A vacation in Sharm El Sheikh is not just about the sea, the beach and lazy doing nothing. The curious traveler will not be bored here. Walk around the Old Town or look at the oriental bazaar full of colors and aromas, visit the monastery of St. Catherine or climb the legendary Mount Sinai, visit the Bedouins or ride camels across the desert, admire the colorful fish scurrying among the corals or listen to the chirping of birds in the mangrove thickets …
There is no doubt about what to do and what to see in Sharm el-Sheikh. Our guide will help you navigate in all this diversity and prepare for a journey that you will remember for a long time.
In 1989, Ras Mohammed National Park was opened 25 km from Sharm el-Sheikh. The purpose of its creation is to protect a chain of coral reefs from destruction, the longest of which stretches for as much as 9 kilometers.
The underwater world of these places is truly unique, it is no coincidence that even Jacques-Yves Cousteau himself admired them in his time, having seen many natural “pearls” in his life. A vivid snorkeling or diving experience in these waters is guaranteed.
As you dive, you can admire hundreds of species of coral, observe colorful fish, starfish, molluscs and other inhabitants of the deep sea. Of the surface objects located on the territory of the national park, the most interesting are mangroves – a real wonder for these places.
Address: Ras Mohammed, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt.
From afar, Tiran Island resembles the back of a whale that has risen from the depths of the sea to the surface. The rocky mountain, practically devoid of vegetation, is bordered by an impenetrable reef barrier along the perimeter. It is these reefs that attract tourists in the first place: people in the know assure that there is no need to look for a better place for diving.
The underwater world off the coast of Tirana is beautiful and rich: underwater rocks overgrown with thickets of colorful corals, motley fish scurrying back and forth, huge turtles and graceful dolphins, many shells, sponges and other marine life – thanks to the crystal clear water, you will clearly see all this fabulous painting.
Tourists are not allowed to land on the island itself, and there are two reasons for this: firstly, the observation base of the UN peacekeepers is located there, and secondly, since the time of the Israeli-Egyptian conflict, some parts of Tirana have still remained mined.
Address: Tirana, Saudi Arabia.
The old market, located in the southwestern part of Sharm el-Sheikh, is not really old: it appeared relatively recently, but architecturally it is really stylized as antiquity. There are small shops, large shopping centers, and open-air cafes where you can taste local cuisine.
In general, this is a typical oriental bazaar with a sea of fresh fruits, tea, spices, souvenirs and an amazing oriental flavor. Do not hesitate to bargain: here it is not just accepted, but also vital – prices are greatly inflated, and sometimes it is quite possible to buy a thing you like ten times cheaper than it was originally offered to you.
The advice to potential market visitors is simple: do not let the oriental flair spin your head, otherwise you will surely be deceived.
Address: Sharm El Sheikh Old Market, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt.
In the center of Sharm el-Sheikh, on the basement floor of the Genena City shopping center, in 2014 the first and so far the only large museum in the city, the Tutankhamun Museum, was opened. Here are copies of more than 100 items discovered during the excavation of the tomb of this pharaoh and now stored in the Egyptian National Museum of Cairo, including the golden mask of Tutankhamun and sarcophagi.
All replicas here are made very high quality, and only a specialist can distinguish them from the original. In short, to see the treasures of the tomb of one of the rulers of ancient Egypt, you do not need to go to the Cairo Museum. By the way, each exhibit has a sign with information in English, and, in addition, the museum has a English-speaking guide.
Address: King Tut Museum, Sharm Al Shiekh, Egypt.
Navamis is a complex of ancient stone structures, which are tombs in the form of wells, built of flat sandstone slabs. The diameter of each is from 3 to 6 meters, the height is 2-2.5 meters, and the doorway is always facing the sunset.
Inside such tombs, archaeologists have discovered the remains of people, the oldest of which are already about six thousand years old, as well as various jewelry, jewelry and tools. Who buried their dead here is still a mystery.
In fact, the word “Navamis” is not the name of a specific place: similar designs are found in different parts of the Sinai Desert. Alas, almost all of them today are in a dilapidated state, which is facilitated not only by time, but also by the barbaric attitude of tourists.
Nabq National Park
Located 35 kilometers north of Sharm el-Sheikh, Nabq National Park is officially listed as a Ras Mohammed reserve, but is perceived as a separate attraction. The inimitable landscapes and unique vegetation of these territories, which still remain practically untouched, have preserved their primitive appearance – this is what attracts tourists to this corner of the Sinai Peninsula.
The dense mangroves you see here are the northernmost massif of these trees in the world! In addition to them, 134 species of exotic plants grow on the territory of the park.
The fauna is not so diverse, but the chance to meet here foxes, gazelles, various reptiles, as well as a wide variety of birds is quite large. And once you get to the coast, you can watch turtles, squids and colorful tropical fish, of which there are abundance in the local shallow lagoons and bays.
Address: Nabq National Park, Egypt.
