Egypt - Sharm El-Sheikh - Relaxing at the beachAfter our exciting Cairo and Ancient Egypt exploration, we looked forward to relaxing on the crystal-clear waters of Sharm El Sheikh. This Red Sea resort is a stark change from the bustling Egyptian cities and archeological sites. 

The city had the feel of a California beach town, with its modern resorts and open-air malls – with a few Middle Eastern features like Mosques.

Interesting fact: Egypt is mainly in North Africa, but Sharm El Sheikh is in Asia. 

While at Sharm El Sheikh, we spent some time at the beach, toured the old city and two modern malls, enjoyed an Egyptian dinner, and went on a submarine cruise to enjoy the coral reefs and marine life. 

At night, we enjoyed the 1001 Nights dinner and show, which was spectacular. Imagine a Las Vegas Cirque De Soleil show with a Middle Eastern theme. 

Sharm El-Sheikh

Egypt - Sharm El-Sheikh - old market from the baySharm El-Sheikh is a resort town on Egypt's southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, and unlike the rest of Egypt, it is in Asia. 

It is located on the coast of the Red Sea and is known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and coral reefs. 

The city also has several historical and cultural sites, including the Naama Bay promenade, the Ras Mohammed National Park, and the Sharm el-Sheikh Old Market.

Interesting fact: Everywhere you go in the city, you will see a lot of signs in Russian. Sharm has always been a popular destination for Russian tourists, but the Russian population in Sharm exploded after the start of the Ukraine war.

The city is also a major diving destination and is home to many diving sites, including the Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck.

Egypt - Sharm El-Sheikh - Red Sea calm watersHere are some of the things you can do in Sharm El-Sheikh: Dive or take diving lessons, snorkel, visit the Ras Mohammed National Park, explore the malls, camel rides into the desert, Visit the Monastery of St. Catherine, or Hike Mount Sinai.

Weather and Best Time to Visit

Sharm El-Sheikh climate is moderate, with average temperatures ranging from 60s F in January to 90s in August – with the best times to visit in Spring and Fall.

The temperature was in the high seventies during our visit – perfect for relaxing on the beach or swimming in a heated pool. The Red Sea waters were a little chilly but okay to swim.

Hotels and Resorts

Egypt - Renaissance Sharm El-Sheikh Resort by MarriottMemphis Tours booked us at the Renaissance Sharm El-Sheikh Resort by Marriott, and we loved it as soon as we entered. 

The resort is laid on several hills, Villa style, with commanding views of the Red Sea, and the blue and white theme sets the mood for a beach vacation.

After checking in, our luggage was loaded on a golf cart, and we rode to our room. The driver had to negotiate many sharp turns until we reached our building. 

The following day, on our way to the breakfast buffet, we admired the beautiful landscape and views. We had to climb stairs and cross bridges, waterfalls, and fountains. 

Egypt - Renaissance Sharm El-Sheikh Resort by MarriottThe breakfast buffet was excellent, with a wide selection of international dishes and exceptional service to go with it. 

We eventually reached the beach with reclining chairs, coffee tables, umbrellas, and a beachside café for snacks and drinks. 

The resort had two large pools with snack bars, but we didn't spend any time there because we were more interested in relaxing on the beach.

Wi-Fi is strong everywhere in the resort, including our room, restaurant, and the beach, which was a relief after the spotty service on board the cruise ship.

The resort also offers scuba diving lessons and parasailing. I signed up for parasailing but it was canceled, so we picked a more relaxed activity. 

We had a much-needed couple's massage at the SPA, and my wife enjoyed a full service of facial and manicure/pedicure. 

The only resort we experienced during this visit was the Renaissance, but the town is full of great resorts, hotels, and rentals. Some big names are Four Seasons, Mövenpick Resort, SUNRISE Arabian Beach Resort, and Jaz Belvedere Resort.

If you visit with kids, you may consider Pickalbatros Aqua Blu Resort, which has an impressive water park. 

Old Market

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh Old_Market - by Tanya Dedyukhina - WikimediaWell, how much relaxation can you do in a day? Come on; I am in a new city. I am not going to waste the day on the beach.

So we went on a self-guided tour of the old city with its old Souq. The hotel arranged for a prepaid taxi ride to the center, and we were dropped off at the edge of the pedestrian-only street and arranged for a pickup time and place.

The Old Market in Sharm El Sheikh is a bustling and colorful place full of life and excitement. 

Egypt - Sharm El-Sheikh - Old Market CamelIt is a great place to experience Egypt's vibrant culture and traditions. As we strolled through the narrow streets, we saw various shops selling everything from spices and textiles to souvenirs and street food. 

