I love Africa. And I love The Middle East. That is why I chose to visit Egypt in January to escape the snow we have in Denmark. In fact, Sharm el Sheikh is located in Asia (according to the guide). But I guess it can be discussed whether the Sinai Peninsula is in Asia or Africa.
This was my first time going to Egypt! Egypt is country no 30 that I have visited in my life. I had never booked an all inclusive vacation before and never had a companion with me when traveling before. Feeling unexperienced didn’t make the stay any worse. To be honest, it was fun to know as little about this place as my boyfriend. Just like me – he has never been to Egypt before.
Destination: Sharm El Sheikh
Duration: 1 week
Accomodation: Renaissance Sharm El Sheikh Golden View Beach Resort
Sharm El Sheikh is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. They have the Red Sea to dive and swim in and desert with mountains. With a population of 35,000 it’s not a town. There are lots of tourist resorts with 3-6 stars. The place is divided into 3 areas. First area is where the airport is located. Here you’ll also find Soho Square that has cinemas, restaurants, an ice bar and stores.
10 km away you’ll find Na’ama Bay with all the souvenir shops, nightlife, restaurants and a beach. In the end you’ll find the place where I stayed – Renaissance Golden View. A little shopping area called Il Mercato has good stores like Adidas and Starbucks! If you don’t want to buy things you can find at home there is also Old Market in this area. They have everything you need if you’re looking for souvenirs for you and/or your family.
Traveling non-solo for the first time was a different experience to me. For the first time I had to plan things with my boyfriend. I had to think about that he should enjoy the vacation just as much as I should. Many questions popped up in my head when planning the trip. Did he want to do sightseeing or lay on the beach? I like to dive – what would he be doing?
So what happened during this week? Is it a place you should visit? I’d say YES – if you’re in the mood for all inclusive and tourists.
Renaissance Golden View Beach Resort
We stayed at Renaissance Golden View, which is supposed to be a five star resort. However, I think it would only be 4 stars according to the western world. The resort was huge and very, very nice with own beach and snorkel area.
As you might know, Sharm El Sheikh is famous for their snorkeling and diving facilities. A lot of hotels have a little area outside the beach with “their own” coral reefs. It was so nice to go snorkeling for free and see just as much as when you’re going out with a boat.
Diving in the Red Sea
What I really wanted to do during this week was to dive in the Red Sea. And luckily I was able to convince my boyfriend to do an intro dive. Nice! It was beautiful under the sea. My boyfriend even liked it so much that he did an extra intro dive while I had my second dive that day. He agreed that diving gives you a completely different experience than snorkeling does. You see the same things, but from a different angle and much closer.
Tiran Island and Ras Mohamed National Park
I had left both my log book and diver license at home – but they were so nice and still let me dive.
Places you should definitely explore when diving in the Red Sea is Tiran Island and Ras Mohamed National Park. Unfortunately I didn’t go there, because you have to have dived in Sharm El Sheikh at least one day to be allowed to dive in the other two places. And I only wanted to dive one day (so I could spend more time with my boyfriend). But so many people love it and some might say it’s the best place on Earth to dive!
If you, just like me, just have one week in Sharm El Sheikh, I’d recommend you to spend your entire week there and not to visit Luxor or Cairo. Sharm El Sheikh has so much to offer that when you get home, you’ll think that you didn’t have enough time at all.
In Sharm El Sheikh most stores are not open until late afternoon or even evening. It can seem quiet during the day, but at night the streets are full of life.
In the center of Sharm El Sheikh you can find Na’ama. Here they have Hard Rock Café, KFC, clubs, local perfume stores, souvenir shops and much, much more.
Things to do
During the day in Sharm the best thing is to lay on the beach or go diving/snorkeling. If you think that’s boring, I highly recommend taking a tour out in the desert. In the desert you can see the sunset, meet the bedouins, try a quad bike, ride a camel or climb the mountains of Sinai.
Can it be dangerous to visit Sharm El Sheikh? I know in the news they are talking about bombing in Egypt, but that’s all in Cairo. 500 km away from Sharm El Sheikh. This means you won’t even get close to any danger at all. It’s completely safe and I didn’t feel scared at any time during my stay.
So in the end – how was Sharm El Sheikh?
I loved it. It might be because of the sun or maybe it’s because I haven’t traveled for some time. Who knows. I had a really great time. However, I still don’t think I’ve seen the real Egypt. Sharm can be very touristic. Sometimes a bit too much. But the nature will never be touristic. The mountains, the desert and the sea – all amazing things you shouldn’t miss!
Has anyone been to Sharm El Sheikh? I’d like to know what you experienced and what you think of it! 🙂