Located on the edge of the Sinai Peninsula, surrounded by the Sinai desert and the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, Sharm el Sheikh is a former fishing village turned world-class holiday destination.
Basking in 365 days of sunshine a year and a daytime temperature which falls no lower than 25°C in the winter months, ‘Sharm’ is popular with tourists who flock in their droves to soak up sun, sea and sand.
Sharm occupies around 35km of coastline and is bordered by a protected national park at either end. With breathtaking coral reefs and abundant marine life, the azure waters are a dream-come-true for swimming, snorkelling and diving enthusiasts.
The coral plateau at Ras Nasrani is home to a host of aquatic creatures, including fusiliers, barracudas and electric rays. A trip to Sharm would be incomplete without a visit to the stunningly untouched Ras Mohammed National Park, where you can hike, dive, snorkel or just relax.
Head to Shark’s Bay to sample the old Sinai; an oasis of calm and tranquility where the waters burst with coral and marvel at the selection of wrecks nestling around the beautiful Tiran Island.
Watersports junkies should head to Terrazzina Beach – surrounded by cliffs, it’s sheltered from the wind and ideal for water skiing, wakeboarding and kitesurfing. This is Sharm’s premier dance beach – it has a great party vibe and beach parties featuring guest DJs are held regularly.
If you prefer to be on the sea rather than in it, a two hour excursion on a glass-bottomed boat is the perfect way to appreciate the wonders of the Red Sea. If you’re lucky, you may be accompanied by some dolphins.
For over a thousand years Mount Sinai has attracted pilgrims believing it to be the mountain where God spoke to Moses. If you can drag yourself out of bed early enough, it’s worth the three hour climb of this 7,498 foot peak to watch the sunrise. The dramatic changes in the colours of the rocks have to be seen to be believed. Nestling beneath Mount Sinai is St Catherine’s Monastery, which encapsulates the Holy Land. Within its historic walls is a library of ancient manuscripts – a host of icons second only to the Vatican – and a church dating back to the 6th century.
Venture into the desert for a night of star gazing and taste of traditional Bedouin culture. Organised tours from Sharm are run by professional guides, who will talk you through the planets and stars bedecking the night skies. Enjoy a Bedouin barbeque, waterpipe smoking and traditional dancing performed by local Bedouin people. You might even be able to cadge a ride on a camel.
Rest and relaxation
Indulge yourself with a day at the Oriental Spa & Hammam. Highly recommended are the Turkish and Moroccan baths, facials and body scrubs.
Sharm el Sheik is a vibrant resort with excellent shopping, dining and nightlife. It is easily accessible, with direct flights from all over Europe, and there is a vast choice of accommodation, ranging from budget home-stays to leading five-star resorts.