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Sharm el-Sheikh is the Sinai Peninsula's major tourism center and one of the world's top diving destinations. It was the underwater wonders of the Red Sea — particularly the waters of the Ras Mohammed Marine Park just south of town — that put "Sharm" center-stage in the first place, and the diving and snorkeling on offer here continue to attract flocks of diving enthusiasts each year.
This is also one of Egypt's best destinations if you just want to chill out on the beach, and it's a particular favorite for family-friendly holidays due to the excellent facilities on offer. Whether you're here for the sand or the sea-life, Sharm el-Sheikh is a great choice for a beach break after exploring the temples and tombs in the rest of the country. Plan your trip with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Fringed by a white-sand beach and swaying palm trees, Naama Bay is the epicenter of Sharm el-Sheikh's resort life. There are plentiful restaurants, cafés, and souvenir stores if you get bored of the sand, but Naama Bay is really all about the beach. A pedestrian-only promenade rims the entire beach area, backed by a cluster of luxury resorts. For those looking for a holiday full of sloth-like sunbathing, Naama Bay is one of Egypt's top choices.
The entire beach area has excellent facilities, including ample sun-shades and loungers, and the beachside cafés mean you don't even have to move from your patch of sandy bliss all day.
The Sinai Peninsula's top historical destination, St. Catherine's Monastery sits at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. One of the oldest working monasteries in the world, this Greek Orthodox hermitage is home to the famous "burning bush" of the Old Testament, as well as a museum showcasing some of the monastery's glittering collection of religious icons and ancient manuscripts that is revered as one of the finest in the world.
A day trip here is one of the top things to do for any history-lover staying in Sharm el-Sheikh and can also include a hike up to the summit of Mt. Sinai.
Sharm Old Market (also known as Sharm al-Maya) is the town's souq (bazaar) area, where twinkling Arabic lamps, traditional shisha pipes, and finely engraved woodwork can be found in abundance. It's best to come at sunset or later, when the worst heat of the day has dissipated, and you can shop and browse in comfort. The area is full of cheap and cheerful restaurants and cafés as well, so it's a good place to spend the entire evening. There's a distinctly different feel here than the rest of Sharm el-Sheikh — the market is imbued with a much more higgledy-piggledy local atmosphere than the rest of the city.
On the edge of the market area is the new Al-Sahaba Mosque with an imposing facade that cherry-picks influences from Fatimid, Mamluk, and Ottoman mosque styles.
The SS Dunraven had been traveling to Mumbai (then Bombay) when it hit the reef and sunk just off the tip of the Sinai Peninsula in 1876. Today, this 80-meter steam ship, torn in two pieces on the sea floor, is home to a rich variety of fish, which have made their home within the barnacle-encrusted hull. Divers here spot big schools of cardinal fish and goat fish, as well as moray eels and scorpion fish.
It's roughly a two-hour boat trip from Sharm el-Sheikh, and a dive here is often combined with Ras Mohammed National Park dives or with a Thistlegorm dive trip.
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