At the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula lies the holiday hotspot of Sharm el-Sheikh. And with world class scuba diving and snorkelling facilities, luxury hotel chains and desert adventures, Sharm offers plenty of exciting activities and experiences, with sunshine guaranteed all year round!
Dive and snorkel at the Ras Mohamed National Park
The rich coral reefs of both Tiran and the Ras Mohamed National Park region are considered the very best dive spots in the world. Take a two hour boat trip from Sharm to the very southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula where the Gulf of Suez meets the Gulf of Aqaba. Here sharks, murrays and barracudas feast on the rich plankton amidst the colourful corals. Ras Mohamed became the very first Egyptian designated National Park in 1983 and today covers some 480 sq. km. The underwater landscape of fossil corals captivates dive enthusiasts from around the world, so expect to share the waters with many other likeminded divers.
Admire the sunrise from atop Mount Sinai
Get active in Sharm with an energetic climb up Mount Sinai, aka Mount Horeb, which reaches 7,497 feet (2,285 meters). Hire a local guide or follow one of the two paths yourself, which can take anything up to three hours, depending on your fitness level. Opt for the gentle meandering camel Path or the steep and short Steps of Penitence which was carved by monks. Time your ascent to coincide with either sunrise or sunset for a memorable experience. And once atop Mount Sinai, you can wander the small Holy Trinity chapel that was built in 1934 or soak up the spiritual energy with a spot of yoga or meditation. Be aware that it is cooler on Mount Sinai and the odd snow flurry isn’t unheard of.
Visit the Monastery of St Catherine
The holy mountain of Mt Sinai is home to the ancient Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, aka Santa Katarina. According to legend, this is where Moses received the 10 commandments. Constructed between 548 and 565, St Catherine’s looks very much like an ancient fort and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is in fact the oldest Christian monastery in the world that’s still in use. The monastery walls are a great example of Byzantine architecture and priceless Christian icons and manuscripts are contained within the complex.
Try a spot of camel trekking
Take a Sinai desert safari onboard a local camel. Experience the calm and peace of the desert at night, with a myriad of stars, whilst enjoying traditional Bedouin hospitality.
Explore Sharm Old Town
Take some time out from diving and sunbathing with a trip into the old town area of Sharm. The local market is a particular favourite with locally made handcrafts and gifts on sale, as well as snacks, jewellery and surf accessories.
Discover Egypt’s Mangroves
For a change of scenery, head to the mangrove-rich region outside of Sharm el-Sheikh. The majestic black trees are certainly out of place in the arid desert landscape of Egypt but make for a startling sight! This most northerly mangrove forest is located at Nabq on the Sinai Peninsula and makes for an interesting day out.
Soak up the history on Mount Sinai
Whether you choose to climb Mt Sinai or not (see above), you should not miss the amazing array of historical gems dotted around the area. As well as the majestic Monastery of St. Catherine (see above), there is also an ornate Basilica to explore, which is one of the most interesting things to do in Sharm el Sheikh. Legend has it that Moses first met his wife on the site of the Moses’ Well and the ancient Library houses over 4,500 rare and ancient manuscripts. In fact, only the Vatican in Rome has more manuscripts!
Always check the foreign travel advice for your chosen destination: the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office contains up to date advice and information on visiting Egypt.