Sharm El Sheikh Travel Guide

Travel to Sharm El Sheikh

Today, Sharm El-Sheikh is a booming Red Sea resort that inspires travel agents and guidebook writers to make bold comparisons. They’ve dubbed the Red Sea Riviera, and they’ll tell you that the glamorous resorts along the coast have a distinct European atmosphere. Sure, it feels a lot like many of the top resorts you’ll find elsewhere in the world, but comparisons like these sell it short. Sharm has its own rhythm and distinct style. Today’s visitors come, not for the similarity to other resorts, but for the one-of-a-kind experience of Red Sea holiday.

 

Leave any preconceived notions you have about Egypt behind. Arid landscapes, ancient monuments and Bedouin caravans are all part of the national tourism set, but Sharm El-Sheikh is a world away from that. Instead, prepare yourself for lavish comforts, fine alfresco dining and one of the best water-sport scenes the world has to offer. 

“I got a pocket,

Got a pocket full of sunshine

I’ve got a love and I know that it’s all mine

Oh, oh, oh”

– Natasha Bedingfield

The weather in Sharm is perfect year-round, and the Red Sea waters hover between 21° - 28°C depending on the time of year. The waters are crystal clear, with spectacular coral reefs and marine national parks that play host to more than a thousand varieties of tropical fish. Scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and kite surfing are all incredibly popular pursuits, and the four- and five-star resorts at Sharm El-Sheikh can help you arrange lessons, certification and equipment hire.

Jaz Hotel Group offers a few of the finest luxury hotels in Sharm, with all-inclusive facilities and private access to your own idyllic slice of the Red Sea. Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple or with a family, there’s a Jaz Hotel Group property and package in Sharm El-Sheikh to suit your needs.

Whether you’re playing solo or planning to get the band back together, Sharm El-Sheikh features fun and stylish accommodation to suit. Five-star beach resorts. Private beach access. All the facilities you need to dive, dine and delight in this sun-soaked paradise. For Red Sea resort holidays, Sharm El-Sheikh is the destination that defined the genre.

Accommodation in Sharm El-Sheikh is scattered across three main regions. First is Naama Bay, which serves as the resort’s downtown district. This is the beating heart of the resort – where guests come to stroll along the promenade and visit the shops and restaurants.

Next is Ras Om El Seid, which is famous for its coral reefs. This is one of the best places to be based if you’ll be doing much diving. Many hotels in Ras Om El Seid perch on a bluff overlooking the beach Naama Bay.

The bluff that runs through Ras Om El Seid ultimately connects Naama Bay with the third accommodation area: Sharm El Maya. This is essentially the ‘old town’ area of Sharm El-Sheikh, and boasts a picturesque bay with a quiet sandy beach and shade palms.

Wherever you choose to stay in Sharm El-Sheikh, hotels by Jaz Hotel Group are there to offer impeccable service, all-inclusive facilities and plush accommodation. All on the doorstep of the legendary Red Sea.

The Red Sea is championed around the world for its spectacular scuba diving potential. As Sharm El-Sheikh is one of the most popular resort destinations in the region, the infrastructure here is top-notch. Jaz Hotel Group at Sharm El-Sheikh are ready to get you the certification, equipment and transport you need to see some of the most awe-inspiring coral reefs in the world.

Ras Mohammed National Park hosts a few of the most popular dive sites. Reef walls here plunge to an astonishing 800 metres below sea level. They’re covered in vibrant coral gardens and host diverse communities of marine life. Hammerhead nesting sites, dolphin sanctuaries and exotic eel gardens are all found in the area.

Scuba diving at Sharm El-Sheikh is possible from Ras Mohammed (at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula) all the way to the Straits of Tiran in the Gulf of Aqaba. The following are a few of the top diving sites separated according to skill level:

Beginner Dives

Temple

Located at the centre of Ras Om El Seid bay, this reef features an enormous coral column that stretches from the seafloor. There’s also a 15-metre wall with interesting crevasses to explore, and a vast collection of pinnacles that sometimes hide octopuses.

Ras Katy

This shallow dive offers plenty to see, which is why it is so popular with beginning divers and even snorkelers. This is a good site to visit at night, when you may see lionfish and free-swimming moray eels.

White Knights

The reef wall at this site drops around 13 metres to a sandy bottom, which is why it rates so well with divers who are still perfecting the technical skills. At the centre of the area is a trough with swim-through features located at a depth of 10 metres and further out at 35 metres. Triggerfish and groupers are abundant, and then occasional manta ray glides in search of plankton. To the north is a densely populated eel garden.

Intermediate Dives

Jack Fish Alley

Usually executed as a drift dive, Jack Fish Alley is easily identified by the prominent white patch on the cliff face. At a depth of five metres, divers will encounter a series of caves that are teeming with glassfish. These are particularly photogenic, so bring a waterproof camera with you if you have one. ‘Jack Fish Alley’ itself is actually a coral garden and sandy gulley to the south, which hosts stingrays and white tip sharks.

Gordon Reef

In 1981, the Lovilla ran aground here in the Straits of Tiran and sank into Gordon Reef. This dive site lends itself well to drift dives and mooring dives. It begins at a sandy plateau and then continues to a drop-off at around 20 metres’ depth. A kaleidoscope of reef fish live here, darting amongst beautiful, pastel gorgonians. If you descend further down the drop-off, you may spot hammerheads and eagle rays.

Dunraven

This site is named for the British steamer, which sank to its final resting place in Ras Mohammed National Park. It now lies in two separate sections, both of which are at least partially penetrable. The ship’s brass propeller was dislodged and lies to the north of the two sections. Lionfish, flathead scorpionfish and napoleon fish are all commonly sighted in and around the wreck. Portions of it are overgrown with brain coral.