There are also several mosques and churches in the area, which add to the sense of history and culture.

Al Sahaba Mosque, the largest mosque in Sharm El Sheikh, attracted our attention with its unique Islamic architecture. 

Interesting Fact: As you walk around in the old city, you will see several camels resting or giving tourists a ride.

Egypt - Sharm El-Sheikh - Old MarketThe mosque is open to visitors, but everyone must have proper clothing, especially women, who are expected to wear a head cover before entering.

After exploring the market, we had lunch at Andrea Restaurant on the second floor of a building overlooking a strange-looking hill. 

The hill looked like it was artificial, with stairs leading to the top. While we were enjoying a delicious lunch, a waterfall started cascading from the hill. 

After lunch, I decided to climb the stairs for a short hike behind the waterfall, which was a great spot for photos.

1001 Nights – Arabian Nights Show

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - 1001 Nights ShowAs part of our tour, we had arranged to watch the 1001 Nights dinner and show. 

The van picked us up from the hotel and dropped us at the main gate, and we were impressed with what we saw. 

Elaborate castle design from the outside and lush gardens, pools, and fountains inside. After a long walk through hallways and arches, passing several dining halls, we ended up at an outdoor theater with ancient Egyptian monument replicas.

While we were served a delicious Moroccan dinner, a sax player opened the evening entertainment with a set of masterful pieces.

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - 1001 Nights ShowThe 1001 Nights Show is a spectacular evening of entertainment that combines traditional Egyptian music, dance, and acrobatics with a modern twist. 

The show features a cast of over one hundred performers, including belly dancers, fire dancers, acrobats, and musicians. 

The show and dinner were superb, and the service was exemplary, but I expected a more Middle Eastern theme. Instead, it felt more like a Las Vegas Cirque du Soliel show with an oriental twist. 

Guided Tour

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - Naama Bay MallWhen we arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh, no tours were planned apart from the 1001-night show.

But it only took a quick call to our Memphis Tours guide to arrange for two tours.

The first was an evening tour of the modern part of the city. We started with a visit to Naama Bay.

The bay was originally a small fishing village but was developed into a resort district in the 1980s. 

Naama Bay is now home to a marina, hotels, restaurants, shops, and an open-air bazaar. 

Walking through this busy center, we noticed several restaurants with a Bedouin seating style – and many souvenir shops. 

Interesting Fact: Sharm El-Sheikh is a popular place for international conferences. The latest one was the United Nation Climate Change conference in November, 2022.

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - Saltana RestaurantWe skipped all the modern, touristy restaurants and went to Saltana (Sultana) for dinner, a place popular with the locals. 

We ordered traditional Egyptian cuisine like Fool (Fava Beans) and Ta’ameya (Falafel) with many sides and mint tea. 

The food was delicious, and the restaurant owner checked on us and helped us choose our meal. 

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - Soho Square MallOur next stop was at Soho Square, another open-air bazaar. This place was brilliant, with many shops, restaurants, and lights reminiscent of Christmas decorations.

Walking through this place is a delight, with statues and fountains everywhere. A dancing water fountain kicks off every 30 minutes with international pop songs. While we watched this captivating show, we heard songs in English, French, Arabic, and Russian. 

Submarine Cruise

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - Submarine CruiseWe had a few hours to kill on our last day in Sharm El-Sheik, so we went on a Submarine Cruise with the Royal Sea Scope. 

We arrived at the port, were checked in, and offered pineapple drinks. We quickly learned that those drinks were not free, but we took them with us and enjoyed them as the submarine made its way to the coral reef.

Well, it is not exactly a submarine, but more like a glass-bottom boat – and it was a large boat with two levels. 

The top level had rows of seats looking outward for the best views as we cruised to the reef. We could see the old market, its unique mosque, Ras Katy, several resorts, beaches, and Ras Mohammed National Park.  

Egypt - Sharm El Sheikh - Submarine CruiseWhen we approached the reef, we went down to the lower level to be underwater to admire the reef and marine life from large panoramic windows. 

Interesting Fact: You can see the island of Tiran from many beaches. It is located in between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Egypt administered the island until 2017 when it was ceded to SA by agreement. A proposed causeway would link Tabuk to Sharm el-Sheikh. 

It is a tranquil and mesmerizing feeling once immersed in the sea, with schools of fish darting around you. 

Of course, you can get closer to sea life by snorkeling or scuba diving, but in this semi-submarine, you can do it without getting wet. 

We had a wonderful experience on this excursion and saw many types of fish and coral reefs. The guides were knowledgeable and helpful.