Holidays in Sharm el-Sheikh - how to get there, what to see, where to stay

This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.

General information about Sharm el-Sheikh, holidays

Sharm el-Sheikh (Sharm el-Sheikh or Sharm ash Shaykh) is a resort town in the south of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, 500 kilometers from Cairo (Sharm el-Sheikh on the map). This is the most popular and developed resort in the country, shares this title with Hurghada. Sharm el-Sheikh, also briefly referred to among tourists as Sharm, is also one of the oldest resorts in the country.

The name "Sharm el-Sheikh" translates as "Royal Gulf" or "Sheikh's Bay", but in fact the correct name of the city is Sharm el-Sheikh, and from 1967 to 1982 it was temporarily called Ophira. Interestingly, as a holiday destination, it has been actively developing since 1967, when the Israelis occupied the city during the Six-Day War.

Sharm el-Sheikh is almost entirely a resort town, most of which is occupied by hotels and consists of separate resort areas or districts. It's just a concentration of entertainment and ways to have a pleasant and interesting time. You can find something to do here at any time of the year and at any time of the day, it never gets boring. This place is good both for a simple beach holiday and for active entertainment, including diving and snorkeling. Sharm el-Sheikh is generally considered one of the best places in the world for diving, and it is the underwater beauty that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and holidaymakers from all over the world every year. It is also important that you can get to Sharm el-Sheikh without a visa using the so-called Sinai stamp, which is delivered free of charge on arrival, though not to everyone (more about the Sinai stamp and to whom it is delivered here).

Unfortunately, there are some inconveniences when vacationing in Charm: most of the beaches are dotted with coral reefs, it is difficult to enter the water there. Usually, the entrance to the water is carried out from special pontoons, and there are only two familiar sandy beaches with smooth entry into the water and a clean bottom – this is the bay of Sharm el-Maya and the beach in the bay of the most developed tourist area of Naama Bay.

Of course, you have to pay for pleasure, and therefore prices here are about 15% higher than, for example, in Hurghada, located on the opposite shore of the Red Sea.

The advantages of a holiday in Sharm el-Sheikh

  • The resort has its own international airport, where direct charter flights from Russia and other countries are operated. The airport is conveniently located in the geographical center of the city, just 10-20 minutes drive from the resort areas.
  • A large selection of all-inclusive hotels of different price categories, many of which specialize in Russian-speaking tourists.
  • There are free beaches in Sharm el-Sheikh (there are none in Hurghada, for example).
  • A large selection of tourist attractions and excursions.
  • Rich underwater life and excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving.
  • It is believed that this is the warmest and windless resort in Egypt, which means that you can relax comfortably on the beaches in separate bays protected from the wind even in winter.

Cons of a holiday in Sharm el-Sheikh

  • The city consists of separate resort areas separated by wastelands and poorly connected by transport.
  • The city is new, and therefore there are almost no attractions here.
  • Not all tourist areas have areas for evening walks, and if you choose a hotel or area unsuccessfully, when leaving the hotel you may well find yourself in a wasteland and at a great distance from "civilization".
  • There are few sandy beaches suitable for bathing children and comfortable entry into the water.
  • Charm is not very suitable for independent recreation not according to the "All inclusive" system. With such a vacation, it will be too boring and expensive here: there is nowhere to go for a walk in the evenings, all beaches are paid, interesting places and attractions, consider that there are none, and you will not be able to go anywhere on your own without an excursion because of the poor development of transport and expensive rental.

What are the beaches in Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh lies on the shores of the Red Sea, which is famous for its clean water, magnificent corals and rich underwater flora and fauna. Due to this, Sharm is considered one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkeling, and the most popular resort in Egypt for beach holidays.

On the beach in Sharm el-Sheikh

There are only two beach areas in Sharma that are ideal for a carefree holiday and swimming with children and for those who do not know how or swim badly – these are the beaches in the bay of Sharm el-Maya and in the bay of the most developed tourist area of Naama Bay. At the same time, the only natural sandy beach is only in the bay of Sharm el-Maya, all the others are artificial with imported sand, which eventually erodes and exposes the rocky and reef bottom, and it needs to be replenished again.

