Must see attractions in Red Sea Coast

  • Top ChoiceSights in Eastern Desert

    Monastery of St Anthony

    This historic monastery traces its origins to the 4th century AD when monks began to settle at the foot of Gebel Al Galala Al Qibliya, where their spiritual leader lived. Today the monastery is a large complex surrounded by high walls with several churches, a bakery and a lush garden. The 120 monks who live here have dedicated their lives to seeking God in the stillness and isolation of the desert, in a life built completely around prayer.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Eastern Desert

    Monastery of St Paul

    Dating to the 4th century, the Monastery of St Paul began as a grouping of hermitages in the cliffs around the site where Paul had his cell. The complex's heart is the Church of St Paul, which was built in and around the cave where Paul lived. It’s cluttered with altars, candles, ostrich eggs (the symbol of the Resurrection) and murals representing saints and biblical stories. The fortress above the church was where the monks retreated during Bedouin raids.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Marsa Alam

    Sha’ab Samadai

    This lagoon 18km south-east of Marsa Alam is home to three dive sites with a reef system full of interesting coral pinnacles and fish life. What makes Samadai so special, though, is the pod of spinner dolphins (numbering up to 480) that regularly visits the lagoon. As with any wildlife-watching, there is no guarantee that you'll see dolphins on your visit; however, the huge diversity of corals and other sea life makes snorkelling or diving here a wonderful experience.

  • Sights in Marsa Alam

    Elphinstone

    North of Marsa Alam, Elphinstone has steep reef walls covered with soft corals and is washed by strong currents that make it ideal for spotting sharks – seven species reportedly frequent its waters. This is one of the best dives in the region. Depth: 20m to 40m. Rating: advanced.

  • Sights in Eastern Desert

    Cave of St Anthony

    Perched about 300m above St Anthony's Monastery on a cliff just outside the monastery walls is the cave where St Anthony is believed to have spent the final 40 years of his life. Inside the cave, which is for the svelte and nonclaustrophobic only (you must squeeze through a narrow entry to get inside), there is a small chapel with an altar and a tiny recessed area where the saint lived – bring a torch (flashlight) along to illuminate the interior.

  • Sights in Eastern Desert

    Wadi Gimal Protectorate

    The starkly beautiful desert of the Wadi Gimal Protectorate extends inland for about 85km from its coastal opening south of Marsa Alam, and is home to a rich variety of bird life, gazelles and stands of mangrove. Throughout the interior are scattered the tumbled remains of emerald and gold mines dating from the Pharaonic and Roman eras. This area provided emeralds that were used throughout the ancient world and was the exclusive source of the gem for the Roman Empire.

  • Sights in Eastern Desert

    Sharm El Luli

    In the middle of the Wadi Gimal Protectorate, 60km south of Marsa Alam, lies a pristine sand beach with azure water and excellent coral and fish viewing. Because it is located inside a national park, Sharm El Luli has no development at all – no hotels, restaurants or shops and no facilities. Most of the very few visitors come for the day, bring what they need and take everything away when they leave.

  • Sights in Hurghada

    Umm Qamar

    Umm Qamar, 9km north of the Giftun Islands, is highlighted by three coral towers that are swathed in beautiful soft, purple coral and surrounded by a large range of fish as well as a wreck at 25m. The site is easily accessible by boat from Hurghada and offers plenty of thrills for divers and snorkellers.

  • Sights in Hurghada

    Giftun Islands

    These islands, among the closest to Hurghada, form part of a marine reserve and are surrounded by a number of spectacular reefs teeming with marine life, including Hamda, Banana Reef, Sha’ab Sabrina, Erg Somaya and Sha’ab Torfa. Depth: 5m to 100m. Rating: intermediate to advanced.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Hurghada

    Gota Abu Ramada

    A mind-boggling abundance of marine life is on display here, 5km south of the Giftun Islands, making Gota Abu Ramada a popular spot for underwater photographers, snorkellers and night divers. Depth: 3m to 15m. Rating: novice.

  • Sights in Marsa Alam

    Rocky Island

    A sandy island east of Berenice, Rocky Island has a range of dive possibilities, including a 25m drop off the east side of the island. Plenty of coral and reef life, including a range of sharks. Rating: advanced.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Hurghada

    Hurghada Marina

    Hurghada's marina is a pleasant, car-free place to stroll, especially in the evening. When you get tired of staring out to sea or dreaming about owning one of the many huge yachts tied up here, drop by one of the numerous bars or restaurants.

  • Sights in El Gouna

    Sha’ab Al Erg

    Ease of access means this is an excellent dive site for beginners, though veteran divers will still enjoy the towering brain corals and fan-encrusted rock formations. Depth: 5m to 15m. Rating: novice.

  • Sights in Hurghada

    Shedwan Island

    There is some fabulous diving off this island, which sits in the straits between Hurghada and Sharm. Pilot whales and large pods of dolphins have been seen off the north reef wall.

  • Sights in Marsa Alam

    Berenice

    Founded in 275 BC by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, Berenice was one of the most important harbours and trading posts on the Red Sea coast from about the 3rd to the 5th century AD. Remnants of the ancient town, including ruins of the Temple of Serapis, are located just south of the present-day village. Excavations are ongoing; between seasons, archaeologists cover the site to aid preservation, so there's not much to see outside the wonderfully clear water.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Al Quseir

    Ottoman Fortress

    This small fortress was built in 1571 to provide Ottoman troops with control to the port and therefore passage to Mecca. Modified several times by the French and then by the British, who permanently altered the fortress by firing some 6000 cannonballs upon it during a heated battle in the 19th century, it was used until 1975 by the Egyptian coast guard. A recent renovation has made it the best sight in town.

  • Sights in Eastern Desert

    Wadi Hammamat

    The main route between the Nile and Red Sea for thousands of years, Wadi Hammamat runs from Qift, just north of Luxor, to Al Quseir. Inscriptions, remains of old wells and other evidence of the area’s long history can be seen along the way. Part of the route is marked on what might be the world's earliest map, drawn up for Ramses IV's quarrymen in 1160 BC, found in Luxor in the 1820s and now in Turin's Museo Egizio.

  • Sights in Eastern Desert

    Mons Porphyrites

    These ancient Roman porphyry quarries were the only source for the precious white-and-purple crystalline stone associated with imperial grandeur. Porphyry was used in the Temple of Venus in Rome, the imperial palace in Constantinople and for sarcophagi and columns in Egypt. It was transported across the desert along the Via Porphyrites to the Nile and then shipped across the Roman world. Remains of the quarry town, including encampments, workshops and temples, can still be seen, although not much is standing.

  • Sights in Eastern Desert

    Mons Claudianus

    This granite quarry/fortress complex was one of the largest Roman settlements in the Eastern Desert. For Roman prisoners, brought to hack granite out of the barren mountains, this was the end of the line: there was no return. You can see the remains of the tiny cells that these unfortunates inhabited. There is also an immense cracked pillar, left where it fell 2000 years ago, and a small temple. Tours can be easily arranged in Hurghada.

  • Sights in Al Quseir

    Faran Mosque

    Little is known about Sheikh Al Faran, the mosque's namesake, beyond the fact that he came from the Hejaz (now Saudi Arabia), and that after his death he was adopted by local sailors as their patron saint. More than 20 other pious men who died on their way to or from Mecca and who were originally from India, Morocco, West Africa and Yemen are venerated in Al Quseir. The mosque's minaret was built in 1704.