Tag - Egypt

Purple Hearts: Sharm el Sheikh Holidays
Purple Pick: Mythical Places
Escaping to Egypt
World’s Sharkiest Beaches… Swim at Your Own Risk!
The Culture of Alcohol

Purple Hearts: Sharm el Sheikh Holidays

Purple Hearts: Sharm el Sheikh Holidays

What once was a tiny village at the very southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has grown into one of the most popular holiday resorts in the world: Sharm El Sheikh. For the ultimate in sun, sea and sand, you’ll find relaxation in abundance on the beautiful golden coast of Egypt. For families looking for all ages fun, couples in need of some quality time, or adventure seeking groups, the beaches and scenery, aqua parks and desert day trips make Sharm the ultimate holiday destination. Find out more about Sharm el Sheikh holidays in our Purple Hearts Guide…


Diving: Known as one of the best diving spots in the whole world, it’s a swimmer’s playground. Sharm was initially built on a reputation of snorkelling and diving over 25 years ago – so there’s lots of experience for beginners to the most advanced underwater adventurer. Diving safaris are a great choice, they take you away from the crowded popular spots and you might be lucky to find a real hidden gem. The wreck of the SS Thistlegorm is also regarded as a great wreck diving point and pick from any number of diving and PADI schools and bam, you’ll be in underwater heaven in Sharm.

You should read: World’s best scuba diving spots

Ras Muhammed National Park: Take a boat trip to this natural wonder that’s also a Diving Hot Spot, with parrot fish and puffer that go as far as the eye can see. There are over 1000 species of fish and even sea turtles to get friendly with in this underwater adventure land and in parts you can see stretches of coral reef up to eight or nine km wide. You can organise these locally when you arrive.

Camel tour: If a Bedouin dinner under the stars sounds like something you’d be interested in, then head out on a camel safari at sunset to dine on local, home cooked meals from the comfort of a candlelit tent.

Grab a bargain: Sharm’s old market is a riot of colour, with the best in bargains from jewellery to handbags, paintings to clothes. As a tourist you’ll probably stick out like a sore thumb, but if you’ve got your haggling skills packed then it’ll be an opportunity for great fun as you bargain for sometimes up to an hour to get the best price. A little warning, women tend to get a little extra attention, so be careful you don‘t get swapped for a camel!

Hit the Clubs: Sharm el Sheikh is fairly bangin’ place after dark. There are lots of restaurants, bars and clubs that stay open to the early hours. Famous for attracting top DJs, it’s also worth keeping an eye on local information to see if someone good will be in town when you’re there.


In May, Sharm plays host to the South Sinai Camel Festival, where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of competing camels stampeding through the desert. It’s said over 250 camels take part from 17 different tribes, so grab your camera check out the bumpiest ride in town.


Mount Sinai: This is the historic mountain where it’s said Moses received the 10 commandments on two stone tablets. A sunset or sunrise day trip is a really magical experience and the jaw dropping views are something you’ll never forget.

St. Catherine’s Monastery: One of the best preserved sites of Roman and Greek heritage, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is found at the foot of Mount Sinai. Attracting visitors for hundreds of years, according to some sources, this is the place where God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush and where the holy relics of St Catherine are found.

Luxor: You couldn’t go to Egypt and not see some of the country’s most ancient wonders now could you? A day trip starts early (we’re talking 5am) but the breathtaking Luxor Temple, Temple of Karnak and Valley of the Kings make it all worthwhile.
Tiran Island: It’s believed that Tiran is the site of the parting of the Red Sea, as written in the bible’s Book of Exodus.


Dahab: The best thing we can think to do in Dahab is: very little actually. It’s made for completely relaxing and soaking up the sunshine on the long, sandy shores.

Naama Bay: The gently sloping beaches of Naama Bay make it an excellent choice to take the kids. Take your bucket and spade and enjoy the lively atmosphere among the many cafes, bars and restaurants along the seafront.

