Sharm el-Sheikh: The sites, places and trips not to be missed – Egypt

Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, has been a tourist attraction for years from all over the world and especially from Europe. Israeli tourists, on the other hand, have not flooded the city en masse since the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai (then the city was much less touristically developed and included only one hotel and one hostel), because Sharm el-Sheikh is about 200 km from the Taba border crossing and most Israelis Prefer to be located closer to Eilat – in Taba, Nuweiba or Dahab.

These days, with the opening of a direct flight line from Ben Gurion Airport to Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, along with the reduction of the level of threat in southern Sinai, this is changing, and Israelis plan to arrive in Sharm en masse. Much has changed in the city since the 1980s – from its fishing village it has become a western resort town with huge resorts, glittering skyscrapers, shopping malls, casinos and plenty of attractions for the whole family. Those who want the Sinai of the senses will continue to reach Dahab and Nuweiba, but those who want a pampering back-to-back vacation full of attractions, combined with desert hikes, stunning beaches and some of the most spectacular dive sites in the world, will happily embrace Sharm.

Another travel guide to Sinai here

Introduction to Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh is divided into three main areas:

Old Town area (Al Dhaba) and Ras Umm Sid The Ras Umm Sid area is a peninsula with a beautiful strip of coastline where the El Daba neighborhood where the old city is located is also located. In this area are the Charm Market, the Al Sabha Mosque and also plenty of popular restaurants and cheap hotels.

Naama Bay – This area, where some of the most beautiful beaches in Sinai are located, connected by a long promenade, is the central area and is very touristy and includes hotels, restaurants, bars cafes and branches of fast food chains like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Hard Rock Cafe. Along the promenade there are diving clubs, water sports centers, positions from which tours depart, etc. Here too you can find hotels at reasonable prices. Naama Bay also has a pedestrian zone with restaurants, bars and shops.

A beach in Naama Bay

Shark Bay – In this area are some of the best diving sites in Sharm, and here are also the most prestigious and luxurious resorts. The beaches in Shark Bay are great and most of them can be snorkeled near the beach. In addition, in this area is the Soho Square entertainment complex.

What to do and see in Sharm el-Sheikh?

Excursions

Ras Muhammad National Park

This national park is located on a dry land in an area of ​​480 km2 in the southernmost point of Sinai, and offers beautiful beaches with lots of options for snorkeling directly from the beach, spectacular coral reefs, sand dunes, mangrove forest and saltwater lake, in other words – a paradise for nature lovers. The most beautiful in the park is Old Quay beach, whose spectacular coral reef is a few meters from the beach, and at the southern end of the park is the Shark Observatory – a fossil mound with a spectacular view of the Red Sea.

View in Ras Muhammad National Park

View in Ras Muhammad National Park

Struggling Reserve
About twenty km north of Naama Bay is the Nabek Reserve, which is home to the northernmost mangrove forest in the world, along with sand dunes and secluded beaches. You can see many species of birds and other animals such as chamois and deer. The Egyptian, and the reserve is a great area for snorkeling, with the option to watch a rich underwater world right near the shore.

Santa Catarina Monastery and Jabal Musa

One of the most fascinating excursions in the Sharm area (exit from the road to Dahab), is the excursion to Santa Catarina Monastery about 209 km northwest of the city. The Greek Orthodox Christian monastery is located at the foot of Jabal Musa, is Mount Sinai, and is one of the oldest active monasteries in the world And has even been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to Christian tradition, the body of St. Catherine, who was tortured and beheaded, was carried on the wings of angels to Mount Sinai. The monastery library contains the second largest collection in the world of valuable manuscripts and codices as well as a collection of about two thousand works of art. All around there are orchards with fruit trees, ponds and springs. Many companies offer organized tours from Sharm to the monastery and its surroundings.

