Located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking both the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez, Sharm El Sheikh is one of Egypt’s tourist gems.
A tiny fishing village until well into the 1960s, Sharm El Sheikh’s potential was quickly recognised by the Israelis after the conclusion of the Six-Day War in 1967. The first tourist developments in the area were centred around Naama Bay and included hotels, a promenade and diving clubs. Development continued after Sinai was returned to Egypt in 1982 and laws were put in place to limit the impact of construction on the natural beauty of the area.
Since then, Sharm El Sheikh has grown into one of Egypt’s most popular tourist destinations, with visitors flocking from all over the world to enjoy the dramatic landscape, the clear, calm waters that lap against long stretches of golden sandy beaches and spectacular coral reefs located just off the coast.
With the rest of the Sinai Peninsula so close to hand, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the desert, either by camel or on speedy quad bikes. Private tours to Cairo and the pyramids of Luxor and the Valley of Kings are also available, allowing you to enjoy some of Egypt’s most historic sites as part of your Sharm El Sheikh holiday.
The waters off the Sharm El Sheikh coast are home to beautiful coral reefs positively with a stunning array of marine life. The reefs off Sharm have singlehandedly given the Red Sea its reputation as one of the world’s top diving destinations and excursions are available for divers of all skill levels. Both scuba-diving and snorkelling are offered and participants are welcome to bring their own equipment or rent locally. Those who would prefer not to get their feet wet can view the reef from the comfort of one of the regular glass-bottomed boat tours that depart from Sharm instead.
Tour the Desert
The Sinai Desert is steeped in historical and religious significance for billions of people around the world and is the setting for many stories from the Bible. It is also home to many spectacular sites including St Catherine’s Monastery, the world’s oldest working Christian monastery, and the Coloured Canyon. Visitors to Sharm El Sheikh can explore the desert by quad bike or even hop on the back of a camel for a Bedouin safari.
See the Pyramids and Beyond
Egypt is, of course, the home of the pyramids and holidays in Sharm El Sheikh are an excellent opportunity to take a tour to visit these historic landmarks. Day visits from Sharm include a flight to Cairo with guided tours of the Great Pyramids, the enigmatic Sphinx and the city’s Egyptian Museum, which holds Tutankhamun’s coffin and death mask. Other tours take in Luxor, the Valley of Kings and the spectacular Karnak Temple.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday, a vacation steeped in history and culture or a high-octane adventure trip offering activities from diving to quad biking, Sharm el Sheikh has something to offer everyone.
Written and contributed by @laurengthomas
Photos by WomEOS.