The shell may have closed around ‘The Pearl of the Red Sea’ in recent years but now it is back open, tourists are keen to discover this glittering destination for themselves.
Why? Because it has it all-year-round sunshine and warm, crystal clear water that laps against golden sandy beaches. Below the surface of the sparkling sea is some of the best snorkelling and diving spots in the world. Plus, it offers fun for all the family and is just a short flight from the UK, which means paradise is in easy reach.
So, here’s how a small fishing village became one of the most popular tourist resorts in the Red Sea – and why you’ll want to join holidaymakers as they start to head back to the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula.
When is the best time to go to Sharm El-Sheikh, you ask? Whenever suits your schedule. It’s a year-round destination – ideal whether you are booking a summer holiday or looking for winter sun. Whether you visit in July or December, you’ll be greeted by dry, warm and sunny weather. During the summer months, temperatures can be as high as 35 degrees while in winter they don’t tend to drop below the 20s. These are the perfect conditions for relaxing while you top up your tan or taking advantage of the many watersports on offer.
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Palm tree-lined Naama Bay is where most of the tourists head and is home to the majority of hotels, many of which boast private beaches. Take a stroll along the soft sand as you admire your picturesque surroundings, lay back and relax or take a dip in the clear water. Just off the shoreline, you’ll also find a range of watersports including snorkelling and diving as well as water skiing, kayaking and banana boating.
In Nabq Bay at Nabq National Park, mangrove forests line the coastline where you’ll find more peaceful beaches. Hotels are also situated along the sand and boast views across to Tiran Island. Likewise, Sharks Bay is small but also boasts hotels with private stretches of sand.
There is a range of accommodation to suit all budgets in this Egyptian city but even many of the 5-star hotels won’t break the bank. The most lavish of which is the Four Seasons – this Red Sea diving resort is situated a short distance from Sharks Bay Beach and boasts a house reef. When you’re not discovering the underwater world there are four swimming pools – you really won’t need to leave your accommodation, if you don’t want to.
Delicious food and lively nightlife
There is a wide range of Middle Eastern cuisine and Egyptian barbeque food on offer here as well as fresh seafood and international dishes. Once you have tucked into your meal, Sharm El-Sheikh has a lively nightlife, if you wish to experience it. The nightclubs are predominantly found on the main street in Naama Bay – the most famous and popular of which are Pacha and slightly further inland, La Dolce Vita. Both enjoy international DJs and feature swimming pools. Plus there is Little Buddha and Space Sharm, with views of the Red Sea and Terrazzina Beach which is right on the water. If you are looking for something a little more low-key, there are bars and pubs too.
Snorkelling and diving
The Northern Red Sea is known as one of the seven wonders of the underwater world and is often referred to as the ‘underwater garden of Eden.’ Vibrant coral and colourful sea life flourish in this part of the ocean which, you may not be surprised to hear is one of the best places to dive in the world. Whether you would like to scuba dive or snorkel, there are a wide range of reefs to explore, two of the most popular spots are at Ras Mohammed National Park and the Straits of Tiran alongside Tiran Island.
There are also a number of wrecks, for the more adventurous including Thistlegorm. This is one of the best wreck dives not just in the Red Sea, but in the world. Dive down and you’ll discover a 129-metre long cargo ship which started life in England and sunk here during the Second World War. Swimming amongst the coral and wrecks you’ll see a range of marine life that call this part of the ocean home, including sharks.
The warm, crystal clear water offers the perfect conditions to discover this incredible world beneath the surface of the sea. You can join day trips to head to offshore reefs or stay on a liveaboard where you’ll dive throughout the day and even night, between sleeping and eating on the boat.
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The underwater world isn’t Sharm El-Sheikh’s only attraction, there is plenty to discover back on land too. Head inland and explore the Sinai desert via camel or quad bike. This is spectacular at any time of the day but there it’s particularly magical as the sun is setting. You’ll end your experience with a traditional meal cooked over an open fire, underneath the stars, alongside a belly dancing show.
You’ll see some spectacular sights in Sharm El-Sheikh and create memories that last long after the plane has landed back home. But, it’s also the perfect place for a spot of rest and relaxation. As well as soaking up the sun and getting stuck into a good book with a cocktail in hand against the most breathtaking backdrop, you’ll also find the best spas in Egypt here.
Treat yourself to a massage or facial to truly unwind and forget the stresses of everyday life.
Sharm El-Sheikh really does have it all. Now you just need to book your flights and start planning your trip – so you can see and experience it all for yourself.