Most of all, children will like it in sandy Naama or Sharm el-Maya

On most other beaches, the bottom is covered with corals and stones, these are the so-called reef beaches, which are ideal for snorkeling and for those who know how to swim well. Under the water there are sharp cliffs with a departure to the depth, and near these cliffs, called the "wall", the richest and most colorful underwater life is concentrated. Entering the water here is mainly organized by floating pontoons or stationary bridges so that the corals are not damaged by their feet. The best coral beaches are Nabq Bay, Ras Umm el Sid, Coral Bay and Sharks Bay.

But on the reef beaches there are beautiful fish and corals

Considering this, when choosing a hotel, be sure to look at the description, reviews and photos of the hotel beach, so as not to spoil your dreams of an ideal vacation with reality. In any case, we advise you to take special bathing shoes with you on vacation, called "aqua shoes" or "corals", to protect your feet from unpleasant stones and dangerous sea urchins. We have written in detail all about the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh here ...

Infrastructure in Sharm el-Sheikh

The urban and tourist infrastructure in Sharm el-Sheikh is well developed, but very fragmented due to the large length of the resort and its fragmentation into areas separated by long distances. And this means that access to street travel agencies, walking areas, entertainment, cafes and restaurants, shops and street trade will greatly depend on where you will rest. For example, if your hotel is located in one of the developed tourist areas of Sharm el-Maya or Naama Bay, then everything you may need will be within walking distance from it. And if, for example, you are going to rest in a hotel with your own territory in the Nabq Bay area, then when you leave the gate, you will most likely find yourself in a wasteland or in front of another similar hotel, and you will have to take a taxi to the nearest store or tourist market.

On the other hand, of course, large hotels with their own territory try to create such conditions so that vacationers do not need anything at all in the walls of the hotel. But here the question is whether such a vacation will suit you, or you will still want to take a walk, go shopping, get acquainted with the life and traditions of the local population. In order not to make a mistake with the choice of location and for easy access to the infrastructure, we advise you to read our overview of the areas of Sharm el-Sheikh and description of the beaches above.

Considering that holidays in Egypt are mostly organized according to the all-inclusive system, you hardly need to look for a cafe or a grocery store. But you will definitely want to buy gifts in the form of souvenirs, something interesting from food, inexpensive local medicines. For this, in Sharm el-Sheikh, it is best to go to the main tourist area of Naama Bay, or to the Old Market in Sharm el-Maya, where street trade is very well developed and there are souvenir shops and everything you might need. There are also large shopping centers and modern supermarkets in Sharma. We have collected all about shopping in Sharm el-Sheikh and where it is better to buy souvenirs in a separate article.

Shopping in Sharm el-Sheikh

You can pay for purchases in Charm in foreign or local currency, rubles are not in use here. If you need to exchange money, then this can be done at exchange offices on the streets, in banks and ATMs. All this, again, is concentrated in developed tourist areas. There are a lot of ATMs here, where you can withdraw money from a bank card in local currency or exchange cash dollars and euros. Many shops and even souvenir shops accept bank cards, but Russian Visa, Mastercard and Mir cards are not working now (in 2024).

Sightseeing tours can be purchased from hotel guides, they will offer them to you during the first organizational meeting after arrival. Buying from them is reliable, but expensive. If you want to save money, you can buy at travel agencies on the street or online. Again, if you are staying at a hotel in a poorly developed area, there may not be a travel agency near the hotel, and you will have to go to another area and buy there. But as an alternative, you can buy excursions at prices from tour organizers without extra charges online, for example, on these search engine sites:

As for food, you most likely will not have to worry about it, since almost all hotels here operate on an all-inclusive system or at least "half board", i.e. breakfast and dinner. If you still want to eat outside the hotel, you can do it in tourist restaurants and cafes, in one of the international chain restaurants McDonald's, KFC or Burgerking. There are few international chain restaurants here, only a few for the whole city, so see their position on the map in advance. And there's not a lot of familiar street food here, and in some areas you'll have to take a decent walk until you find the right place. If you rent an apartment, you can cook at home. Products are cheapest to buy in the markets or in the largest supermarket Carrefour. There are smaller supermarkets, they can be found in almost every district. But not all stores under the Supermarket banner are actually such, there are also fakes.

