Sharm El-Shiekh city guide
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 30,000 population. There is now a nice promenade, a Hard Rock Cafe, one of the most modern hospitals in Egypt and so on.
Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various watersports, particularly recreational scuba diving and snorkeling. There is great scope for scientific tourism with diversity in marine life species; 250 different coral reefs and 1000 species of fish.
These natural resources, together with its proximity to European tourism markets, have stimulated the rapid growth of tourism that the region is currently experiencing. The total number of resorts increased from three in 1982 to ninety one in 2000. Guest nights also increased in that period of time from sixteen thousand to 5.1 million. Companies which have been attracted to invest in this city include Hyatt Regency, Accor, Marriott, Le Méridien, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, with categories of three to five stars. In 2007 the area saw the opening of its first aqua park hotel resort. The four star Aqua Blu Sharm Resort was built on the Ras Om El Seid, with an area of 133,905 square metres (1,441,340 sq ft).
Sharm is also the home of a congress center, located along peace road, where many international political and economic meetings have been held, including peace conferences, ministerial meetings, world bank meetings, Arab League. The Maritim Sharm el-Sheikh International Congress Centre can host events and congresses for up to 4,700 participants.
The nightlife of Sharm El-Sheikh is modern and developed. Nightclubs and restaurants contribute greatly to the lifestyle led by Sharm el-Sheikh's visitors each year.
The colorful handicraft stands of the local Bedouin culture are a popular attraction. Ras Mohammed, at the southern-most tip of the peninsula, has been designated a national park, serving to protect the area's wildlife as well as its natural landscape, shoreline and coral reef. A number of international hotels and noted restaurants are clustered around the centre of Sharm, known as Naama Bay, with golf courses and other leisure facilities further up the coast. (Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)
Photo: Marc Ryckaert (MJJR), licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
100 km south of Dahab
104 km south of El-Tor
388 km south of Suez
256 km south of Taba
Our recommendations for accommodation in Sharm go to:
Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village - Brick built rooms integrated into the cliffside at the back of Sharks Bay (east Sharm), all overlooking the bay and with superb views across the sea to Tiran Island. And affordable too! Rooms from € 17 including breakfast.
Sinai Old Spices - homely B&B in a Bedouin village just outside western Sharm. Prices from € 20 including breakfast, kitchen, tv and ensuite bathroom. Safe parking.
No decent bike shops available in Sharm. You can try to contact one of the better bike rental places or bike touring companies (Black Jack Bike for example) in town and ask if they have any stock, otherwise it's going to be Cairo.