Taba: There are over five km of beautiful snady beach to choose your perfect spot. Surrounded by lots of palm trees, if you’re feeling energetic enough there’s a bit of beach volleyball on offer, or if you’re more into relaxing, we LOVE the idea of hammocks with a sea view between the palm trees.

Shark’s Bay: Is made of a beautiful curving cove, with loads of hotels, bars and restaurants nearby. Like most of the places in Sharm it’s a top diving location and has lovely views across the bay of Tiran Island.

Find the best deals on cheap holidays to Sharm el Sheikh from Purple Travel.

Purple Pick: Mythical Places

Are you looking for a holiday that’s a bit different? why not find out more about the myths of the ancient worlds in some of these mystical places…This week we decided to spookify and mystify! There’s a reason for it. In our regular Purple Pick feature, we’re focusing on the beautiful African country of Gambia. We learned they have a Holy Forest so we decided to do a bit of a roundup of mystical or unusual places to visit, so you can go home scared out of your wits or quietly intrigued. Enjoy some of the most magical and mythical places in the world.


Gambia Makasutu Holy Forest

Makasutu is a stunning breath of fresh air, just a few miles from Brikama, it is filled with lush green vegetation, towering palm trees and long stretches of savannah and grasslands. But what really makes it special is its unforgettable history. Established by a pair of English expats, Makasutu is walking with the ghosts of the past. At first the local villagers did not want to sell the land, as it’s haunted by ‘Djinns’ and a kind of pre-historic dinosaur called the ‘Ninkinanka’. It was a very important space to the local tribes, where their wars took place as well as their ancient rituals and sacrifices. Legend has it one poor king who died there was separated from his head, which was buried with his crown and throne within the forest confines. The ‘sacred forest’ is still home to the indigenous people, who may share their palm wine with you if you’re lucky. Image via @ Flickr


The Great Pyramids, Egypt

Perhaps the most photographed and famous ancient site in the world, the Pyramids have been perplexing people for years. The Great Pyramids as they are known are found near the Egyptian capital Cairo, on the Giza Plateau.

But, why were they built? Most people believe they were huge mausoleums for the ancient pharaohs. People believe some of his soul, or ‘ka’ stayed with the dead body. To ensure they carried on to the next life, their body had to be taken care of and so were entombed inside the huge structures for protection and safety.
The crazy thing is, even after thousands of years, no one is even sure how they were made! Most of the theories surround the idea that the rock was dragged there to build the huge sites, much of it carried across the Nile. And think about it, ensuring the Pyramid appears correctly and symmetrical, all the blocks had to be the exact same size. Imagine the precision involved. Not only that, but the sides of the Great Pyramid are aimed nearly exactly true north and probably took at least 100,000 men to construct.
On top of that, the Great Pyramid is the only one of the ancient wonders of the world still standing, so what are you waiting for? Image via @ Flickr

Easter Island

Easter Island Statues

This is probably an easy one. Tucked away in the middle of the South Pacific, you’ll find a tiny island filled with huge heads. Yes, you did read that right. Easter Island’s statues are legendary. Over 800 of the stone carvings dot the Polynesian Island, one of the most remote places on the planet.
The original islanders are thought to have landed on the island 1500 years ago in tiny canoes. They then started furiously carving away by hand, creating hundreds of giant heads that they placed in lines across the island. Go figure.
No one is really sure what it’s all about; some of the statues weigh up to 82 tonnes, why were they transported around the island and how? There are, of course, plenty of theories: one legend tells the tale of an ancient ruler who was able to make statues move using his kingly powers.
New excavations over the last few months have revealed the statues are much bigger than originally thought, with head, shoulders, knees and toes included! Image via @ Flickr


