Sharm el-Sheikh is closer to the Israeli tourist than ever before – the flight line that was opened, the warming of relations with Egypt and the lowering of the travel warning to South Sinai to a lower level did their part, and today Sharm is not only a legitimate destination, but also a very popular vacation destination on the tourist map of The Israelis.
Unlike the magical beaches of Sinai, and even the cities of Dahab and Nueva, Sharm offers a different vacation experience. One that you can definitely do belly-back on the beach, but there is much more to it than that. It is suitable for a vacation with children and is full of places they will love, it offers shopping, entertainment and trips that can upgrade any vacation from “good” to “wow”.
Wait, but the Chinese don’t come to rest? Yes, too. The luxurious resorts of Sharm allow those who want to rest and relax on the beaches, in the spa or by the pool, but the options outside of them are no less magical and allow you to manage your vacation exactly at the pace you want – without running from place to place, because it is still Sinai, but to diversify the time you visit in the city and make it more fun and enjoyable.
Sharm el-Sheikh is full of attractions of various kinds, for adults and children – shopping, trips, nature sites, diving and water sports, casino, markets and more. You can come to Sharm for any type of vacation and have a wonderful experience that will be remembered for a long time. So that you don’t miss anything, we have compiled for you the most worthwhile attractions in and around Sharm.
Naama Bay (خليج نعمة) is the central part of Sharm, and the area looks different during the day than at night. During the day, the focus is mainly on the beautiful beach strip, along which there are some of the best hotels in Sharm and also the promenade connecting them. The beach strip consists of private beaches of the hotels, where there are restaurants and bars that allow entry even to those who are not guests of the hotel. In addition, there are a number of restaurants that do not belong to a particular hotel and they also have a piece of beach where you can sit and enjoy.
At night the place turns into a huge and vibrant shopping center, lit and colorful and mostly closed to car traffic. The place has a variety of souvenir shops, some on the street and some in large shopping centers such as “Naama Center” and “Genena City” with brand name stores of clothes, jewelry and quite a bit of kitsch. There is also a large selection of restaurants of all kinds, including well-known chains such as “McDonald’s”, “Hard Rock Cafe” and “Pizza Hut”.
The old city (as old as a city founded in the early 80’s can be) offers a very large shopping complex, at the foot of the beautiful Sahaba Mosque. The mix of shops is quite similar to the one you will find in Naama Bay, but the whole business seems more authentic, and bargaining is really required from the shop owners on the spot. There is also the Old Egypt complex that shows an entire city carved into the rock. There are of course also restaurants and cafes that are not bad at all (recommendations below).
Adjacent to the luxury hotels of Shark Bay is Soho Square, where (appropriately for a place called “Soho”) there are a variety of luxury clothing, footwear and jewelry stores of well-known brands. There is also a shopping mall with similar shops, and also a bright and beautiful outdoor boulevard in the style of Jerusalem’s Mamilla Boulevard. Next to them you can find shops with the same details known from Naama Bay and the market. There you will also find a musical fountain that lights up and plays once every two hours, attractions for children such as a large playground, an ice skating rink, bowling and various facilities of the kind that you insert a lira or two coin into, and of course restaurants and bars.
Quite a few restaurants in Sharm boast the title “Italian restaurant”. Pomodoro is absolutely the most deserving of this title, with excellent dishes made from relatively high-quality ingredients. Prices are slightly higher accordingly, but worth the value.
It’s a fairly standard restaurant in terms of the menu, but its location on the beach strip of Naama Bay makes it very successful, especially for meals during the day, because then you can also enjoy the piece of beach that belongs to it.
A bar/restaurant next to the Trufitel hotel in a somewhat western atmosphere, serving good dishes ranging from generous chicken and meat sandwiches to pizzas and pastas. Better than average quality beers and alcohol.
The old market and the old city of Sharm el-Sheikh
This restaurant has three branches in Sharm, in addition to the one in the market, there are also in the “Il Mercato” shopping complex and in the Naama Bay area, but the branch in the market is the largest and most impressive of them all. The concept, on the other hand, is the same in all of them – a huge ice tray with fresh fish and seafood waiting for you at the entrance, from which you choose the dish and how it is made and it arrives at your table.
An oriental restaurant in the full sense of the word, a place to “open a table” with a huge selection of salads, meats and side dishes. The prices are especially funny and you can eat until you can’t move for NIS 40.
A recommended restaurant for fish and seafood lovers, which is both decorated in a pleasant and inviting style and prepares fresh and delicious dishes.
A restaurant for American-style meat lovers, with very large portions of quality meat.
Called a “bar” but completely falls into the category of a restaurant because of its four cuisines (Chinese, Thai, Indian and Egyptian) that serve a huge selection of dishes throughout the day. The alcohol menu is also excellent.
