Sharm el-Sheikh Beach Guide
Discover the charms of Sharm el-Sheikh on a beach holiday or romantic getaway. From its humble origins as a small fishing village, Sharm el-Sheikh has developed into Egypt’s largest and most popular holiday beach resort.
With several world-famous dive sites, along with desert and mountain hiking opportunities, luxurious 5-star hotels, family entertainment, shopping options and a sunny climate, Sharm (as it is popularly referred to) offers all the ingredients you need for a memorable beach holiday or romantic getaway in Egypt.
Set against a backdrop of brown desert and craggy mountain range, and grouped around a series of turquoise bays at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, Sharm el-Sheik spreads over four main areas.
Take in the charms of the old town of Sharm el-Maya and its small bay, then visit El Hadaba, which sits on a small peninsula and is home to a collection of upscale resorts, holiday villas and several amusement facilities.
Na'ama Bay is the centre of modern Sharm el-Sheik, with a beachfront promenade lined with numerous hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. And finally, the recently developed, large, all-inclusive resort enclave of Nabq (pronounced na-bik) lies around 26km north of the Old Town.
Sharm el-Sheik’s string of golden-sand beaches stretches along the desert coast from Na'ama Bay to Nabq Bay. For the most part, these are separated into hotel- and resort-owned sections that are open to everyone; typically, only hotel guests are allowed to use the properties’ sun parasols and loungers.
The beaches along Na'ama Bay are accessed by a boardwalk or by walking along the beach, while those further north are often enclosed as part of a large resort compound. Many of the well-groomed beaches are artfully decorated with palm trees, shrubs and thatched parasols.
Sunbathe on the soft golden sands, go swimming in the clear, warm waters and snorkel above offshore coral gardens that teem with rainbow-hued fish just a short walk or boat ride north of Na'ama Bay. For the best snorkelling and diving, head to the nearby Strait of Tiran or the world-famous Ras Mohammed Marine National Park, only 25km to the south.
All the major resorts offer a range of water sport activities including diving, snorkelling excursions, glass-bottom boats, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing, banana boating and kayaking. Note: Topless bathing is illegal at Sharm el-Sheikh.
Inland, discover the barren Sinai desert and rugged red mountains either on horseback, atop a camel or by quad bike. Or take a day or overnight jeep excursion to the Coloured Canyon (named for its layers of brightly coloured stone), St Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai.
Around Sharm, take the kids to the numerous waterslides and themed restaurants at Aqua Blue Water Park in El Hadaba or Cleo Park overlooking Na’ama Bay. Adults and teenagers may want to race karts at the Ghibli Raceway at Na’ama Bay or at Go-Karts at Hadaba.
Browse for gold and silver jewellery, spices, perfumes, slippers, leather bags, Egyptian cotton linen and Bedouin handicrafts at the air-conditioned shops in Na'ama Bay or in the open-air souk (market) at Old Sharm.
After dark, head to the bars and restaurants of Na’ama Bay. Take in a live show at the Sinai Casino or dance the night away at one of Na’ama Bay’s many lively nightclubs, including the renowned Pacha Club and Hard Rock Café.
Sharm offers a huge range of hotels and resorts: in fact, almost every major hotel chain is represented here – located mainly around Na'ama and Nabq bays.
Splash out at the classy Ritz Carlton or at the exclusive Four Seasons Resort Sharm el-Sheikh, a quiet hideaway that has been styled as a traditional Arabian village spilling down a hill, overlooking a small beach and surrounded by lush gardens with multiple water features.
Best time to visit
The best time for a beach holiday in Sharm el-Sheikh and Na’ama Bay is any time, however note that summer temperatures can be extreme, climbing to 38°C in July and peaking around 40°C in August. April to October is generally hot and humid, while the winter months between November and March average 25°C.
Location – Sharm el-Sheikh sits on a promontory on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba. The resort is around 500km from Cairo.
Getting there – Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport is Egypt's second busiest airport, receiving daily flights from Cairo (1 hour) as well as non-stop flights from major cities of Europe and the Middle East. Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport is located 10km north of Na’ama Bay, just minutes away from all the major resorts.
A luxury high-speed ferry runs four times a week between Sharm el-Sheikh and the Red Sea resort of Hurghada (1.5 hours).
› Sharm el-Sheikh Beach Map