Things to Do in Sharm el Sheikh
Set beneath a mountain many believe to be the Biblical Mt. Sinai, St. Catherine’s Monastery has a heritage dating back to the fourth century AD and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Still a working monastery, St. Catherine’s has defensive walls that house chapels, a library museum, and what is claimed to be a descendant of the Biblical burning bush.
On the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Ras Mohammed National Park is home to Sharm el Sheikh’s best diving, notably Shark Reef, Yolanda Reef, and Jackfish Alley. Besides the pristine coral that awaits offshore, the land delivers empty beaches, rugged cliffs, and desert, plus mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and diverse birdlife.
Mt. Sinai rises a lofty 7,497 feet (2,285 meters) above sea level and is an important religious pilgrimage site, where the prophet Moses is said to have received the 10 Commandments directly from God. Visit the site’s ancient monastery or hike to the summit for panoramic views of Egypt’s mountainous Sinai Peninsula.
Just 4 miles (6 kilometers) off the Sinai coast, Tiran Island technically belongs to Saudi Arabia—yet its waters are part of Egypt’s Ras Mohammed National Park. The challenging diving around the Straits of Tiran is some of Egypt’s best, while the island is a mecca for snorkelers who appreciate its crystal waters and unspoiled coral reef.
The focus of the Sharm el Sheikh resort action is Na’ama Bay, a collection of glittering seaside resorts fronting the water.
Stroll the beachfront promenade lined with restaurants and hotels, or organize a camel or horse ride to the desert Bedouin villages.
Na’ama Bay’s clubs party hard from midnight to dawn, and cafes overlooking the water are an atmospheric setting to try a sheesha water pipe.
Of course, Na’ama Bay’s other raison d’être is as a jumping-off point to hit that crystal-clear water, filled with fluttering fish, lying offshore in Ras Mohamed National Park.
Hollywood Sharm el Sheikh brings the Hollywood movie experience to the Sinai Peninsula. This dining and entertainment zone features an animatronic dinosaur park, 7D cinema, musical fountains and statues of international celebrities scattered throughout. Regular live entertainment might involve folk music, belly dancing or living singing, and every Friday evening, Hollywood hosts a pool and foam party with live DJs.
Hungry visitors have a few movie-themed restaurants to choose from, including Jaws Restaurant overlooking the dancing fountains and Titanic Restaurant, where the decor and the music were inspired by the Oscar-winning film. A collection of shops within the park sell goods with set prices, eliminating the hassle of bartering so common in Egypt.
Sharm el Sheikh Old Town (Sharm el Maya) was the first resort area in Sharm el Sheikh, created when the Israelis occupied the Sinai Peninsula after the Six-Day War. Today, the Old Market is a major point of interest in the area, a popular beach resort.
The Red Sea channel draws tendrils of Indian Ocean water up through Africa and Arabia to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Divers and snorkelers appreciate the Red Sea’s clear waters and colorful coral and marine life, while sandy beaches lure sun worshippers from around the world.
The only dolphinarium in South Sinai, Sharm el Sheik's Dolphina Park houses a pod of dolphins in its state-of-the-art facilities. Trained professionals care for and work with the dolphins—naturally very intelligent and playful animals—while giving visitors to the park an opportunity to observe these cetaceans and learn more about their behaviors, habitats, and social structures. Check out the dolphin shows to see highly choreographed performances showcasing the dolphins' intelligence.
Sharm el Sheikh's Aqua Blu Water Park sits within the Aqua Blu Sharm resort complex, which allows paid entry to the park for those not staying at the hotel. Nestled on the Ras Om El Seid Plateau, this sprawling park features a huge number of water slides (44 to be exact) and nine pools, making it a popular spot for a family excursion in Sharm el Sheikh.
The slides include twisting, high-speed rides for older kids and adults in addition to the more gentle rides for little ones. To illustrate the range, slide names range from Twister, Kamikaze and Black Hole to the Family Slide and Elephant Slide, the latter of which are notably more low-key. The pools and lagoons also include three that are specifically for small children, while an on-site spa offers a chance at relaxation and pampering for the adults. In addition, the park is home to a 1,475-foot (450-meter) promenade of cafes, restaurants, bars and bazaars.
More Things to Do in Sharm el Sheikh
A resort town in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Sharm el Sheikh offers snorkeling, diving, and desert trips. It's also close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Catherine’s Monastery. Ships dock at the in-town Sharm el Sheikh Port (rather than at a dedicated cruise port), and you may need to tender if another ship is docked.
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