A complete travel guide featuring 20 amazing things to do in Sharm el Sheikh, the scuba diving and resort town capital of Egypt’s Red Sea region.
Decided to visit Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt’s Red Sea but you’re unsure of what to do?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive travel guide, I’ll reveal to you the top 20 things to do in Sharm el Sheikh to make sure you enjoy an epic time in this beautiful slice of paradise!
From scuba diving on world-class coral reefs to raw adventures in the South Sinai Desert, there’s certainly no shortage of fun and unique activities and attractions to check out.
So with no time to spare, let’s dive into the list!
How to Get to Sharm el Sheikh
Sharm el Sheikh is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula by the crystal clear water shores of the Red Sea.
What you might not know is that Sharm was once a quaint Bedouin fishing village. Of course, things have changed dramatically since then. The truth is, this coastal city is now considered Egypt’s scuba diving and Red Sea resort mecca– with plenty of tourist infrastructure in place.
As a result, getting here is easy, with plenty of options to choose from.
By far, the easiest way to get here is to fly to the Sharm el Sheikh International Airport. You’ll find many cost-effective routes directly from Europe, the UK, and the Middle East.
If you’re flying in from another region, you’ll likely have a layover in Cairo. In my opinion, Egypt Air is the best airline, since they offer free food and 23 kg of baggage allowance for all flights. Remember to use Skyscanner to find the best deals for your dates.
Travel Tip: To avoid the hassles at the airport, I recommend you pre-book an airport transfer to your hotel at a fair price online.
Travelers looking to get to Sharm from other regions in Egypt also have the option of getting here by bus. I have had good experiences with GoBus in Egypt.
You’ll find a wide range of cost-effective routes from other regions including Cairo, Dahab, and Marsa Alam.
By car or private transport
I wouldn’t recommend hiring a car in Sharm el Sheikh or Sinai in general due to strict security policies and Egyptian government checkpoints. Instead, travelers can easily pay a driver who knows the ins and outs of routes and policies.
However, due to the distance, I wouldn’t recommend driving from Cairo, since a flight is almost always cheaper and much quicker.
Travel Tip: Sharm el Sheikh is an adventure playground! Make sure you’re covered for adventure activities like water sports, scuba diving, and hiking. I recommend WorldNomads as the best option for travel to Egypt.
Where to Stay in Sharm el Sheikh
Being a resort town, deciding where to stay in Sharm el Sheikh will likely come down more to your accommodation preference than location. There are plenty of great dive resorts, all-inclusive luxury resorts, and beachside hotels dotted throughout Naama Bay, Sharm al-Maya, and Nabq Bay.
Below are three of the top hotel and resort picks for various budgets and travel styles.
- Best Dive Resort – Camel Dive Club & Hotel
Camel Dive is well-regarded as the best dive shop in Sharm. Being a leader in diving since 1986, this resort has the best reputation for safety, quality, and experience. Their resort is also amazing, with an iconic rooftop terrace, amazing breakfast, and relaxing outdoor pool.
- Best All-Inclusive Resort – Rixos
This all-inclusive resort has everything you need. It boasts 12 pools, a sports club facility, 7 restaurants, and spa facilities. Located on a private beach overlooking the red sea. Guests at Rixos also have free access to Rixos’s sister property Rixos Aquaventure Park.
- Budget-friendly 4-star Resort – Xperience St. George
The perfect pick for those wanting to be closer to the old town/market. 3 meal packages are available. A free shuttle runs twice a day to the 2 private beaches. It features a gym, 4 outdoor pools, and a spa facility. It has a 4-star rating at a budget price.
20 Activities & Things to do in Sharm el Sheikh
So, here’s the list. This is the most comprehensive and most up-to-date travel guide of things to do in Sharm el Sheikh you’ll find online!
To help you navigate this post, I’ve also included a quick highlights map below. This shows all of the main natural attractions, areas, and best places to see in Sharm el Sheikh!
1. Scuba Diving At Sharm el Sheikh
By far, the most popular activity and main reason people visit Sharm el Sheikh is for its incredible dive sites.
Due to the far-reaching position on the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula, the dive sites around Sharm are exceptionally good. The primary reason is that this is the point where the Red Sea splits into two gulfs, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez.
As a result, the coral reefs in this region receive abundant nutrients, creating healthy and thriving marine ecosystems.
Some of the best dive sites include:
- Yolanda and Shark Reef, (Ras Mohammad Marine Park) – best site for large pelagics, schooling fish, and sharks
- Straits of Tiran – four sites including Gordon, Thomas, Woodhouse, and Jackson reefs. Great for healthy corals, big schools, sharks, and manta rays.
