About Sharm El Sheikh City of Peace “A Slice of Paradise”
Located on the very tip of the Sinai Peninsula, the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, or Sharm as it is known to locals, is one of the most beautiful and scenic spots on earth. Flanked by mountains on one side, the crystal clear Red Sea on the other and covered in a permanent coating of desert sand, Sharm has become a playground for vacation tourists from sheiks and royalty to Europeans and Americans. Miles away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo and the typical Egyptian tourist attractions, Sharm gets by on its incredible natural beauty and amenities. The city has earned the name, “The City of Peace” because of the quiet and tranquil nature of the city, but also because it is so often chosen as an international spot for peace conferences. Still unknown to many tourists in the West, Sharm is gaining steam as one of the Middle East’s premium vacation destinations for both families and conventions. The majority of accommodations in Sharm are major Western chain hotels, which, in this case, isn’t such a bad thing when you consider that many of these hotels are incredibly luxurious and feature some of the best service you will find anywhere. There are local hotels and even a smattering of bed and breakfasts here, but if you are a first time visitor here, you might want to stick with the names you know until you get to know the lay of the land. Because Sharm el-Sheikh serves as a playground to so many of the world’s elite, there is a fine array of restaurants to choose from here. Inside many of the Western style hotels, you will find traditional modern fare with an infusion of local style and flair. Venturing out into the streets, there are many fine cafes and bistros here just waiting to be discovered by hungry tourists. While the people here are charming and helpful and the food is remarkable, the real attraction in Sharm is the amazing weather and the even more amazing beaches. The soft sand beaches on the Red Sea extend indefinitely in all directions and thanks to the tropical climate; they can be used year round. Temps in the winter here seldom dip below 15C so outdoor activities are always in vogue. Although when things heat up in the summertime, tourists should make sure they have plenty of water and proper directions before wandering off on their own. Another popular sport in Sharm is SCUBA. With a plethora of coral reefs and unique sea life surrounding the Sinai Peninsula, there is always a show going on under the surface of the clear blue water. Even if you have never donned the traditional SCUBA gear or even a snorkel, most hotels here offer lessons on how to enjoy this magnificent sport. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and a few extra bottles of sun block and check out this jewel of a vacation destination located on the very tip of the Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh!
The simplicity of sun, sea and sand. The luxury of five-star hotels, water sports, shopping and entertainment. This is Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the most accessible and developed tourist resort communities on the Sinai Peninsula. All around are Bedouin’s colourful tents, mountains and sea. There are small, intimate hotels with modern designs, as well as larger hotel complexes belonging to International chains, plus about the entire amenities one could expect of a tourist centre including casinos, discos and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities. In fact, with diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports, horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer from boredom. Four miles south the southern section of the town stands on a cliff overlooking the port. And is a great view.
Na’ama Beach is one of the centers of the tourist activities. Located just north of Sharm, this area is developing into a resort town of its own. Most hotels at Na’ama Bay have their own, private beaches with comfortable amenities such as chairs, shades and even bars.
Shark’s Bay is also nearby, and again is a growing resort community with more and more to offer, along with several diving centers.
The small harbor known as Sharm el-Maya is located next to the civil harbor, has accommodations for boats, and includes a Yacht Club with rooms. For those who live to shop, the Sharm El-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products, including jewellery leather goods, clothing, pottery and books. It has been said that this is a must visit for all diving enthusiasts. There are many diving sites along the 10 mile beach between Sharm el-Sheikh and Ras Nusrani. The site of Sharm el-Sheikh shows up as early as 1762 on a Spanish map, but until about 1968, it was nothing more than a quiet fishing community. However, in recent years, Sham el-Sheikh has become one of Egypt’s best known and most visited beach resorts. In fact, in recent years, the Egyptian government has worked hard to spread around the Beach vacationers by developing or encouraging the development of many other beach resorts, but Sharm remains the leading tourist spot in the Sinai and there are a number of reasons for this. First of all, it is a year round resort, hot in the summer, but pleasant and warm in the winter, and it has an international airport that attracts both private and many international charter flights. Next, the area between Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park on the tip of the Southern Sinai features some of the world’s most amazing underwater scenery. Here, one finds crystal clear water, rare and beautiful reefs, and an incredible variety of exotic fish amongst the colorful coral. Much of this can be seen simply by snorkeling off the coast, but of course it is well known world-wide for scuba diving, with easy access to some of the Red Sea’s most prominent and interesting dive sites. Just to the south of Sharm, on the very tip of the Sinai, is also one of Egypt’s oldest and most beautiful, mostly underwater protectorates, Ras Mohamed. To accommodate divers, Sharm has ever possible amenity, including first rate dive shops, centers and boats. Many of these are operated by Europeans, and they also provide excellent diving training. A few of the oldest include the Camel Dive Center and South Sinai Divers.
However, Sharm el-Sheikh also offers the beauty of the Sinai, with its majestic mountains and valleys, a number of national parks, as well as some well known nearby tourist attractions such as St. Catherine’s Monastery. There is more to Sharm, however, than the beaches, sea and landscape. It is a well developed area that almost seems more like a European resort than Egyptian, with refined facilities and amenities, including these days, some more budget oriented accommodations as well as five star hotels equal to most any in the world. And, while one is capable of spending most any budget at their disposal here, for most Europeans, it remains a relatively inexpensive alternative to more costly beach resort alternatives elsewhere. Add to this the fact that, because of the number of tourists who continually pour into Sharm, there is just about every activity a vacation-er could hope to find, and it is no wonder that the resort area is so popular. Name a water sport and it can almost certainly be found here, but there is also every other activity from four wheeling to go cart tracts, from horse riding to championship golf.
