It was the underwater tourist attractions of the Red Sea – particularly the waters of the Ras Mohammed Marine Park just south of town – that put “Sharm” center-stage on Sinai’s tourism map in the first place, and for anyone planning an Egypt diving holiday, this is one of the best places to visit in the country.
This is also one of Egypt’s best destinations if you just want to chill out on the beach. Non-divers will find plenty of land-based things to do, as Sharm is day-tripping distance to many of the Sinai Peninsula’s historic and natural attractions.
It’s a particular favorite for family-friendly holidays due to the excellent facilities on offer.
Whether you’re here for the sand or the sea-life, Sharm el-Sheikh is a great choice for a beach break after exploring the temples and tombs in the rest of the country.
Plan your trip with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Sharm el-Sheikh.
See also: Where to Stay in Sharm el-Sheikh
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Explore Ras Mohammed National Park
Ras Mohammed National Park is what put Sharm el-Sheikh on the tourist map.
Surrounded by some of the world’s most incredible dive sites, this peninsula, 38 kilometers south of Sharm, is home to glorious beaches with excellent snorkeling just offshore, the world’s second most northerly mangrove forest, and a saltwater lake.
While diving trips concentrate on the offshore reefs, land-based day trips to Ras Mohammed explore the peninsula’s desert environment and its beaches with swim and snorkel stops along the way.
The best beaches are Old Quay Beach (with its top-notch coral reef easily reached from the shore) and Aqaba Beach.
Travelers seeking a good view should head to the Shark Observatory cliff top right on the southern edge of Ras Mohammed, where views stretch across both sides of the Red Sea.
2. Dive the Thistlegorm Wreck
For many advanced divers, a trip to Sharm el-Sheikh means only one thing: diving the Thistlegorm.
One of the top wreck dives in the world, this ship packed full of cargo to resupply British troops was sunk during World War II by German bombers.
Fish now flit through its rooms and cargo holds filled with jeeps, motorbikes, and armaments that never made it to the front.
The wreck is situated in the Straits of Gubal, off the western coast of the Sinai Peninsula, so diving trips are offered as overnight liveaboard tours.
These dive tours generally include at least two dives of the Thistlegorm wreck, plus dives at the Dunraven wreck (or one of Ras Mohammed’s dive sites) along the way. Many also include night dive opportunities at the Thistlegorm site.
3. Soak Up the Sun at Naama Bay
Fringed by a white-sand beach and swaying palm trees, Naama Bay is the epicenter of Sharm el-Sheikh’s resort life.
There are plentiful restaurants, cafés, and souvenir stores if you get bored of the sand, but Naama Bay is really all about the beach.
A pedestrian-only promenade rims the entire beach area, backed by a cluster of luxury and mid-range resorts.
For those looking for a holiday full of sloth-like sunbathing, Naama Bay is one of Egypt’s top choices. The entire beach area has excellent facilities, including ample sun-shades and loungers, and the beachside cafés mean you don’t even have to move from your patch of sandy bliss all day.
Note that the entire sweep of beach here is sectioned into separate areas owned and run by the hotels, with complimentary access for resort guests. When choosing your Naama Bay accommodation, especially if it’s not beachfront, always check what beach access they provide.
Jolanda Reef (also called Yolanda Reef) is one of the most popular dive sites in the Ras Mohammed Marine Park area.
Dive trips here (accessed by boat from Sharm el-Sheikh) usually include Shark Reef, as well making this a two-for-one deal with a kaleidoscope of fish life and corals to be seen.
Jolanda Reef is home to the wreck of the Jolanda, an old Cypriot freighter ship that had been carrying a cargo of bathroom porcelain when it ran aground on the reef in 1980.
As well as the highlight of exploring the wreck site, the steep, rainbow colored coral walls of Shark Reef that lead to the wreck, and Jolanda Reef’s coral garden plateau, are prime sealife spotting destinations.
Scorpionfish, crocodile fish, turtles, moray eels, and barracuda are all regularly spotted by divers here.
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