Red Sea coastline in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Things to do in  Sharm el Sheikh

Dive and decompress

Tucked between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the deep blue sea, right on the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, is a resort town like no other. The best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh unsurprisingly center on sands or Red Sea coral reefs. Scuba divers flock to Ras Mohammed National Park and beyond, making this a popular spot to get your PADI (or SSI) open water or advanced certificate. The desert, meanwhile, offers everything from ATV adventures to camel rides, Bedouin feasts, and stargazing. And for memorable excursions, head to Mt. Sinai (where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments), the Colored Canyon (known for its rock formations), and the 6th-century St. Catherine’s Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Top 11 attractions in Sharm el Sheikh

Ras Mohammed National Park

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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.More

St. Catherine's Monastery

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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.More

Mt. Sinai

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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.More

Tiran Island

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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.More

Na'ama Bay

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Sun-worshiping crowds give way to energetic nightlife when the sun sets at Na’ama Bay, where resorts, clubs, and bars share Sharm el Sheikh’s most happening shorefront. Whether you’re exploring the undersea world, hopping a ride on a parasail, or keeping the party going back on land, there’s plenty of fun to be had here.More
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Sharm el Sheikh Old Town (Sharm el Maya)

Sharm el Sheikh Old Town (Sharm el Maya)

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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.More

Hollywood Sharm el Sheikh

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With dancing fountains, live performances, a 7D cinema, shops, and eateries, Hollywood Sharm el Sheikh is part theme park, part shopping mall. Kids generally adore the dinosaurs, the animated hosting team, and the cinema, while adults value the choice of restaurants.More
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Red Sea

Red Sea

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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.More

Hurghada 1,001 Nights (Alf Leila Wa Leila)

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The open-air theater at the Hurghada Alf Leila Wa Leila hotel plays host each evening to the spectacular Fantasia show, often known as Alf Leila Wa Leila (1,001 Nights. The 2,500-capacity space delivers a feast of Arab, Bedouin, and Egyptian culture, folklore, history, and dance, complete with a horse show and an illuminated fountain.More
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Sharm el Sheikh Cruise Port

Sharm el Sheikh Cruise Port

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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.More
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Aqua Blu Water Park

Aqua Blu Water Park

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Part of Aqua Park City, the Aqua Blu Water Park (also known as Aqua Blu Aqua Park is one of Sharm el Sheikh’s biggest water parks. More than 60 different slides and games offer something for everyone—from freefall, high-speed, and kamikaze slides through to a little kids’ zone and even rides for infants.More

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All about Sharm el Sheikh

When to visit

Sharm el Sheikh is popular all year round. Its peak seasons are October to November and March to May, when the weather is hot but not scorching. December and January are also popular, although they can be cooler: The average temperature is 68°F (20°C), and the sea can be cold. If you want to scuba dive, visit between April and November, when the waters of the Red Sea offer the best visibility. The resort hosts events throughout the year, including the popular International Shopping and Tourism Festival in July.

Getting around

If you’re not relying on organized diving trips or tours that include transportation, the best way to reach the Old Town or Naama Bay’s shops and restaurants is by taking a cab or a hotel courtesy bus. Look for the official blue-and-white taxis, but take care to negotiate the price before you get in. You can also take a page from the locals and flag down one of the shared minibuses along the main roads. Or, if you’re ready for challenging traffic, rent a car.

Traveler tips

One of the best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh is also one of the resort’s lesser-known activities: birdwatching. Head to Nabq Bay, a coastal protectorate about 20 minutes north of Sharm, where mountains and valleys taper into beaches and mangrove woods busy with birds. Start at Nabq’s visitor center, then head out by foot, on a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or on a tour. Look for ospreys, spoonbills, and herons around the mangroves; and plovers, terns, and eagles wheeling in the skies.

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People Also Ask

What is Sharm El Sheikh known for?

Sharm El Sheikh is known for sun, sand, and sea—and scuba diving. It’s a popular tourist destination for Europeans in search of winter sun. Travelers come to explore the Red Sea’s underwater world and marine life. They also make trips to St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, and the Sinai Desert.

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What kind of activities can visitors do in Sharm El Sheikh?

Sharm El Sheikh offers everything you’d expect in a resort, from water parks and boat trips to shopping destinations like Soho Square and beaches like Sharks Bay. Scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh. Popular diving sites include the SS Thistlegorm wreck and Ras Mohammed National Park.

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Can you visit the Pyramids from Sharm El Sheikh?

Not easily. The Giza Pyramids are near Cairo, about 325 miles (525 kilometers) from Sharm El Sheikh. A day trip means spending 10–12 hours on the bus. If you fly into Sharm El Sheikh and enter on the free stamp, you’ll need to buy a separate visa for the pyramids.

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How many days do you need in Sharm El Sheikh?

Scuba divers will want to spend at least three days in either Sharm El Sheikh or nearby Dahab, hitting the Blue Hole, SS Thistlegorm, and Ras Mohammed National Park. If you’re using Sharm El Sheikh as a base for St. Catherine’s and Mt. Sinai, allow at least two nights.

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Can you walk around Sharm El Sheikh?

Walking isn’t a great option. Most Sharm El Sheikh hotels are along the coast, so you’ll need a taxi or a driver to get to town. Summer temperatures regularly break the 100°F (38°C) mark. Aggressive vendors and street harassment can make walking stressful, particularly for women without an adult male.

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Is it worth visiting Sharm El Sheikh?

It depends on your interests. If you’re a scuba diver or want to climb Mt. Sinai, a stop in Sharm El Sheikh or nearby Dahab is a must. If you only have a week or two to see everything Egypt has to offer, you can skip this seaside resort town.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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