The Entertaining Old Market in Sharm

People tend to think of Sharm El Sheik as a fairly new resort town. In fact, there was a small community here long before the hotels and tourists arrived en masse. 

The heart of the old part of Sharm is Old Market, a maze of little streets that make up an Arab bazaar. Despite the convoluted streets and crush of people, the market really isn’t very big.  Not like the Marrakech Medina where you could easily get lost.   

The stores sell everything from fish for the locals to fake designer bags for the tourists.   

It’s a fab place to pick up souvenirs.  I wondered if a belly dancer costume would be appropriate for my daughters World Book Day outfit next year. I’m sure there was a belly dancer in 1001 Arabian Nights.  And it couldn’t be worse than the kid who went as Christian Grey this year. 

There was so much stuff to tempt you to part with your money. I was scared off buying anything because I just wasn’t in the mood to haggle. 

 I was surprised by all the signs in Russian. Apparently the British and the Russians make up the majority of tourists to Sharm.   

As ever, there were men with camels trying to coax you on for a ride. 

Our favourite part was the section called Old Egypt. For a small cover charge, the kids and I sat and watched a lot of different entertainment.  

 A couple of restaurants had stages which showed everything from snake charmers and fire throwers to belly dancers.  You could sit at tables or the traditional divans and relax.  

Drinking sodas in the balmy night air, we lounged and were thoroughly entertained.    


This camel guy stood on his camel’s hump to try and get attention away from the cobra dancer. It didn’t work but his diversionary efforts were amusing!

Old Market is a somewhat chaotic place with all the traders, entertainers and shoppers. It’s fantastic for people watching and getting a favor of a real Egyptian bazaar. 

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I am an American expat based in London with my travel-loving family. I write at Just Go Places Blog about luxury, cultural and family travel.

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