The underwater life of Sharm el-Sheikh needs no introduction, it is no coincidence that Jacques Yves Cousteau and his team “checked in” here more than once or twice, not forgetting to shoot fantastic colors of the video. All sorts of coral sponges, reefs, algae, anemones and other tailless creatures are just a colorful decoration for the crazy number of scaly living in the waters of Sharm. You just don’t want to emerge from this “paradise of the cold-blooded”, especially realizing that the surface of the Red Sea in this desert place is far from being as good as life under water. Boring-looking low-rise hotel complexes with dusty and slightly withered palm trees – this is the landscape that awaits a tourist touched by the flirting of fish. And here comes the very bummer for many, for which Sharm el-Sheikh begins to be indiscriminately scolded upon their return. Yes, the “superficial” life of this resort is not half as good.
This resort on the Red Sea has been considered for several decades an ideal place for a relaxed vegetable holiday, where you can forget yourself, soak up the sun, bathe children – and all this against the backdrop of unreal sea beauties. Professionally peppy animators with tired songs by the pools, Swedish feasts (which, by the way, are not particularly honored here) and all kinds of hammams and tennis courts are just a tiny addition, which is not interesting to mention.
Districts of Sharm El Sheikh
According to allcitycodes.com, Sharm el-Sheikh consists of several picturesque areas built along the coast, around the main bays. In a single whole – Sharm – they are connected by the main street Peace Road.
- Naama Bay(“Elder’s Bay”) is the oldest and most comfortable part of Sharm el-Sheikh, a continuous series of hotels in two or three lines. A pedestrian street with restaurants, cafes, discos and shops stretches along the entire beach of Naama Bay.
- Sharm el Mayais located in the southwest of the resort and is famous for the only sandy beach in the resort and the Old Market. There is also the “Old City” with many shops and cafes, and the harbor of the same name, from where yachts with tourists start on boat trips and in the Ras Mohammed nature reserve.
- Sharks Bayis a relatively new resort area in Sharm, which is famous for its luxurious coral reef and upscale hotels.
- Nabqis located a few kilometers northeast of Naama Bay, towards the Nabq National Reserve and opposite Tiran Island. Recently, this is one of the fastest growing areas of the resort, more and more new hotels are being built here.
- Ras Umm El SidBay is located near Naama Bay and is famous for its coral gardens full of marine life. One of the most luxurious hotels on the coast is also located here – Ritz Carlton 5 *
Sharm El Sheikh Hotels
In total, about 200 hotels are open to tourists in Sharm, most of them are 4 and 5 star categories. If you wish, you can also find a three-ruble note, but their quality, as a rule, leaves much to be desired. It can be difficult to sort out such an abundance of accommodation options, so the main questions that tourists should ask themselves are, firstly, what kind of vacation they prefer, secondly, the quality of the beach, and thirdly, how interested are they in regular exits from the hotel in looking for entertainment.
In general, the number of rooms in Sharm el-Sheikh is quite old – this is especially true for the classic tourist areas of Hadaba and Naama Bay. Sharks Bay has newer hotels, while the most modern ones are clustered in Nabq and, to a lesser extent, in Ras Umm el Sid. Nabq was built up (and continues to do so) last among the areas of Sharm, so local hotels, as a rule, have a large well-groomed territory, a long beach and several pools, often with slides.
The beaches of Sharm are described in detail above. In general, if a “hassle-free” entry into the sea along a real sandy beach is important to you, go to Sharm El Maya. Beaches cleared of coral (yet with the danger of stepping on the remnants of those) will meet you in Naama Bay. The last few hotels in Nabq also do not have corals, but the sea is very shallow and there are algae. In other areas of Sharm, swimming is from pontoons.
Most entertainment will meet you when you leave the hotels of Hadaba and Naama Bay. In Sharks Bay, there is a modern Soho entertainment district built right next to the Savoy Hotel, consisting of a square with musical fountains and an abundance of shopping centers, cafes and restaurants.
You can study in detail the accommodation options at the resort on the page ” Hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh “.
Communication and Wi-Fi
In Sharm el-Sheikh, as elsewhere in Egypt, there are three mobile operators – Vodafone, Etisalat and Mobile. If you do not want to overpay for roaming, it makes sense to purchase a local SIM card (you will need a passport). It is convenient to buy a SIM card in the arrivals hall of Sharm el-Sheikh airport, where you can also ask to install it and make sure that everything works.
