Sharm El Sheikh Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Sharm El Sheikh
How safe is Sharm El Sheikh?
Threat level: Medium
Sharm El Sheikh is a popular resort in the Red Sea that has suffered a decline in tourism due to a rise in terrorism in the past few years. The travel advice for Sharm El Sheikh is to remain vigilant on your visit and monitor local news. The threat of terrorism is high and the FCO currently operates a ban on air travel to and from Sharm El Sheikh, after the crash of a Russian plane in North Sinai that departed from Sharm El Sheikh. However, airport security has significantly improved since the plane attack, and the Egyptian Government has enhanced security in Sharm El Sheikh with the presence of a local tourist police, partially as a response to the attack in Tunisia.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is particularly high in Sharm El Sheikh in tourist locations and in public transport. It is recommended carrying only a small amount of cash on you, taking a copy of your passport when going out and leaving the original with other valuables in the safe of your hotel room. If you are the victim of a crime, it is essential to report it to the local tourist police who operate in hotels and at tourist sites, as failing to do so would stop you from seeking prosecution later down the line.
There is a moderate risk of mugging in Sharm El Sheikh with previous reported cases of car-jacking and kidnapping, although tourists aren’t the primary target of such crime. Muggers stop cars and are armed, it is best not to resist as their intention is to steal your valuables not to harm you.
Be wary of local shopkeepers inviting you to have tea inside their shops, they will take this opportunity to pressure you to buy their wares.
Egypt being a Muslim country, be respectful and follow local laws and customs when visiting Sharm El Sheikh. Women can be subject to unwanted interest and harassment in Sharm El Sheikh. It is therefore recommended for women not to walk around Sharm El Sheikh alone, avoid going out at night on their own and wear clothes that cover their arms, legs and chest. Cases of sexual assaults against female tourists have occurred in the past.
Protests and demonstrations take place occasionally and can turn violent. Avoid any public gatherings and don’t get involved in local public disputes.
If you intend to dive or snorkel in the Red Sea during your stay in Sharm El Sheikh, the best advice is to use a reputable tour operator as safety standards of diving operators in Sharm El Sheikh are not always up to the safety standards you might find in Europe or the United States of America.
Sharm El Sheikh Terror Attacks
On the 31st of October 2015, a Russian plan departing from Sharm El Sheikh going to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai, killing all passengers on board.
On the 23rd of July 2005, terrorist targeted the Sharm El Sheikh resort with two separate bomb attacks on the Ghazala Gardens Hotel in the Naama Bay area and in a market in downtown Sharm, resulting in the deaths of 88 people and over 150 casualties. The date of the attack coincided with Egypt’s Revolution Day.
Travelling around Sharm El Sheikh
The standard of driving is poor in Sharm El Sheikh, so it is not advisable to self-drive in the city.
It is safer for tourists to travel on a planned trip than using other forms of transport including public transport. When travelling by bus, tourists should ensure that they are not the last passenger on the bus.
When using a taxi, agree a rate for the taxi ride before committing to the journey, as there have been cases of taxi drivers claiming that they don’t have a meter and passengers being overcharged once they’ve reached their destination. Women are advised to sit on the back seat of a cab.
Natural disaster in Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm El Sheikh is subject to a variety of natural hazards including sand and dust storms, strong winds and heavy rain.
Emergency services in Sharm El Sheikh:
Police emergency: 122 or 02/303 4122.
Tourist Police: 126
Traffic Police: 128
Fire emergency: 180
Medical emergency: 123
Sharm El Sheikh Overview
Currency: Egyptian pound
Time now in Cairo:
Consular information for Sharm El Sheikh
U.S. Embassy Cairo
5 Tawfik Diab Street,
Telephone: +20 (2) 2797 3300
Emergency telephone: +20 (2) 2797 3300
7 Ahmed Ragheb,
Qasr Ad Dobarah,
Qasr an Nile,
Cairo Governorate 11451,
Telephone: +20 (2) 2791 6000
3 Pharaana Street,
Telephone: +20 (2) 3486 1009
Visa requirements for Sharm El Sheikh
UK, EU and USA Passport holders travelling to Sharm El Sheikh for a maximum stay of 15 Days do not require a visa prior to travelling; a free entry permission stamp will be granted upon arrival. If visitors intend to travel outside of the above-mentioned areas they must obtain a Visa. A tourist visa can be obtained prior to travelling to Egypt via the Visa2Egypt portal or on arrival, and is valid for 3 months.
Visitors should check the latest visa requirements with the Egyptian government or your local Embassy. Alternatively, further information can be found here: Visa Check Egypt
Health Care and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Sharm El Sheikh are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B, however you should check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
The medical facilities in Cairo and many of the tourist resorts are thought to be of an adequate standard, however facilities beyond this are variable. You should keep this in mind if travelling away from such areas.
There is a risk of Dengue in Sharm El Sheikh, a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, so take precautions to avoid mosquito bites as there is no vaccine.
Schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) is also an issue, so it is advised against swimming in fresh water in Egypt.
Hepatitis, Filariasis and rabies can flare up in the country, alongside water-borne, food-borne and insect-borne diseases. Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. There have been a number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold has come to our attention.
It is highly recommended full travel and medical insurance is checked for coverage prior to travel. The medical facilities in Sharm El Sheikh are limited and in some cases medical evacuation may be required, and treatment can prove to be extremely costly.