- Temple – local dive site with an awesome pinnacle with plenty of coral and marine life.
- Ras Nasrani – a local dive site with an amazing coral garden.
Not to mention, Sharm also has some of the world’s top wreck dives, including the SS. Thistlegorm wreck and the 1876 Dunraven wreck.
Best Dive Center: After dozens of recommendations, I chose to spend a week diving with Camel Dive Club in Naama Bay. This is well-regarded as the best dive resort in Sharm el Sheikh and this was immediately clear to me as well! Highly recommend.
2. Boat Trip to Ras Mohammad National Park
Ras Mohammad is Egypt’s premier dive location for marine life. This is a 480 km² (185 mi²) nature reserve and no-take zone harboring some of the richest biodiversity in the Red Sea.
Travelers visiting Sharm el Sheikh have the option of visiting this underwater paradise on a scuba diving trip or snorkeling boat trip. If time allows, I also recommend checking out the Shark Observatory cliff top, which offers excellent views over both sides of the Red Sea.
For divers, I highly recommend trying to get out to Shark Reef and Yolanda on the southern edge of Ras Mohammed. This is by far the best dive site and the point where waters from the Gulf of Aqaba and Suez Gulf meet.
Book: Boat Trip To Ras Muhammad (diving or snorkeling)
Tip: Due to the distance and exposed nature of this headland, most tour boats will not visit this park in bad weather. If you’re short on time, try to book a boat trip to Tiran Island or the house reefs along the shores of Sharm el Sheikh instead.
#1 Egypt Group Tour
Interested in traveling through Egypt on an organized group tour? I traveled with TravelTalk Tours on their Essential Egypt trip. I would highly recommend this trip to anybody looking to see all the ancient sites and fascinating landscapes while making some new friends for life!
3. Sunrise Hike to Mount Sinai
Located deep in the South Sinai Desert is the famous Mount Sinai (also Mount Moussa or Japel Moussa). Many scholars believe that this is the biblical Mount Sinai, where in the old testament, god handed down the ten commandments to Moses.
As you might expect, this is a very holy mountain and is significant to all Abrahamic faiths including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Even if you’re not religious, one of the best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh is to climb Mount Sinai on a sunrise hike! This was one of my favorite travel experiences in Sinai, and I’d highly recommend it to anybody!
Book: Sunrise hike to Mount Sinai & St. Catherine’s Monastery (from Sharm)
4. Saint Catherine’s Monastery
Located at the foot of Mount Sinai is one of the world’s oldest working monasteries, the St. Catherine’s Monastery.
This is a beautiful religious site and is definitely one of the best places to visit from Sharm el Sheikh. Not only is the monastery itself impressive, but the treasures inside are certainly worth seeing as well.
Examples include pages from the Codex Sinaiticus and the Syriac Sinaiticus, some of the oldest bible texts, as well as a large collection of Christian icons. Additionally, many claim that the direct descendant of the biblical Burning Bush grows in its courtyard.
Luckily, visitors typically tour Saint Catherine’s Monastery after the sunrise hike of Mount Sinai (link above). As a result, you can knock off two Sharm el Sheikh attractions with one stone!
5. Tiran Island
On a clear day, you’ll likely spot the mountainous island located just northeast of Sharm el Sheikh. This is Tiran Island, and while you can’t actually visit the (it belongs to Saudi Arabia), it does harbor some of the best coral reefs in Egypt and many species of fish.
Locals have named this coral stretch the Straits of Tiran. This is another great place to spend a day exploring the beautiful underwater world of the Red Sea, either by snorkeling or scuba diving.
Book: Tiran Island Boat Trip (dive or snorkel)
6. Day Trip to Cairo & the Great Pyramids of Giza
If you’re planning your trip to the Red Sea region but still eager to see some of Egypt’s most important landmarks, then you’re in luck!
One of the most popular day trips from Sharm el Sheikh is to book a long day trip tour to Cairo. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to squeeze in as many attractions as possible without eating into your time by the sea.
Below I’ve linked two different options. Both include the main archaeological sites including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and an Egyptian Museum tour.
Both options are very cost-effective, include all transport and fees, and take all of the hassles out of trying to plan your own trip.
7. Dive the SS Thistlegorm
While many of the attractions have involved scuba diving so far (don’t worry, there are many surface activities as well), I just couldn’t formulate a list of things to do in Sharm el Sheikh without including the SS. Thistlegorm dive.
Divers know this huge wreck for being one of the world’s top dive sites. The reason being is that this huge, 125 m (145 ft) World War II cargo steamship lies almost perfectly preserved at a comfortable recreational depth of around 30 meters.
Furthermore, inside the ship divers can see well-preserved military cargo including light weaponry, an anti-aircraft gun, locomotives, vehicles, and motorbikes.
