Originally a sleepy fishing village, Hurghada is now one of Egypt’s main tourist centres stretching for about 40km (25 miles) along the Red Sea shore. Hurghada is south of Suez, 550km (342 miles) from Cairo and 286km (178 miles) from Luxor.
The city is served by the Hurghada International Airport with scheduled passenger traffic connecting to Cairo and directly to several cities in Europe.
Holiday resorts and hotels provide facilities for windsurfing, kitesurfing, yachting, scuba diving and snorkelling. The city is known for its water sports, nightlife and warm weather. Daytime temperatures are around 30°C (86°F) most of the year, and during July and August temperatures can reach over 40°C (104°F). Hurghada is a popular holiday destination for Egyptians and Europeans alike, especially during the summer. Many tourists choose to combine their holiday here with visits to other prominent locations along the Nile Valley to visit the Valley of Kings, Karnak Temple, etc in Luxor.
Hurghada is divided into several areas
- El Ahia and El Helal, the northern part
- El Dahar (Downtown), the old town
- Sakala, the city centre
- El Kawsar, the modern part
- El Mamsha (Village Road), which comprises of a pedestrianized street with a length of over 4km
Many of Hurghada’s newer hotels, restaurants, and shops are located along El Mamsha. Most of the newest and largest hotel resorts are located in the area between Mamsha and Sahl Hasheesh on El Mamsha. Beyond Sahl Hasheesh there are the hotels of Makadi Bay. Dahar is the oldest part of the town and is where the traditional bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus stations are situated. The busiest area is the ‘city centre’, Sakala, on Sheraton Road where there are hotels, shops and restaurants.
Known as one of the best seaside destinations in Egypt, Hurghada has so much to offer. For those who enjoy swimming or diving, crystal clear waters enable opportunities to explore remarkable reefs and ship wrecks off the coast, swimming with Dolphins and many extreme water sports. Other options include relaxing on the beach, taking a trip on a glass bottom boat, golfing, horse riding and hiking and participating in one the many cultural and historical tourist attractions or day tours.
Hurghada and the Red Sea
The Red Sea is one of the most popular places in the world, among scuba divers. Divers all around the world come to enjoy Egypt’s amazing diving spots. There are millions of brilliant corals and fish waiting for you in the Red Sea.
- Abu Ramada Island offers a number of dive sites for both the new and experienced diver. With stunning corals and over 1100 fish species inhabiting the Red Sea. Parrot fish, yellow tail barracuda, black spotted sweetlips, yellow goat fish, schools of banner fish and barracuda can be enjoyed as well as blue spotted stingrays, peppered morays and giant morays.
- Shaab el Erg comprises of a horseshoe-shaped reef with a number of dive sites inhabited by turtles, stingrays, moray eels and many more exotic marine animals. Shaab el Erg is also the perfect location for dolphin spotting especially around the site known as the Dolphin House which includes the lagoon channel used by the dolphins.
- Careless Reef features beautiful coral gardens and two pinnacles with deep drop offs and is well known for regular hammerhead shark sightings.
At Abu Nuhas divers can explore four boat wrecks
- Giannis D is the shallowest wreck
- The Carnatic is one of the oldest wrecks in the Red Sea.
- The Chrisoula K sank in 1981 and now sits upright in the water
- The Kimon M, a 120m long German cargo ship laid to rest in 1978
Snorkeling facilities in Hurghada are first rate with boat trips offering access to the coral reefs and an array of fish species. Tours in a real submarine are always available for those who wish to view the underwater world of the Red Sea.
There are several Kitesurfing Centres in Hurghada, which offer Kitesurfing courses and lessons for beginners to those more experienced.
Popular things to do in Hurghada
- Quad bike Safari trips
- Visits to a Bedouin village and barbeque
- Camel rides
- Horseback riding in Hurghada
- Hiking in the Red Sea mountain trail
- Climb up Anfish Mountain and enjoy outstanding views over the mountains in the eastern desert and the outlying islands in the Red Sea.
- Escape Room Hurghada with four different themed game rooms to enjoy
Places to visit in and around Hurghada
- Jungle Aquapark is one of the biggest water parks in Hurghada. Several pools and 35 slides catering for adults and children are available.
- Makadi Bay water world is the biggest aqua park close to Hurghada, including around fifty slides for both adults and children.
- Sindbad Aquapark is the smallest and also the cheapest of the aqua parks in the area.
- Giftun Island and Small Giftun Island are part of a national protected marine park with beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear water. The islands are located close to Hurghada and are accessible by a 45 minute boat trip. Both Islands are home to various marine life and other underwater attractions, including whale sharks, barracudas, and oceanic white tip sharks. Offering spectacular coral, deep waters, caves and canyons, the islands are a prime daytrip destination from Hurghada. Three of the most popular beaches/areas on Giftun Island are Orange Bay, Paradise Island and Mahmya Island.
