Egypt/Sinai: Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm el Sheikh is the most likely hub and starting point in the exploration of the Sinai Peninsula. While only 73k people live in the city, it’s still about 15% of the entire peninsula population – i.e. this massive chunk of land is mostly an inhospitable desert. Until 1967, Sharm el Sheikh was nothing more then a tiny fishing village facing the strait of Tiran. When Israel occupied the Sinai in 1967, it quietly developed into a major tourist hub with spectacular diving and watersports, plus being a strategic town controlling the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba. After Israel returned it to Egypt in 1982, Egypt designated it a peace city and further developed it into a major tourist hub and revenue source for the country. Loads and loads of holidaymakers and package tourists from the UK and ex-USSR fly here and roast themselves in the all-inclusive resorts. The town itself has a pretty “old town” and “market” areas with a big mosque and rows of very aggressive sellers peddling Egyptian souvenirs, tea, and snorkeling masks.