The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

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360 Guide to Getting Out of Town for the Eid Holiday

360 Guide to Getting Out of Town for the Eid Holiday
    written by
    Cairo 360

    As the month of Ramadan draws to a close, there’s only one
    thing to talk about: where will you be spending Eid this year? While many of us
    are already packing up their cars to head to the Mediterranean coast for a long
    weekend of reveling in Sahel, (see our
    expert Sahel guide
    for everything you need to know about making the most of
    the North Coast), we’ve come up with a few suggestions for all you last minute
    Eid-holiday planners.

    El Gouna For a few years now, El Gouna has skyrocketed
    in popularity, with rapid real estate growth and vacationing appeal. A good
    percentage of Cairo’s
    population is heading to El Gouna for the Eid weekend, so expect some serious
    crowds on the scenic beaches. If you’re looking for the party, head to Abu
    Tig Marina
    where Moods,
    and C provide open air nightspots to kick off a festive
    beach-side evening that lasts far into the night. No trip to El Gouna would be
    complete without a meal at Chez Chantal, which serves excellent Belgian
    food. For more tips on where to stay,
    what to see and how to have fun, check out Cairo
    360’s guide to El Gouna
    . This weekend, internationalist electro trance vocalist JES performs a show as part of her High Glow tour on Friday; find out
    how you can win
    yourself some tickets
    with Cairo 360’s latest competition. The concert takes place in Mangroovy Beach ,
    which is best known for its excellent kitesurfing and beach-side parties.

    This hotspot is no secret getaway; we Cairenes have been flocking here for
    years in search of a little fun in the sun, some rousing beach-side nightlifeand a chance to let loose outside of the city limits. For a special Eid
    event, we’re lucky to have Hed Kandi Beach
    set up for the weekend at The Hurghada
    Marina. This ‘weekend of stylish partying’ promises fun
    music and more for all of our Hurghada party-goers. In another must-see event, catch Ministry of Sound
    Presents the EID Festival
    , featuring three days of international DJs and
    plenty of beach party spirit to boot. For a detailed list of everything from wind surfing to desert safaris to
    memorable night reveling, see Cairo
    360’s guide to Hurghada
    , or check out the official Hurghada
    .To get there, hop on a plane for short ride (Egypt
    Air provides regular flights) or make the five hour drive from Cairo; just remember that
    accommodation and flights are pricey during the peak tourist season.

    Ras Sidr For something a little off the beaten path in
    terms of Eid destinations, this provides some serious peace and quiet – be
    prepared for beach solitude for the most part. Wind surfing, jet-skiing and
    other water sports are on offer here, at comparatively low prices. Moon Beach is one of the oldest beaches
    in the area, and a favourite amongst expats who return seasonally to vacation
    here. As the only bar around, Surf Club turns into small but ideal open
    air nightspot once the sun goes down. Located along Sinai’s western-facing
    coast, this resort provides a welcome balance between pristine natural beauty
    and sporty adventure. Nearby Green Sidr offers reputable kite surfing while La Hacienda offers
    unbeatable rates at 200LE per night, breakfast included. It usually takes under
    three hours to travel there from Cairo
    by car, making this a relatively hassle-free and refreshing getaway.

    Dahab This well-known beach town is often described as
    a more affordable party destination than Sharm El Sheikh; meaning it boasts a
    pretty hefty nightlife scene, despite its small size. Located seven to
    nine hours outside of Cairo
    by car or bus, the resort consists of one street, boardwalk-style, filled with
    little eateris and cafes and bedouin souvenir shops. Note that Dahab’s
    touristic reputation precedes it, so be prepared to receive a lot of attention
    from hecklers, vendors, and venue-owners along the street. Dahab is well known
    for its excellent diving; check out the legendary Blue Hole for one of Egypt ’s prime
    diving spots about ten minutes outside of Dahab. For accommodations, we
    recommend Green Valley
    Penguin Village, Jasmine Pension and Restaurant, Bishbishi Gardem
    and Neptune Dahab.

    Nuweiba This peaceful borderland is arguably one of the
    most beautiful locations in Egypt
    and is known for its excellent snorkeling and peaceful atmosphere. Note that
    while it’s a peaceful, no-hassle escape, it is severely popular as an Eid
    vacation, so if you haven’t booked yourself a straw hut on one of the popular beaches,
    good luck! We suggest you get an early start and drive up and down the coast in
    the hopes that there will be a few spots left; but bring your camping gear just
    in case, as you may have to set up camp on a beach for your serene getaway. Castle Zaman
    is located between Taba and Nuweiba and although reserving space can
    sometimes be difficult, it is a must-see as the only slow-cook restaurant in
    the Middle East. The kitchen serves up a delicious
    leg of beef, rack of lamb and a variety of other dishes, but make sure you
    order your food a day in advance, because your meal takes about ten hours to
    cook. If you’re lucky enough to find a
    same day reservation, then don’t worry, they can still prepare fish dishes,
    although you will not have experienced what is certainly one of the best
    restaurant experiences in Egypt. If
    adventure is more your thing, take a day trip to the Colored Canyon and Ain
    Khudr Oasis
    , or brave the heat for a trek through Abu Galum National
    . A 4×4 and bedoiun guide can be arranged at any one of the beaches on
    the coast, and will set you back about 1000L.E. at most.  

    Ain Sokhna As the closest Red Sea beach to Cairo, Ain
    Sokhna is a prime destination for those who can only get away for a day or two
    during the Eid vacation. Only an hour or so drive from the Capital, the beaches
    will most likely be absolutely packed this Eid weekend. While there are a range
    of hotels to choose from, the most popular choices are Stella Di Mare Grand
    Hotel, Movenpick Resort, and Horizon El Wadi Hotel Ain Sokhna. Prices for a
    night’s lodging range from 1000LE up to a few thousand. For a unique hotel
    experience, try Sokhna’s debut boutique hotel Jaz Little Venice Golf Resort Ain
    Sokhna; just remember luxury comes at a price. For more hotel info, see our guide to
    Ain Sokhna.
    Whether you’re making the hour drive for a day trip or for a
    few nights, we suggest you hit the beaches early to guarantee a spot for you and your towel, and remember that permits for most private beaches are only given to
    property holders in the Sokhna area.  

    Sharm El Sheikh We might roll our eyes at all the hype,
    but we can’t deny that a good time is to be had in Sharm, if we do it right.
    This party capital is teaming with Europeans for most of the year; but during
    Eid expect to see plenty of Cairenes enjoying themselves at Le Pasha, Little
    and Hard Rock Café. Prices are steep, beaches are packed
    (it’s best to stay in a hotel with either a private beach or spacious swimming
    pools) and if you’re looking for a lively night out, the partying never stops.
    You’ll be hard pressed to find a boutique vacation experience here; but all the
    top tier hotel brands are on offer, from Sofitel to Intercontinental to the
    Marriott. Head to Terazzina Beach for sea and sun before trying Camel Bar inside
    Camel Dive Club and Hotel in Namaa
    Bay . For some decent
    tandoori, the Camel Dive Club’s Indian restaurant offers some hearty post-beach cuisine, while El
    Fanar restaurant (creatively named after the adjacent lighthouse) serves up an
    Italian menu. The food, much like any holiday experience spent in crowded, lit
    up Sharm El Sheikh is generally good, but can be a bit hit or miss. So go big,
    splash out, and don’t forget you’re glitzed-out beach attire.

    Whatever your plans for the coming Eid, drive safely as
    highways can be treacherous this time of year, and make sure you have as much
    fun as we plan to.