The place to visit in Sharm, which even calls itself a “tea house”, but you can find a lot more tea and coffee there. This is a cafe located on the side of the mountain above El Panar beach in Ras Umm Sid, but it goes down to the bottom of the mountain and offers seating on different levels, a colorful and young “Midurban” atmosphere and mainly international. The place hardly serves food, except for snacks and light meals, but it does serve great cocktails, alcohol and the most beautiful view in Sharm for sunset.
A very high-quality bar-restaurant in Naama Bay, right next to the Troptil Hotel, which turns into a real club at night.
A cafe and pastry shop that has two branches, one in the old market and the other in the “Il Marketo” complex, the one in the market is more recommended. There you will find a huge selection of sweets and crackers, by weight or packaged, that deciding what to take will probably take much longer than it will take you to eat them. The coffee is also of much higher quality than the average in Sharm.
Ras Mohammed is an enormous nature reserve with a large land area that can be reached by jeep trip, or by regular vehicle, and enjoy the desert landscape and several points of interest and breathtaking views of the Red Sea, and the area that connects the Gulf of Suez with Gulf of Aqaba. There are also diving sites, which can also be reached from the sea with a boat, and they are also very suitable for those who do not dive and are content only with snorkeling.
This national park is about a 20-minute drive south of Sharm, and any travel agency or hotel will easily organize a day trip there for you, at a cost between 30 and 80 dollars per day, depending on the length of the trip and the number of people. Entrance to the park requires an additional 5 dollars.
Another huge nature reserve that is also defined as a national park is Nabq. This is a highly recommended place for field trips, mainly because there is a lot of space there to walk. It is possible in a jeep or an ATV or a “buggy” vehicle. Benbek also has a stretch of beach to swim in and stay along, huge mangrove groves, more like a forest, that slide into the transparent water, a huge Bedouin tent to rest in the shade and what not – several beautiful diving and snorkeling sites.
One of the most common attractions in Sharm is water parks, and they take it very seriously there, so much so that the largest water park in the Middle East is located there. This is the water park of the “Albatross Aqua Park” hotel in El Hadaba where there are about 70 different slides and water facilities, which are not intended only for children and can be enjoyed at any age (in fact, some of them even have a minimum age limit).
Next to it is “Aqua Blue”, another huge water park that offers a variety of fun options, and if you are a guest at one of the hotels, you can move between the parks freely. Both parks, and in fact almost all the water parks in Sharm, can be entered even if you are not a hotel guest for a separate cost, which is around 40-50 dollars including lunch.
Other water parks that are worth mentioning are the water parks of the “Charmillion” hotel chain in the Nabak Bay area. These are three nearby hotels with huge water parks, and also where guests of one of the hotels are allowed to use the facilities of all three, and you can enter a whole day in the park even without staying at the hotel.
Sharm is a major destination for diving enthusiasts, from all over the world, and they come there in droves to go under the water and see not only colorful coral reefs but also a huge variety of different fish and marine life as well as shipwrecks that have sunk and remain as a habitat for corals and fish, such as the ship Thistlegrom, at the entrance to the bay Suez, which is probably the most famous in the world.
Ras Mohammed and the area connecting the Gulf of Suez to the Gulf of Aqaba is one of the most popular destinations in the world for diving, and you can go there for individual dives or diving safaris. In the northern part there is the Bay of Sharks (Shark Bay) which is the center of some of the beautiful diving sites that are located near the beach and some of them can be reached even without a boat, and a little to the north of it is the island of Tiran which is generally under the control of Saudi Arabia, but there is no problem for Israelis to reach it by guided boat to dive in its surroundings and get an impression Spectacular underwater cranes.
Gambling is legal in Sinai, and the casino known to most Israelis is the Taba Hotel casino adjacent to the Taba border, which is sometimes only visited for a night of gambling without even staying at the hotel. Sharm has three casinos worth a visit if you’re into gambling, all open 24/7 and serving free food and drink around the clock. Unlike casinos in the world, there is really no dress code in the Sharm casinos (or at least it is not enforced) and you can also come in summer clothes and sandals.
In the Naama Bay area. A classic casino, with high level service, and no entrance fees. Offers roulette, blackjack, poker, Texas hold’em and slot machines. Accepts dollars only.
A little north of Naama Bay (5-6 minutes drive). This is the largest casino in the Middle East (according to them, although it is a title that is not really difficult to achieve). Admission is free and it has an excellent Italian restaurant (which is chargeable, unlike the food served throughout the casino). Offers blackjack, roulette, Texas Hold’em against the dealer (sometimes there are tournaments, worth keeping up to date) and a large number of machines. Accepts dollars and euros.
in the Nabak Bay area. The most modern casino on the list, and like the rest offers all the familiar games – Texas Hold’em, roulette, slot machines and blackjack. Accepts dollars only.