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Situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh is Egypt's premier diving destination, making it perfect for a summer break. With some of the best diving on the planet, in the neighbouring Red Sea, its underwater majesty has to be seen to be believed. Find out for yourself with one of our cheap flights to Sharm El Sheikh. We currently fly from London to Sharm El Sheikh and Manchester to Sharm El Sheikh.

However, Sharm El Sheikh is definitely not a one trick pony. Holidays to Sharm El Sheikh offer visitors a fantastic array of activities, largely thanks to the city's unique surroundings. On the one side, the city is bordered by the Red Sea and on the other the towering mountains that form a range around Mount Sinai. There are many day trips available for visitors, so buy a ticket for one of our flights to Sharm El Sheikh today and explore this historic city tomorrow.

Another big attraction in the area is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. One of the oldest functioning Christian monasteries in the world, Saint Catherine's is only the monastery's nickname; its official name is the slightly more dramatic, “The Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai.”

Egypt holidays can also cater for all history and archaeological enthusiasts; our flights to Sharm El Sheikh will show you a world you could never have imagined. Especially if you combine your trip to Saint Catherine's with an overnight hike up Mount Sinai to see the sunrise in the morning, it is simply breathtaking.

Book a flight to Sharm el Sheikh with a last minute deal to save extra money, head out with the whole group on a family holiday, try an all inclusive holiday if you want ultra-relaxation, or use our clever search engine to find the cheapest holidays.

Activities

Diving

Dive into the warm waters of the Red Sea and you'll enter a vibrant world of life and colour. The reefs of Tiran and Ras Mohammed are two of the best spots, both reached by boat within two hours of Sharm El Sheikh. You can expect to see huge schools of barracudas, sharks and murrays.

Shisha Cafés

Activities - Shisha Cafés It's well worth visiting one of the traditional cafes, where apart from tea and coffee you can try smoking a mixture of tobacco, apple and honey through a 'shisha' pipe.

Culture

Social Conventions

Islam is the main influence in Egypt, and many traditional customs and beliefs are linked with religion. The people are generally courteous and hospitable, and expect similar respect from visitors. Because Egypt is a Muslim country, dress should be conservative and women should not wear revealing clothes, particularly when in religious buildings and in towns - although the Western style of dress is accepted in the modern nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and bars of Cairo, Alexandria and other tourist destinations. Official or social functions and smart restaurants usually require more formal wear. Smoking is very common.

Religion

Over 94% of the population follows Islam, with the majority of the rest being Christian. All types of Christianity are represented, especially the Coptic Church. There is also a small Jewish minority.

History

The Nile Valley has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. A unified kingdom was founded around 3150 BC by King Menes, spawning the dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia.

The New Kingdom (c.1550-1070 BC) began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, marking the rise of Egypt as an international power. This period is known for some of the most famous Pharaohs, including Tutankhamun.

The Thirtieth Dynasty was the last of the Pharaonic era, falling to the Persians in 343 BC. From AD 693, Muslim rulers took control for six centuries. Then the Mamluks ruled from around AD 1250 until after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517.

Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub. But it also fell into debt to European powers, and the UK seized control of the government in 1882. When the British exiled Saad Zaghlul - leader of the nationalist movment - Egypt experienced its first modern revolution and achieved independence in 1922.

Demographics

Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East and the second-most populous on the African continent, with nearly 79 million people. Almost all the population is concentrated along the banks of the Nile (notably Alexandria and Cairo), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Apart from their religious affiliation, Egyptians can be divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centers and the farmers of rural villages.

Egyptians are by the far the largest ethnic group in the country, forming 97-98% of the total population. Ethnic minorities include the Bedouin Arab tribes living in the eastern deserts and the Sinai Peninsula, the Berber-speaking Siwis of the Siwa Oasis, and the ancient Nubian communities clustered along the Nile in the southernmost part of Egypt. Egypt also hosts some 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers, made up mostly of 70,000 Palestinians and 20,000 Sudanese.

Lifestyle

Shopping

Sharm El Sheikh is something of a shopper's dream, with sleek malls rubbing shoulders with traditional souk-like streets. For quintessential Egyptian souvenirs, head for Sharm's Old Market, a modern recreation of an old-time souk filled with handicraft stalls. Favourite take-homes include leather sandals, perfumes, rugs, shisha pipes and silver, mother-of-pearl and gold jewellery, but be prepared to haggle. For modern goods, make a beeline for the indoor shopping complexes outside town to browse their sophisticated boutiques and department stores.

Cuisine

International restaurants abound in Sharm El Sheikh, so you can enjoy different cuisine almost daily. Most large hotels offer first-class cosmopolitan restaurants and all around N'aama Bay and the centre, you'll find a wealth of fast food outlets, international chains and eateries dish up everything from Italian and Mexican to Chinese and Indian treats. When you fancy some local cuisine, there's no shortage of traditional outlets where you can feast - often under the stars - on classic Egyptian meze selections like falafel - spicy, deep-fried chickpea croquettes - hummous and kofta, sizzling meatballs. Succulent fresh fish and seafood dishes are also plentiful and alcohol is widely available in the shape of European and Egyptian wines and local and international beers.

Nightlife

Don't expect too many quiet nights in Sharm El Sheikh! Although there's always the option of lingering on a romantic restaurant terrace, there's plenty to keep you from your pillow. Most hotels lay on regular folklore nights, Bedouin feasts and belly-dancing shows and around N'aama Bay and the centre, you'll find a multitude of vibrant pubs, sleek nightclubs and restaurants with dancefloors. And if you fancy a flutter, many of the hotels also snazzy casinos.

Sights

Beaches

Most hotels in Sharm El Sheikh have their own beaches with coral reefs, which are excellent for snorkelling and diving, as they offering an amazing blend of marine life, natural features and shipwrecks to explore. The public beach in Naama bay and old Sharm are sandy and perfect for relaxing. If you're staying in El Gouna or Hurghada, all the main hotels are set on their own beaches which are great for swimming or sunbathing. In addition to this, El Gouna also has a beautiful marina to stroll along and admire all the boats which are moored.

St Catherine's Monastery

Built between 527 and 565 AD, St Catherine's is the oldest Christian monastery in the world. With 35m tall granite walls, it's surrounded by gardens and cypresses and situated at an altitude of 4,854 feet at the foot of Mount Moses, making it a very picturesque sight.You'll notice an evergreen bush with a chapel built around it. In fact, this is the 'Burning Bush'. that Moses encountered that was, miraculously, unconsumed by its own flames.