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Sharm el Sheik – a sun lover’s paradise but so much more

Red Sea resort is one of Monarch Airlines’ fabulous winter destinations

Published on October 18th 2011.


Sharm el Sheik – a sun lover’s paradise but so much more

EGYPT is the perfect winter sun spot and Sharm el Sheikh is the dazzling focal point of this holiday heaven with its combination of blazing sun, azure sea and desert sand. The world of travel boasts few more dramatic settings. On one side the Red Sea on the other the dramatic towering landscape around Mount Sinai.

W_Oe_2009_05_DestinationThat’s why leading leisure airline, Monarch, has increased the number of flights traveling to Sharm el Sheikh this winter – due to the overwhelming demand from its customers. Monarch have added an additional Monday flight on its Manchester route between November 7 and March 19 2012, alongside the existing flights on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The action starts from the moment you arrive. Spend time sunbathing or snorkeling in Na'ama Bay, watching the sun set at one of the world-class restaurants of Shark's Bay or taking a trip to the ancient pyramids at Giza. The choice is yours.

Or maybe after checking out the historical legacy of the cliff top monasteries it’s time to take to the throbbing dance floor of the Pasha. There’s something for everyone around world-famous Sharm.

No wonder it's known as the Land of Perpetual Sunshine. The average November temperature here is 27C. Protected by the Sahara Desert and fed by the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea boasts great beaches and some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world.

Sharm El Sheikh's vast marine reserve, created in 1983, is brilliantly awash with 1,240 miles of coral up to 100m deep, and teems with turtles, manta rays, sharks and more than 1,200 species of fish.

A package holiday can be tailored to accommodate some underwater activity - or if you prefer to keep your feet dry, there are a number of comfortable glass-bottomed tours departing regularly from Sharm El Sheikh.

It's perfect for night owls, too. Haggle over chic clothes and perfumed spices with the market traders, or dance the night away in one of the trendy nightclubs lining King of Bahrain Street. The waterfront offers a vast array of excellent seafood restaurants. Or head inland to sample local delicacies, such as the creamy spinach and chicken molokheya soup, at ridiculously low prices.

The more intrepid can discover the geographical marvel of the Coloured Canyon by quad bike or explore the fortress-like St. Catherine's Monastery on camelback.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built on the supposed spot of Moses' Burning Bush and remains the oldest working Christian monastery in the world. Its official name is the slightly more dramatic “The Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai.”

For further details on Monarch holidays to Sharm-el-sheikh visit www.monarch.co.uk/egypt/sharm-el-sheikh

Monarch is currently offering a guaranteed £40 off all scheduled return flights, including Sharm-el-sheikh, between November 2011 to 30 April 2012. Click here to find out more.

Plus throughout October you can get an extra £10 off Manchester departures to Barcelona, Alicante, Almeria, Menorca, Faro, Palma and Gibraltar. Visit www.monarch.co.uk and just enter discount code: MANTEN. Terms and conditions apply.

These are all terrific Monarch destinations for a spot of sun-soaked winter escapism.

Take Alicante, elegant gateway to the Costa Blanca. Benidorm is only 40 minutes away, but Alicante is well worth a stay in its own right. For a spectacular view climb to the top of the Castillo de Santa Barbara fortress overlooking Alicante’s long sandy beaches, the best of which is San Juan de Alicante. And don’t miss some characterful bars in the old Barrio.

Then there’s Faro, capital of the Algarve. Within easy reach of some amazing resorts (and golf courses) but of great interest in its own right. Overlooking the harbour is the characterful Old City (Centro Historico), where the majority of Faro's most historic buildings are located. The 17th-century Igreja do Carmo Church is one such attraction and is rather unusual, since it actually incorporates the skeletons of more than 1,000 monks within its walls. 

31Af_HGibraltar is mightily impressive – a 1,396ft-high boulder sheer on one side, a city of 30,000 folk clinging to the bottom third of the other. And its most famous inhabitants? Its famous Apes. There are 200 of them in five packs living free on the Upper Nature Reserve (£8 entry), munching wild roots and berries while awaiting their latest photo-opportunity. Barbary Apes are in fact a tail-less breed of monkey (Macaca Silvanus), whose natural habitat is in the mountains of Morocco and Algeria. The British imported them in the early 18th century. Legend has it, if they disappear, Britain will lose Gibraltar.

In the south-eastern corner of Spain around Almeria lies the only European desert 'Tabernas', where Sergio Leone built the Western Towns, used in his spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood. However, in fact the entire province is one huge movie filming location (Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra, Indiana Jones, King of the Kings are only a few of the movies filmed here). If you’d prefer to stick to the sand on the coast, visit the volcanic unspoilt 'black' beaches at Cabo de Gata.

With Monarch it’s not just about great destinations and affordable prices. It gets even better! Britain’s best leisure airline doesn’t do card tricks. No booking charge when you pay with a debit card. Only a £10 fee for credit card payments, no matter how many people in your booking.

Pay by debit card or PayPal to avoid a £10 booking fee, per booking for credit cards. The booking fee is to cover the extra cost we incur for these payment types including processing costs and fraud prevention.

Optional extras such as extra legroom seating and pre-ordered meals in addition to fantastic value fares, makes Monarch a great choice for longer flight durations, such as Sharm-el-Sheikh.

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