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We never need to kiss summer goodbye in Egypt! Head south we say, travel to the uncrowded beaches of the Red Sea, or the traditional charm of Aswan, or even west into the expanses of the Siwa desert. Whatever your budget, inclination to exercise (or not), and cultural interests, each of these destinations offers something for everyone, from tots and teens up to seniors.

Aswan

This idyllic location has been high on everyone’s winter escape list since time immemorial. Rich in history, with some of the most stunning archeological sites in the country, it also has a vibrant local Nubian culture. It’s hard to beat the combination of amazingly clean air, culture, and a friendly, welcoming ambience.

Where to stay:

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Hotel: This is a splurge experience, but totally worth it. Dating back to 1899, the hotel is steeped in history, having hosted royalty, statesmen and famous figures throughout the years, and exudes a vintage charm. Throw in superb cuisine and gracious hospitality, along with breathtaking views of the sparkling Nile and the desert beyond and you have the makings of a holiday of a lifetime.

Agilika Lodge: Agilika Lodge on Heissa Island, nestled between the Aswan High Dam and the Aswan reservoir, offers simple pleasures at the other end of the spectrum, albeit no less charming. Accommodation is in traditional Nubian style rooms, sleeping between two and five persons with shared bathroom amenities, in pristine condition. Meals are healthy, tasty and based on local cuisine, and guests have plenty of space to lounge and relax while enjoying views over the Nile.

What to do:

Spice Market: Any visit to Aswan must include the Spice Market. Arguably the most fascinating in Egypt, it not only offers a huge variety of spices like cloves, cinnamon, saffron, bergamot, pepper and nutmeg, along with the ubiquitous dried karkade, but also traditional crafts, galabeyas and local fabrics.

Nubian Museum: Fascinating and beautifully laid out, the Nubian Museum was created in cooperation with UNESCO in 1997. It is dedicated to the art, history and culture of the region, chronicling its history dating back to 4500 BC.

First time visitors should also make a point of seeing the main sights like Philae, Elephantine Island, the High Dam and the Mausoleum of Agha Khan. And nothing beats a leisurely felucca ride on the Nile, just before sunset we suggest. Don’t forget to check for festival and local music events while you are there.

Ein Sokhna

A short drive from Cairo, Ein Sokhna enjoys balmy weather throughout the winter, making it a perfect weekend break. It may not boast the sightseeing attractions of some other locations, but with plenty of water sports on hand, and fresh sea breezes, it is a good place to chill out and relax.

Where to stay:

Jaz Little Venice Golf Resort: Offering every amenity, and with direct access to Ein Sokhna’s beautiful beach, Jaz Little Venice Golf Resort is a great choice for golfers and non-golfers alike. Two excellent restaurants offer varied dining options, and guests can enjoy the 18-hole championship golf course at Sokhna Golf Club with an added change.

Mövenpick Resort El Sokhna: Relax, unwind or get active with a range of water sports at Mövenpick Resort El Sokhna. The hotel enjoys a private beach and panoramic sea views, along with great dining options. It is handy to know that the hotel also provides a babysitting service, so mom and dad can take a breather.

What to do:

Golf, kitesurfing, fishing, scuba diving! Infinity Kitesurfing Center is located in Belagio compound and offers beginner lessons, kite and gear rental. The international standard 9-hole golf course at the Jaz Little Venice Golf Resort offers challenging greens, fairways and bunkers to suit both experienced golfers and novices.

Marsa Alam

For a scuba diving, fishing and watersports focused break, head further south to the pristine beaches of Marsa Alam.  Not your thing? Then just laze and swim and enjoy the blissful scenery, abundant nature and wildlife.

Where to stay:

Jaz Grand Marsa: Located right on the beach at Marsa Alam, Jaz Grand Marsa is 10 minutes from Marsa Alam International Airport. The hotel offers a host of amenities and activities for all ages, making it an ideal choice for a family break out of town.

Steigenberger Coraya Beach: If a break without the kids is just what you need, this is the ideal spot. Located on the in Coraya Bay, the adults-only five star resort Steigenberger Coraya Beach offers pure relaxation and  superb cuisine in this Nubian style ambience. Leisure amenities include three swimming pools, an 800 meter sandy beach and a dive center.

What to do:

Dive, snorkel and swim! Or enjoy a visit to the desert and discover the abundant flora and fauna of the Wadi Gemal National Park. Day treks with Bedouin guides are easily arranged through most hotels.

Siwa

Isolated and still unspoilt, Siwa has a unique beauty. Just 50km from the Libyan border, Siwa sits about 25m below sea level, and has everything you would expect from oasis life. Small lanes strung with mudbrick homes, olive trees and verdant palms, along with clear springs which offer relief from the sun.

Where to stay:

Taghaghien Island: A secluded paradise, Taghaghien Island is set on 38,000 m2 of land within the great Lake of Siwa. It offers offer a peaceful escape from the stress of city life. The spectacular turquoise waters of the lake contrast with imposing limestone rock formations, green fields, and golden desert sands. In the center of the island lies a Roman Cold Spring, surrounded by lush fields and palm trees. With 30 rustic style bungalows, and a café/restaurant, the lifestyle is refreshingly simple. With such a glorious setting, who could want more?

What to do:

The area has a host of attractive sites worth visiting, if you can shake yourself out of a super-relaxed mode. Check out the Fortress of Shali, Bir Wahed, Temple of the Oracle, Cleopatra’s Spring and the Tomb of Si Amun. You will also find excellent natural olive oil, so stock up while there.

Agalika Lodge, Heissa Island

Tel: 0111 177 5416

Facebook: @agilikalodge

 

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract

Address: Abtal El Tahrir St.

Tel: 0102 222 9071

Facebook: @SofitelLegendAswan

 

Taghaghien Island 

Tel:  0120 004 3379

Facebook: @taghaghien.island

 

Jaz Grand Marsa

Address: Resta Grand Resort

Tel: 065 375 0160

Facebook: @Jazgrandmarsa

 

Steigenberger Coraya Beach

Address: Madinat Coraya, Qussier, Road Km 67.

Tel: 065 375 0000

Facebook: @steigenbergercorayaeg

 

Jaz Little Venice

Address: Km 36 Ain El Sokhna, Port Suez Road.

Tel: 062 342 0875

Facebook: @jazlittlevenice

 

Mövenpick Resort El Sokhna

Address: Suez-Zaafarana Road, Suez.

Tel: 062 339 0800

Facebook: @movenpickelsokhna

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