One may bowl, bungee jump or, believe it or not, even ice skate. Furthermore, there are any numbers of activities for children, as well as adults, because Sharm is very much family oriented. Then in the evening, Sharm takes on almost a Las Vegas flavour with, all along the board walk between the hotels and the sea, various types and styles of floor shows “animations”, bands, both Arabic and Western, and other entertainment. It’s a circus, but it is a charming circus as one walks along the board walk, hearing a dozen or more languages from every part of the world.
True, Sharm el-Sheikh is often called the “City of Peace”, because of the various peace conferences held in the city and attended by world leaders, but it is also a “world resort”, popular among and visited by people from all over Europe, because of its affordability, but also by those from much more distant lands, because it is fun. The Sharm el-Sheikh area consists of three main areas, consisting of the old town Sharm el Maya “Mouya” and its bay, a number of other bays, where most of the tourist facilities are located, though in fact some very fine resorts are located elsewhere, and El Hadaba, where there are vacations villas, apartments, condominiums and a few hotels. In the greater resort area of Sharm el-Sheikh, the bays include, from south to north, Sharm el Maya, Na’ama Bay, Garden Bay, Tiger Bay, Sharks Bay, and Nabq Bay. There are all sorts of hotels and resorts along this strip of coastline. Some are resort compounds, similar to those more frequently seen on the Red Sea coast, which attempt to provide every option to vacations in one spot. Others are more open, particularly along Na’ama bay, where the board walk provides access to various hotel facilities making them available to everyone. Of the bays, probably Na’ama Bay, which means “pleasant” in Hebrew, is best known, and this is also where the most hotels are located. These include some of, but by no means have all of the finer hotels, including several Hiltons, several Sonesta hotels, a Marriott, the Movenpick, and the less expensive Ghazala, run by the always hospitable people of South Sinai Travel. Up the coast just a bit, near the airport one finds actually some of the newer, very exclusive hotels, including the Four Seasons, the Hyatt, the Intercontinental, another Hilton, the Sheraton, the Movenpick Golf Hotel, which was host to Egypt’s first professional golf tournament, and others such as the Holiday inn. A number of other hotels are scattered about, including the Ritz Carlton and the Hilton Waterfalls to the south of Na’ama Bay nearer to down town There are a number of other very fine hotels that are not part of major chains, as well as more affordable hotels, some private and some chain, such as the Days Inn.The down town area of Sharm, or at least the old town, around Sharm el Maya “Mouya” is not large, but there are any number of restaurants and nightspots, such as the Hard Rock Cafe, and various well known fast food chains. Here, one finds the local bazaar “suq”. This is also where the main port and marina at Sharm are located, though there are several other marinas up the cost from here at Na’ama Bay and Sharks Bay. Here, one finds the fishing and diving boat jetty. There are banks, and other facilities, as well as one of the three hospitals located in the area. Sharm el-Sheikh is really, in the end, an extravaganza of entertainment in a beach setting backed by the natural wonders and historic enclaves of the Sinai. I suppose that Sharm is not for everyone, though this author has always enjoyed his visits to this part of the Sinai. What it is not, for the most part, is a laid back experience. For that, one would need to head a little further north to somewhere like Dahab or Nuweiba. Let there be no doubt Sharm is a tourist town with little other purpose, but the community has taken pride in making it more than a vacation destination. It is a one of those places where memories are made, that remain pleasant and fondly cherished dreams. If you’re interested in exploring Egypt’s underwater treasures, a visit to Sharm el Sheikh is a must. Sharm’s charms are also appreciated by many Cairo dwellers – Egyptians and foreign residents alike – for its clean air, sea vistas and relaxed ambiance.
The southern coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, between Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park, features some of the world’s most brilliant and amazing underwater scenery. The crystal-clear waters, rare and lovely reefs and an incredible variety of exotic fish darting in and out of the colorful coral have made this a snorkeling and scuba-diving paradise, attracting visitors from all over the globe.
Sharm el-Sheikh is a well-known port and resort town at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, popular with package holiday makers and divers. About 15,000 British tourists are in Sharm on any given day. Numbers have doubled in the last 3 years and seem set to continue to rise despite the worldwide economic situation. Sharm el-Sheikh is sometimes called the “City of Peace”, referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held there. Sharm el-Sheikh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Arab world. But there are also some very good reasons to visit it if you are not the common tourist, who likes to lie on the beach all day. It is one of the finest diving spots in the world and a trip into the desert is an unforgettable adventure. The Sinai Peninsula is a remote desert mountain range. The Rocky Mountains are parted from the deep-blue sea by a flat desert strip. This combination of desert and sea is an incredible sight and makes you believe you are on a different planet.
About 40 years ago, Sharm el-Sheikh was nothing but a small fishing village with about 100 Bedouin citizens. When Sinai was occupied by Israel in 1967 Sharm el-Sheikh started to develop as a tourist destination “like the rest of the peninsula” . Israelis evacuated Sinai between 1979 and 1982, following the signing of a peace agreement between the two countries. Since the 1980’s the Egyptians have been continuing the development of Sharm where the Israelis left. Sharm’s 100 grew into a bustling 10,000 population. There is now a nice promenade, a Hard Rock Cafe, one of the most modern hospitals in Egypt and so on.