A Week in Egypt: Diving in Sharm & Day Trip to Cairo


Ever since Francesca and I met, Egypt has always been on our bucket list. The kingdom of Egypt, the era of pharaohs, pyramids, myths, and legends, is something that intrigued us since we were kids. We are keen on foreign history and culture, and exploring Egypt is something we simply could not miss out on. A week in Egypt had long been on our bucket list; we just had to wait for the right time.

When we were considering our next trip, I placed Egypt on the list just as I had done previously. We didn’t have much time available, and we were also seeking a break from our daily routine, craving some relaxation and sunshine. Thus, the perfect solution emerged: the tropical waters of Sharm El Sheik with a day trip to Cairo……

A week in Egypt: Introduction

In this blog post, we’ll talk about our week in Egypt. We will include some practical tips about going to Egypt, things to do in Sharm El Sheik, and what to expect about Cairo.

Safety: Is Egypt safe?

The first topic that might come to mind when talking about Sharm and Egypt is probably safety. The country had suffered a long period of political instability culminating in 2011 with the uprising in Egypt. Tourism regions were aimed at by terrorists, particularly between the years 1997 and 2006.

Between 2015 and 2017, multiple terrorist attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and the Hurghada resorts area have made tourism collapse as several governments advised against all non-essential travel to Egypt. The Egyptian government has long taken preventive measures in a bid to combat terrorism and crimes and these efforts led to good results.

Safety in Sharm

When we visited Egypt, we felt overall safe. In Sharm, there is a good presence of guards in and out of the resorts; a sign of precautionary actions taken by the government. The economy is so heavily dependent on tourism that they want to avoid any trouble with tourists. If you go out of your resort by yourself, just make sure you observe a bit of common sense: book a taxi from your resort, watch out for petty theft, and avoid dark and isolated places.

Safety in Cairo

In Cairo, it’s advisable to explore the city with a local guide. The streets can be incredibly overcrowded and chaotic, making solo navigation uncomfortable. Moreover, Cairo boasts a robust police presence, with certain streets closed to traffic due to the presence of important and vulnerable buildings. While we personally felt safe during our time in Cairo, it’s worth noting that this was likely due to the reassurance of being in a group with a knowledgeable local guide.

Scuba Diving in Sharm El Sheik

During our trip to Egypt, we based ourselves on Sharm El Sheik, a popular tourism destination on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in the Red Sea. Sharm is pretty popular for its tropical climate, extensive barrier coral reefs, and marine biodiversity. Because of its underwater scenery, snorkeling and recreational scuba diving are among the most popular activities.

We are sea lovers, we like swimming in crystal clear waters, but at a certain point this just wasn’t enough. We wanted to explore the sea deeper. That’s why we decided to take scuba diving classes with the Scorpion Dive Club, located just inside our resort Sultan Gardens. The guys at the dive club are very friendly. They offer a range of diving courses and diving trips tailor-made to suit your holiday needs. In addition, their instructors can speak multiple languages, which makes diving courses easier for all.

The PADI Open Water Course

The PADI Open Water Diving Course welcomes beginners of all levels. No specific skills are required as the instructors will teach you everything you need to know, but basic swimming ability is necessary. Upon completion, you’ll be certified to dive up to 18 meters. The course comprises theoretical learning, practice in confined waters, and sessions in open waters.

Our instructor, Adel, spoke our language fluently, which facilitated communication. He exhibited remarkable patience and attentiveness to detail, which accelerated our learning process. Fond memories abound from our scuba diving course; from late-night theory sessions to hands-on practice with Adel. The experience of submerging underwater for the first time remains etched in our minds as something truly extraordinary!

Scuba Diving in Sharm El Sheik

During the practices in open waters, we were able to admire Sharm coral’s reefs in all their beauty: extensive, colorful coral reefs and lots and lots of tropical fishes. Sadly, we also saw large portions of dead corals. This is possibly due to the expansions of resorts in the area.

For us, scuba diving is certainly one of the greatest experiences ever. Going underwater allows you to discover a part of the world you weren’t aware of before. You are surrounded by nature and at the same time, you feel that sense of “this is not my place, yet here I am”. We have talked to many divers around the world and we all agreed that Sharm is a great spot for scuba diving. Are you thinking of giving it a go? You should.

If you’re still on the lookout for accommodation in Sharm El Sheikh, you’re in luck! Booking.com offers a plethora of enticing deals just waiting to be discovered. Take advantage of the deal finder below to secure the perfect place to stay for your upcoming adventure.


The Best Things to Do in Sharm El Sheik

If going scuba diving isn’t exactly for you, don’t worry:

Sharm El Sheikh offers a myriad of attractions to keep you entertained throughout your stay. Besides immersing ourselves in the scuba diving course, we explored numerous activities while in Sharm.

