Plan on starting your day early to beat the heat in sometimes sweltering Sharm el-Sheikh, which is blessed with year-round sunshine and where summer temperatures regularly reach upwards of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Slap on your sunscreen at hit the town — or beach — with our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best things to do and see in (and around) Sharm el-Sheikh:
1. Ras Mohammed National Park. Located just 7.5 miles from Sharm el-Sheikh, this paradisiacal diving and snorkeling haven has breathtaking lagoons teeming with a remarkable variety of fish, coral reefs and fossils.
2. Tiran Island. While Ras Mohammed attracts an equal number of divers and snorkelers, Tiran Island largely draws the latter thanks to its magnificent shallow waters. Because the cost will likely be similar — and because the marine life here is so spectacular — we suggest opting for a full-day boat trip instead of the half day.
3. Saint Catherine’s Monastery. You’ll need to allocate a full day for a trip to this important religious site at Mount Sinai, but this is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable excursions you’ll take during your stay in Sharm el-Sheikh. Located at the base of Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, Saint Catherine’s Monastery contains the largest religious library outside of the Vatican. Ask your hotel concierge for help and recommendations booking the trip.
4. Camel ride. A number of companies based in Sharm el-Sheikh offer evening tours into the desert by camel with Bedouin guides, with most outings culminating in an authentic home-cooked meal under one of the clearest, most star-filled skies you’ll ever see.
5. Naama Bay. You’ll find the densest concentration of the city’s restaurants, clubs, bars and shops in Naama Bay. This is also a good place to experience one of Sharm el-Sheikh’s popular hookah bars and take a puff or two of fruit-flavored shisha.