Traveling to Sharm El Sheikh with family: Is it worth it?
When I looked up Sharm El Sheikh on Google, I always came across all these gorgeous stunning photos and videos about underwater marine life, desert excursions, and beautiful beaches and resorts. I was not sure if traveling to Sharm El Sheikh with my kids would be a good idea though. Is it a mainly a destination for adults only and would be boring for kids? The last thing I wanted to see is the “You brought us here” look on my kids’ bored faces. I also wanted to make sure it was safe to go there.
So before my first visit to Sharm El Sheikh, I contacted friends who went there and some of my Egyptian friends who live there or go on frequent basis and they all promised that my kids will enjoy the experience and that as long as I stick to few safety guidelines.
It is perfectly safe for families and kids to go to Egypt in general and to Sharm El Sheikh in particular. Accidents are realistically possible, but how is this different from anywhere else in today’s world? So we decided to pack and go for this adventure. We went several times since then and we plan to go again in future.
Here is a list of major attractions and things to do in Sharm El Sheikh:
- SOHO Square – Shopping and walking
- Bowling at Soho Square
- Naama Bay: Shopping, Walking, and Entertainment
- Ghibli Raceway: Go Carts
- Cleo Aqua Park
- Hollywood Sharm El Sheikh: Shopping, eating, entertainment
- Diving: Some of the best diving spots in the world are in Sharm
- Sea Scope Semi Submarine: Watch marine live through glass on this boat
- Sharm El Sheikh Safari: Go for desert excursions and camping
- Sea Boating and Fishing
- Kite Surfing
- Take a trip to Mount. Sinai or St. Catherine monastery .
What is Sharm El Sheikh?
Sharm El Sheikh has marine life and Red Sea coral reef sites making it a diver’s haven. This city is a major tourist attraction in Egypt and one of the most famous tourist destinations worldwide. It is abundant with resorts and hotels and its economy is based on tourism. In the past it used to be a small fishing village. Today it has some of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
The waters of Ras Mohamed National Park is a must visit location for anyone looking for a great underwater experience. The combinations of mountains, desert, and sea create a unique environment that gives you a unique vacation experience. Sharm El Sheikh is one of the most famous destinations for diving in the world.
Sharm El Sheikh or Sharm for short is located between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It’s known for the sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. Naama Bay is famous for palm tree line on the sea with large selection restaurants, bars, and cafes. Sharm Elsheikh has an international airport with some direct flights from Europe and other areas of the world.
Weather and when is it best to go to Sharm
It can get hot in the summer and moderately warm to mildly cold in winter. Summer is still a high season as many people are on vacation and it is okay if you like soaking in the sun, but you will need to bring tons of sunscreen with you. I personally prefer end of summer time, beginning of fall or winter time when it is still warm with some chilly weather now and then. Some hotels have warmed pools and you can still dress properly for diving or water sports like kite surfing or boating regardless of the season.
Attractions and activities:
This is a place where the family can enjoy weekly performances, musical fountains, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, bowling, and various shops in a safe environment. The place comes to life at evening. During the day only few restaurants and shops are open. It is generally quit and not many annoying sellers are present.
Bowling at Soho Square
It has six lanes. IT is equipped with ramps and bumpers. For some extra fun with the kids.
Considered the downtown or city center. All the noise and hustle and bustle are here. If you are looking for a noisy night with many shops, restaurants, and excited shop keepers this can be a good experience. Otherwise you may find it too chaotic in comparison to SOHO Square.
Karting tracks where both kids and adults can enjoy some kart racing.
Cleo Aqua Park Sharm Elsheikh
Located at Naama bay, It designed with a pharaonic theme. Water temperature is adjusted to be warm all year round. There are some children pools for younger ones.
Hollywood Sharm El Sheikh
located close to Naama Bay, This place is a nice attraction for all family members. A collection of 3D sculptures of dinosaurs, Pirates of the Caribbean characters, Terminator, Godzilla, Alien and other Disney and movie characters are spread across the place. You need to pay for an entry ticket with a free drink provided by one of the bars inside. You ca pick one of many restaurants to grab a bite and watch the fountain show with colors and lights on repeatedly shown. There are shows from Arabic belly dancers and by other cultural bands. A 7D movie theatre is also available. You can have a nice walk around for shopping, watching entertainment shows, playing games with kids, and snapping pictures or capturing some videos
Ras Mohamed National Park coral reefs and other Sharm El Sheikh diving spots make it a destination for those who are looking for diving adventures. Pyramids Diving Centers are famous for quality and safety and can be found across different hotels and resorts. You can select between snorkeling and scuba diving. You can also opt for diving classes or certification if you have the time. For scuba diving, you usually go safety sessions, equipment checks and medical checks before you are allowed to dive.
