Family Itinerary for Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

by on December 23rd, 2010
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Sharm El-Sheikh is an Egyptian resort city on the Red Sea. One of the world’s top diving areas, the city is a great Middle Eastern destination for families. The city has remained free from the violence and upheaval of the recent political events in Cairo, and the government goes to great lengths to protect tourists and the tourism industry there.

The city is a resort attracting visitors from around the world and offers all kinds and levels of diving and water sports. It’s a great destination for families and has a lot of water-related activities for small children and older kids as well. Fantastic dive sites are located within minutes of the area’s resorts and all levels of divers will be happy. Kids can snorkel on reefs only 16 feet below the surface and more advanced divers can do night dives or explore wrecks. With a strong tourist infrastructure, the area has everything families need, including emergency medical care. The area is served by an international airport, making it a no hassle flight from many European gateway cities.

Where to Stay
The city boasts a Four Seasons Resort and I recommend them highly for families. The resort really caters to kids and families and even requests advance notice to prepare a special welcome gift for the kids (true at all Four Seasons resorts). I find their overall service the best in the business and find it worth it to spend a little bit more for that service.

The Four Seasons Resort Sharm El-Sheikh provides everything a family could need, from personalized service, wonderful food and spacious accommodations to easy access to top dive areas. As part of their Kids For All Seasons programs, the resort provides organized activities for kids of all ages, as well as babysitting service at night. The resort’s four different pools are also ideal for kids.

The Young Family Escape Package is offered for a small suite, with a king size bed for mom and dad and two twin beds for two children, along with two full bathrooms. The rate of $290 per room, per night is possible, depending on travel dates.

Morning – glass bottom boat tour
Before getting wet, take a glass bottom boat tour with the family and get acclimated to the area, both above and below sea level. The glass bottom boats leave from the Naama Bay area and with the clarity of the water, visibility is excellent. This is also a great option for really young children who can’t yet snorkel or enjoy some of the other water sports. Prices are about $25 per person and it looks like you are looking into an aquarium.

It’s small, it’s noisy and it’s crowded with locals, something I think every traveler should look out for in a restaurant. “Fares” is the best place for fresh, cheap seafood. Fares has two locations, Old Market and El Mercato, both serve really good Egyptian-style seafood, so prepare to be surprised. Both locations are a cheap cab ride from the resort area, and cabs will wait while you eat. Families will have more room at the El Mercato location, it’s more of a traditional sit-down restaurant.

Afternoon – camel ride
With the beautiful sea and resort atmosphere, it can be hard to believe you’re in Egypt. Take the family on a camel ride into the vast desert and suddenly the reefs and Red Sea seem a million miles away. The sunset rides are especially breathtaking. Rates are about $20 per person, plus tip. Most rides include van transportation to the desert, a camel ride for an hour or two, then transportation back to the hotel.

Late afternoon – visit to St. Catherine’s Monastery for some history
After all the glitz and resort activity of Sharm El-Sheikh, it’s wonderful to be able to visit someplace that offers the complete opposite. St. Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, is where the Bible says Moses received the Ten Commandments. The site is about 140 miles from Sharm El-Sheikh and easily reachable by bus tour. The visit and significance of the area make an important historical component to a family trip to Sharm.

The Four Seasons’ Arabesque restaurant offers great sharing meals for families. They even have a special children’s menu and offer children’s dinner at 5:30 P.M., an hour earlier than the 6:30 P.M. regular dinner service. The large plates of Middle Eastern specialties make sharing and eating with your hands a lot of fun. The Moroccan tagine and Middle Eastern mezzeh are favorites. The views across the Red Sea are also spectacular.

Even more
Any trip to Sharm El-Sheikh needs to include a lot of snorkeling, beach time and diving. Here are some more activities to add to a family itinerary to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt:


Aside from diving and snorkeling, kids will love Cleopark, which bills itself as “The Pharonic Water Park”. It’s a big, fun theme park filled with water-related attractions. The park features dining and areas just to relax and enjoy the desert sun.

There are two tubing rivers, one slow, one fast and a huge, heated bath area, Cleopatra’s Bath. Little kids can enjoy the Young Pharoah’s Oasis, an area reserved just for young children. For the adventurous, the park has six waterslides of varying degrees of terror, including an enclosed slide and a four-across slide allowing competition between the sliders. Adults are $35, kids are $20 and children under four are free. Cleopark is behind the Hilton Sharm Dreams, at Naama Bay.

Dive lessons
A visit to a dive resort offers a great opportunity for kids to earn their scuba certification. During a one-week stay, kids and adults can get proper instruction and training to be able to scuba dive with a group by the end of the trip.

Booking activities
All these activities and tours can booked through the concierge of your hotel. Activities can be booked through the Four Seasons concierge for non-guests (if they’re not too busy) and the Marriott also provides this service for non-guests.

Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog You can follow him on twitter, @thefredsherman

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