Destination of the Week: Sharm el Sheikh
Sharm el Sheikh is a sun and sea lover’s paradise on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Magnificent underwater adventures combine with desert mountains and sparkling nightlife to create a resort holiday with all the right ingredients.
With warm, dry weather all year round, you can enjoy diving, snorkelling, parachuting and kite surfing before hitting the town for dinner and dancing all night long. On the flip side of the coin, if rest and relaxation is your top priority, Sharm el Sheikh is home to some of Egypt’s best spa and wellness retreats.
What to do
The Red Sea is an underwater marvel for keen divers, with shipwrecks, abundant marine life and coral reefs. If you’ve ever wanted to do a PADI dive course, this is a fantastic place to give it a go. For nature lovers, the Ras Mohammed National Park includes famous snorkelling spots, stark deserts and white-sand beaches.
Day trips include Bedouin adventures, desert safaris and plane trips to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. You can climb the 4000 steps to the top of Mount Sinai, visit Christendom’s oldest monastery, St Catherine’s, or take a quad bike tour across the Egyptian desert.
Shopaholic’s will love the Bedouin village of Dahab, with amazingly low prices on souvenirs, leather, perfume and lamps. Take advantage of Egypt’s reputation as a healing destination with spa treatments, therapeutic hot springs and sand bathing. After the sun sets, head to Pacha nightclub for a night of dancing or the Camel Roof Bar for a relaxing cocktail.
Where to stay
All-inclusive resorts are Sharm el Sheikh’s most popular accommodation option with sprawling, luxury properties catering for couples, families and groups. Onsite spas, recreation facilities, entertainment, bars and spectacular swimming pools are the norm, however it’s always possible to find deals on cheaper accommodation in self-catering apartments and hostels.
Moevenpick Resort Sharm el Sheikh Naama Bay (£££)
Wallow in luxury at the Moevenpick Resort, situated close to Shark’s Bay Beach and SOHO Square. Everything you want in a 5 star hotel is catered for, including onsite spa treatments, tennis courts, a health club, chidcare activities, 3 restaurants, 5 private beaches, pool, pool bar and lounges. It almost goes without saying that your bed comes with Egyptian cotton sheets.
Oonas Dive Club (££)
If you’re looking for a relaxed hotel and a place you can easily incorporate diving into your Sharm el Sheikh holiday, the Oonas Dive Club, at the northern end of Naama Bay is a great option. The hotel has a dive centre, a restaurant, shops and bar. They’ll also book and arrange trips and tours for you onsite. With suites, double and single rooms, the hotel caters for everyone and the rates are good value.
Criss Resort – Haya Apartments (£)
Only 1 km from Naama Bay, the Criss Resort – Haya Apartments have self-catering rooms designed for families or groups with flat screen TVs, full kitchens, air-conditioning and seating areas. Onsite, guests can enjoy a pool and gardens and there’s a waterpark in the surrounding area.
Where to eat
Whether you’re after a 3 course meal in an exclusive restaurant, want to snack on a succulent kebab or you’re craving a taste from home, Sharm el Sheikh delivers culinary delights to suit every palate.
With impeccable service and gastronomic delights from the Middle East, Fairuz has hosted royalty and dignitaries from around the globe. You can choose from Arabic, English or Russian menus, including everything from aubergine in garlic sauce to mouth-watering mezze sets. It’s located in King of Bahrain St, Naama Bay.
Tam Tam (££)
Tam Tam is a favourite hangout for divers and tourists, on the waterfront Naama Bay promenade. You can order grilled kofta, try a sheesha pipe, chill out on the rooftop terrace and enjoy weekly, traditional entertainment.
El Masrien (£)
Located in the Sharm Old Market, El Masrien is popular with the locals, which is always a good sign of delicious food and budget-friendly prices. Try baba ganoush, mixed grill, succulent kebabs and kofta with friendly service and the bustling atmosphere of the market.
Image source: (c) istock/thinkstock
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