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Sharm El Sheikh: a delightful seaside destination

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Book a flight to Sharm El Sheikh with Qatar Airways

Fly to Sharm El Sheikh with Qatar Airways and you’ll find yourself in one of the most picturesque places on the planet. In 2000, UNESCO named Sharm El Sheikh as the most peaceful and beautiful destination, selected from over 14,000 competing destinations.

Situated on the southern tip of Egypt’s peninsula, the city is filled with ancient buildings and sites of historical interest. More modern buildings have been constructed, incorporating glittering domes and sweeping arches to add to its alluring appeal.

However, while the city holds its heritage close to its heart, Sharm El Sheikh has everything the 21st century traveller could wish for, from pristine, air-conditioned shopping malls to superb restaurants serving cuisines from across the world.

For those looking to unwind on powder-soft sands, there are plenty of beaches close to Sharm El Sheikh. From the sapphire seas that lap the shores of El Fanar to the family-friendly feel of Na’ama Bay, there’s something for visitors of all ages.

Sharm El Sheikh highlights

Sharm El Sheikh has an abundance of attractions suitable for everyone. Take the family to the Aqua Blue Water Park, haggle for bargains in the Old Market or kick back and relax on Ras Um Sid Beach.

  • Tourist attractions

    Little more than a 30 minutes’ drive from the city, you’ll find the Ras Mohammed National Park. Here you’ll find all the park’s most spectacular sights underwater. The reserve is home to some of the world’s most stunning coral reefs, filled with an abundance of marine life. With over 40 species of starfish, hundreds of different species of fish and a variety of sea turtles calling these waters their home, it’s a kaleidoscope of submarine life. For those who prefer to stay above the waves, there are plenty of boat tours available.

    To step back in time and embrace the sights and sounds of yesterday, take a trip to Sharm Old Market. Packed with rugs, spices, handmade goods, shisha pipes and traditional lamps, it’s a superb way to spend a few hours.

    If you really want to immerse yourself in Egypt’s rich and impressive history, it doesn’t get much better than a day trip to Luxor. There, you’ll find a variety of ancient sites and monuments, such as the Valley of the Kings and the network of ruins that make up the Karnak Temple.

  • Leisure activities

    It’s virtually impossible to ignore Sharm El Sheikh’s ties with ancient history and its rich, cultural tapestry. Mount Sinai, just a few hours’ drive from the city, is a humbling attraction. Almost 2,500m high, it holds religious significance in many faiths and is open to visitors. There are two main trails to the summit, both of which are easy to navigate. If you want to save your shoes, you can even trek up the mountainside on the back of a camel. For a truly stunning experience, get to the top before dawn and watch as the sun turns the surrounding mountains gold.

    If you’re an experienced diver captivated by the spectacular sea, book a dive at the wreck of the cargo ship Thistlegorm. Sunk during the Second World War, the carcass of the Thistlegorm is one of the most exciting dives in the region. The cargo holds still bear equipment and arms that never made it to shore and you can expect to see a glittering array of marine life, including sea turtles, snappers and batfish.

    For a serene experience within Sharm El Sheikh, set some time aside to visit the Al Mustafa Mosque. A relatively young mosque completed in 2008, it incorporates all the grand and elegant designs of the local architecture. Its marble central dome is flanked by two sky-scraping minarets, each one measuring around 72m high. 

  • Food

    As one of the most-visited holiday destinations in the world, you can sample almost any cuisine you like when you fly to Sharm El Sheikh. However, if you want to eat like a local, make your way to the Old Town or head straight for Sharm Old Market. Here you’ll find small, traditional eateries serving authentic Egyptian cuisine.

    If you set off early in the day, you can enjoy a simple breakfast of local Rumi or Gibna cheese, usually served with flatbread and washed down with strong, black coffee. As the day wears on, refuel with a lamb kebab stuffed with spiced meat, onions, parsley, a cooling yoghurt dressing and fresh salad. For vegetarians, there are plenty of meat-free options such as koshary. Koshary is a traditional meal of lentils, rice, chickpeas and macaroni cooked with garlic and onions and served with a tantalising dollop of chilli sauce.

    With Sharm’s proximity to the sea, you’ll find plenty of fish dishes to sample, such as grilled sea bass with lemon juice and deep-friend pieces of eel. Make sure you leave room for some of the city’s superb, sticky deserts. If the likes of basbousa or baklava are a little too much, finish your meal off with a simple but delicious bowl of local dates.

  • Shopping

    Shopping is a popular pastime for both locals and visitors. For a traditional shopping experience, it doesn’t get any better than Sharm Old Market. An attraction in of itself, the market is a treasure trove for bargain hunters – but be prepared to put your haggling skills to the test. In addition to rugs, jewellery, handmade wooden goods, lamps and shisha pipes, you’ll also find fresh food, herbs and clothing. The market is open most days from 10am and occasional evenings.

    For a more modern version of retail therapy, including the all-important luxury of air conditioning, the Soho Square Shopping Centre is the place to go. More of a shopping village than a shopping centre, its expansive grounds play host to countless kiosks and stands, while the air-conditioned mall is where you’ll find high-end and designer goods. With some excellent restaurants and spectacular live shows, the Soho Square Shopping Centre is as much an evening out as it is a shopping trip.

Essential facts about Sharm El Sheikh

Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip

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