Diver’s Tip: If you plan to dive Thiss, I highly recommend letting your dive shop know as soon as you arrive, as not many shops dive this wreck every day and there’s often a waiting list.
8. Sunset on a Rooftop Terrace in Naama Bay
After a long day of diving, snorkeling, or exploring all of the awesome Sharm el Sheikh attractions, one of the best things to do is to unwind and drink a cold Sakara on top of a rooftop terrace.
One of the best places to do so is at Camel Bar & Rooftop, located in Naama Bay.
From here, you’ll get great 360-degree views, including the palm trees on the shore of the Red Sea and the sun setting behind the Sinai Mountains.
9. Day Trip to Dahab & the Blue Hole
Located less than an hour’s drive from Sharm el Sheikh is another awesome Red Sea tourist destination that’s definitely worth a visit when traveling in Sinai.
Compared to Sharm, Dahab is a much quieter and more laid-back coastal city famous for kite surfers, scuba divers, and backpackers. One of its famous points of interest is the Dahab Blue Hole, which is great for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Other highlights include the awesome Blue Lagoon and its many beautiful canyons filled with unique rock formations. There are so many things to do in Dahab and the destination deserves at least a few days.
However, if you’re short on time and want to see the best highlights, it’s also possible to visit Dahab on a day trip from Sharm el Sheikh (including the Blue Hole).
10. Swim and SNorkel off Sharm el Sheikh’s Beautiful Beaches
After all of these boat trips and day trips to explore the region, there’s nothing better than just unwinding at one of the amazing Sharm el Sheikh beaches.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Sharm include:
- Na’aama Bay – many beaches with restaurants and resorts.
- Sharm al-Maya – is one of the main bays with plenty of great places for swimming.
- El Fanar – crystal clear water for swimming and also great for sunset.
- Ras Um Sid – great snorkeling.
- Sharks Bay Beach – is also excellent for snorkeling.
- Terrazzina Beach – famous restaurant and bar scene
- Old Quay Beach – easily accessible vertical reef for snorkeling close to shore.
One important thing to remember is that many of the best beaches in Sharm are owned by restaurants and resorts. Therefore some beaches require a “beach pass” or at least to purchase something at their business.
11. Snorkel at Shark’s Bay
I’ve already mentioned Shark’s Bay above, but if you’re looking for the best places to snorkel in Sharm el Sheikh, you definitely don’t want to miss Shark’s Bay.
Shark’s Bay is a secluded cove on the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area and easily one of the most popular due to the vibrant underwater world and relaxed atmosphere.
Travelers will find this beach near the popular dive site of Ras Nasrani, which is also very close to the Sharm el Sheikh international airport.
Travel Tip: There are many other attractions close by to Shark’s Bay, including the Dancing Fountains in SOHO Square.
12. Sinai Desert Dune Buggy Safari, Quad Biking or Camel Ride
A trip to the Red Sea isn’t only all about the underwater world! One of the best things to see in this unique part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula contains is its desert region, known as the South Sinai Desert.
If you’re walking the resort-lined streets of Na’aama Bay or Sharm al-Maya, you’ll undoubtedly be offered excursions to the desert. These usually involve either a camel ride, quad bike, or dune buggy safari.
Below I’ve linked to a very popular and affordable tour guiding visitors to a local Bedouin village. This also includes a quad bike adventure and a camel ride.
13. Old Market (Sharm el Sheikh Old Town)
If you’re spending a couple of days on the Red Sea, I highly recommend stopping by the Sharm el Sheikh Old Town, also known as Old Market.
This is the original coastal city of Sharm and it retains much of its original charm.
Wander the streets, browse the market wares, and taste some delicious street food like falafel and koshari.
Getting to the Old Market is easy via a short taxi ride on the main highway. The journey is less than ten minutes from Na’aama Bay and only costs around 70-80 Egyptian Pounds.
Budget Travel Tip: Backpackers and budget travelers can also get to the Old Market and other popular places in Sharm el Sheikh via the share taxis (a white van known as a micro-bus). These are similar to colectivos in Latin America and only cost 5 EGP per person.
14. Sahaba Mosque & the Al Mustafa Mosque
Al Mustafa Mosque is one of the most impressive buildings in the Red Sea. This is a relatively new mosque, finished in 2008, and features two towering minarets reaching a height of above 70 meters each!
The central dome is also huge and the entire monument is beautiful when lit up at night.
Also, when visiting the Old Market, it’s impossible to miss the Sahaba Mosque. This is another relatively new mosque boasting beautiful Ottoman architecture and an impressive light display.