Meaning ‘Bay of the Sheikh,’ Sharm El Sheikh is renowned as a city resort, boasting a plethora of resorts catering to various budgets. It’s a bustling tourism hub, attracting a staggering number of visitors annually. The city is divided into five main quarters: Nabq Bay, Ra’s Nasrani, Umm Sid, Naama Bay, and Sharm El Maya. You’ll likely find yourself exploring each one as they’re conveniently located close to each other and easily accessible by taxi.

So, what can you do during your week in Egypt?

Day tour to Ras Mohammed National Park

Amongst the best things to do in Sharm El Sheik, a day tour to Ras Mohammed National Park is a must. The national park encompasses a large area of 480 square kilometers which includes mountains, sand dunes, mangrove forests, a portion of the Red Sea Reef, and two islands. There are multiple half or full-day tours available organized by local companies, including private and tailor-made tours.

The most popular tours include stops at the Earthquake cracks, the mangroves swamp, and snorkelling in the Magic Lake and the sea. Some tours also include a visit to White Island: a true paradise. Tours include a pick-up at your place and rent gear for snorkelling. However, do read the full terms and conditions before booking your tour.

things to do Sharm
Gate of Allah in Ras Mohammed National Park

Visit Naama Bay and its Old Market

Naama Bay pulsates with energy, serving as the bustling epicenter of Sharm El Sheikh. Hosting some of the city’s finest 5-star resorts, it transforms into a lively party destination after dark. With a plethora of entertainment options, Naama Bay offers something for everyone to enjoy throughout the night. Indulge in a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants scattered around the area. Explore the famous Old Market, where bargaining is key to snagging the best deals. Sip on cocktails at one of the chic bars dotting the shoreline. And for those seeking a dance-filled evening, head to renowned nightclubs like ‘Pacha’ or ‘Space’ for an unforgettable clubbing experience.

Naama Bay Sharm
At Naama Bay Old Market

Chill out in Terrazzina Beach

If you’re seeking a change of scenery from your resort and longing to discover more of Sharm’s beautiful beaches, Terrazzina Beach awaits. Nestled in a serene location, this picturesque beach boasts crystal-clear waters and a tranquil atmosphere. Equipped with comfortable beds and umbrellas, along with a charming bar and restaurant, it offers all the amenities for a relaxing day by the sea. While there is an entry fee to access the beach, additional charges apply for renting beds and umbrellas. During the day, soothing background music sets the tone, while nightfall often brings lively beach parties. Keep an eye out for daytime events too, as Terrazzina occasionally hosts daytime beach parties.

Go Snorkelling in Ras Um Sid

Ras Um Sid beach is located in a tranquil area approximately 5 kilometers from Naama Bay. The beach is fully equipped with all comforts, including a bar and a restaurant. Ras Um Sid is truly one of the best beaches around with its golden sand and turquoise waters. The waters of Ras Um Sid are popular among divers and snorkellers due to stunning coral formations and the abundance of underwater life. We enjoyed a full day sunbathing and snorkelling in Ras Um Sid. Don’t forget to bring your mask and snorkel! There is an entry fee to enter the complex however it is well worth it.

Climb Mount Sinai

If you like hiking there is the opportunity to climb the summit of Mount Sinai, the famous mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments. The tours typically include a 2-3 hours hike and a visit to the 6th-century Monastery of St. Catherine. The hikes are quite challenging and they start in the middle of the night. But once at the top, you will experience one of the best sunrises ever. Sadly we didn’t do this tour as we didn’t have enough time. However, people we met at our resort highly recommended it to us.

Enjoy a day out by boat

Snorkelling is the number one activity in Sharm El Sheik, hands down. The Red Sea Coral Reef, with its 2000 km and over 1000 species, is one the largest coral reefs in the world. There are several boat tours available from Sharm El Sheik which will make you discover the Red Sea and the coral reef. You just need to decide which one is more suitable for you!

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Tips to remember for your trip to Sharm El Sheik

1) Resort staff

If resort staff approach you to exchange coins for bill notes, rest assured, it’s not a scam. They often receive tips in various currencies, including coins, which local banks in Egypt don’t accept. Thus, they seek to exchange these coins for bill notes to facilitate their exchange.

2) Taxis

One of the best recommendations we can give is to use only official taxis to get around. Just ask at the hotel reception for a taxi, as they would have their own.

3) Sanitation

Sanitation, from what we could see, is not the best. Drink only bottled water and avoid raw meat and fish.

4) Terms & Conditions

When you book your resort, make sure you read in full the terms and conditions. Many so-called “all-inclusive resorts” actually offer half or full-board pensions. That means anything else you ask for, will be extra. Nothing to worry about, just make sure you are aware of what you are paying for.

5) Drones

Flying drones are prohibited anywhere in Egypt. There are some special permissions but they’re very hard to get. If you are visiting Egypt on holiday and were thinking of bringing your drone, we are sorry you’ll have to leave it.

6) Clothing

Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country. On many sights, shorts, vests, and skirts are inappropriate. We would recommend you bring over some linen or cotton long sleeve clothes.

