Egypt travel: Flying back into Sharm’s charms

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Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

Egypt has become a long-time favourite for Brits in search of a sun-soaked getaway (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

And with TUI offering direct five-hour flights from the UK, a family break to the glamorous Red Sea resort is very much back on the travel agenda. 

With year-round sunshine, sweeping landscapes and world-renowned dive spots, Sharm has pretty much all you could want from a beach holiday.

Right on the seafront and shaded by swaying palm trees, TUI’s five-star Magic Life Sharm el-Sheikh hotel is in a top location. With two swimming pools, four restaurants, eight bars and easy access to a colourful coral reef, it’s a superb choice for your Egyptian experience. 

Spacious and thoughtfully laid out, the resort has 561 rooms set across 12 buildings, which gives it a laid-back feel. The round-the-clock, all-inclusive dining concept, meanwhile, makes any stay super-indulgent. The excellent Magico buffet restaurant is the venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner with dishes from around the world. At the specialist restaurant Sofra, traditional Egyptian fare is served in lavish surroundings. You can even squeeze in a late-night snack at the midnight sandwich bar.

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

The hotel is thoughtfully laid out and features two fabulous swimming pools (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Friendly staff speak good English, so it’s as easy to navigate as any foreign holiday destination. 

There’s a full programme of activities including archery, tennis and beach volleyball, plus outdoor yoga and zumba, aerobics and dance sessions for teenagers. 

To help guests keep track of what’s on offer, TUI has the Magic Life app – a calendar of everything going on at a swipe on your phone. 

And the fun doesn’t stop in the evenings, with entertainment every night from impressive stage dance performances to the ever popular silent disco. 

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

Sharm is known for its top diving spots from snorkelling to scuba diving in the Red Sea (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

When you feel the need to get super-chilled, there’s an impressive range of affordable treatments at the spa, but the Moroccan-style hammam is a particularly good choice, especially if you like massages on the firm side. 

While there’s enough to keep you busy within the hotel, if you didn’t venture outside you’d be missing the best Sharm has to offer. 

The lively downtown area, spectacular shoreline and rugged, mountainous landscapes are all within a 15-minute drive. 

Sharm is known around the world as an excellent diving spot and those who enjoy exploring the deep will be spoilt for choice with more than 30 local sites to explore. 

For the uninitiated it really is an extraordinary experience – the Red Sea’s clear waters are teeming with colourful marine life and fabulous coral reefs. 

Sharks Bay is a particularly good spot to start, with a nice little beach – just don’t let the name put you off. Anyone who can’t bring themselves to head into the deep should opt for a spot of snorkelling instead.

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

The incredible gardens at the resort feature palm tress along the walkways (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Boat trips will take you to Tiran island where you’ll find numerous spots to find your own Nemo.

Those who prefer dry land should head out to the Nabq National Park, which stretches along the Gulf of Aqaba. The protected zone is home to a wide variety of terrain from mountains and desert to wildlife-filled mangroves.

Highly recommended excursions offer the chance to hop in the back of a heavy-duty 4×4 to tear past the striking scenery. The bumpy ride is worth it for the incredible views stretching as far as Saudi Arabia.

If you fancy humps after those bumps, the same trip offers the chance to ride a camel if you want to go full Lawrence of Arabia. Later, you can enjoy a Bedouin-style dinner in the desert at sunset.

Out in town, SOHO Square is a modern entertainment area, with plenty of dining options, ice rink and bowling alley, all attractively lit at night. If you prefer something more traditional then the old market area features colourful shops selling Arabian spices, Islamic decorations and knock-off trainers.

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

Mosque and harbor in Hurghada (Image: Getty Images)

It’s also home to the impressive new Al Sahaba mosque, opened in 2017. All are welcome to visit, Muslim or not, and appropriate clothing is provided. There’s a tourism office next door with information about Sharm and Egypt.

Friendly market shopkeepers are more than happy to chat while you browse, particularly if it’s about their love of national hero, football legend Mo Salah.

And friendly is the right word, as Sharm’s business owners are keen to see the return of holidaymakers after struggling for years.

Tourism to the area suffered a huge blow following the horrific plane crash of 2015, when 224 people were killed after a bomb downed a Russian Airbus.

But after recognising improvements had been made to security arrangements at the airport, the UK government last year ended its travel ban.

You’ll certainly notice them when you fly out of Sharm as the security check takes place three times before you depart.

Countdown blunder: Rachel Riley's huge mistake after replacing Carol Vorderman exposed

Colourful spices are a standout at the market (Image: Getty Images)

Egypt is a fantastic destination and sunny Sharm is still the exotic desert oasis with so much to offer. 

THE KNOWLEDGE

TUI offers seven nights on all-inclusive at the five-star TUI Magic Life Club Sharm El Sheikh from £756 per person. Based on two sharing, with Gatwick flights on May 31 and transfers. tui.co.uk

4×4 Jeep Safari is £49 per adult and £25 per child; VIP snorkelling tour is £69 per adult and £35 per child. Both at gotui.com

Introductory dive at Magic Dive School is priced at £30pp and can be booked directly in resort

More info at egypt.travel/en


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