Must see attractions in Sinai

  • Top ChoiceSights in St Katherine Protectorate

    St Catherine's Monastery

    This ancient monastery traces its founding to about AD 330, when Byzantine empress Helena had a small chapel and a fortified refuge for local hermits built beside what was believed to be the burning bush from which God spoke to Moses. Today St Catherine’s is considered one of the oldest continually functioning monastic communities in the world. If the monastery museum is locked, ask at the Church of the Transfiguration for the key.

  • Top ChoiceSights in St Katherine Protectorate

    Mt Sinai

    Known locally as Gebel Musa, Mt Sinai is revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews, all of whom believe that God delivered his Ten Commandments to Moses at its summit. The mountain is easy and beautiful to climb, and offers a taste of the magnificence of southern Sinai’s high mountain region. For pilgrims, it also offers a moving glimpse into biblical times. All hikers must be accompanied by a local Bedouin guide (hired from the monastery car park).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Dahab

    Blue Hole

    Carved into a reef, 8km north of Dahab, is Egypt’s most infamous dive site. The Blue Hole is a gaping sinkhole that drops straight down – some say as deep as 130m. Exploring the deeper depths should be left to experienced technical divers, but there's plenty to discover close to the surface. The outer lip is full of marine life and a reasonable plunge into the hole is somewhat akin to skydiving. Depth: 7m to 27m. Rating: intermediate to advanced. Access: shore.

  • Sights in St Katherine Protectorate

    Steps of Repentance

    The alternative path to Mt Sinai's summit comprises the taxing 3750 Steps of Repentance, which begin outside the southeastern corner of St Catherine's Monastery compound. They were laid by one monk as a form of penance. The steps – 3000 up to Elijah’s Basin and then the final 750 to the summit – are made of roughly hewn rock, and are steep and uneven in many places, requiring strong knees and concentration in placing your feet.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sharm El Sheikh

    Thistlegorm

    One of the top five wreck dives in the world, the Thistlegorm is a 129m-long cargo ship built in Sunderland, England, which was sunk during World War II. The ship had been on its way to Alexandria carrying supplies to restock the British army there; its cargo of armaments and vehicles including Bren gun carriers, motorbikes, Bedford trucks and jeeps can all be seen on dives within the wreck. Depth: 17m to 30m. Rating: intermediate to advanced. Access: boat.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sinai Coast

    Ras Mohammed National Park

    The waters surrounding this peninsula, 20km west of Sharm El Sheikh, are home to spectacular coral reefs, including the world-famous Shark and Jolanda Reefs dive sites. Snorkelling just off the shore here is truly rewarding with plenty of corals and an incredible array of fish life. Back on land, Ras Mohammed's landscape of isolated beaches, mangrove forest and mammoth surface cracks (caused by ancient earthquakes) are a harshly barren counterpoint to the bright lights of nearby Sharm.

  • Sights in Ras Mohammed National Park

    Shark & Jolanda Reefs

    This two-for-one special off the southern tip of Ras Mohammed is among the most famous dives in the Red Sea and rated one of the top five dives in the world. Strong currents take divers on a thrilling ride along sheer coral walls, through vast schools of fish and eventually to the remains of the Jolanda, a Cypriot freighter that sank in 1980. Depth: surface to more than 40m. Rating: advanced. Access: boat.

  • Sights in St Katherine Protectorate

    Monastery Museum

    Above the Well of Moses in St Catherine's Monastery is the superb Monastery Museum, which has been magnificently restored. It has displays (labelled in Arabic and English) of many of the monastery’s artistic treasures, including some of the spectacular Byzantine-era icons from its world-famous collection, numerous precious chalices, and gold and silver crosses.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sharm El Sheikh

    Ras Um Sid

    One of the best dive sites in the area, Ras Um Sid features a spectacular gorgonian forest along a dramatic drop-off that hosts a great variety of reef fish. It's opposite Hotel Royal Paradise. Depth: 15m to 40m. Rating: intermediate. Access: shore or boat.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sharm El Sheikh

    Thomas Reef

    The smallest, but easily the most spectacular, of the Tiran reefs, Thomas is home to steeply plunging walls that are lined with soft coral, schooling fish and patrolling sharks. Depth: surface to more than 40m. Rating: advanced. Access: boat.