Sea Scope Semi Submarine
This is a nice adventure with a boat equipped with underwater large windows where you can observe sea life and enjoy a sea ride at the same time. You can see colorful coral reefs and many fish species. Make sure you book ahead for availability and confirm if a hotel pickup is available.
Sharm El Sheikh Safari
Several companies arrange for desert excursions that can include an overnight desert camping and visits to Sinai historical locations, eating in a tent, quad trips, and some time on the beach before dropping you off back to the hotel. You can plan a trip to hike to the top of Mount. Sinai (Moses) which is 7,497 feet (2,285 meters). You can also go for a 2.5 hours trip to St. Catherine monastery. These locations are full with religious history.
Best Hotels in Sharm El Sheikh:
A luxury hotel with many amenities and great food and cuisine options. In addition to 3 pools, a dedicated children pool and playground are available. A kids club is available where you can leave your kids in a safe place while watching them from your room through a camera. Animation team and the musical shows are also available. A gym, tennis courts, yoga and aerobics classes, spa, sauna and a library are all part of on location amenities. Cuisine types include Lebanese, Asian, Italian, grilled or seafood dishes. Look for an all-inclusive package. At night there are live entertainment programs and night clubs. If you are looking for a more luxurious stay, you can book a villa with a private pool.
Rixos Premium Seagate
7 swimming pools including children pool and water slides. A main restaurant and 6 a la carte and 9 bars and Spa & Wellness facilities including a Ladies Only Spa. Live entertainment, The Rixy Club offers space and entertainment for children from 4 to 12 years. It can get noisy with music at evening, so you may need to ask for a relatively quiet room if you consider this an issue.
The Royal Savoy Sharm El Sheikh
This hotel has its own private lounge, terrace, pool, and beach area. All rooms have views over Tiran islands or the hotel’s landscaped gardens. You can book a room or a private luxury Suite with a private or semi-private pool.
Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh
Collection of pools. Great restaurants and food. Upon check-in, children receive a comprehensive kids programme.
Charmillion Club Aqua Park
Family oriented hotel with nice pools and aqua park. Different restaurant types including Indian & Italian restaurants. Spa and GYM, tennis court, Amphitheater and kids club. Shuttle bus to the beach during the day every 1 hour.
Coral Sea Thomson Sensatori
Close to the famous Ras Nosrani Bay with a stretch of sandy beaches. It is located close to the world-famous Ras Mohammed National Park which is considered to be one of the best diving places in the world. Good variety of cuisines and nice activities and programs at night. Scuba diving is available and other water sports are also available or can be arranged by the hotel.
General tips about Sharm El Sheikh:
Take necessary medications and emergency medications and first aid kits with you. Pharmacies are available, but you may need something with you ready to use when you need it. First aid kit and some basic food poisoning or anti- stomach infection medications. Some tourists can get easily infected by water or food in environments they are visiting for the first time when locals or others do not get infected. Some cold and sinus infection medications and pain killers can also be useful. I recommend this for any travel destination not Sharm El Sheikh in particular.
Be prepared to pay tips. A small tip can usually earn you better service. Workers rely on tips as part of their relatively low income. If you do not like tipping, you can ignore those looks or smiles waiting for tips and decline politely. I consider tipping as part of my budget, and it does not cost me that much anyway as I pay it in local currency.
Try to pay in local currency as much as you can unless you are willing to go into negotiations around exchange rates where you will most probably end up losing some money and it is illegal anyway.
Be more conservative with dressing outside resorts and hotels. Locals are familiar with tourists and are generally adapted to different cultures, but expect some staring and maybe some stalking if your clothes are too revealing but not the creepy or dangerous type of stalking. If you hire a taxi, make sure you agree on fare before stepping into the car. I do not recommend local microbuses for families. It is still safe and reliable, but you may need to switch several ones to reach your destination and maybe set in a hot crowded vehicle for a while. Hotel arranged transportation or taxis are better choices for families especially with children. Finally, check these safety tips about Egypt before you go.