Blessed with ten miles of sparkling gold sand or pebble beaches sliding next to an azure sea the color of transparent sapphires, Sharm el-Sheikh is one of the largest, most popular resort towns on the Sinai Peninsula. Like most of the resorts along the Red Sea Riviera, Sharm el-Sheikh started out as a fishing village, but as tourists poured in – mostly from Europe – the development kicked into high gear. Now, this luxury resort town boasts 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels, many with their own private beaches, casinos, night clubs and discothèques. Every amenity is accounted for, and there are so many activities to enjoy both on and off the beach that the only way a guest could suffer boredom would be through a self-imposed restriction of movement.
Designed for continual expansion, Sharm el-Sheikh has a great many things to offer and prides itself on being family-friendly, as well as a romantic getaway for couples and activity-oriented for the sports enthusiast. Indeed, here you can go kite surfing, wind sailing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, parasailing, canoeing, hiking or trekking, or indulge in squash, golf, volleyball, horseback and camel riding, and desert safaris, to name a few. The Red Sea, however, will always draw a large crowd of diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, as it offers so many rich coral reefs teeming with tropical fish in the shallower waters of about a meter deep, and the further out you go into the big blue, the better your chances for spotting a white-tip or tiger shark.
There is a plethora of straits and bays in the area, all with different atmospheres and scenery. Na’ama Bay holds many cafes, sheesha bars (water-smoking) and restaurants. It was here in the late 1980s that the development started. Sharm el Maya is a natural bay where the original fishing village of Sharm el-Sheikh still stands. It has a lovely beach with clean sands and good shade. Other bays include Sharks Bay, Garden Bay, Nabq Bay and Tiger Bay, which all afford visitors sandy beaches and safe swimming. Not to be forgotten is the Mohammed Marine National Park, where some of the best diving can be discovered. While just a few kilometers north of Sharm, the Strait of Tiran separates the east coast of Sinai from Tiran Island; the biggest attractions are the four coral reefs making up the heart of the channel.
In the desert that surrounds the resorts are Bedouin tents and colorful pavilions. In the shops of the many resorts and hotels, you can find hand made and authentic Bedouin wares and other interesting pieces from across Egypt and some from other countries, like leather goods, jewelry, clothing, pottery and even literature. Any hotel or resort in the region can organize a trip to the sulphur springs nearby or make sure you get an excellent deal on a trip to Luxor, the Saint Katherine National Park or other sites of antiquity.
It should be understood that Sharm el-Sheikh and its beaches are targeted specifically for tourists and the Egyptian elite, and they are designed to be self-contained and expansive. That having been revealed, Sharm el-Sheikh is a fun, active, lively town full of shops, sports, sights, adventure and swimming. Your days can be laid-back or jam-packed with options, but whatever you choose, it is destined to be a lifelong favorite you will wish to visit again.