Sinai rises and tapers as the peninsula runs towards its southern apex, red rock meeting golden sand and deep blue water along two gulf coasts. Even the Gulf of Suez, as E.M. Forster noted, looks enticing from offshore – “an exquisite corridor of tinted mountains and radiant water” – though it’s nowadays transformed after dark into a vision of Hades by the flaming plumes of oil rigs.

For most travellers, however, Suez is merely an interlude before the Gulf of Aqaba, whose amazing coral reefs and tropical fish have given rise to a number of popular resorts. The beach scene here is the best in Egypt, and trips into the interior are easy to arrange. Even from the beach, the view of the mountains of Sinai and Saudi Arabia is magnificent.

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