Tourist attractions in Hurghada
- Hurghada Museum opened at the beginning of March 2020. The museum displays artefacts covering the whole range of Egyptian history from Pharaonic through Islamic eras including sports, music, hunting and more. It also features jewellery, perfumes, furniture, wigs and other artefacts from Ancient Egyptian royalty and priests, alongside items from Mohamed Ali’s royal family.
- The Marine Biology Museum, replete with a small aquarium offers a walkthrough underwater world with rich marine life that abounds in the Red Sea and an opportunity to wonder at the ancient relics on display including coral reefs and a huge variety of Red Sea species, including turtles and sharks.
- Hurghada Grand Aquarium is dedicated to inspiring guests of all ages to appreciate the marine environment while promoting conservation action and developing an understanding for the irreplaceable value of all life in our world’s ocean. The attraction includes a Rainforest and Arabian tent, Mini Zoo and Fossil museum, Fresh and Marine Aquarium, Underwater tunnel and even an opportunity to dive inside the tanks and feed the sharks.
- Mini Egypt Park is a miniature Museum which consists of a collection of sixty works of art by carefully selected artists including miniatures of Abu Simbel Temple and the High Dam at Aswan, Edfu Temple, Karnak Temple, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Alexandria Bibliotheca and Roman Amphitheatre and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha.
- Sand City Hurghada is a unique open-air museum devoted to the sand sculptor’s art. Over sixty different sculptures, covering everything from mythology to superheroes can be seen with an opportunity to create your own sand artwork in the workshop
- Dolphin world was opened in 2011 and is one of the most modern facilities of it’s kind in the world. Visitors have the opportunity to watch walrus, sealion and dolphin performances, as well as the chance to swim with the dolphins.
- Coptic Cathedral of Saint Shenouda, Al Mina Mosque, and the Church of St Mary.
Shopping in Hurghada
Haggling is an experience and most shop keepers and market stall holders in Hurghada enjoy a good haggle, provided that you remain friendly. There are, however, some shops especially in New Hurghada that will have set prices as do restaurants and pharmacies. It is good advice to shop around and check suggested prices before purchasing items and do ask for advice from our tour guides who are happy to help.
Souk/Bazaar in El-Dahar
- This lively market springs up every day in Hurghada’s old town, El-Dahar, bursting with all the staples of a traditional Egyptian bazaar, from polished brassware to wooden tea tables. Visitors barter and merchants loudly flog their goods while donkeys wander along the streets.
- Gift shops are in abundance around Hurghada and popular souvenirs include jewellery, perfumes, painted papyrus, trinkets, pots, rugs, postcards, statues and more, with a huge selection of shops around the downtown district and within the foyers of the biggest hotels.
- There is a new shopping mall now open about a ten-minute taxi ride from the town, on Senzo Mall towards the airport road. It has a large Spinneys Hypermarket and many other shops, fast food outlets, a five-screen cinema, and a moderate sized children’s play area.
- For brand names and higher quality products, go to ‘New Marina’ and Sheraton road for Adidas, Timberland, Dockers and Levi’s.
- Diving shops are in plentiful supply in Hurghada, selling snorkelling equipment, flippers, goggles, etc.
- Various grocery stores can be found around central Hurghada and the Sakala district, where the Abu Ashara store is worth searching out.
Top Tourist attractions to visit
The Monastery of Saint Anthony is located in the eastern Sahara Desert of Egypt, deep in the Red Sea Mountains near modern Hurghada. It was built only a few years after the death of St. Anthony, who was believed to have lived for approximately one hundred and five years. Today, about seventy monks live in the Coptic monastery. The ancient church where St. Anthony is buried features recently restored and remarkable wall paintings of diverse periods and styles. The library contains a wealth of antique handwritten manuscripts, while the saint’s cave is located 680 meters (2,230 feet) above sea level and houses some fascinating writings and drawings in addition to impressive views of Hurghada’s mountains, the Red Sea, and the valley below.
Monastery of St. Paul is located in the Eastern desert, a little way off the main road linking Hurghada to Suez. St. Paul was a contemporary of St. Anthony and is considered Christianity’s first ascetic hermit. One of the monastery’s three churches, which were built in and around the cave where he once lived, contains his remains. This Coptic monastery is much smaller than that of nearby St. Anthony. Attractions include freshwater springs, vibrant wall paintings, altars with candles and ostrich eggs that represent the Resurrection. The monastery also contains numerous significant old and illustrated manuscripts.
Mons Claudianus is located in the mountains of the Egyptian Eastern desert about midway between the Red Sea and Qena. Mon Claudianus (Mount Claudius) is a large Roman site and important landmark, named after the Emperor Claudius, and was once a provider of grey Granodiorite for the Roman Empire. Over a period of 200 years quarrymen and Roman soldiers were stationed in this part of Hurghada. Today sights include the fortress, dwellings, workshops, stables, baths, broken granite columns and slabs.
