Why now is a great time to book a beach holiday to Egypt
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Egypt* has got to be doing something right. Drawing in tourists since at least the time of ancient Rome, the nation now welcomes an impressive 12 million travellers a year.
Why has Egypt become so popular? Perhaps it's the country's millennia-old relics. Or maybe, just maybe, it's Egypt's extraordinary Red Sea coast resorts of Hurghada*, Sharm El Sheikh* and Marsa Alam*, which have people coming back year after year.
If you fancy joining them on the Egyptian Riviera, find out why now is a great time to book a beach holiday to Egypt..
Getting to Egypt: find beach breaks for all budgets with TUI, which offers holidays to resorts along Eypt's Red Sea.
Winter & summer sun
Few other countries can boast a climate so ideally suited to beach escapes as Egypt. The Red Sea coast is a region which averages less than one millimetre of rain per month, and even the winter sees ideal beach temperatures by land and sea.
Dry and sunny year-round, the likes of Sharm El Sheikh (or just 'Sharm' to its many devotees) are basking in nothing but glorious sunshine while much of the world is trying to keep warm and dry.
Whether it's the biscuit-coloured sands of the ever-popular Na'ama Bay in Sharm El Sheikh, the pure white sands of Marsa Alam's Al Dabbab (Turtle) Beach, or Hurghada's Old Vic Beach, there's certainly plenty of choice. Tot them all up and you'll close in on around 80 individually named beaches in the region.
What unites them is a great depth of sand, meaning there's plenty of scope for the kids to unleash their artistic side with a bucket and spade.
Most are also privately owned by hotels, keeping them exclusive, hassle-free, and spotlessly clean. While many are ideal locations for a family beach escape, there are also a handful of adult-only options, especially in Hurghada.
Epic dive sites
Celebrated by none other than the co-inventor of scuba gear, Jacques Cousteau, you can be sure the diving off Egypt's Red Sea coast is going to be out of this world. The absence of rain means visibility is second to none for encountering the 200 species of coral and immense 1,200 colourful species of fish that inhabit its reefs.
Hurghada is perhaps best for those looking to complete their PADI course, given the number of dive schools and its sheltered yet accessible reefs.
That said, advanced divers have plenty to shout about too, with the WWII wreck of the SS Thistlegorm a particular favourite for day tours from the resort.
For shark sightings, take a trip to Elphistone Reef from Marsa Alam, or the aptly named Shark Reef inside Sharm El Sheikh's Ras Mohammed National Park.
Although Egypt's dive scene is top-notch, there's a lot of reason to suggest snorkelling too, especially when travelling with younger children. Ras Mohammed National Park gets another big tick for those seeking to slip on a mask and flippers in Sharm.
From Marsa Alam, take the 45-minute boat ride to Shaab Samadi, a horseshoe-shaped reef frequented by pods of wild spinner dolphins.
However, you can eschew the boat ride and stick to a hotel's private beach too, since many lay claim to their very own house reefs accessible directly from shore.
Your pick of water parks
If you prefer the controlled chaos of a water park to the serenity of snorkelling, Egypt's beaches remain the best place to head. The Egyptian Riviera is packed with twisting forms of slides at family-friendly water parks.
Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam each have superbly located aqua parks just a short distance from the main resort hotels. But you can go one better by staying in a hotel with its very own water park, such as Coral Sea Water World* on Nabq Bay in Sharm El Sheikh. It features a host of slides and a lazy river ride.
Endless water sports
With surface water temperatures averaging in the mid-twenties (°C), you'd think it odd if diving and snorkelling were the only activities on or in the water.
And you'd be right. Wherever you find yourself on the Egyptian Riviera, you can be certain the Red Sea's clear turquoise waters are ripe for enjoyment.
For a bird's eye view of the coast, it's got to be parasailing, while water skiers are a regular sight too. To get the adrenaline flowing under your own steam, try windsurfing, though the hot activity of the moment has to be stand-up paddleboarding.
Banana boats provide endless laughs, while glass-bottom boat tours are the perfect option for those eager to stay dry.
The best of beachside life
The fun doesn't stop when you step off the beaches. Sharm arguably has the broadest range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Centred around Malek Al Bahrein Street, better known as The Strip, you'll find plenty of spots to sit on an outdoor terrace and enjoy good food or dance the night away.
Hurghada comes a close second, with everything from belly dancing to hamburger joints lining the marina. Meanwhile, Marsa Alam stakes its claim for the best beachside with its fancy restaurants, particularly around the prestigious Port Ghalib area.
All round stress-free beach holidays
Egypt's dedicated tourist police help keep everything in order on the streets, and the private nature of most beaches adds to the sense of calm.
What's more, Egypt is currently superb value for money, with the Egyptian pound having fallen around 20% in just a year.
This makes prices on the ground roughly a fifth cheaper for visitors. And if you fly straight into Sharm El Sheikh, it's likely you won't need to worry about a visa thanks to the 15-day visa-free entry scheme for tourists at that particular airport.
Weather in Egypt's Red Sea
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