Fake supermarket, in fact a regular store not with fixed prices

Hotels and accommodation in Sharm el-Sheikh

Accommodation in Sharm el-Sheikh is mainly represented by all-inclusive hotels, and it is most profitable to book them as part of a travel package, which already includes an inexpensive charter flight, insurance, transfer and accommodation. But if you categorically prefer independent travel, then you can book a hotel or accommodation separately.

Hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh

Unfortunately, due to sanctions, it has become impossible for tourists from Russia to pay online for reservations in the world's popular hotel booking systems, but you can search and book accommodation in Sharm el-Sheikh on proven Russian search engines, or book options in international search engines without online payment:

If you want to go to Sharm for wintering for a month or more, then it may be more profitable to rent a house or apartment, but not everything is so clear. Sometimes you can hear from tourists on vacation that one of the acquaintances of other acquaintances rents a house in Charm for some $ 100 per month. In fact, these are most likely "bikes", since the real prices for monthly (non-long-term) rent start at $ 400/month + utilities. You may be able to find something cheaper in the low season, but it's not a fact that it won't be a dead apartment in a dirty residential area very far from the sea. At least, we didn't come across anything cheaper than $ 400.

It is best to look for affordable housing already on the spot, turning to merchants on the street and in souvenir shops, to the hotel staff. But to do this, you still have to arrive in Sharm el-Sheikh first, and stay at the hotel for a few days while you look for a suitable option. But since there is no guarantee that you will be able to find something suitable for you right away in a couple of days, it may make sense to overpay a little and rent a vacation home through AirBnB search and booking systems and others like that.

Well, we offer another option for staying in Sharm el-Sheikh - this is booking tours without a flight, i.e. only a hotel and insurance. Now most tour operators offer such options, and it is possible to "catch" hot prices for accommodation cheaper than through hotel search engines, even using the all-inclusive system. This can be done on trusted tour search engine sites:

Weather and tourist seasons in Sharm el-Sheikh, when is the best time to go

Sharm el-Sheikh is a year-round resort, you can go here at any time. There is very little precipitation during the year, rains and clouds are extremely rare, and the temperature even in winter stays above 20 degrees during the day, and only night can drop to 15 degrees. The water temperature here never drops below 20 degrees, so you can also swim all year round, although in winter, of course, swimming is much less comfortable. Nevertheless, the tourist seasons in Sharm el-Sheikh have their own characteristics, which should be described in more detail.:

  • 🌞 It is best to go in April and May, October and November. This is the most comfortable time to relax: not too hot compared to summer, and at the same time very warm compared to winter. There are many sunny days, clouds in the sky appear very rarely. But even if rare clouds appear in the sky, they are not a hindrance to rest at all: you can also sunbathe and swim under the clouds.

  • ⛅ You can go June-September. Summer is a very hot period in Sharm el-Sheikh, which not everyone tolerates with ease. If you have no problems with the transfer of such intense heat, then you can safely go, but still be careful at this time with your health.

  • ⛅ You can go in December-March. It is the time of winter in Egypt. Well, like the winters... Winter here is about the same as in Russia the first month of summer. It's warm here, sometimes even hot, and only in the evenings you may need to wear a hoodie or jacket. You can also swim, although getting out of the water will not be as comfortable as in other seasons. But the greatest discomfort in the winter months is caused by winds, especially northern ones. Therefore, the winter season can be quite called the season of winds. They can blow hard and without stopping for weeks, and the worst thing is that on some beaches at this time they may impose a ban on swimming.

  • 🌨 When not to go. There is no such time in Sharm el-Sheikh, so if you have the opportunity to go here on vacation, you should not deny yourself this.

