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Mediterranean Rivera in Egypt


Page update - Sep 1, 2023

Egyptian resorts on the Mediterranean coast are not popular with tourists from Europe. These beaches are popular with the Egyptians. Vacationing at the Mediterranean Riviera in Egypt has its pros and cons. We will tell you all about it on this page.

Location

Egypt's Mediterranean coastline is quite long - 1,050 kilometers (650 miles), but not all of it is suitable for beach tourism. By unspoken tradition, the coast is divided into three large zones: the Nile Delta, the West coast, and the Sinai coast.

The Nile Delta is not suited to a beach holiday. The terrain is swampy and even constructing buildings is problematic. In addition, remember the agriculture along the Nile river now is based on mineral fertilizers.

In the days of ancient Egypt, high harvest was achieved by the silt brought by the river. The silt was a great natural fertilizer. Now the silt is gone as it is held back by a dam in the city of Aswan. Now large quantities of nitrates, phosphates, and pesticides are dumped on the fields.

The fields are washed by water from the river and any fertilizer sludge is carried by the river into the delta. Even if you will find a beach hotel in the area, we don't recommend swimming there, otherwise, you could end your vacation like this (we hope the joke succeeded).

The Sinai coast is also not a popular holiday destination. It is close to Palestine and the Gaza Strip and many are afraid of this area. The coast was the hottest place during the Arab-Israeli wars. In the late 90s, on the Mediterranean coast of Sinai, you could be blown up by a mine left over from the war! Now, of course, everything has been cleaned up, but an unpleasant residue remains.

The only part of the coastline that is suitable for resorts is the West coast, which stretches from the city of Alexandria to the Libyan border. It has clean water, sandy beaches, and a developed tourist infrastructure. It is the most popular holiday destination for the Egyptians themselves.

Below is the map of the Mediterranean resorts. Click on the map to enlarge it to full screen. If you can't see the names clearly on your smartphone, use a two-finger gesture to zoom in.

Pros of Mediterranean resorts

The first advantage - no corals.

Some tourists do not like the Red Sea, because it is possible to hurt your feet on coral, and this danger is real even on artificially created sandy beaches. Wearing special safety shoes is recommended at all Red Sea resorts in Egypt.

There are no corals in resorts on the Mediterranean Sea, and there is nothing to be afraid of in the water, except for garbage left by people. However, all resorts have garbage, and there is none more on the beaches of the Egyptian Mediterranean than elsewhere.

The second advantage - prices.

The entire tourist infrastructure is adapted for Egyptians, not foreign tourists. Prices at local restaurants and markets are lower there than in Hurghada or Sharm el-Sheikh.

This is a unique opportunity to dive into an authentic Egyptian experience that you won't find at other popular resorts. Only Ain Sokhna can give you a similar experience, but to a much lesser rate.

The variety of Egyptian cuisine dishes and Egyptian desserts in restaurants is wider. There are more national fast foods. All prices are published only in the local currency Egyptian pound. Read about the currency in our in-depth review "Money in Egypt".

All this gives an unforgettable experience of the country's color and identity.

However, not all tourists like this flavor, as the cultural difference between us is too great. But we will talk about that in the next section.

The third advantage - plenty of seafood.

There's always plenty of seafood at Mediterranean restaurants, and seafood is cheap. Shrimp, squid, mussels, and lobster await gourmets and food lovers alike.

Many European tourists wonder, "Why is there almost no seafood on the buffet tables at the Red Sea hotels? The sea is close by and rich with all sorts of wildlife."

The Red Sea has serious restrictions on catching fish and sea animals, but the Mediterranean Sea has no such restrictions. Accordingly, seafood is cheap and plentiful.

Another advantage is the low cost. A hotel in Alexandria costs about 30 US dollars a night (accommodating two people). The hotel is of normal quality but not by the sea but on the 2nd or 3rd beach line.

The city of Alexandria has a lot for tourists to see. If you want to combine a beach holiday with a rich cultural programme, this is the place for you.

Cons of Mediterranean resorts

The first disadvantage - dress-code.

The first thing that throws Europeans into culture shock is the public beaches. Most of the beaches have a dress code! This is the only place where you will fully understand that Egypt is an Islamic country (see photo near, click on the photo to enlarge).

If a woman comes to the beach in a bikini, she may provoke a strong reaction from the people around at once and a visit of a law-enforcement officer a little later. You may end up getting arrested.

If you stay at a hotel with its own beach, you might be treated more favorably there. In any case, you should check the hotel's rules beforehand in order to avoid unpleasant situations.

The second disadvantage - languages.

Resorts of the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt are targeted to local residents, and the situation with foreign languages is sad there. Not even all the staff in hotels know English.

The third disadvantage - no All inclusive.

There is no All Inclusive system and not all staff know what it is. It is not surprising because there are a lot of shops, restaurants and cafes around, and the prices are quite reasonable. Egyptians prefer to go out for lunch and dinner outside the hotel.

