Prior to 2015, Sharm el-Sheikh was a shoo-in for holidaymakers. Sandy beaches studded with sun brollies, balmy temperatures and clear ocean waters spiked with colourful reefs – you couldn’t go wrong.
The region is hoping to return to those halcyon days, as it’s been announced direct flights from the UK can resume – they were stopped after 224 people died in 2015, following the bombing of a Russian airliner, linked to the Islamic State group.
So, in the wake of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changing its advice and noting it “no longer advises against all but essential travel by air to/from Sharm el-Sheikh”, here are just a few reasons to explore this Middle Eastern vacation spot…
If you go now, it’s not totally overrun with tourists
According to the Foreign Office, a whopping 900,000 UK holidaymakers visited Sharm el-Sheikh in 2015, a figure that dropped to 415,000 in 2018. While other European countries have continued flying people direct to the resort, the numbers are not at the location’s heyday peak – presumably meaning more uninterrupted beach time for you and your family.
The snorkelling and diving is still excellent
Even if all-inclusive package deals and poolside lounging isn’t for you, Sharm has, ahem, other charms – namely its diving and snorkelling opportunities. Explore the dive wreck of Thistlegorm, a huge cargo ship sunk during World War II (you can still spot motorbikes and trucks within its hold), or swim amongst the magical gorgonian forest (an underwater coral forest) of Ras Um Sid.
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The town is working hard on its eco credentials
Sharm el-Sheikh has not always had the most sustainable reputation, but changes are being made. There are plans afoot, in association with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), to turn the resort town into an eco-friendly haven – and even announce it as a green city. A well supported plastic ban is predicted to be rolled out, while more than ever before is being done in terms of waste management infrastructure and recycling.
You can use it as a base to explore nearby Dahab and Ras Mohammed National Park
You don’t have to stay within the confines of your hotel – Sharm can be a great base to see other spots on the Sinai Peninsula from. Dahab, an hour north, is another famed Red Sea diving spot (it’s well known for its Blue Hole dive site, a submarine sinkhole) and arguably far more low-key than Sharm. Meanwhile, a short drive will take you to Ras Mohammed National Park, which combines desert and coral-fringed ocean, packed with wildlife.