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Hurghada has been home to fishing communities for centuries and remained unchanged until the 1990’s when tourists discovered this idyllic village. With wide stretches of beaches along the coastline, sea waters that were relatively safe and great for watersports, the city was, and still is, ideal for tourism. Today, it is a busy, sprawling town divided into two main areas, the Old Town Ad-Dahar to the north, and Sigala to the south. Each affords a wide range of hotels and restaurants catering for all tastes and tourist attractions.
Luxor was the capital of Egypt around 1500-1000 BC and has over the years seen astonishing numbers of palaces and temples been built here. Because the structures were built of granite and sandstone they still remain to this day. Among the “must-sees” are: the Luxor Temple (which dates to the Amenhotep III and Ramses II periods), the complex of temples known as the Karnack Temples, the Luxor Museum, the Mummification Museum, (which is first of its kind in the world), the Funerary Temples and the two valleys of the Kings and Queens.
Marsa Alam still has the air of an unspoilt village, which makes it an ideal base for those looking for a quieter break. It is located within a three to four hour drive of both Luxor and Hurghada. Tourism has found Marsa Alam basically because of its location on the banks of the Red Sea. Here you can go on boat trips to watch multi-coloured fish, dolphins, turtles and the coral reefs that lie just offshore. The popularity has grown so much in the past years that it now has its own an airport and an increasing number of luxury resort style accommodations.
Like so many of the towns and cities of Egypt, Hurghada as well as Luxor and Marsa Alam are living history museums. These three cities are positioned as three corners of a triangle in the Eastern Desert with plenty to offer both together and separately.
There is plenty of choice when dining out in Hurghada, Luxor or Marsa Alam. Restaurants that feature international cuisine such as Italian, French and Chinese can be found everythwere. If you want to experience a true Egyptian experience you should try koshari, a local dish made from pasta and tomatoes, or dishes such as hummus or fuul made from mashed beans. If you are unsure, try a meze (selection) of different dishes.
Most lounges and bars are located within a hotel. There are many lovely places to sit down in the warm evening air and enjoy a nice, cooling drink. If going clubbing until early morning is what you are looking for, Marsa Alam might not be the place. You can ask at your hotel for more information.
Without doubt, it is the bazaars that offer the widest selection of local crafts and artefacts, while designer goods can be found in the larger stores. But to experience the true shopping experience in Luxor, as well as Hurghada and Marsa Alam, head for the bazaars along the coast roads. Here, traditional souvenirs like copper ware, brasses, rugs and carpets, crafts such as glass vases and little perfume bottles, leatherwear such as belts and sandals, and handmade jewellery can be found, along with masses of colourful textiles. Most bazaars will have stalls selling herbs and spices like cloves, saffron and turmeric, which give them their characteristic aroma.
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