The beach in Sharm el-Sheikh in December
Seasons in Sharm el-Sheikh by month, when is the best time to go
Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
                       

* the best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit

Средняя температура in Sharm el-Sheikh по месяцам
янв фев мар апр май июн июл авг сен окт ноя дек 18° 19.4° 21.7° 25.5° 29.1° 31.2° 32.4° 32.2° 31.1° 28° 23.8° 19.9°
Осадки in Sharm el-Sheikh по месяцам
янв фев мар апр май июн июл авг сен окт ноя дек 0.5мм 0.2мм 1.2мм 0.2мм 0.5мм 0мм 0мм 0мм 0.04мм 0.8мм 3.3мм 0.5мм

Current weather in Sharm el-Sheikh and forecast

График приливов и отливов в Шарм-эль-Шейхе
00:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0000:0006:0012:0018:0002/03/2024 / сб03/03/2024 / вс04/03/2024 / пн05/03/2024 / вт06/03/2024 / ср07/03/2024 / чт08/03/2024 / пт0.26 м. / 0.9 ft.-0.26 м. / -0.9 ft.
График приливов и отливов в Шарм-эль-Шейхе подробно ⧉

Time in Sharm el-Sheikh

The time in Sharm el-Sheikh differs from Moscow by -1 hour.

Current time in Sharm el-Sheikh*
Разница по времени с городами:
Москва: -1 Самара: -2
Казань: -1 Нижний Новгород: -1
Екатеринбург: -3 Новосибирск: -5
Иркутск: -6 Владивосток: -8
* - если время неверно, обновите страницу Ctrl+F5:

How to get to Sharm El Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh Resort is located on the southwestern shore of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt on the Red Sea (Sharm el-Sheikh on the map of Egypt). From the capital of Egypt there are about 500 kilometers by road, and from Moscow the resort is located at a distance of just over 3,000 kilometers, or about 5-6 hours of flight. You can get here in the following ways:

  • ✈ From the cities of the Russian Federation and other countries by plane to the local Sharm el-Sheikh International airport, and from there to the hotel by taxi from 22 USD, and if you are on vacation on a ticket, you will be taken to the place by tourist bus.
  • 🚆 From Cairo by plane (1 hour flight) or intercity buses (from 7 hours).
  • 🚌 From Hurghada by bus or plane with a transfer via Cairo, or by direct ferry, but the ferry service is still suspended.
  • 🛌 Buy a ready-made package tour with a flight transfer directly to the hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh without any worries.

For more information about each of the ways, how and how to get to Sharm el-Sheikh with the schedule and cost of transport in 2024, read here...

But where is the best place to search and buy tours online at prices from tour operators without extra charges from travel agencies:

Выгодные туры в Египет

Transportation in Sharm el-Sheikh, what to use to move around the resort

Taxi in Sharm El Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh is a big city, it stretches along the coast for almost 30 kilometers. Therefore, if you plan to relax not only on the territory of the hotel and on the beach, then you will most likely need transport. To do this, you can use a taxi, rent transport, local minibuses, walk on foot, or take hotel buses.

Sharm el-Sheikh is a resort comfortable enough for hiking. There are wide roads and there are sidewalks, not very busy traffic. However, the resort is very large, stretches for many kilometers along the coast, so it will not be possible to walk everywhere and not always.

Most all-inclusive hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh have their own beach. This beach may not always be within walking distance, and therefore hotels provide a free shuttle service to and from the beach by bus or minibus. Such hotel buses can run only twice a day back and forth, or they can run constantly back and forth at a certain time according to the schedule, it all depends on the hotel and even the season. Schedules are published at the reception or you can check them with the reception staff. But do not forget that in Egypt everything works very slowly, and promises are not necessarily fulfilled, so even in expensive five-star hotels you can wait for the bus much longer than promised.

Egypt is considered the country with the cheapest taxi, but not for tourists. In fact, to get to the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh by taxi at a reasonable price, you need to try very hard. Taxi drivers here always try to "breed" tourists for an increased fee, never turn on the meter. Taxi apps Uber and others in Sharm el-Sheikh are not working as of 2024.

