Sharm el Sheikh , Egypt
Originally a little fishing village, Sharm el-Sheikh has developed into a very popular tourist resort. Sunny weather, a plethora of charter flights, world famous scuba-diving sites, plus luxurious five-star hotels, shopping and entertainment make it one of the most important tourist resorts in the Red Sea.
Sharm el-Sheikh attracts scuba-divers from all around the world as well as package holidaymakers from Europe, including families and young partygoers.
Sharm el-Sheikh is located in the Sinai Peninsula, on the coastal strip between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai in Egypt.
Sharm el-Sheikh is on a promontory overlooking the Strait of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. Surrounded by desert and reddish mountains, Sharm el-Sheikh consists of three main areas – the old town Sharm el-Maya (Moya) and its bay, a number of other bays where most of the tourist facilities are located and El Hadaba, where there are holiday villas, apartments, condos and a few hotels.
Sharm el-Sheikh has two main seasons, both of which remain dry. The winter months are between November and March when the daily temperature is still a warm average of 20°C. During the summer months of April to October the area is hot and humid but still bearable for holidaymakers, however in August the heat can often soar to an uncomfortable 40°C.
Diving in the Red Sea
Long stretches of natural sand and pebbles beaches are surrounded by a dramatic landscape. The waters around Sharm are clear and calm for most of the year. Coral reefs and marine life offer an amazing experience for divers. Other popular watersports include windsurfing, parasailing, boating and canoeing.
Away from the beach
Ras Mohammed Marine National Park, at the tip of Sinai, southwest of Sharm el-Sheikh, is considered as one of the best dive regions in the world. Also famous for its diving sites, the Strait of Tiran is only a few kilometres north of Sharm el-Sheikh. The strait separates Tiran Island from the east coast of Sinai and the main attractions are four coral reefs in the middle of the channel. Inland attractions around Sharm el-Sheikh include casinos, golf courses and spas.
Sharm is a very family-orientated resort. Most major hotels have swimming pools, themed parks, tennis courts, a multitude of sports facilities, health clubs, diving centres, entertainment programmes and kids clubs. Horse and camel riding and desert safaris are also popular choices for day trips.
The colourful Bedouin handicraft stands are always popular with tourists. The main shopping draws are gold and silver jewellery and semi-precious stones from Na’ama Bay or the Old Market. Spices, glass perfume bottles, slippers, leather bags, Bedouin embroidery and Turkish delights are also popular. Good buys include Egyptian cotton bed linen and beach towels. The Old Market is great for holiday bargains and cheaper than Na’ama Bay.
The Camel Bar
Na’ama Bay is the centre of nightlife, with most of Sharm’s clubs, cafes, restaurants and shops found here. Popular venues include Camel Bar (a popular hangout for divers), The Tavern (popular amongst Brits), Pirate’s Bar, Little Buddha (the sister venue of the Buddha-bar Paris) and the MovenPick Beach. Clubs such as The Bus Stop and the world-renowned Pacha throw parties almost every night of the year.
Seafood is widely available, as well as Arabian cuisine and a selection of western options (mainly Italian). Most hotels have waterside grills offering the catch of the day as well as air-conditioned indoor restaurants catering for all tastes.For those who want to venture outside their hotel, Na’ama Bay has many restaurants next to bars and clubs.
Saint Catherine's Monastery
Exploring further afield
A visit to the desert is highly recommended. Hotels offer various trips to the rugged, red rock mountains and barren desert of the interior. The most visited spot is the Coloured Canyon, named for the layers of brightly-coloured stone along the deep canyon walls. Saint Catherine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai are other popular destinations, only a three-hour drive away. Mount Sinai is said to be the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. The mountain is home to the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St Catherine, founded in the sixth century. Climbing the mountain on foot or by camel is the main objective for most visitors, but it’s worth spending a couple of hours admiring the monastery’s treasures.