  • Sights in Sinai Coast

    Ras Abu Gallum Protectorate

    The starkly beautiful Ras Abu Gallum Protectorate covers 400 sq km of coastline between Dahab and Nuweiba, mixing coastal mountains, narrow valleys, sand dunes and fine-gravel beaches with several diving and snorkelling sites. Scientists describe the area as a ‘floristic frontier’, where Mediterranean conditions are influenced by a tropical climate. With its 165 plant species (including 44 found nowhere else in Sinai) and wealth of mammals and reptiles, this environmentally important area is a fascinating place to visit.

  • Sights in Sinai Coast

    Nabq Protectorate

    Thirty-five kilometres north of Sharm El Sheikh, Nabq is the largest coastal protectorate on the Gulf of Aqaba. Named after an oasis that lies within its boundaries, Nabq straddles 600 sq km of land and sea between the Straits of Tiran and Dahab. Less frequently visited than Ras Mohammed National Park further south, Nabq is a good place to see Sinai as it was before the arrival of mass tourism. Within the park are several hiking trails and snorkelling spots.

  • Sights in Sinai

    Serabit Al Khadim

    One of Sinai's most impressive sites, this ruined Pharaonic temple is surrounded by ancient turquoise mines and starkly beautiful landscapes. Turquoise was mined here as far back as the Old Kingdom, and the temple, dedicated to the goddess Hathor, dates back to the 12th dynasty. Beside it is a New Kingdom shrine to Sopdu, god of the Eastern Desert. Inscriptions upon the temple court walls list the temple’s benefactors, including Hatshepsut (1473–1458 BC) and Tuthmosis III (1479–1425 BC).

  • Sights in St Katherine Protectorate

    Church of the Transfiguration

    Inside St Catherine's Monastery, this ornately decorated 6th-century church has a nave flanked by marble columns and walls covered in richly gilded icons. At the church’s eastern end, a 17th-century iconostasis separates the nave from the sanctuary and the apse, where St Catherine’s remains are interred (off limits to visitors). In the apse above the altar is the stunning artistic treasure of the 6th-century mosaic of the transfiguration, although it's difficult to see it past the chandeliers and iconostasis.

  • Sights in Sharm El Sheikh

    Gardens

    At the perennially popular Gardens there are actually three sites in one. Near Garden is home to a lovely chain of pinnacles; Middle Garden features a fringing ridge that gently slopes down to a bed of sandy 'trails'; and Far Garden is home to the 'Cathedral’, a colourful overhang in deep water. Depth: surface to more than 40m. Rating: intermediate. Access: shore or boat.

  • Sights in Sinai Interior

    St Katherine Protectorate

    St Katherine's Protectorate encompasses a rugged landscape of high-altitude desert. Amid this national park, enclosed within stark mountains, is a wealth of historical sites sacred to the world’s three main monotheistic religions, including St Catherine's Monastery and Mt Sinai at its core. The central area around the monastery has been declared a Unesco World Heritage site.

  • Sights in Wadi Feiran

    Gebel Serbal

    To the south of Wadi Feiran, the 2070m Gebel Serbal (believed by early Christians to have been the real Mt Sinai) is a challenging six-hour hike to the summit along a track known as Sikket Ar Reshshah. Those who persevere are rewarded with fantastic panoramic views. You must be accompanied by a Bedouin guide for all hikes, which can be arranged either in Al Milga (at St Katherine) or at the Bedouin Flower Garden in Wadi Feiran itself.

  • Sights in Sinai Coast

    Coloured Canyon

    This canyon derives its name from the layers of bright, multicoloured stones that resemble paintings on its steep, narrow walls. It's magnificently beautiful. As the canyon is sheltered from the wind, the silence is one of its most impressive features. It's a favourite day trip from both Dahab and Sharm El Sheikh, so unfortunately the ambience can be destroyed somewhat if a couple of large bus tours arrive at the same time.

  • Sights in Sinai Coast

    Sha'ab Abu Nuhas

    More than a few ships have come a-cropper on this reef, just north of Shedwan Island, so if you're a wreck diving fan, this reef should be high on your list. The two best wrecks to explore here are the Carnatic, which sunk in 1869 while on its way to India carrying a large cargo of gold and wine, and the Giannis D, which sunk in 1983. Depth: 5m to 32m. Rating: intermediate to advanced. Access: boat.

  • Sights in Sinai Coast

    Kingston

    In 1881 the Kingston (a British iron screw steamer) was on its way to Aden when it struck the reef at Shag Rock and sank. The wreck is now a fascinating dive with the exposed iron skeleton of the ship covered by corals. Be aware that currents here can be particularly strong. Depth: 5m to 17m. Rating: beginner to advanced. Access: boat.