The only type of local urban public transport runs along the main streets of the city in Sharm el-Sheikh - fixed–route taxis, there are no large or state-owned city buses here. The fare in minibuses is very cheap, 2.5 to 5.75 Egyptian pounds (approximately 0.08 - 0.19 rubles) depending on the distance and route, but it is very inconvenient and not easy for tourists to use them. But if you get used to minibuses, you can get almost anywhere for a mere penny. But let's make a reservation right away that it is almost impossible for tourists to travel at the prices at which locals travel, they will still have to pay several times more for travel. Be prepared for the fact that they will start "begging" one dollar for the fare, which, of course, is very expensive even by the standards of the fare in the Russian Federation, so bargain or catch another minibus.

Minibus in Sharm el-Sheikh

In Sharm el-Sheikh, you can rent a bicycle, motorcycle or car, but the rental prices are very high. Bike rental costs from $ 5 per hour or $ 20 per day, and there are very few rentals, you will have to look. A scooter or motorcycle can be rented from $ 40 per day, and the car will cost almost twice as much. For aredna and transportation you will need a passport and international rights.

In detail we told you about all types of transport and how to get around in Sharm el-Sheikh here...

Attractions and entertainment in Sharm el-Sheikh, what to see and what to do

There are almost no attractions in Sharm el-Sheikh, and most of what travel agencies and excursion sellers give out as local attractions, in our opinion, can be classified as tourist entertainment. There are two interesting mosques and two Christian temples in Sharma itself. Although they have all been built over the past 30 years and are not historical places, it is worth visiting them because of the beauty of architecture and scale, and simply because there is nothing else to see here. The colorful "Old Market" will also be interesting, although in fact it is not old at all, but rather stylized in the old days. You can also visit two museums in the city, and this is where all the real attractions in Charm end. We advise you to read more about all the sights and entertainment of Sharm el-Sheikh in our separate article - A guide to the sights of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Al-Sahaba Mosque

Excursions in Sharm el-Sheikh

Things are much better in Charm with the sights that can be visited with excursions. The most popular and obligatory for all guests of the resort is, of course, a trip to Cairo and the Pyramids. We also recommend visiting Ras Mohammed National Park, Mount Moses and St. Catherine's Monastery, the Color Canyon. Unfortunately, inexpensive group excursions to Luxor from Sharm el-Sheikh are not for sale, as the ancient city is too far away for a bus trip. Separately, we can mention excursions to Jordan or Israel: these are worthy trips, but they are very expensive and will not be affordable for everyone.

All other options for excursions that are offered at the resort are, by and large, more tourist entertainment. For example, these are desert walks with quad biking or camel rides with visits to fake Bedouin villages; sea cruises to islands with swimming, snorkeling or diving.

Where to buy excursions in Sharm el-Sheikh

You can buy excursions from hotel guides, travel agencies on the street or online. If you are resting on a ticket, then the next day after arrival there will be an organizational meeting with the hotel guide, where they will offer to buy excursions from the tour operator. We do not dissuade you from shopping with a hotel guide, but we inform you that the same excursions can be bought much cheaper on the street or online. In our practice, the difference in price for some tours reached up to two times. So you decide for yourself what is better for you: to buy more reliably and conveniently from a hotel guide, or with minor inconveniences on the street, but cheaper.

Well, if you want it to be both convenient and inexpensive, you can buy excursions online on trusted search engine sites with reviews. On these sites you can read reviews about the excursion from other tourists, and book your favorite tour with a small prepayment by credit card or even without it, and the main cost of the excursion is directly in the hands of the guide during the excursion, so everything is safe and reliable:

Найти экскурсии онлайн (с отзывами)

Entertainment in Sharm el-Sheikh

But with entertainment in Charm, the situation is much better than with sights. Here you can have fun with children in the water park, go on the already mentioned recreational excursions to the desert or islands, snorkel or dive, ride a banana or parachute, watch the underwater world from a glass-bottomed boat or dive to the depths on a bathyscaphe. In the evening, adults can go to try their luck at the casino, visit one of the nightclubs with modern music, take a walk and go shopping in one of the walking areas in the Old Market, in the area of the promenade and pedestrian street in Naama Bay or on Soho Square.

Snorkeling in Sharm el-Sheikh

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