Mexico/Caribbean Cenote in Mayan Civilization

A cenote is a naturally occurring formation that is found across the Mexican Caribbean. It’s actually a sinkhole, or pit of spring water. Ok, a pit of spring water, what’s so special about it? Well cenotes were often used as a place for sacrificial offerings from the ancient Mayan people. It might sound a little Indiana Jones, but many people in the Mayan civilization believed these cenotes to be doors to the underworld and channels to communicate with the gods. Plenty of gold, precious stones and pottery remains have been found there. At the Cenote Sagrado, (sacred cenote) they’ve even found evidence of human sacrifices! It was believed young males were the most common sacrifice because they represented strength and power.
Only some of these places are open to the public, a few are close to Cancun and Playa del Carmen and swimming in them is considered a true holiday must do in the Mexican Caribbean. Image via @ Flickr


Athens, Greece

It’s probably fair to say Athens is sort of one of the overlooked places in Greece. The islands are where everyone goes and it’s true they are stunningly beautiful. However the historic city has plenty to offer. With the ancient acropolis standing head and shoulders above the city, you can practically feel the history in the air. Everywhere you walk; there are historic sites, teeming with mystical stories from the ancient markets, the original marble stadium, home to the first Olympic Games and temples dedicated to the Gods.
Our favourite story is of how Athina, the Goddess of the city came to be born. The story goes that Zeus ate Metis – Athina’s mother while she was pregnant. A while later, Zeus was troubled by a huge headache, and asked Hermes to fix it. So, he did what any good friend would and swung an axe furiously at his head splitting it open. From Zeus’s forehead leaped Athena, fully formed. That’s pretty cool however you look at it. Image via @ Flickr

That’s our wrap of mythical and mystical hot spots, as always we’d like to hear from you. Do you have any other suggestions? Have you found some place a bit closer to home? Let us know in the comments below.

Escaping to Egypt



Start out with an exhilarating, adventure filled and educational underwater tour, by hopping into a submarine and diving over 20 yards under the sea. It’s an unforgettable experience among the colourful, sub aquatic world.

If you prefer staying on dry land, a desert safari is an utterly thrilling ride. Your guide will take you into Bedouin territory, exploring the fascinating lifestyle and (for the romantic at heart) will bring you for a picnic under the stars after the most beautiful sunset.

Read More

World’s Sharkiest Beaches… Swim at Your Own Risk!

With the tragic passing of 4 tourists in Sharm El Shiekh, the Egyptian Red Sea Riviera, we are left wondering where else we may be in danger of encountering a Jaws-like shark attack. Although we have been told that it is quite rare for a shark to attack a person, we have recently had a rude awakening. Egypt is not included on this list, as the Shark attacks there are actually much less frequent than in other areas around the world – some that have even more beach traffic than Egypt. Just have a look at the world’s sharkiest beaches. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Sharkiest beachesImage via @ Marco Verch

South Africa

Some consider this beautiful country, on the southern tip of this great continent, the Shark Capital of the world. Most notably, Gansbaai (or “Shark Alley”) has become a shark tourist attraction for those wanting to visit the greatest collection of Great White Sharks on the planet. Certainly not the place for a casual swim! Kosi Bay is another shark-infested destination, with the incredibly aggressive Zambezi sharks swimming well inland… in fresh water! Just a short distance from Kosi Bay, you will find Umhlanga Rocks, an incredibly picturesque beach resort. Umhlanga Rocks is home to a deadly combination of Great Whites and Zambezi (or Bull Sharks) but you can feel a little bit safer swimming here because the beach is protected by fish netting in the water. Swim at your own risk.

United States

The New Smyrna Beach, in Florida, is known as the Shark Attack Capital of the world. That’s right – with hundreds of holidaymakers and surfers making frequent visits to these shark-infested waters, you can be sure that the attacks will be very frequent! Although the sharks in this area are much less aggressive, they can still attack humans by accident – which happens quite often. Can you blame them? A surfer floating in the water can seem like a very appealing mid-day meal. Along the opposite coast, Bolinas is a small beach town in Northern California, home to a very large population of Great Whites. Because of the surfer culture in these cold waters, food for the sharks is plentiful. Stay far away.


