In its late 19th-century raffish heyday, Port Said was Egypt’s city of vice and sin. This louche past of boozing seafarers and packed brothels may have long since been scrubbed away but the period is still evoked in the waterfront’s muddle of once grand architecture today slowly going to seed.
At the centre of the oasis lies the town of Mut, settled since Pharaonic times (Mut was the god Amun’s consort). Although now a modern Egyptian town – it has the most facilities in the area and makes the most convenient base for travellers – you’ll have a richer experience of Dakhla staying in or around Al-Qasr.
Marsa Alam & Around
In-the-know divers have been heading to Marsa Alam for years, attracted to the seas just off the rugged coastline offering up some of Egypt’s best diving. Despite this, for a long time this far-flung destination stayed well off the tourism-radar. The secret though is now out.
Ninety-one kilometres east of Al-Balyana, and 62km north of Luxor, Qena sits on a huge bend of the river and at the intersection of the main Nile road and the road running across the desert to the Red Sea towns of Port Safaga and Hurghada. A market town and provincial capital, it was off-limits for a long time.
Much of the north coast of Sinai between Port Fuad and Al-Arish is dominated by the swampy lagoon of Lake Bardawil, separated from the Mediterranean by a limestone ridge. As a result of this inhospitable geography, Al-Arish is the only major city in the region, and by default the capital of North Sinai Governorate.