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Holidays in The Red Sea
Just a hop across from southern Europe, the Red Sea is one of the most popular destinations in the world for scuba-diving and snorkelling. Its beaches are also renowned, their golden sands stretching into the crystal-clear sea and back towards the international-quality hotels that line the coast. Inland, you can explore the Eastern and Sinai deserts by camel or jeep, meet Bedouins and climb Mount Sinai. You can even visit the pyramids and Sphinx from here – a real must-do!
June to September are the hottest months, ideal for a leisurely holiday. Winter temperatures remain high with temperatures of 24°C in November being the high and 21°C in January and February being the low.
Hurghada International Airport (HRG), around 5km southwest of Hurghada, or Sharm el Sheikh International Airport (SSH), around 18km northeast of Sharm el Sheikh.
The Red Sea’s exotic sunshine, stunning beaches and world-famous scuba-diving make for an unforgettable holiday at any time of year. Book it now with Thomas Cook.
Whether you love to be in amongst the action or prefer away-from-it-all tranquillity, there’s a great range of resorts in the Red Sea. From the bays of Sharm el Sheikh (each different in character), to laid-back Hurghada and the smaller resorts that surround it, the beaches are all gorgeous expanses of soft sand and warm blue sea. And whether you’re in one of the big, bustling resorts with huge entertainment complexes or a smaller community with a more tranquil atmosphere, you can go snorkelling or diving, enjoy international cuisine, sunbathe under blue skies, and relax by sun-dappled swimming pools.
Alive with tropical fish and coral, the clear waters of the Red Sea are perfect for snorkelling and scuba-diving. Exploring under the water isn’t just for adults; it’s one of the most exciting things for kids to do in the Red Sea, too. The region’s also great for watersports as diverse as kayaking and kite-surfing, or you could relax on a boat trip. There are all sorts available: deep-sea fishing, glass-bottomed boats to see beneath the waves, and yacht cruises for a romantic dinner or a wild party. There’s much more to the Red Sea than water, though. The entertainment complexes are incredible and nightlife ranges from lively nightclubs to folk dancing.
Exploring colourful coral gardens and fascinating shipwrecks is one of the most popular things to do in the Red Sea. There are fish-filled dive sites across the region and more than 30 around Sharm el Sheikh alone, including at Ras Mohammed National Park, the wreck of SS Thistlegorm and the clear, deep waters off Tiran Island. If you’re not a certified diver, the Red Sea is a great place to learn, though snorkelling’s just as rewarding. Blue-spotted stingrays are among the regular sightings near the quiet Shark’s Bay beach in Sharm el Sheikh, while the Atlantis-inspired Sunken City in Sahl Hasheesh was built especially for snorkellers and divers.
You’ll be close to rugged Mount Sinai if you stay in Sharm el Sheikh, site of the Burning Bush where Moses was given the Ten Commandments. It’s also an amazing spot to watch the sunrise over the Sinai Desert – a memorable reward for the walk up to the mountaintop. The desert is home to several other Red Sea attractions too, such as the swirling patterned rocks of the Coloured Canyon and camel rides to Bedouin villages. And wherever you stay, the ancient cities of Cairo and Luxor are in reach by road or air: your chance to see the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and the River Nile.
With an open-air dance floor, swimming pools, foam parties and great DJ sets, Pacha Sharm is one of the best places in the Red Sea for clubbers. It’s a brilliant contrast to spending an evening with the Bedouins for a candlelit dinner, traditional tanoura dancers and tranquil stargazing in the desert. You’ll also find lots to keep you entertained day and night in your resort, such as the bowling, ice skating and stylish bars of Sharm el Sheik’s Soho Square and the cafés, bazaars and restaurants in downtown El Gouna. Or you could head to one of the exciting waterparks; there are a few around the Red Sea coast.
Scuba-divers: The reefs and Eel Garden of Ras Mohammed are amongst the Red Sea’s many incredible dive sites.
Beach-lovers: Beautiful beaches line the coast, with lots of space to unwind under the pure blue sky.
Adventurers: Ride a camel through the desert, meet Bedouins or discover ancient pyramids.
Language: The language spoken in the Red Sea is Arabic
Currency: The currency used in the Red Sea is the Egyptian pound (EGP)
Local time: The Red Sea is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time
Fly to: Hurghada International Airport (HRG), around 5km southwest of Hurghada, or Sharm el Sheikh International Airport (SSH), around 18km northeast of Sharm el Sheikh.
Flight time from UK: 5 hours 15 minutes
Tourist Information: Further Red Sea tourist information can be found at www.egypt.travel
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to the Red Sea.
Temperature: Average highs of 35°C in summer. Winter temperatures remain high with temperatures of 24°C in November being the high and 21°C in January and February being the low.
Best time to visit he Red Sea: June to September are the hottest months, ideal for a leisurely holiday.
Hot in the summer and still warm enough to sunbathe on the beach in winter, the weather in the Red Sea area is gorgeous all year round. For the most comfortable sightseeing, go in September to April when temperatures are more likely to be in the low to mid 20s.
By taxi: You’ll find plenty of taxis in the Red Sea resorts, especially in Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh where they’re the best way to get around. They’re not expensive if you agree a price before you get in. Just bear in mind that it takes about half an hour to travel from one end of Sharm to the other!
By tuk-tuk: These automated rickshaws are the main form of transport in El Gouna. They’re a great-value way to save your legs.
On the waterfront: Friday night is Marina Party night in El Gouna, with singing and dancing beside the yachts.
Desert beats: Dance the night away at Pacha’s open-air nightclub in Sharm el Sheikh. The club hosts regular DJ nights, foam parties and special appearances by artists. It also has a boat for floating parties on the Red Sea.
Ramadan: For locals, Ramadan is a key annual event; this month of fasting won’t affect the restaurants and bars in your hotel, but you might find restrictions elsewhere. Dates vary year on year.