Sharm El Sheikh lifestyle
Sharm El Sheikh is something of a shopper's dream, with sleek malls rubbing shoulders with traditional souk-like streets. For quintessential Egyptian souvenirs, head for Sharm's Old Market, a modern recreation of an old-time souk filled with handicraft stalls. Favourite take-homes include leather sandals, perfumes, rugs, shisha pipes and silver, mother-of-pearl and gold jewellery, but be prepared to haggle. For modern goods, make a beeline for the indoor shopping complexes outside town to browse their sophisticated boutiques and department stores.
International restaurants abound in Sharm El Sheikh, so you can enjoy different cuisine almost daily. Most large hotels offer first-class cosmopolitan restaurants and all around N'aama Bay and the centre, you'll find a wealth of fast food outlets, international chains and eateries dish up everything from Italian and Mexican to Chinese and Indian treats. When you fancy some local cuisine, there's no shortage of traditional outlets where you can feast - often under the stars - on classic Egyptian meze selections like falafel - spicy, deep-fried chickpea croquettes - hummous and kofta, sizzling meatballs. Succulent fresh fish and seafood dishes are also plentiful and alcohol is widely available in the shape of European and Egyptian wines and local and international beers.
Don't expect too many quiet nights in Sharm El Sheikh! Although there's always the option of lingering on a romantic restaurant terrace, there's plenty to keep you from your pillow. Most hotels lay on regular folklore nights, Bedouin feasts and belly-dancing shows and around N'aama Bay and the centre, you'll find a multitude of vibrant pubs, sleek nightclubs and restaurants with dancefloors. And if you fancy a flutter, many of the hotels also snazzy casinos.