Sharm el Sheikh: Main Sights
Palm trees, turquoise skies & majestic mountains
Stunning coral reefs, incredible desert landscapes, and breathtaking mountains. Pack your swimming gear, hiking boots and water proof camera and prepare to be astounded by some stunning natural sights in Sharm el Sheikh.
Na’ama bay is the most popular and lively area of Sharm el Sheikh, and if you’re not actually staying here it’s well worth popping over to Na’ama at some point on your holiday. As well as being a fantastic spot to dine out, it’s also where Sharm’s nightlife can be found, with everything from relaxed Bedouin style cafes to hip and happening clubs. The beach at Na’ama Bay is a good size, clean and safe for swimming, and the beach front area is a pleasant place to wander or to just kick back in a cafe and people watch. Although the diving isn’t good in Na’ama Bay, there are plenty of dive shops so it’s a good spot to come to organise your a dive.
The Old Market
If the blatant tourism of Sharm el Sheikh’s beach side developments gets a little much for you, pay a visit to the flea market in Old Sharm. The term ‘Old Sharm’ is a little misleading as there are no genuinely old parts of the city so don’t go there expecting to find lots of character and interesting old buildings. Having said that, the market is a little slice of real Egypt and it can be an interesting place to visit if you want to soak up a bit of atmosphere or shop for a few bargains. As with anywhere else in Sharm, you’ll need to exercise some good haggling skills to avoid paying tourist prices. To reach the Old Market, jump in a taxi and state that you want to go to the Old Market. Remember to agree the price before setting off. A taxi from Na’ama Bay to the Old Market should cost around €1.90.
Ras Mohammed Marine National Park
Ras Mohammed National Park was set up as a marine reserve in 1983 to ensure the protection of the area’s marine wildlife. Over 200 types of coral and 1,000 species of fish can be found in the Ras Mohammed National Park, making it a highly popular destination for diving and snorkelling. Ras Mohammed National Park is also a popular destination for wreck diving as the marine reserve is the site of the SS Thislegorm shipwreck. If you want to organise a trip to the Ras Mohammed National Park, ask at your hotel or check out one of the many dive shops in Na’ama Bay.
Excursions into the desert around Sharm el Sheikh are extremely popular. Activities in the desert around Sharm el Sheikh include visits to the remarkable rock formations of the Coloured Canyon, camel and horse treks, jeep safaris and quad biking, and visits to Bedouin camp sites. Trips usually range from a couple of hours to a full day although you can arrange a trip that will allow you to sleep under the stars in the desert. Ask for details about Sharm el Sheikh desert safaris at your hotel or at a travel agent in Sharm or Na’ama Bay.
Mount Sinai is the highest mountain in Egypt and is a popular excursion for visitors to Sharm el Sheikh. It’s the traditional location of the Biblical Mount Sinai where it’s said Moses received the Ten Commandments. A popular way to visit the mountain is to spend a night in a hotel near the base, then rise early (about 3am) and ascend the mountain to watch the sunrise. Sitting at the summit of the mountain and watching the sun rise over the Sinai Mountains can be an incredible experience and it’s well worth the effort to get to the top to witness this remarkable spectacle. The walk to the summit is relatively easy, although you’ll be walking in the dark if you want to get there for sunrise. Take a good torch. You can also ride a camel up if you don’t fancy the walk and if you get tired on the trek, there are small tea houses located at various stages along the path. Bear in mind that it can get extremely cold at the summit in the middle of winter and hats, gloves, and warm clothing will be needed if visiting at this time of year. An excursion to Mount Sinai can be arranged at your hotel or at a travel agent in Sharm el Sheikh.
Monastery of St Catherines
The Monastery of St Catherines is an Orthodox monastery located at the foot of Mount Sinai. Dating from the 4th century, the Monastery of St Catherines is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world. Enclosed by towering granite walls, St Catherines Monastery is an impressive sight and contains many important religious artefacts. It’s also regarded as the site of the burning bush as seen by Moses. A visit to the monastery or a trip which includes a hike up the mountain and other excursions in the area can be arranged by most Sharm el Sheikh hotels and travel agents.
The Coloured Canyon
The Coloured Canyon is a stunning natural wonder and it’s well worth a visit if you’re staying in or around Sharm El Sheikh. The Canyon is a maze of wondrous rock formations which can be appreciated on a relatively easy 2 hour hike. The Coloured Canyon is so called due to the various shades of streaky, earthy colours which can be seen on many of the rock formations. These incredible multi coloured effects throughout the canyon have been created by natural elements over centuries and it’s fascinating to see this strange, natural process up close. Some parts of the canyon are a staggering 40 metres high and other parts are incredibly narrow. Be aware that one part of the hike involves having to squeeze through a narrow passage of rock. The Canyon is a two hour drive in a 4WD from Sharm el Sheikh, and you can only visit with a guide. To arrange a trip to the Coloured Canyon, ask at your hotel reception or a travel agent in Sharm el Sheikh.