Stretching for over 1,200 kilometres down Egypt’s east coast, the Red Sea draws many visitors looking to unwind after exploring the country’s ancient wonders. Boasting a year-round climate, sun-drenched beaches and turquoise waves, it’s easy to see why. But if you thought this coastline just offered sunbathing and swimming – you’d be wrong. Here are the best activities the Red Sea coast has to offer.
Learn to scuba dive
A visit to Egypt’s Red Sea coast would not be complete without exploring its fascinating underwater world. As part of the Great Rift Valley, the sea has an amazing underwater topography, with deep canyons, drop-offs, dramatic walls and shipwrecks.
The Red Sea also boasts beautiful reefs brimming with diverse marine life. The brightly coloured corals and shimmering shoals of fish have led to the Red Sea being known for some of the best diving in the world. Whether you’re an experienced diver or not, you can still enjoy the Red Sea’s waters. Either learn to dive with a full-day introduction or opt for a snorkelling day trip. Between dives, you can simply lie on deck and work on your tan.
Take a quad bike safari
Venture south of popular Red Sea resort Hurghada and you’ll find the vast expanse of the Eastern Desert. This dramatic landscape is best explored on a quad bike safari, where you can speed across the shifting sands with the desert sun on your back.
An interesting stop along the way is a local Bedouin village. Here you can learn about the lives and local traditions of these nomadic people who have survived in the desert for centuries. A fantastic mix of adrenaline thrills and culture.
Check out the watersports
Watersports enthusiasts will find it hard to resist the lure of the Red Sea Coast. From windsurfing to parasailing and kayaking to banana boating, there’s plenty of options to choose from.
One of the most popular watersports is kite surfing, particularly in the resort town of El Gouna. Said to be the best location in Egypt for the sport, the town boasts warm winds and spacious beaches, making for perfect conditions. There’s also plenty of clubs along the sands to help you hit the water with confidence.
Visit the Eastern Desert monastries
Tucked away in Egypt’s Eastern Desert are several religious sites that are well-worth a visit on your Red Sea holiday. The best known is Saint Anthony’s Monastery, built over the resting place of the famed saint. Founded in the 4th century AD, this is the world’s oldest active monastery – with around 120 resident monks dedicating their lives to seeking God in the isolation of the desert.
Close by is the Monastery of Saint Paul. Dating to the 4th century, this historically significant complex features the Church of St Paul at its centre – built in and around the cave where Paul lived. Although quieter than St Anthony’s Monastery, a visit here is well worthwhile. Explore at your leisure or take a tour with an English-speaking monk to learn about this fascinating place of prayer.
Practice haggling in the markets
Hurghada may be one of the most popular Red Sea resort towns, but it doesn’t go without Egyptian culture. Downtown area El Dahar was the original fishing village before the town grew and is home to the old harbour, fish markets and traditional shops. It also contains the El Dahar souk, where you’ll find a labyrinth of stalls selling food, spices and perfumes.
With every Egyptian market comes bargaining and haggling over prices. If this isn’t something you’re used to back home, then relax and embrace the experience as you barter the best price for your souvenirs and gifts. The best time to visit is at night, when the alleys are packed with people out for a stroll in the cooler evening temperatures.
Sample the local food
Whilst many visiting the Red Sea tend to book an all-inclusive holiday, don’t miss out on the chance to try the local fare. When it comes to dining in Hurghada, check out El Halaka. Found in the town’s fish market, it’s unsurprising that this restaurant’s speciality is its fresh seafood. Boasting a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor, it’s raved about as one of the best restaurants in Hurghada.
Situated down by the marina is the Nubian Cafe and Restaurant. This authentic eatery offers a menu brimming with tasty Egyptian platters and specials. And with outdoor seating, you can soak up the views whilst you eat. Be sure to also try some of Egypt’s street food, such as Koshary. This popular choice is considered Egypt’s national dish, consisting of lentils, rice, macaroni and a spicy tomato sauce.
Interested in visiting the Red Sea and Egypt’s ancient wonders? Check out our Egypt group tours.