7) Safety

For safety reasons, avoid those people who are “just trying to help you”. In recent years, robberies and scams against tourists have increased. Do not trust people who offer you a lift or try to sort out small things for you (for example, make a phone call).

8) Credit Cards

The official currency is the Egyptian pound but also USD is accepted. Cards are not widely accepted. However, hotels and resorts accept them. ATMs are conveniently located inside most resorts so you could take out cash from there. We chose Revolut as our must-have travel card. Revolut is the most popular online bank and easy to use app. Revolut gives travellers several benefits such as:  

  • Use different currencies simultaneously.
  • Withdraw up 200 € / 200 $ a month from any ATM for free.
  • Free to open account & no maintenance costs.
  • Make international payments at no fees up to 1000 € / 1000 $ a month.
  • Split bills and pay friends with ease.

Setting up a Revolut account is simple and free. If you want to, you can download it through our referral link

9) Tipping

Tipping is very common in Egypt. They expect a small tip for any kind of service, so make sure you always carry small change.

10) Toilet paper

Last but not least….bring plenty of tissues 😊 From what we experienced, public toilets are usually not clean enough and don’t have toilet paper.

What to pack for a trip to Egypt

Egypt enjoys warm weather year-round, so packing smart and light is key. We recommend a backpack over a trolley, especially if you’re traveling to multiple destinations. Here’s what you should pack for a week in Egypt:

  • Microfiber towel: Compact and quick-drying, it takes up less space than a regular towel.
  • Swimwear: Essential for seaside activities.
  • Swimming mask and snorkel: Must-haves for snorkeling in the stunning Red Sea.
  • Sun cream: To protect against the strong sun.
  • Underwater camera: Perfect for capturing photos and videos of coral reefs while snorkeling.
  • Tissues: Carry plenty for convenience.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Pack essentials like Paracetamol and Alka Seltzer.
  • Travel adaptor: Egypt uses type C and F plug sockets. An international travel adaptor is a versatile option for all your travels.

When is the best time to go to Sharm El Sheik?

The resorts and the activities are open all year round in Sharm El Sheik. We went in October and it was hot, but not that much. July and August are the hottest months which we advise you to avoid. The best months to go to Sharm El Sheik are May, June, September, and October as the prices are lower and the weather is good but not too hot.

How to Organize a day trip to Cairo

A day trip to Cairo can be easily organized while in Sharm El Sheik. It may sound a bit strange, as Cairo is located on the other side of the country, but it is indeed possible. If you just want to relax and not think about anything else while in Sharm, then you should book your day trip to Cairo before heading to Egypt. We booked our own beforehand from home and were happy with our choice. For example, this Day Trip To Cairo From Sharm includes transfer to/from the airport, return flights to Cairo, all transfers in Cairo, a qualified Egyptology tour guide, and entry to the Egyptian museum and the Giza complex.

Our Trip to Cairo

Our trip to Cairo started very early in the morning, before sunrise. Once in Cairo airport, we met our local guide, Ahmed. He was very knowledgeable and passionate about Egypt and made our day truly enjoyable. Our day in Cairo started with a boat tour of the river Nile. It was not included in the tour and was offered as an extra. That was the opportunity to know the group travelling with us and to learn about the river and its importance since ancient Egypt times.

The second stop was at the Egyptian museum, the oldest archeological museum in the Middle East. Honestly, we were so lucky to be with Ahmed. He made a tour for us, following a specific route to cover the whole museum, and answering all our questions. We truly enjoyed marvelling at impressive hieroglyphs and artifacts, such as the mask of Tutankhamun, and learning about the history of ancient Egypt

the mask of Tutankhamun

The Giza Pyramid Complex

The last stop of our day trip to Cairo was at the unmissable Giza Pyramid Complex. Time to marvel at this impressive sight: one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Giza pyramid complex consists primarily of the Great Pyramid (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops), the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx. Once again, Ahmed’s guidance was a plus to our visit. We rented some camels to explore the complex, and that was a good choice since the place is quite big. For some moments it seemed we were living in a dream. The place we always wanted to see was there in front of us. It took us a while but finally, we made it. The day trip to Cairo was one of the longest days ever, but definitely worth it. We highly recommend visiting Cairo and the Giza Pyramid Complex at least once in a lifetime.

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Time for conclusions…

Despite the recent political instability and terrorist attacks, we think that Egypt is safe to visit. Our opinion is based on what we experienced in Sharm El Sheik and Cairo. With this being said, attentive common sense is still required. A week in Egypt is a good choice if you’re looking for a sun holiday. Sharm El Sheik is a popular tourist destination that offers beautiful waters, coral reefs, and all the comforts of the resorts. The top activities to do in Sharm are snorkelling and scuba diving, so if you love that, you should put Sharm on top of your bucket list!

During a week in Egypt, it is possible to fly to Cairo in-out in one day. There are several tours available that will allow you to discover the Egyptian Museum and the Giza Pyramid Complex: an absolute must-visit.


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