Excellent beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and some of the best dive spots in the world, Sharm El Sheikh may just be the perfect beach vacation destination. Plus, its prime location at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula and its proximity to the desert give the city an air of mystery and romance.
Also known as the City of Peace due to the many international peace talks that have been held here, Sharm El Sheikh is perfect for a relaxing getaway or a fun-filled adventure. Sunbathe and swim at the beach, explore the Old Town, or visit the region's famous historical sites.
Less than half a century ago, Sharm El Sheikh was a small Bedouin village. Today, it's a world-famous resort that appeals to all ages. Whether you're 8, 18, or 80, there are lots of great reasons to take a closer look at Sharm El Sheikh.
The Ras Mohammed and Tiran Island reefs are renowned, and you can expect to encounter huge schools of moray, shark, or barracuda on any given day. Take a diving safari to reach less well-known reefs, explore the Blue Hole, or try one of the best wreck dive sites in the world, the SS Thistlegorm.
Book a guided trek and discover the magical Sinai desert by camel. Both day and night excursions are available and most include a traditional Bedouin meal cooked over an open fire or the chance to climb Mount Matamir or trek to the ancient Nawamis tombs.
Take a day tour from Sharm El Sheikh to Saint Catherine's Monastery, which was carved from the rock at the base of Mount Sinai between 548 and 565 AD. It's one of the world's oldest Christian monasteries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mount Sinai is considered a sacred site in its own right and believed to be where Moses was given the 10 commandments.
Year-round sunshine, clean, sandy beaches, and the clear waters of the Red Sea. Na'ama Bay is the city's tourist hub, and you can relax and top up your tan, try some of the beach activities available, or linger over a cool drink at one of the many cafes and restaurants nearby.
Spend the day at Ghibli Raceway and you'll feel like a Formula One driver. Ghibli is just one of four A Grade-licensed go karting tracks in the world, and it's suitable for kids as well as adults. All equipment is provided and you can choose from four different routes ranging from 750 to 2,808 feet in length. Family and friends can watch from the Lounge Zone.
Temperatures in Sharm El Sheikh can reach 92 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest months of June, July, and August. Go from April to May and September to October when the heat is less intense and it's not as busy at the Ras Mohammed National Park, Ras Um Sid, and Tiran Island diving sites. Winter, from November to April is considered the best time to plan a stay in Sharm El Sheikh. It's warm and sunny and average temperatures of 72 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for outdoor activities like camel riding and desert excursions.
The city is served by Sharm El Sheikh International Airport (SSH), which is 11 miles northeast of the city. Many of the city's leading hotels offer shuttle buses from the airport. Taxis are also available and the fare from the airport to Nabq is E£150-400.
A boat service operated by International Fast Ferries carries passengers to Sharm El Sheikh from Hurghada four times a week. Tickets cost E£250 (one way) and E£450 (return).
The city can be reached easily by car. Drive down the western coast of the Sinai Peninsula if you're coming from Cairo or down the east coast from Eilat in Israel or Nuweiba and Dahab in Egypt.
East Delta Travel Company buses from Cairo and Superjet buses from Dahab and Nuweiba arrive at the Sharm El Sheikh bus station, which is 0.62 miles from the Peace Road. The fare from Cairo is E£80. Once you arrive at the bus station, you'll be able to catch a taxi to your hotel.
There are lots of affordable hotels in Sharm El Sheikh for family vacations or trips with friends such as the Iberotel Palace, Hotel Novotel Sharm El Sheikh, and the Kahramana Hotel. For something a little more luxurious try the Sharm Grand Plaza Resort, the Stella Di Mare Beach Hotel & Spa, or the Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh.
Sharm El Maya - Sharm El Maya, also known as the Old Town, is the downtown district. It's where you'll find the marina, the port, and the Old Market, where you can buy souvenirs, crafts, and even snorkeling gear.
Na'ama Bay - just 3 miles up the coast from Sharm El Maya, Na'ama Bay is the city's glittering tourist hub. Known for its beautiful beach, the neighborhood also boasts some of the best hotels, nightlife venues, and restaurants.
Shark's Bay - the Shark's Bay area is 4.9 miles north of Na'ama Bay and is known for its many resort hotels and the beautiful beach with views of Tiran Island.
You'll see blue and white minibuses taking locals to destinations all over the city but it's against the law for them to carry tourists. If you're traveling with a group you may want to rent your own private minibus. Prices start from E£597 per day.
Taxis are a convenient way of getting around the city, if somewhat expensive. Many drivers won't use a meter so be sure to agree on a price before boarding. A typical 5-mile trip is E£65-80.
Sharm El Sheik stretches from the Old Town to Shark's Bay and beyond. Rent a car from leading providers like Hertz and Sixt for E£128 per day and see the city at your own pace.
Buy leather goods at 50 percent less than US prices in the city's markets or visit malls like SOHO Square Sharm El Sheikh and Il Mercato for your favorite brands and designers. Try specialist stores like Beyond Limits on the upper floor of the Na'ama Center or Sharm Scuba Service at Shark's Bay for diving gear and equipment.
Stock up on food and essentials in local supermarkets like Carrefour, 24/7, and Metro. Prices are E£19 for 12 large eggs and E£13 for a quart of milk. Be sure to pack sunscreen before leaving home as it can be expensive to buy in Sharm El Sheikh.
Try Egyptian barbecue dishes like kofta, kebab, and stuffed duck at El Masrien Grill (Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh), or dine on tasty Middle Eastern cuisine at Beirut Bay Restaurant in Na'ama Bay. Alternatively, book a table at the Reef Grill at the Four Seasons Resort for the best in al fresco dining. You'll pay from E£175 for a simple meal to E£396 for dinner in an upmarket restaurant.