Free Wi-Fi in Sharm el-Sheikh offers the lion’s share of high-level hotels, some “three rubles”, as well as the vast majority of cafes, restaurants and other entertainment venues. In inexpensive hotels and some “fours” Wi-Fi will be paid. The so-called Internet shops are ubiquitous, an analogue of Russian Internet cafes, where you can not only go online from a desktop computer, but also make photocopies of documents, scan, print, etc.
Mobile Internet service can be obtained by purchasing a local SIM card. The prices are about the same for all three operators – 45 EGP per month with a speed of about 1 GB and unlimited traffic.
Where to call if anything: tourist police: 600-675; ambulance: 600-55.
Relatively inexpensive shops and restaurants are concentrated in the Old Market area of the Old City. There you can buy various souvenirs relatively cheaply, and at the same time look at the fruit market. The most expensive stores are in the tourist center area in Naama Bay.
What to buy: hookah (“shisha”), plates with Arabic ornaments, stone figurines of ancient Egyptian gods and pharaohs, papyri, oils and essences, jewelry in the ancient Egyptian style. In any store, on a cartouche (an oval frame used in ancient texts whenever the name of the pharaoh was mentioned) in 15 minutes, the name will be displayed in gold or silver in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Cosmetic products deserve attention – not only produced in Egypt, but also imported from “friendly” Arab countries: essential and massage oils and a large selection of Dabur hair care products, Hemani natural oils from Pakistan, spices (it is better to buy in supermarkets or food stalls by weight from large tubs), dates, halva and sweets. It is also worth taking a closer look at the accessories for the hammam – cotton sheets, loofah washcloths and gommage mittens.
6 things to do in Sharm El Sheikh
- Admire the incredible underwater landscapes at the Ras Mohammed Marine Reserve.
- Feel like a pirate of the 21st century at the wrecks of sunken ships on the island of Tiran.
- Bargain Aladdin’s lamp with a genie to boot at the Old Marketat a reasonable price.
- Choose one of the 26 sandy beaches of Sharm el Mayaand run barefoot without fear of corals.
- Make a trip to Mount Moses(it is unlikely that you will be able to repeat the feat of the forefather, but you can enjoy the beautiful nature as much as you like).
- Attend a musical fountain show in the ultra-modern Soho
What to try in Sharm
Gastronomic interests in Sharm el-Sheikh are based on two pillars: firstly, on the dishes of general Egyptian cuisine, and secondly, on the abundance of the freshest fish and seafood from the Red Sea. From the first category, minced meat kebabs “kofta” (emphasis on “o”) are suitable for a light snack, a dish “on a working afternoon” called “koshari” from rice, pasta, chickpeas and lentils with tomato sauce, rice itself Egyptian with a variety of sauces and balls of beans and falafel vegetables. You can dine more refined with soup-puree from lentils “ats” and pigeon or duck stuffed again with rice. You should definitely finish the meal with dessert: hot “umm-ali” made from puff pastry, milk and pistachios or sweets – baklava, basbousa semolina pie filled with syrup or sweet “vermicelli” called “kunafa”.
Do not forget that alcohol in Egypt is served only in “tourist-oriented” restaurants.
Fish and seafood are served in all possible ways of cooking: grilled, baked with coarse salt, stewed in sauce, cold and hot, separately and assorted. The menu includes squid and cuttlefish, octopus, shrimp, sea bream, sea bass, swordfish and some exotic Red Sea fish, such as the deep-sea anglerfish.
Cafes and restaurants
It is absolutely impossible to stay hungry in Sharm el-Sheikh: a lot of restaurants and cafes of the resort are ready to please tourists with Egyptian and international cuisine. You won’t have to look for a catering establishment for a long time: leaving the hotel, you are almost guaranteed to run into several “competing firms”. There is a particularly large concentration of cafes and restaurants on the main street of the resort (Salam, or Peace road), in Naama Bay and Hadaba. There are a large number of establishments of European and Asian cuisines – Italian, French, Japanese, as well as an excellent steakhouse in Naama Bay.
A full meal for two will cost 150-250 EGP in a European restaurant and 250-330 EGP in a fish restaurant.