Ras Za’atar

Also located in Ras Mohammed National Park, this site lie to the south of Marsa Bareika. It’s a south-to-north drift dive that follows the reef. It doesn’t take long to come upon a fantastic table coral that is home to napoleon wrasse, glassfish and sea turtles. Divers often share this site with resident dolphins.

Experienced Dives

Shark and Yolanda

Another site within Ras Mohammed National Park, Shark and Yolanda are regularly singled out on international top-ten lists. Conditions here are absolutely spectacular, with two pillars joining a vertical wall before plunging deep into the abyss. It’s a rewarding, but highly technical dive. Currents can be strong and unpredictable.

The best place to begin this dive is at Shark Reef, where you’ll see silky sharks, snappers and barracudas fighting the strong currents just off the wall. Set your sights for the deep blue, and you’re likely to see tuna, bluefish and even hammerheads in the distance.

Before you reach Yolanda (which is a shipwreck), there’s a plateau with coral outcrops and small pinnacles, home to a few variety of fish. The wreck is scattered across a portion of the reef with its contents scattered across the floor.

Jackson Reef

This nesting ground for hammerhead sharks is located in the Straits of Tiran. It’s the northernmost reef in the straits, and this is about as far out as charter boats can take divers in a daylong outing. The wall diving is superb around the perimeter of the reef, and you’ll see plenty of banner fish, masked puffers and triggerfish. At the northern end is the wreck of the Lara. Turtles, sharks and a variety of other big fish are often seen here, and the variety of corals and sponges is first rate.

SS Thistlegorm

This wreck went down in 1941 in the Straits of Gubal, and it remains the single-biggest dive attraction in all of the Red Sea. In fact, this dive site generates more tourism income for Egypt than the Pyramids.

Technically speaking, this site is classified as a war grave, which means that diving here is illegal. However, that hasn’t deterred thousands of divers from visiting each year. When the ship sank, it was loaded with motorcycles, rifles, radio equipment, jeeps and bren-gun carriers. Wreck enthusiasts love the site for the wealth of vintage paraphernalia found here on the sea floor. However, this site is also teeming with fish including snapper, giant tuna and barracuda.

For guests staying at Sharm El-Sheikh, the day often begins on the beach. Most hotels offer private access to the pristine waterfront, with a full of roster of facilities so that you can make the most of your stay.

With Jaz Hotel Group, you can play your Sharm El-Sheikh holiday according to your own, personal time signature. Play it fast and fortissimo along the animation team. Beach volleyball and a host of water sports are all on the agenda. Or unfurl your sails and catch a strong, early morning breeze with a windsurfing board. The area designated for windsurfers, kite surfers and wave boarders is broad, and there’s plenty of room for all. Novices can enrol in lessons while the pros cut broad arcs and strut their style against the horizon.

But that’s only one way to play a holiday in Egypt. You can also slow it down to a lighter sand-in-your-toes groove. Chilled cocktail in hand at a beach bar. Swaying palms and the steady beat of rising and falling tides. You can even take that relaxed rhythm overwater in a glass-bottomed boat. The reef comes to you without a single flip of the fin. This is your holiday, and Jaz Hotel Group can help you experience it any way you please.

The weather in Sharm is perfect year-round, and the Red Sea waters hover between 21° - 28°C depending on the time of year. The waters are crystal clear, with spectacular coral reefs and marine national parks that play host to more than a thousand varieties of tropical fish. Scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and kite surfing are all incredibly popular pursuits, and the four- and five-star resorts at Sharm El-Sheikh can help you arrange lessons, certification and equipment hire. Unfurl your sails and catch a strong, early morning breeze with a windsurfing board. The area designated for windsurfers, kite surfers and wave boarders is broad, and there’s plenty of room for all. 

As the Red Sea resort capital, Sharm El-Sheikh has great selection of spas. Amongst these is mividaspa, and its exclusive treatment rooms are open to guests of Jaz ​Hotel Group across Sharm El-Sheikh. Another highlight is the Tranquillity Spa, with 17 treatment rooms and a full menu of indulgent therapies.

Given the four- and five-star focus on accommodation at Sharm El-Sheikh, fitness and wellness facilities are in full supply. Beyond spa facilities, guests can also make use of fully equipped fitness centres, saunas and swimming pools attached to their respective hotels.

As the prime resort destination along the Red Sea, Sharm El-Sheikh offers some of the best shopping and retail options in the region. The resort is famous for a few of its local products – particularly rugs, jewellery and leather goods. The densest concentration of shops is around Naama Bay, with more traditional markets in the old town area.

A little good-natured haggling is part of the experience, especially the markets and boutiques of ‘Old Sharm’. The local souk has everything from snorkelling equipment to Egyptian water pipes (shisha). This one of the best places to find authentic souvenirs and gifts. It’s also the go-to destination for bargain hunters in Sharm El-Sheikh.

But there’s more to this Red Sea Resort than souks and shopping. About 5 km from the main hotel area is Jolie Ville Golf Resort, with an 18-hole championship course. Non-guests are welcome to play, and the Jaz staff can help make arrangements.

Meanwhile, the luxury resorts lining the waterfront cultivate a sophisticated, lightly European atmosphere. Naama Bay buzzes with bars, cafés and trendy seaside restaurants. The seaside promenade is officially known as Il Mercato, but you may hear it referred to the ‘Champs-Élysées of the Sinai’. That may be overstating it – but the promenade’s a happening place to be. Especially at sunset.