Ras Abu Galum Park
On the territory of the Ras Abu Galum National Park, which is near Dahab, you will find high mountains, narrow valleys, sand dunes, and a sea with coral reefs. A distinctive feature of these places is an unusual climate for Egypt, very reminiscent of the classic Mediterranean. Thanks to him, many rare plants grow around fresh water bodies, many of which can be found only in this amazing corner of the planet.
The reserve was opened relatively recently for free visits, but Bedouin “mini-hotels” have already appeared here for tourists looking for peace, quiet and exotic – without running water and electricity, with simple cane huts as bungalows.
Located in the Sharks Bay area, Soho Square is considered one of the most European places in Sharm el-Sheikh, but at the same time it has retained its oriental flavor. Perhaps that is why it is very popular among both city guests and local residents.
Elegant buildings with graceful facades, open terraces, a dancing fountain with beautiful illumination – this place seems to be created for those who like to take pictures. Spending time in Soho can be fun and interesting, and there is entertainment for both adults and children: 11 restaurants, 14 bars, several shops, a panoramic cinema “Culturama” and even a stage where performances are regularly held.
And what a real indoor skating rink is worth! It’s a real pleasure to go ice skating when the heat is 40 degrees outside the window!
Address: Soho Square, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt.
Are you a little fed up with Arabian wonders and want to return to a more familiar world for a while? Then you should take a walk along Il Mercato street. This is a real island of sunny Italy in the middle of Sharm el-Sheikh, albeit interspersed with oriental exoticism in the form of palms and camels. This street is not the longest, but it is very photogenic, especially romantic in the evening illumination of lanterns.
In addition to the usual Egyptian cafes and the unchanging McDonald’s and KFC, here you will find restaurants of Italian and Chinese cuisine, as well as wonderful beer bars with a completely European look. If you love shopping and during your stay in Sharm el-Sheikh managed to miss shopping with familiar labels and fixed prices, then you are also on Il Mercato.
The service, by the way, is very unobtrusive here: no one on the street calls out or invites you anywhere – after the Old City or Naama Bey, this area may seem like a real paradise. Another plus: Il Mercato is not as popular as the same Naama Bay, and therefore there are fewer tourists here, and prices for goods and services are lower. A great place to walk – friendly, comfortable, cozy!
Адрес: El Mashrabia Mall, Lezeih, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Египет.
El Mustafa Mosque
The El Mustafa Mosque, erected in 2006 in the remote, northern part of the city, is the largest and most beautiful in Sharm el Sheikh and its environs. The location for the construction was not chosen by chance: the location away from the tourist areas was supposed to avoid crowds of curious vacationers and thereby ensure the peace of the believers. However, tourists get here too: the mosque has long been included in the route of sightseeing tours around the city.
El-Mustafa is very popular and deservedly so: the place is really beautiful. The graceful structure of gray marble with a huge dome and two 26-meter minarets looks very solemn and visible from afar.
You will also have a chance to see the interior of the mosque, which is notable for ostentatious luxury and resembles a palace from an oriental fairy tale: tourists are not prohibited from entering, the main thing is not to forget about observing a strict dress code.
Address: Mustafa Mosque, Sharm Al Shiekh, Egypt.
Today, almost every coastal resort town has its own dolphinarium, and Sharm el-Sheikh is no exception. The local dolphinarium called “Dolphinella” relatively recently moved to a new spacious building, where both spectators and “artists” are comfortable.
The performances taking place here do not differ much from what can be seen in dolphinariums in other cities, both foreign and domestic: dolphins play ball, engage in synchronized swimming, perform complex acrobatic acts, draw … And, nevertheless, the demand does not fall: everyone a day hundreds of visitors come to Dolphinella to admire these smart and kind marine inhabitants and get positive emotions and vivid impressions.
Адрес: Dolphina sharm el sheikh, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Египет.
It was here, in the Naama Bay area, that the first hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh began to appear. It is not surprising that today this area is the most comfortable and interesting for tourists. Naama Bay is the heart of the resort, and therefore life is in full swing here around the clock.
First of all, Naama Bay attracts tourists, of course, with its beaches. There are almost no waves in the bay, and the entrance to the water is very shallow. In addition, the beaches of the bay are perhaps the only ones in Sharm el-Sheikh where you can ride a banana or a boat, fly over the water with a parachute, in a word, indulge in popular water activities.
The coast is just a stone’s throw from the central promenade with its shops, souvenir shops, cafes and entertainment centers. The downsides of this busy part of the city are intrusiveness from local establishments, an abundance of pickpockets and huge crowds of tourists.
Address: Naama Bay, Egypt.
Aqua Park City
There are several water parks in Sharm el-Sheikh, as in any self-respecting seaside resort town. One of them is Aqua Park City, which is part of a whole entertainment town. Once here, you will find 9 pools, including a wave, “lazy” river with an artificial current, a special canoe channel and, of course, slides. There are 32 of the latter in Aqua Park City.
There are also spirals, which are characterized by high speed and steep turns, and slides with free-fall areas, and dark closed pipes that give hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All of them are intended for true lovers of extreme sports. For those who are not ready for such tests, there are quieter options.
Of course, little visitors to the water park are also not deprived of attention: for them there are slides corresponding to their age, as well as a “paddling pool” where you can splash without fear.
