Sharm El Sheikh went through a lot of changes in the last half of the 20th century. It was an out-of-the-way fishing village until the Egyptian Navy moved in to set up a base along the Straits of Tiran. Israel captured the port in the 1950s and again in the 1960s, but it reverted to Egypt when the Camp David Accords were signed. Today Sharm El Sheikh is a booming resort town that specializes in facilities-rich resort holidays.
Diving is the number-one activity here, and all of the major hotels near Sharm El Sheikh operate dive shops. The bay has a mix of old-world sunken galleons and spectacular coral reefs. Those who aren’t PADI certified can enroll in classes and be in the water in just a few days.
Naama Bay adjoins Sharm El Sheikh, but it might as well be the city center. This is where many of the best hotels are located. Restaurants on the waterfront promenade have a view of the bay, and the local night scene keeps tourists here late.
Plenty of well-known international hotel brands are on-site, most offering all-inclusive packages, expansive grounds, and exclusive beach access. By some figures, hotels in Sharm El Sheikh, Naama Bay, and Ras Umm Sid account for more than 30 percent of all the accommodation in Egypt. Sharm El Sheikh – Ophira Airport
is the region’s busiest, with charter flights dominating the list of arrivals during December and January. Regularly scheduled flights cross to Luxor and Cairo. Major hotels will pick guests up at the airport. Otherwise, taxis and buses are on hand to transfer passengers to Naama Bay. There is also a luxury ferry service that connects to the Red Sea coast.