Mons Porphyrites is about 40km north-west of Hurghada. A road leading to the site branches off the main road about 20km north of town. Mons Porphyrites was an important Roman quarry complex in the heart of the Eastern desert, Mons Porphyrites yielded Imperial Porphyry, a superb purple rock found nowhere else in the world. Much of this gem-like rock was made into pillars, basins, statues, and sarcophagi for the glory of Rome and Istanbul. Remains of the quarry town, including encampments, fortress ruins, workshops, and temples, wells, shrines, broken pillars, and cracked stone baths can still be seen
El Quseir is roughly 140km (87 miles) south of Hurghada and several centuries older. El Quseir grew to become one of Egypt’s most significant ports, thanks to its strategic setting at the terminus of the shortest distance between the Red Sea and the Nile River. Ancient Egyptians travelled from there to the land of Punt to buy ivory, leather, and incense. It was also an important stop on the way to Mecca, on the Red Sea’s opposite shore, for countless Hajj pilgrims during the Islamic and Ottoman periods. Many of these pilgrims departed for Mecca from the military fortress that the Ottomans constructed around El Quseir to protect the prosperous port from invaders. It was also the only port importing coffee from Yemen.
El Quseir El Adima, the city’s historic area, was once a Roman port and hundreds of amphora and old pottery artefacts have been found there. There are several 300-year-old buildings in the area, including an Ottoman fort and a number of historic mosques: El Farran, El Qenawi and El Senousi. The police station is also located at a historic site. The area contains bazaars, cafes, coffee shops and restaurants selling sea food.
Close to Hurghada you will find many of Egypt’s top tourist attractions and most impressive resorts. A particular favourite is Sharm el Sheikh, which lies alongside the Gulf of Aqaba and is famous for its scuba diving and sandy beaches, while on the south-western side of Hurghada, the provincial capital of Qena contains a particularly impressive temple complex.
Sharm el Sheikh located on the southern shoreline of the Gulf of Aqaba, to the north-east of Hurghada, and across the Red Sea. Sharm el Sheikh is home to a couple of stunning bays, both of which contain superb sandy beaches and good nearby facilities. Known for its scuba diving and snorkelling, the underwater landscape and crystal-clear waters regularly attract dive clubs from all over the world. Other water sports and marine attractions in Sharm el Sheikh include sailing, wind surfing, glass-bottom boat rides and also parasailing.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Museum is the first antiquities museum to be built in Sinai and was opened in 2020. The museum aims to shed light on the role played by Egyptian civilisation across different historical periods, as well as highlighting the relationship between the Egyptian people and their surrounding environment and their cultural interactions with other civilisations. The museum displays around 5,200 artefacts, ranging from the pre-historic period to modern times, as well as showing the rich urban and tribal culture of Sinai inhabitants.
Qena was an important provincial capital standing to the south-west of Hurghada. It is most famous for its proximity to the ruins of Dendera Temple. The city also has a considerable Islamic heritage and a famous Mosque. The Maghrebi Abd el-Rahim settled in Qena upon his return from Mecca and founded a Sufi centre here. Upon his death in 1195, the mosque was built above his tomb and became a place of pilgrimage. There is a huge modern mosque of Sheikh el-Qenawi in the main square which attests to his importance.
The attractions of Port Safaga lie just over 50km/31 miles to the south of Hurghada. A popular coastal destination sited alongside the Red Sea, Port Safaga is known for its superb diving opportunities and windsurfing conditions, while the dark beaches, stunning bays and nearby islands are all equally appealing and well worth a visit. Under the water you can expect to see many colourful creatures, including both sharks and tuna fish, which are to be found around the Abu Qifan and the Tobia Arbaa reefs, amongst other locations.
Luxor is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. Luxor is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city. Look across the River Nile, to the monuments, temples, and tombs of the west bank, which include the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and several mortuary temples. Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of (Upper) Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of Amun, later to become the god Amun-Ra.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and one of the biggest cities in the Middle East. It is located on both banks of the River Nile and has a history going back over 6,000 years, serving as the capital of numerous Egyptian kingdoms.
Nestled in between the Great Pyramids and the Citadel, ancient and modern Cairo intermingle with bustling markets, stunning Mosques many dating back to the Medieval period, Coptic Churches, several exceptional Museums including the Egyptian Museum containing hundreds of thousands of artefacts, The Museum of Islamic Arts containing a vast collection relating to early Islamic civilization and the Coptic Museum where you can trace the history of the Coptic community in Egypt, Cairo has something for everyone.
Find more details about Hurghada day tours and tour packages here.