Nuweiba Holidays – A quiet, bohemian town on the Red Sea’s west coast
With the warm turquoise waters of the Red Sea in front and the soaring peaks of the Sinai Peninsula behind, Nuweiba is one of the most attractive resorts in the Sinai area. A quiet, rambling coastal town that stretches out over 15km, Nuweiba has more in common with hippy Dahab, located an hour south, than the purpose built tourist resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. While the resort lacks a definitive town centre, it can be roughly divided into three areas; Taraben beach, Nuweiba city and the port. Taraben beach is large golden sandy expanse fringed by palm groves. Here you’ll find a strip of bars, restaurants and guesthouses with a distinctly bohemian feel. Reminiscent of Thailand, beach huts and hammocks look out across the sea and bazaar after bazaar create a colourful, shambolic oriental atmosphere. This is where you’ll find the majority of the town’s budget accommodation.
Walk for 15 minutes south across the dunes and you’ll come to Nuweiba city; here the majority of the larger 4-5 star hotel complexes are found, as well as a bazaar and a selection of restaurants, supermarkets and a post office. South of the town is the working port; an industrial area where ferries depart for Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Nuweiba is one of the least crowded resorts along the Red Sea coast, and as such a good place for scuba diving at the local reefs, which are far less crowded than some of the better known dive destinations. Jeep and camel safaris can be arranged into the desert, and trips to the Monastery of Saint Catherine and sacred Mount Sinai are popular.
All in all this is a great choice for a laid-back beach holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh.
Nuweiba is one of the quieter Red Sea Resorts, making ideal for those after a laid-back, relaxing holiday. The resort will be busiest over the winter period of October-April, particularly over Christmas/New Year and from February onwards. This period generally sees a rise in accommodation prices. The summer months between May-September are much quieter for ordinary tourists, but see an increase in scuba divers who come over this time for the clearer waters and abundance of sea life. The water is much warmer in the summer, but if you visit in the winter there’s a better chance of seeing dolphins.
Holidays in Nuweiba enjoy a typically hot Egyptian climate, but benefit from the resort’s location on the coast with cooling sea breezes taking the edge off the heat. There are two seasons here; summer and winter. Summer stretches between May-September and sees very high temperatures of 32-36C on average, with highs reaching well into the 40’s. Families with small children and those who do not handle the heat well may find this period too hot to visit. The winter season lasts from October to April, and sees much more manageable temperatures of 20-31C, as well as 8-10 hours of sunshine a day. Evenings in the winter can become chilly, so be sure to pack a warm top.
Because Nuweiba is fairly quiet, you have a good chance of getting a bargain throughout the year. Generally speaking, it’s wise to book as early as possible if you have your heart set on a specific hotel, particularly for the peak season times of Christmas and New Year and February-April. If you can handle the heat, you’ll find lower prices over the summer months of May-September, particularly in July and August. Those willing to wait until the last minute to book their holiday can get some excellent late deals in April and May for July and August holidays.
For budget accommodation, the Taraben area has a good selection of B&B’s and guesthouses. Nuweiba city is where you’ll find the larger, all-inclusive hotels. Booking an all-inclusive holiday to Nuweiba can actually work out very cost effective; while the initial price of the holiday maybe slightly higher, all meals and drinks are paid for upfront, reducing your holiday spending costs.
The closest airport to Nuweiba is Taba International Airport (TCP), at around 70km away and with a transfer time of one hour and fifteen minutes. This is a small hub which caters mainly for charter flights. There is one terminal building serving both Arrivals and Departures and one runway. Facilities here are limited, consisting of toilets, a modest duty-free shop, a couple of snack bars and a couple of souvenir stalls. There is only one gate.
Flights to Taba operate from London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester, leaving on Tuesdays. The flight takes between 5 – 5.5 hours depending on where you depart from. The time difference is GMT+2 (+3 between April-September).
Alternatively, you can get a flight to the larger Sharm el Sheikh airport – there are far more flights operating to this airport from a wider range of UK airports, however transfer time from Sharm el Sheikh to Taba is around 3 hours.
Most holiday packages will include a transfer from the airport. If you do not have a transfer included, it’s easy enough to make your own way to Nuweiba. Taxis wait outside the Arrivals hall and operate on a fixed price basis. You can expect to pay around 50LE to get to the resort. Be prepared to haggle, as the taxi drivers may try to charge you double or even treble this at first. Always agree on a price before you get in the car, and make sure the price is for th vehicle, not per person.
Mini buses also run from the airport. A fare will cost you around 30LE. Make sure you have the right money or thereabouts, as change will not be given. Female travellers should ensure they dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention, as these buses are the favoured method of transport for locals.
With the resort running for 7km along the Sinai Peninsula, there are long sandy stretches for sun-worshippers and water sports enthusiasts alike in Nuweiba. Uncrowded and peaceful, the beaches are calm and laid-back, catering to all types of holiday-makers, and with facilities to suit all kinds of budgets.
Known as one of the most affordable places in which to scuba-dive, Nuweiba is popular with first-time divers, thanks to the attractively-priced rates for tuition and equipment. There's a rich underwater landscape to explore, thanks to the coral reef, which stretches for 3km along the shoreline and is home to a number of excellent dive sites.
Snorkelling & Glass-Bottomed Boat Rides
There's more than one way to experience the beauty of the Red Sea here. Conditions are fantastic for snorkelling, even close to the shore, and there are numerous excursions out into deeper waters. Other options are glass-bottomed boat trips, which allow passengers to fully appreciate the coral reefs and colourful marine life from the comfort of their seats.
Warm waters and glorious sunshine allow for plenty of water sports, with other activities to indulge in including jet skiing, pedalos, windsurfing, water skiing, and canoeing. Away from the beach, the various hotels offer a range of land-based activities, such as tennis, table tennis, volleyball, squash and bicycle rental.
Tour the town and the surrounding area the traditional way, by taking a camel ride. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach, or embark on an extensive camel safari through the spectacular desert landscape - the ultimate Bedouin experience.
A fascinating look at the traditional culture of the Bedouin tribe, a trip to the authentic village of Al Muzeina on the outskirts of town makes for an interesting day out. A marked contrast to the resort, the village offers a slow relaxed pace, with an insight into the life of the local people.
Another popular excursion, and a great way to see some of the stunning surrounding scenery, it to book a jeep safari. Explore the Coloured Canyon, the palm filled oasis 16km from Nuweiba of Ain al-Furtega and Mayat el-Wishwashi – a huge cistern hidden between two boulders.