The monastery, as mentioned, is located at the foot of or Jabal Musa, so it is highly recommended to combine the two. From the monastery comes a staircase with about 3,000 steps hewn in the rock that climbs to the top of the mountain, at an altitude of 2,285 meters. From the top of the mountain there is a breathtaking view of the area, and it is especially beautiful at sunrise. Many companies take sunrise trips from Sharm el-Sheikh to Jabal Musa.
The Santa area is called the “High Mountain” and has many spectacular treks (local guide required).

Santa Catarina Monastery, at the foot of Jabal Musa

Santa Catarina Monastery, at the foot of Jabal Musa

Diving and snorkeling sites

Diving is the main activity in Sharm el-Sheikh, thanks to the warm and clear water, the colorful coral reefs and the rich underwater world. In addition to diving, many beaches in Sharm el-Sheikh allow snorkeling, which is probably the easiest and most convenient way to experience the richness and diversity of the underwater world in Sharm. The reefs of Ras Muhammad and the Straits of Tiran are some of the best dive sites in the world, and can be reached by a two-hour cruise from Sharm el-Sheikh. In Ras Muhammad, thanks to the extremely high concentrations of plankton, one can see lots of fish, especially flocks of barracudas and sharks. Here are some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the Sharm el-Sheikh area:

The shipwreck Tislegram
One of the most fascinating dive sites in Sharm and one of the most fascinating shipwreck sites in the world is the site of the shipwreck Thistlegorm. It is a British cargo ship that was on its way to Alexandria to supply supplies to the British army, including trucks, motorcycles, railway locomotives and more, but was sunk by a German plane in World War II. All of this supply can be discerned during a dive on the spot, as well as in the coral colonies that have developed around and aboard the ship. The site is located at a depth of 30-17 meters and is suitable for experienced divers.

Motorcycles on the wrecked ship Tislgrom, one of the most fascinating diving sites in Sharm el-Sheikh

Motorcycles on the wrecked ship Tislgrom, one of the most fascinating diving sites in Sharm el-Sheikh

Yolanda

One of the best dive sites in Rosh Muhammad National Park is the Yolanda Coral Reef. The reef got its name from a Cypriot cargo ship that carried a load of porcelain to bathrooms and ran aground on the reef in 1980. The shipwreck is of course the main attraction of the reef, but the scenery, of a colorful coral reef with steep walls, is no less impressive. Among other things, you will meet sea turtles, eels and barracks here.

Riff Jackson

Another popular dive site is the Reef Jackson in the Straits of Tiran. It is the northernmost coral reef in the Straits of Tiran. It is characterized by soft and hard coral gardens and is considered one of the best sites for viewing a pitcher-jaw hammer (also known as a hammerhead shark) and mint. Here, too, one can be impressed by the remains of a ship that ran aground – the ship Lara that sank in 1981.

Riff Thomas
One of the smallest but most spectacular coral reefs in the Straits of Tiran, with steep coral walls, large flocks of fish and even sharks. The depth of the site can reach more than 40 meters and diving in it is suitable for experienced divers.

Ras Um Sid
Right at the southern end of the old town, near the lighthouse, is one of the best snorkelling sites in Sharm. At a really short distance from the shore, in a location that is accessible even to those who do not dive, there is a beautiful coral reef around which you can see a large variety of reef fish. A little further from the shore is the Ras Ummid dive site which is especially suitable for beginner divers.

An underwater world rich in Ras Muhammad

An underwater world rich in Ras Muhammad

attractions

Water parks
Many hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh offer their guests a water park. Even if you are not staying in such a hotel, there are some water parks (some of which belong to hotels) that open their gates to the general public. The largest water park in Sharm and Egypt is the park of another water park hotel, the largest in Sharm and Egypt, is the AQUA BLU SHARM in the Albatros Hotel with eight swimming pools, three children’s pools and 64 slides and water facilities. Another successful park is Cleo, designed in the style of ancient Egypt and offering water slides, a wave pool, a tubing track and a children’s area.

