dives are done, while the east is a great drop-off with a huge gorgonian and softer corals. The west is less steep and slightly sandier than the east. The plateaus of the south feature a garden of soft corals. Strong currents make it the perfect place for drift diving.

Fury Shoal

This site is a diverse coral garden which makes a wondrous diving location. A network of hard coral formation make up a complex reef inhabited by a variety of pelagic fish and dolphins, and even contains the wrecks of a tugboat and a sailing ship for your exploration.

Samadai Reef (Dolphin House)

Get introduced to some friendly dolphins at the Samadi Reef, which is a crescent- shaped offshore area also known as Dolphin House, and located about 3 miles away from Mersa Alam. It is famous for its amount of dolphins with which you can snorkel. Dives are often performed near the pinnacles in the south-west, which are shallow and easily navigated. For a drift dive, it is better to go to the outer reef, where a nice wall is descending gradually to 20 meters form where it disappears.

Shaab Mansour

Good dives can be done here on both north and south plateaus, with strong currents, which favor the growth of all types of coral, including black, soft, and fans. Sharks, Napoleon, and Tuna thrive here.

Shaab Sharm

This reef is rich with colorful marine life. It is considered to be a big reef. It has big walls. It is possible to encounter, Hammerhead and Grey Reef Sharks in the summer, and Malabar Grouper, Barracudas, and schooling reef fish during the rest of the year

Zabargat

Imagine an enormous mountain coming out of the water, surrounded by a lagoon and circling reef including a couple of wrecks and some decent diving with a great variety of both corals and reef fish. Most likely, ancient Egyptians mined this island for precious stones.

Shopping and Leisure in Marsa Alam

For those who love to shop, Sharm El-Sheikh provides ample opportunities to indulge in retail therapy. Sharm El Sheikh is famous for producing jewellery, leather goods and rugs. Expect to haggle when shopping in Sharm El Sheikh! It is all part of the experience and the shop owners will be shocked if you don’t try to negotiate! The majority of shops and shopping centres are based in Naama Bay but Sharm Old Market is great for hunting out bargains. If you want real value for money you should go south-west to Dahab which is less busy and less commercialised than Sharm.

There is more to Sharm El-Sheikh than beaches, sea and shopping of course. It’s a well developed area that feels “European” with refined hotels, facilities and amenities. Sharm el Sheikh has a fantastic range of restaurants, bars and cafes to visit as well as the hotels own all inclusive menus. The market area in Old Sharm is popular for its abundance of seafood restaurants and cheap prices. For those wanting a romantic evening, head to the” On Deck” restaurant in the Iberotel Lido hotel in Naama Bay where you can dine on a pontoon overlooking the water. The Il Mercato promenade, often called “Les Champs Elysee” of Sinai close to the Iberotel IL Mercato Hotel offers a varied selection of excellent cafes and restaurants.

There’s even an 18-hole Championship golf course in Jolie Ville Golf Resort, located only five kilometres from the main hotels in Sharm el Sheikh which is open to non guests. It includes a driving range and artificial lakes and is a perfect escape for those who love the game.

Marsa Alam Nightlife

Pacha

Pacha is situated in the of Naama bay , and is the premier party place in Sharm El Sheikh that embodies the essence of the Pacha spirit with a twist of mystical Arabia added for pure indulgence.

Little Buddha

Little Buddha is located in the heart of Naama Bay , and being one of the hottest venues in Sharm El Sheikh, it provides its clientele with the finest dining experience, an eclectic atmosphere, sublime surroundings, and the latest sounds from around the globe.

Hard Rock Cafe

When in Egypt, knock the Sinai sand from your sandals and settle into the Hard Rock Cafe Sharm El Sheikh for a tall cool drink to quench your parched throat. The restaurant's huge guitar and sky dome act as an oasis beckoning every desert denizen to a good time. It provides a fascinating atmosphere and mouthwatering dishes.

Camel Bar

It is a two-storey restaurant/bar that offers both indoor and outdoor areas. The lower floor is an ideal venue for those willing to indulge in a drink along with lively music, while the top floor overlooks Naama Bay and offers a more relaxing atmosphere with number of sumptuous international dishes and shisha.