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11 Best things to see & do in Sharm El-Sheikh

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsular, Egypt

Last updated: 22 August, 2023
  • Ras Mohammed National Park, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

This national park, set on the tip of the Sinai peninsular, protects one of the world’s greatest marine ecosystems – a coral reef, just offshore – that’s home to more than 1,000 species of fish, and 200 species of coral. There’s world-class diving, from shark reefs to wrecks, and, with most of the reef close to the shore and just below the surface, world-class snorkelling too. Visibility is excellent – regularly 30m.

Night dives are also possible here, with the possibility of seeing octopus, cuttlefish and the other crawlers of the deep. If you’ve never done one – it’s an entirely different experience.

For serious divers, there are world-class dive sites beyond Ras Mohammed, accessible by 2- or 3-day live-aboards. Check out Big Brothers, Elphinstone Reef, and Jackson Reef.

Adult price: £30

Min age 3

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1-3 hours

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Aerial view of the Monastery of St. Catherine, the oldest Christian Monastery located on the slopes of Mount Horeb, Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

Bucket List Experience

St Catherine’s Monastery

At the base of Mount Sinai, set amid a dramatic and harsh desert landscape, is the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Catherine. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this remarkable monastery was built by order of Emperor Justinian I (527-565) to protect the biblical ‘Burning Bush’, where Moses received his instructions to lead the Israelites out of Egypt in Canaan. The living bush in the grounds – now surrounded by a protective fence – is apparently the original.

The monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world, and it is still used by a religious community. It remains a holy pilgrimage site.

Adult price: £2

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 3-5 hours

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Pilgrims and tourists reaching the summit of Mount Sinai

Bucket List Experience

Climb Mount Sinai

This 3-mile trail, high on religious significance, leads up to the rocky summit where Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments.

Most tours start in the early hours, to see the sunrise and the dramatic colour shifts in the surrounding desert landscapes.

The trail starts at the beautiful 6th-century monastery of St. Catherine, built to protect the biblical ‘Burning Bush’ where Moses received instructions to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Adult price: £35

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 3-5 hours

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

These multi-activity desert adventure tours bundle up a selection of bucket list desert experiences.

First, there’s desert quad biking, usually on a pre-determined route out to a desert camp (around 30 mins – 1 hour). There you’ll alight for a short camel ride, before settling into a ‘Bedouin camp’ for a meal and a live entertainment show. Some will also have telescopes set up for star gazing.

There are a variety tours offering different opt-ins and opt-outs of the above activities, so you can often avoid those that don’t appeal.

It’s touristy, yes, but a lot of fun if you don’t take it too seriously. Cultured travellers expecting an authentic experience will be disappointed, so set your expectations and enjoy the chance to spend some time in the desert.

Adult price: £50

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 5 hours

  • St Catherine's, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

The Jebaliya are a Bedouin tribe who have protected the monastery of St Catherine’s for many centuries. Their knowledge of the area is the key to a great desert walk here – through hidden gardens, past beautiful rock formations, and to remote, simple lodges.

The walking in this region is spectacular; to do it with an authentic Bedouin guide – and a cameleer to carry baggage – makes for a unique and memorable experience.

Adult price: £20

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 1+ day

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Hammams, or Turkish Baths, are an authentic and traditional Middle Eastern experience and there are several places to try it in Sharm (ask your hotel for recommendations).

It starts in a heated room, promoting perspiration, followed by a full body wash, exfoliation and deep cleansing, and massage. Options usually range between 1 and 2 hour treatments.

Known for their relaxing and rejuvenating properties, these baths are great for skin health and overall well-being, as well as a chance for some welcome cultural immersion.

Adult price: £25

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 1-2 hours

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

This 40m-deep canyon beguiles with undulating layers of ochre, gold, crimson, and mauve. It was formed over millions of years by the erosive forces of wind and water on sandstone and limestone; the colours come from the crystallisation of different minerals.

Day tours from Sharm el-Sheik will involve a 2-hour drive through the desert, then 2-3 hours of hiking through the most appealing parts of the landscape.

Adult price: £25

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 3-5 hours

Old Market

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Old Market

Experience

This traditional souq is the best shopping in Sharm, with a jumble of textile, food and craft stalls, plus cafes selling decent local Egyptian food. Come after sunset to avoid the heat, sip Arabic coffee and perhaps smoke a shisha pipe. It’s a surprisingly authentic experience given its location in Sharm.

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 3-5 hours

Snorkelling at White Island

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Sail boat ship with tourists in Ras Mohamed National Park in the Red Sea, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Collage with coral reef and fishes.

Experience

This striking sandbank island, which emerges only during low tides, shimmers like a white mirage surrounded by turquoise water. As well as its natural beauty, it’s renowned for snorkelling and diving, with vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life below the surface. The full-day trips will include a snorkel stop at Ras Mohammed, which is close by.

Adult price: £25

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 day

Al-Sahaba Mosque

  • Sharm el-Sheik, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

Al Mustafa Mosque in the Old Town of Sharm El Sheikh.

Experience

Sharm’s most famous landmark is this beautiful mosque, a showcase of traditional Islamic architecture, built in 2017. Inside, it dazzles with intricate Quranic calligraphy adorning the walls and oversized stained-glass domes overhead. You can climb to the top of the minarets for views of the region.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 3-5 hours