The Sinai peninsula is bordered to the east by the Gulf of Aqaba, to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, and the west by the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal. The Sinai Peninsula has a length from north to south of about 380 km and width from west to east of about 210 km, for a total area of about 61,000 km ². The coastline has a total length of about 600 km. The Sinai Peninsula is the connection point between the African and Asian continents.
Enchanted, the territory of Sinai consists mainly of rock and sand, for an overall desert landscape that offers the traveler evocative landscapes made of rocks shaped by the wind, desolate moors and the deep blue of the Red Sea coast surrounded by one of the richest coral reefs in the world.
Despite its small size and its predominantly desert territory, Sinai is bustlingly inhabited along the coast of Taba and Arish to the north, while Nuweiba, Dahab, and Sharm El Sheikh can be found along the coast. In the southern part of the peninsula are the two main peaks; St. Catherine’s Mountain (the highest in Egypt) and Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments.
Explore the Interior of Sinai
Most visitors who concentrate on the eastern part of the Sinai peninsula and the beautiful waters surrounding it should not overlook the inland port and the historical wealth offered by this region. Before seaside tourism developed in Sharm El Sheikh, and later in other locations such as Dahab and Taba, Sinai was known primarily for its religious history, as a destination for Old Testament Jews fleeing to Egypt.
The most popular destinations in the interior of Sinai are Mount Sinai and the town of St. Catherine, founded at the base of the mountain near the monastery of the same name. The community of monks who settled there from the 6th century AD erected the first wall of the present structure where, according to biblical tradition, Moses saw the burning bush.
Half-day tours can be arranged from any resort or seaside resort on the peninsula to Mount Sinai, most of which include the arrival of the climb to the mountain for the wonderful spectacle of the sunrise over the desert mountains, followed by a visit to the monastery, which is not allowed access because of the community of monks who still live there. However, it remains an interesting destination to visit one of the oldest religious buildings still occupied. The library of St. Catherine is known for the most important collection of sacred manuscripts after that of the Vatican.
The area around the monastery and its mountains are also a rather interesting destination. The local Bedouin population organizes trekking and hiking tours throughout the protectorate of St. Catherine, which can last from half a day to several days. The desert gardens that can be admired during these excursions are known for their beauty.
A very common tour is to the Blue Valley, where a well-known artist painted a rocky complex of this color to symbolize peace in 1981. Another not-to-be-missed excursion destination is to the colorful Canyon, a beautiful area around Nuweiba that offers wonderful hiking trails through stunning gorges with variously colored rocks. Also, it is possible to organize a desert safari in 4×4, similar to those offered in the western desert.