Gorgeous climate, incredible coral reef, and an ecosystem of natural wonders, Australia is home to one of the largest populations of Sharks on the planet. Bondi Beach, easily the most popular beach on Australia’s coast, is also the most vulnerable to shark attacks. Although plenty of netting is in place to protect bathers from the threat, it is certainly not 100% safe.

Other Shark Destinations

Some other notable Shark infested areas to watch out for include Recife in Brazil, Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua, and Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar. Always keep in mind that your risk of getting into a car accident is much higher than being attacked by a shark, although swimming in any of these waters will certainly put you some danger. Always consult the professionals on duty in the area and make sure to travel with health insurance if you insist on taking your chances. Swim safe!

The Culture of Alcohol

Drinking is a part of the culture in the UK, pubs are the best places to go and socialise, catch up on gossip and watch the match of the day on the TV, all while having a pint or two, or three, or so on….

Holidays are no different, as the number of people choosing All Inclusive (AI) hotels proves that even whilst abroad, people still want to have alcohol to end (or in some cases begin!) the day with.

In case you don’t know, AI means that free drinks, snacks and even ice cream are served throughout the day, not just at mealtimes. There are varying types of AI, which tell you exactly when they are served. While it is all day, most hotels do not allow free alcohol after midnight, so do check with your hotel before trying for an all night booze up!

To keep costs down, hotels don’t always give away popular drinks all the time, since they are fairly expensive to import. Instead they tend to use drinks that are either brewed locally or imported from nearby. Though it isn’t your normal pint at the pub, their own local flavours are worth trying.

Here is quick list of the different types and brands of local alcoholic drinks that you may get to sample at your hotel or resort. This doesn’t include the small shots you can get in every bar, since those are everywhere, but for the more sedate pace of drinking a can of beer, or glass of wine.

In Tenerife, they have a beer called Dorada which is exclusive to the island, and comes in three varieties, Dorada Pils (normal alcohol level), Dorada Pils (strong), and Dorada Sin (alcohol free). The neighbouring island of Gran Canaria has its own beer by the name of Tropical, and as the two islands are so close to each other, both beers can be found on either one.

The Canary Islands also have their own wine thanks to their climate, and asking for the house wine for a meal is not a bad choice at all. Red wine is more common here too, and may even be chilled, good for those boiling summer days!

Egypt, despite being a Muslim country, is fairly tolerant of foreigners drinking alcohol, and so they have a large selection available. The most common beer which can be found in almost every bar is known as Stella (yes, similar name, but this isn’t related to the Artois family). Two more varieties, Stella Export and then Stella Premium have higher alcohol levels. A European brand called Meister, licensed for and produced in Egypt is also available and Meistar Max, another type, has the highest alcohol level for beer in Egypt, good if you want a quick dizziness spell!

For the wine lover, there are some that try to capture the taste from the ancient Egyptian days, these include Omar Khayyam, Cru Des Ptolmees, Rubis D’Egypte and Abarkai. They’re called Giancils types of wines, so ask for one if you’re interested.

Greece is famous for Ouzo, highly alcohol with the taste of aniseed, thus giving licorice-haters less to drink. However there are other drinks too. For beer there is Mythos, the most famous out of all the brands, and is easy to find. Retsina is a white wine that can be served with a meal, however house wine does taste good on the whole.

Overall, a huge variety which should move you away from your current tipple of choice. You’re sure to get a hangover if you overdose on them too much, but then you can rely on your own methods to clear your head. The levels of alcohol vary so do check the amount before beginning another round at the bar. Be sure to follow the law with regards to drinking age, and drink responsibly. Ending up in a police cell or even a medical clinic overnight does not make for a good vacation!

So, happy holidays, cheers, and bottoms-up!

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