This beach town on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula was the top trending destination on Pinterest between October and December last year, a spokeswoman told HuffPost. The site recently analyzed pin counts and words in captions to try to determine what sites are of apparent interest to travelers in 2017.
“Sharm,” as it’s often called, is a cluster of resorts popular for its immediate access to some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling. The area has more than 150 pool-studded hotels overlooking the dazzlingly blue Red Sea.
Sharm was virtually empty until the mid-’80s, when Egypt obtained control of the former trading port from Israel, as Frommer’s notes. Visitors soon flocked to its reefs, which boast exotic fish, barracuda, sharks and eels. Popular dive trips include nearby Ras Mohamed National Park or an hour-long boat ride to Tiran Island, which has stunning beaches.
Back on the mainland, visitors might lounge by the pool or tour the local mosque, cathedral and Coptic church. Dining is nice at rooftop bars with fluffy floor pillows and lanterns, or visitors can go for a candlelit Indian feast with sunset views of Sharm’s craggy mountains.
Although the U.S. State Department discourages travel to many other parts of Egypt, it notes the Egyptian government maintains a strong security presence at major tourist sites and resort towns and allows its own diplomatic staff to visit Sharm.
Still, the spot hasn’t been entirely untouched by turmoil. In 2015, a Russian passenger jet leaving Sharm crashed in what was likely a terrorist attack. U.K. and some other European airlines cancelled flights there, resulting in very empty resorts the following summer. However, some U.K. companies have tentatively booked trips for this year in hopes their government allows flights to resume soon, and if there’s a silver lining to the resulting tourism drop, Lonely Planet reports good deals abound for those who arrive on other carriers.
If you go, know the State Dept. recommends flying straight into Sharm, as many areas of Egypt that lie beyond the resort are under travel warning. And prepare for a long journey: U.S. airlines don’t fly directly to Sharm, and most flight routes include stops in Frankfurt, Istanbul or Cairo on the way.