Top Things to Do and See in Sharm El-Sheikh

Soak up the stunning scenery of Naama Bay on your next visit to Egypt's vibrant Sharm-el-Sheikh
Soak up the stunning scenery of Naama Bay on your next visit to Egypt's vibrant Sharm-el-Sheikh | © Maksym Kapliuk / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Jo Fernandez-Corugedo
19 August 2021

Until 1968, Sharm El-Sheikh was just a quiet fishing community but in recent years, it’s become one of Egypt‘s most popular beach resorts – with visitors coming from all parts of the world. Hot in the summer, while pleasantly warm in the winter, Sharm El-Sheikh remains the leading tourist spot in the Sinai Peninsula.

Enjoy a Coffee at Farsha Cafe

Cafe, Egyptian, Coffee, $$$
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Not just a cafe, this joint is a marvel of funky design spilling attractively over different levels – with colourful striped floor cushions, Bedouin tents and swinging red and yellow lamps that glow come nightfall. This is not a place for a quick drink – once you arrive at Farsha Cafe and see the glittering ocean view, you’re not going to want to leave. So settle in for coffee, a few cocktails and perhaps an aromatic shisha pipe. That should take you from a lazy afternoon’s lounging to a full-on night’s carousing, as the atmosphere transforms and house vibes throb.

Scuba Dive at Farsha Beach

Natural Feature
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Red Sea - underwater view at scuba divers and the reef, Marsa Alam, Egypt
© Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo

The warm, clean, glassily clear waters off the coast of Sharm El-Sheikh are a major draw for the world’s serious scuba divers – and beginners. The Red Sea is a carnival of flickering exotic sea life, from cartoonish clownfish – yes, you’ve found Nemo – to slowly flapping stingrays and wriggling eels. In shallow waters, coral reefs in almost neon tones host blue spotted rays, darting in and out, providing great sights for beginners, while experienced divers descend to amazing old shipwrecks.

Windsurf at Nabq Bay

Natural Feature
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Sharm El-Sheikh is on the map for its scuba diving, but the combination of strong winds and otherwise gentle marine conditions makes the Red Sea a place to get the hang of windsurfing. Nabq Bay, at the northern end of the resort, is the place to head to – plenty of outfits here offer lessons and equipment. The flat-water lagoon, separated from the open sea by a natural reef, is vast and shallow, so it’s perfect for beginners. As you grow more experienced and speed up, it’s time to head beyond the reef to see how you manage on small waves.

Spend the Day at Naama Bay

Natural Feature
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Watersports on Naama Bay Beach, Sharm el-Sheikh, Red Sea Coast, South Sinai, Egypt. Image shot 05/2008. Exact date unknown.
© Eric James / Alamy Stock Photo

Crammed with hotels for all budgets and dive centres for all abilities, Naama Bay has no trouble attracting tourist crowds. It’s a natural sweep of a bay on the Sinai peninsula, where, as well as the diving, the opportunities for snorkelling are plentiful and rewarding. Not that you need to be an activity addict to enjoy yourself here – the place is perfect for the sun-loving, fun-seeking beach bums. Stretch out and do zilch on the palm-edged golden sands, cool off in the clear blue waters and get your card(s) out for the buzzy bars, restaurants and shops off the promenade.

Visit Al-Mustafa Mosque

Mosque
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This fairytale affair – all soaring spires around a billowing dome – is the most dramatic cultural sight you’ll get to visit in beachy Sharm. And visit you must, as it cost in excess of £30m to build and was only completed in 2008. Imposing by day, it flickers magically into life after dark, illuminated by a galaxy of bulbs. If you want to step into this Muslim institution note the dress code is modest, but staff are happy to offer scarves and robes.

Walk Through the Heavenly Cathedral

Church
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The Heavenly Cathedral in Sharm El Sheikh, Sinai Egypt
© Frank Bach / Alamy Stock Photo

The Copts are the orthodox Christians of Egypt – comprising more or less 10 percent of the nation’s population, although at least a million more believers are scattered around the world. The faith traces its origins back to somewhere around the middle of the first century BCE – after Mark the Evangelist visited Egypt. Completed in 2010, the Heavenly Church is the newest – and largest – Coptic church in Sharm. You’ll be moved by the intricate biblical frescoes and if you crane your neck far enough, you’ll see the Apocalypse of St John the Apostle, an artwork up in the ceiling heights.

Enjoy Star Gazer Night

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
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Belly dancing, check. Camel riding, check. Baking bread with Bedouin tribes, check. This excursion is pure tradition, taking you climbing into the hills to watch the sunset over the Sinai desert horizon. Hungry now, you’ll tuck into a buffet dinner watching embers from the fire spiral into the night sky. The most scintillating moment – quite literally – is the opportunity to peer into a telescope at stars light-years away, as an astronomer tells you all about the enigmas of the galaxy. It’s a late one – but you can always spend the next day recovering by the hotel pool.

Stroll Through the Old Market

Market
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Old Market, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
© Roberto Nistri / Alamy Stock Photo

Summon your courage and get your haggle on at Sharm El-Sheikh old market, which spills around the exquisite Al-Mustafa mosque. It’s a game of how much discount you can talk the vendor into – but don’t fret, they love it. There’s plenty to haggle over, too, from typical souvenirs and Bedouin crafts to a hefty selection of leather goods. Hungry? Sample some of Egypt’s sublime street food such as koshari – a healthy mix of chickpeas, pasta, fried onions, and zesty tomato sauce on a bed of rice and brown lentils. And the market is by far the best place to try it.

Swim at Aqua Blue Water Park

Amusement Park, Park
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If you’re travelling with little ones, spending the day at Aqua Blue is quite the treat. Located in Hadaba, this water paradise guarantees a fun-packed day for everyone. With its 44 water slides and games and nine pools, the water park will make sure you get your adrenaline fix. Slides like Kamikaze and Black Hole will get your pulse racing, and kids under 12 will find a range of smaller slides just for them.

Visit Ras Mohammed National Park

Natural Feature, Park
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Ras Mohamed National Park in Egypt. Africa.
© Panther Media / Alamy Stock Photo

Located on the southern tip of Sinai, this nature reserve spreads out far and wide. You’ll absolutely fall in love with this place the moment you get here – with its untouched deserts, white-sand beaches and dive and snorkelling sites. With some of the most exotic names going – Jackfish Alley, Anemone City and more – topped up by the 1,000 species of fish, 150 different crustaceans and families of turtles that flounder beneath the surface, Ras Mohammed National Park is a wonder to see.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Andreea Pavaloiu.

These recommendations were updated on August 19, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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