A water park in Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the popular activities among families  Lazy_Bear, Shatterstock

A water park in Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the popular activities among families Lazy_Bear, Shatterstock

Sailing in a glass boat

Boating with a transparent bottom is very common in Sharm and allows even those who do not dive to enjoy the rich underwater world of Sharm el-Sheikh. Many boats leave Naama Bay. In some of them you can also do snorkeling. One of the most successful options is the Royal Seascope, a submarine-like ship whose bottom is submerged in water and transparent on all sides and also on the bottom. site: https://www.egyptsunmarine.com/royal-sea-scope

carting

One of the most exciting attractions for families in Sharm el-Sheikh is the karting track. In Naama Bay you will find the karting track Ghibli Raceway. The complex has four karting tracks, the longest of which is 859 meters and this is the track where many national competitions are held in Egypt. The length of the shortest route is 229 meters and is intended for ages 7 and up who are 1.50 and older.

The entertainment complex Soho Square

This compound Packed with attractions throughout the restaurant alongside restaurants, bars and shops. The complex has a musical fountain, an ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a three-dimensional cinema where a high-impact film about the history of Egypt, a mini amusement park, a gymboree, video games and more are screened. The complex also has a large selection of world cuisine restaurants, including an Indian restaurant, a Thai restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, Japanese restaurants, a French bistro and a meat restaurant. The bars in the complex include a British pub and an ice bar where everything is made of ice, including the walls, furniture and even glasses.

The fountains dancing in the Soho Square entertainment complex Photo: Soho A Studio, Shatterstock

The fountains dancing in the Soho Square entertainment complex Photo: Soho A Studio, Shatterstock

Evening watching the stars

There are several comedy companies that run stargazing tours. This is not an astronomical tour, as one might think, but rather tours that include a camel ride, a Bedouin-style dinner, a show (usually belly dancing), and powerful telescopes through which one can observe the starry sky.

Sharm el-Sheikh Museum

A bit surprising, but in Sharm el-Sheikh there are some interesting museums for those who want to diversify the sea-pool-diving routine a bit. One of them is Sharm el-Sheikh Museum Whose construction was completed in 2017. This is a fascinating and huge museum dedicated to the history of Sharm and Egypt and in general from the ancient replica to the present day, with animal mummies, coffins, a collection of papyruses, perfumes and other gems that will delight any lover of history and archeology.

The old market of Sharm

The ethnic market is a great place to stock up on souvenirs – Arabian lamps, hookahs, wood and leather works, etc. It is also the place to eat authentic Egyptian food (unlike the resorts of the resorts that offer international cuisine). The market is full of cheap local cafes and restaurants as well as street food stalls.

Al Saaba Mosque
Adjacent to the Old City Market is the huge El Saaba Mosque that covers an area of ​​more than 3,000 square meters. This mosque is an architectural marvel that seems to have been taken from the tales of A Thousand and One Nights. The cost of erecting the mosque is estimated at about 30 million Egyptian pounds.

Al Saaba Mosque.  As if taken from the tales of a thousand and one nights

Al Saaba Mosque. As if taken from the tales of a thousand and one nights

Where to sleep?

Sharm is full of luxurious and especially luxurious hotels, where you can enjoy a particularly pampering vacation at significantly cheaper prices than Eilat prices. The most luxurious and famous hotel is Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh Nestled on a beautiful, palm-fringed private strip of beach that is about a mile long in the Shark Bay area. The hotel has spacious rooms, suites and Arabian-style villas, a diving center, several restaurants and bars, five pools, a spa, tennis and squash courts and a kids club.

Albatros Aqua Park Sharm It is a particularly family-friendly five-star hotel, thanks to its huge water park, with 24 pools, 59 water slides and 35 water amusements. The hotel also has sports courts, mini golf, a playground and a kids’ club, as well as four restaurants and several bars. Accommodation at the place is on an all-inclusive basis.

If you want to get to Sharm mainly for diving and nature, you will find some cheap, simple and good hotels, especially in the Naama Bay area. One of them is Oonas Dive Club Hotel Three-star hotel with air-conditioned rooms with views of Naama Bay, a restaurant and bar and a diving club.


Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.

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