Dina Maged recommends Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
The Red Sea holiday resort city of Sharm el Sheikh, on the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, has long been a magnet for all types of tourists seeking gorgeous weather and some of the best diving spots in the world. Also known as the “City of Peace” or simply as Sharm, the city boasts temperatures ranging from 18-33 degrees Celsius, making it a popular option for many Europeans looking to escape dreary winters.
The city has transformed from a small fishing village more than 40 years ago to become what it is today – one of the region’s most popular holiday destinations. However, with the downing of a Russian holiday jet over Mount Sinai last year, the city’s tourism sector has been hit hard. That said, the focus is now on its Middle Eastern neighbours for tourism.
Nestled between the Red Sea, the desert and enclosed by high mountains, Sharm el Sheikh offers visitors a range of fun activities, from simply relaxing on a sunbed to exploring stunning coral reefs, which you can discover in the pristine waters of the Ras Mohammed National Park. There is also the purity of the untouched desert, and the strength of the mountains that enclose it. Sharm el Sheikh was given the gift of a diverse environment and so attracts a diverse group of people.
Originally a home for Bedouins before it became a tourist destination, you can still visit the traditional tents and homes of the Bedouins and experience their lifestyle. However, if you are more adventurous, you can participate in a guided safari on beach buggies through the mountains. Families and big kids at heart will have great fun at the Aqua Blu Hotel and Aquapark, which includes slides for children and rides for thrill-seeking parents and teens. I love Sharm el Sheikh because I have been going there since I was a child and there is always something new for me to do even as I grow older.
My favourite place- My favorite place in Sharm isn’t even on land – it’s underwater. There’s nothing more relaxing than snorkelling and exploring the aquatic life and stunning coral in the Ras Mohammed National Park, a protected natural area. It’s easy to book a place on one of the many snorkelling boats that will take you out on a day trip that will see you make two or three stops for snorkellers. Lunch is also often provided on these trips.
Highlights- The nightlife in Sharm el Sheikh has always been fun and buzzing. Head to the bustling Soho Square to visit the bazaars and shops, as well as have dinner in one of the many restaurants. But that said, some of the city’s best restaurants can be found in Naama Bay.
Lowlights- The weather might get quite hot in the summer, however, you can always cool down by the sea. It is also essential to stay up to date with government travel warnings to Sharm el Sheikh.
Souvenirs- From carpets to Bedouin handcrafted items, such as earthenware and woven goods, there’s something that will appeal to a variety of tastes and styles.
Where to stay- I prefer the Renaissance Golden View Resort because of its range of rooms and suites, as well as the activities they offer. There’s also a more luxurious option at the Four Seasons, as well as the cheaper Radisson Blu.
Top 5 things to do:
1. Test your limits on adventurous rides in the Aqua Blu water park
2. Visit bazaars and experience the culture in Soho Square
3. Snorkel and dive in Ras Mohammed National Park
4. Explore the desert and its people on a safari
5. Enjoy the restaurants and shops at Naama Bay