Built in 2010, the Coptic Orthodox Church is considered by many to be one of the most architecturally interesting sights of Sharm el-Sheikh. Despite the fact that the temple is not inferior in size to the El Mustafa Mosque, this graceful snow-white structure seems to float in the air.
It looks especially impressive in the dark when the night illumination is turned on. The interior of the Coptic Church is no less magnificent: the interior walls are covered with rich mosaics and murals, which were worked on by two local artists.
The temple is open to all visitors, and don’t be scared by the presence of a checkpoint nearby, at which police officers are constantly on duty – this is just a forced precaution, protecting you from possible aggression from the Muslim population.
Address: Coptic Church, Al Maahad Al Dini, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt.
Papyrus is one of those things that in our minds are strongly associated with Egypt. It is no coincidence that it is papyrus products (but, alas, most often fakes) that tourists bring as a souvenir from a trip to this country. And the Museum of Papyrus in the Egyptian Sharm el-Sheikh did not appear by chance either. The initiator of its creation was Hasan Ragaba, an Egyptologist who has spent many years studying the secrets of this ancient material and the intricacies of its production technology.
In this small but very interesting museum, you will learn the history of the origin of papyrus, observe the recreated ancient technology of its production, see ancient relics with letters and, if you wish, you can buy a painting made on the real, and not on fake papyrus.
Address: Sharm Papyrus Museum, EL SOUK EL KADIM, SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt.
One of the most important archaeological sites of Egypt, the Serabit el-Khadim temple complex, is located an hour’s drive from Sharm el-Sheikh. There, in the rocky mountains, from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. there were mines in which turquoise was mined, which was used by the Egyptians to create decorative ornaments, make jewelry and obtain blue paint.
Around the 1600s BC. a temple was erected nearby, dedicated to the goddess Hathor, who was considered the patroness of turquoise. Alas, only ruins remain of this majestic structure today.
Serabit el-Khadim is also interesting for its numerous stone slabs, which have preserved amazing bas-reliefs and ancient inscriptions that “told” historians about the dynasties of the pharaohs who ruled at that time and about the life of working quarries.
Address: Approximately 53 km from the town of Abu Zenim.
Next, we will consider the places to which you can go while relaxing in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Monastery of St. Catherine
In the middle of the Sinai desert, at the foot of the mountain of the same name, the monastery of St. Catherine has been standing for nearly 1700 years. This is the world’s oldest continuously operating Christian monastery, the chronicle of which began back in 330, during the reign of Emperor Constantine.
Largely thanks to the patronage of the Prophet Mohammed, many Arab caliphs and Turkish sultans, Napoleon himself, as well as tsars and emperors, the monastery during its long history has never been destroyed or even simply plundered and therefore never closed.
The monastery has always been a place of traditional pilgrimage. Guests are welcome here today, regardless of their religion.
Visitors, who usually combine a visit here with climbing the Sinai, look with interest the strong 12-meter walls surrounding the complex, the impressive Basilica of the Transfiguration, numerous chapels, a garden, an old library and, of course, the main shrines of the monastery – the relics of the Holy Great Martyr Catherine and the famous The burning bush, in the flame of which God appeared to Moses.
Address: Monastery of Saint Catherine, Saint Catherine, Egypt.
Driving 150 km across a hot desert is not a pleasant experience. But many tourists venture on this journey in order to see a real miracle of nature, which amazes with its “lunar” landscapes and abundance of colors – the Colored Canyon.
This narrow gorge, formed several million years ago, is not called colorful for nothing: the rocks that appear before your eyes, thanks to the admixtures of iron oxide and manganese, really have a variety of shades – from white and silver to bright scarlet.
The length of the canyon is about 5 kilometers, the width varies from 1 to 10 meters, the height of the rocks rising from both sides reaches somewhere 25-30, and somewhere all 80 meters. It is very interesting to wander here, admiring the rich palette and bizarre forms of miraculous sculptures – for a while, you will even forget about the sweltering heat.
Address: Colored Canyon, Nuweiba, Egypt.
Mount Sinai is one of the ten most visited tourist sites in Egypt. Such popularity of the mountain is due to the fact that it is a sacred place for representatives of three world religions at once. According to legend, this is the very peak on which Moses, during the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, received from God the stone tablets with the 10 commandments inscribed on them.
The conquest of Sinai is a long-standing, still biblical tradition, and today thousands of pilgrims come here to climb the mountain, among whom there are not only Christians, Jews and Muslims, but also non-believers.
There are two ways to get to the top, located at an altitude of 2285 meters above sea level: by making a rather difficult climb up a steep staircase, numbering more than 3700 steps, which pilgrims call the “Staircase of Repentance”, or slowly moving along the so-called “Camel Trail” – mountain serpentine with a small angle of ascent.
It is customary to ascend at night in order to have time to meet the dawn at the top, which, according to legend, will grant you absolution. With the first rays of the sun, an amazing landscape will open before you – this fantastic feeling is worth experiencing for everyone at least once in a lifetime.
Address: Mount Sinai, Saint Catherine, Egypt.