In December, I was in Egypt for the very first time! We all know the pictures of the ancient pyramids, but we visited the coastal town of Sharm el Sheikh and the impressive nature in the region. Although I have traveled a lot, I have rarely been to the desert. The Wadi Rum desert in Jordan impressed me a lot and I slept in the open air of Australia’s rugged outback for 10 nights, but the area of Sharm el Sheikh, which is located on the Sinai Peninsula, is completely different and absolutely beautiful. It is a great winter destination with temperatures around 24 degrees in December! What are the best things to do in Sharm el Sheikh? These are my tips and highlights!
If you are Dutch and you are reading this blog post in English, just tap the menu button to change the language to Dutch!
This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission when you book through my website, at no extra cost to you! So thank you if you book through my website!
1. Explore the underwater world of Ras Mohammed National Park. This famous park, about an hour’s drive from Sharm el Sheikh, has been voted the most beautiful diving spot in the world several times. But for snorkelers, there is also a lot of beauty here. This is, after the Great Barrier Reef, the most beautiful place I have ever snorkeled! What colors and diversity of marine life! It can be very crowded at the hotspots though, so be prepared for that…. Book a good excursion, like THIS one. Make sure you never touch the coral and use eco-friendly sunscreen that is not harmful to the environment.
Diving & snorkeling with Red Sea Adventure | Ras Mohammed National Park | things to do in Sharm el Sheikh | highlights
2. Go on an excursion in the desert and dine with the Bedouins. A (jeep) tour is an awesome experience. While the Arabic music blasts through the speakers, you hold yourself firmly to the designated handles in the back of the jeep. The “somewhat bumpy” terrain causes hilarious scenes in the back seat. Fortunately, we made it out without a whiplash or brain damage. In the Sinai Desert, the light is magical and when, after a special sunset, we arrive at an atmospheric Bedouin camp, they treat us to traditional dancing and delicious, fresh food. Book an excursion like THIS!
3. Stargazing in the desert. Since a few months there are 2 large telescopes in the middle of the desert. Never before have I seen Saturn, Mars and the moon in such detail with my own eyes! So impressive, it made me a little emotional! An unforgettable experience. THIS is a great excusion!
Adventures in the desert | things to do in Sharm el Sheikh | Egypt highlights & tips
4. Visit the hippie village of Dahab and try the local cuisine at one of the cozy restaurants. There’s a lot of kite surfing in laid-back Dahab, so this charming town attracts a nice crowd. You will find many good waterfront restaurants, such as Ali Baba. We had a delicious lunch here! Right next door is Tim’s Munch; an excellent brunch spot. Dahab is also known for the famous diving and snorkeling spot the Blue Hole. The town is about an hour’s drive from Sharm el Sheikh and can also be visited with an excursion like this one.
Try the local cuisine in hippie village Dahab | Sharm el Sheikh | restaurants
5. In the middle of the Sinai Desert stands the oldest and most important monastery in the world: Saint Catharine’s Monastery, founded in the 6th century. The monastery, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, is located at the foot of Mount Moses, where according to the Bible Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Here you will also find the “burning bush,” where he is said to have met God. Saint Catharine’s Monastery, is still in use and inhabited by Greek monks. The whole area is sacred because of three world religions practiced there: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Apart from the Vatican, the monastery holds the most valuable collection of writings in the world. You can also do a beautiful sunrise hike to the top of the holy Mount Moses. THIS is a great excursion if you love hiking!
6. Hike through the beautiful gorges in the area, like the extremely photogenic Colored Canyon or the Salama Canyon, also called the Red Canyon. The Colored Canyon is a whopping 800 meters long and about 30 meters high. This part of Egypt used to be underwater, but desiccation and erosion have created extraordinary rock formations with beautiful colors and lines. A visit to the Salama Canyon can be well combined with a trip to Dahab! THIS is a good tour!
7. A visit to the impressive Al Sahaba Mosque in the center of Sharm el Sheikh is not to be missed. Especially in the evening, this place is magically beautiful. Dress appropriately and cover your arms and legs completely. Cover your hair with a scarf. Should you still not be dressed appropriately enough upon entering, you can borrow scarves and clothing next to the entrance.
8. Treat yourself to cocktails at the Camel Bar & Rooftop in downtown Sharm el Sheikh. There are welcoming, cozy cushions on the floor. Order a dangerously delicious classic, such as a Margarita, or choose one of the other creative creations on the menu! Enter at your own risk…
Cocktails at Camel Bar & Rooftop | restaurants & bars | Egypt
9. Try the local cuisine in Egypt. There are many all-inclusive hotels in Sharm el Sheikh, and surely a highlight of the day there is breakfast! Freshly baked flat bread with hummus, halloumi and egg … I still dream about it. In restaurants you can order fantastic seafood. Just keep in mind that most Egyptians do not drink alcohol because of their religion, and the wine is not that good in most places. Beers are a better option.
The clear blue waters | things to do in Sharm el Sheikh | beaches
10. Relax by the pool of a beautiful hotel, while Europe turns up the heating at home. Because let’s be honest; you enjoy the sun just that little bit more when the people at home have icicles hanging from their noses.
Jordan is just a few hours’ drive from Sharm el Sheikh and is also well worth a visit!