Sharm el Sheikh is a Red Sea coastal city on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. With dramatic landscapes, a year-round dry and temperate climate and long stretches of natural beaches, Sharm is the Middle East’s most important beach destination and an internationally recognized luxury beach resort area.
The scuba and snorkeling in the Red Sea at this point is considered to be among the best in the world. Coral reefs, under water and marine life, unmatched anywhere in the world, offer a spectacular and dazzling time for divers. More than 250 separate reefs have been identified, a habitat for more than 1000 species of larger, colorful fish. Ras Mohammed is the National Park of South Sinai located on the very tip of the Sinai Peninsula, including some of the most famous dive sites in the world, including 2600-foot reef walls.
Sharm is an excellent base from which to explore the Sinai and a number of religious sites, including the Monastery of St. Catherine and Mt. Sinai.
Sharm was little more than an unnoticed fishing village until it was captured by Israel in the 1956 Sinai conflict. Israel returned it to Egypt in 1957, but captured it again in the 1967 six-day war. It remained under Israeli control until 1982, when it was again returned to Egypt. That was the period that saw rapid tourist development, which has been continued by the Egyptian government ever since.
Five million visitors stayed in Sharm in 2006. Nearly 100 beach resorts are available, including some of the most lavish found in the Middle East.