The fourth disadvantage - season.

While the Red Sea is warm all year round, the Mediterranean Sea has a beach season. It starts in June and ends in October. The rest of the time, most of the hotels simply close.

From November to May, the sea is too cold for bathing and there are strong winds and storms (see photo near, click on the photo to enlarge). This is a trait that has to be taken into account above all.

During the beach season, hotels are never short of visitors and there are always a lot of Egyptians on holiday. Overcrowding in beach hotels is probably the main negative of holidays in Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea.

As we said before, the behavior of the Egyptians is not to everyone's taste. In the Red Sea resorts, it is hard to notice as the staff and Egyptian tourists behave quite European. But they behave their own way on the Mediterranean coast.

For example, they may eat with their hands (it is a traditional way for Arabs). More precisely, not only with hands, but also with a special flatbread called "beladi". They use it like a spoon. The Egyptians see absolutely nothing wrong with this.

And even if an Egyptian eats a cutlet with his hands, he/she does not see a "crime" in this. Of course, such an action is not welcomed, but it is not considered very scary either.

Let us remember the historical traditions. We remember that Europeans traditionally ate with spoons. The Chinese have been eating with chopsticks for 2,500 years. And what is the traditional eating tool for Arabs, have you ever thought about it? They traditionally eat with their hands or flatbread, and this behavior is not extraordinary.

Some Egyptian habits are not justified by cultural traditions. For instance, they may sit with a plate and eat in the pool. However, it is considered indecent even among the Arabs.

They are also very noisy and may shout at the top of their lungs in front of your windows or sing songs, and the whole hotel will hear them.

Many Europeans condemn such behavior, but we want to appeal for tolerance. Some European tourists are no less shocking to Arabs when they drink too much alcohol.

Believe us, we're all even! We all annoy each other.

Hotel prices vary a lot there. As we said, you can get a hotel in Alexandria for 30 US dollars. But the further west you go, the higher the prices get. In 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from Alexandria, hotels cost at least 100 US dollars a night.

It turns out that you won't get any serious financial benefit from a holiday on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.

Major resort regions

Hotels are located all along the coast from Alexandria to the Libyan border. There are several major centers.

The first is Alexandria.

We recommend this resort to tourists as it is the easiest to reach and has many interesting sights.

The second is El-Alamein.

El-Alamein is a famous historical site where two major battles of World War II took place. The first was won by the Germans and the second by the British. El Alamein is home to a major military history museum.

The third is Marsa Matruh.

The town is located 300 kilometers (185 miles) west of Alexandria. This place is insanely popular among Egyptians, but we do not recommend it for foreign tourists, as it is too long and difficult to reach.

There is a bay where the legend says Cleopatra used to swim, it's called Cleopatra's Bay. There are many places in the world associated with the famous Egyptian queen, think of the Cleopatra Pool in Turkey. But the legend of the bay at Marsa Matruh is hard to believe. First, it is unlikely that the queen would have gone 300 km (185 mi) away to bathe there. Secondly, the ancient Egyptians did not really like bathing in the sea.

Do you want to try the Mediterranean resorts of Egypt? It's hard to say, it's an individual decision.

Important and useful to know

- You'll have to pay in Egyptian pounds at Mediterranean resorts. Read our in-depth review "Currency exchange in Egypt";

- Sharks attack people in the Red Sea, but you definitely don't have to fear sharks in the Mediterranean. Why? See our review "Sharks in Egypt" for more details.

Choose the best resort by reading our pages about Egypt (see the pages list below).

TIPS FOR TOURISTS

What Don't Do in Egypt

Cheats of Tourists in Egypt

What to Take to Egypt

Sharks in Egypt

To Egypt With Kids

How NOT to Get Poisoned in Egypt

National Holidays in Egypt

Weather in Egypt by Month

MONEY AND EXPENSES

What Money in Egypt

Money Exchange in Egypt

How Much Money to Take to Egypt

TRANSPORT

Taxi in Egypt

Cairo Metro

From Hurghada to Cairo

From Sharm to Cairo

From Hurghada to Luxor

From Cairo to Ain Sokhna

Intercity Buses - Guide

GIFTS, SOUVENIRS, CUSTOMS LAW

What to Bring from Egypt

What You Can & Not Bring in Egypt

What You Can & Not Take out of Egypt

ABOUT EGYPT

What Language is Spoken in Egypt

Who Are the Modern Egyptians

Friday & Weekends in Egypt

Ramadan in Egypt

TELECOM

Internet in Egypt Cheaply

RESORT REGIONS

Sharm El Sheikh

Naama Bay

Hurghada

Ain Sokhna

Mediterranean Rivera

BAD HABITS

Alcohol in Egypt - Prices & Rules

Local Egyptian Alcohol

Cigarettes & Smoking in Egypt

Vape and iQos in Egypt

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