15. Eat at el Masrien Restaurant
Okay, this isn’t a food blog. BUT, after traveling all over Egypt, I’m yet to taste authentic Egyptian food that even comes close to meals served at El Masrien. As a result, a meal at this restaurant is easily one of the best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh and should not be missed by anybody!
Trust me, if you’re longing for a flavorsome, hearty meal at affordable prices, make sure to visit El Masrien at the Old Market! After first discovering this restaurant, we ended up returning almost every night.
The prices here are very cheap, and the waiters will bring out a huge feast of salads, dips, fresh bread, and traditional Egyptian main courses. We usually ordered way more than we could eat and never paid more than 100 Egyptian pounds per person.
This restaurant is pinned on Google as “El Masrien Restaurant” and requires only a short walk from the Sahaba Mosque.
16. Water sports: Parasailing, Banana Boat & Tubing
Not all of the water activities in Sharm el Sheikh are below the surface, there’s plenty to do topside as well!
In fact, Sharm is famous for recreational activities like parasailing, banana boat trips, and tubing! Most tour operators can organize this for you at popular tourist hubs like Na’aama Bay.
Alternatively, if you want to try a few different water sports, you can book an adventure package and save some money.
Book: Water Sports Package (Parasailing, Banana Boat & Tubing)
Tip: For the kids, there’s also an Ancient Egyptian-themed water park called Cleo Park, located just outside Naama Bay. Here you’ll find over 22 fun water slides and rides.
17. Day Trip to Luxor
While Cairo has the pyramids, some of Egypt’s most significant archaeological wonders are located in Upper Egypt (the south).
Many of these sites, including the Colossi of Memnon, the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Karnak Temple, and of course, the Valley of the Kings are located in Luxor.
For those visiting Sharm el Sheikh, you can easily book a day tour to Luxor via airplane. This will be a long day of exploring, but a convenient option for those wanting to get the most out of their trip to Egypt.
18. Farsha Café
If you ask any local in Sharm el Sheikh where the coolest bar/cafe is, they’ll all tell you it’s Farsha, located in the Hadaba area, just 10 minutes from the Old Market (50-70 EGP in a taxi).
However, Farsha is far from just an ordinary coffee or drink spot– it’s an experience. And, one that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Sharm el Sheikh!
Honestly, this is one of the most unique establishments I’ve ever visited. Situated on a cliffside overlooking the Red Sea, its many terraces are decorated in a chaotic yet symbiotic fashion.
You’ll find the walls decorated with relics from bygone eras, traditional red carpets draped out in little nooks and a combination of neon lights and traditional lanterns hanging from its leaning ceilings.
Try to visit just before sunrise to secure an area, as this is one of the busiest places to visit in Sharm el Sheikh!
19. Romantic Dinner Cruise
Visiting the Red Sea for your honeymoon? What better way to enjoy this one-of-a-kind place than a romantic dinner cruise?
Many resorts can organize this for you but you also have the option of booking the Fantastic Cruise dinner online. This buffet dinner cruise is a popular option with travelers in Sharm because it includes lively performances such as music, a magic show, and belly dancing.
20. Star Gazing in the Sinai Desert
Did you know that the Sinai Desert is one of the best places on earth for stargazing? That’s because apart from the relatively small resort towns on the coast, this desert region receives very little light pollution.
One of the best ways to enjoy this experience is on a sunrise hike to Mount Sinai. However, if hiking’s not your thing, there’s also a stargazing quad bike safari tour which includes a traditional Bedouin dinner.
More FAQs and Important Things to Know About Sharm el-Sheikh
Though the Sinai Peninsula has had a bit of a shaky history, the Egyptian Government does a lot to keep southern Sinai very safe for tourists. There have not been any major incidents involving tourists in many years.
Due to its abundant marine life, healthy and protected coral ecosystems, and well-preserved wrecks, Sharm el Sheikh is widely considered to be the best dive destination in Egypt.
Sharm is generally considered a better dive destination than other tourist cities in the Gulf of Aqaba Such as Marsa Alam and Dahab. Hurghada or a South Red Sea Liveaboard are also two good options.
This resort town is great to visit year-round, with sunny days expected throughout the year. However, most recommend visiting in Spring or Autumn (March to May and October to November).
The best visibility for diving is in Summer but be prepared for very hot weather.
Most people spend at least a week in Sharm el Sheikh to enjoy all the fun activities and things to do here like scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, and water sports.
More Egypt and Red Sea Travel Inspiration
And, that’s a wrap for this comprehensive travel guide featuring all of the best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt!
I hope my suggestions and photography have inspired you to visit this unique Red Sea holiday destination. Below are some more useful guides to Egypt that I’m sure you’ll also enjoy!
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