Bathing paradise Hurghada in Egypt

Beaches & sights on the Red Sea

Hurghada

The Egyptian city of Hurghada with the Red Sea and the surrounding desert landscape is a dream come true for adventure seekers who want to spend their vacation full of adrenaline. Those looking for relaxation will also be surprised by the beautiful beaches that stretch along the coast with plenty of sun. However, Hurghada attracts active and beach holidaymakers because its oriental sights seem to fulfill every possible desire.

Overview

With 195,000 inhabitants, Hurghada is already one of Egypt’s largest cities and a target for any urban traveler – attractive with its fascinating natural landscapes, exciting history, and numerous leisure opportunities. In the 80s, Hurghada developed from a sleepy fishing village into a popular travel destination that inspires tourists with numerous activities. Another reason for the high popularity is the year-round warm climate in Hurghada, heating the water pleasantly. The city is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts connected with the colorful underwater world and the wonderful sandy beaches. While snorkeling or diving, you will discover fascinating corals, exotic fish, and cute sea turtles. But windsurfers and kite surfers are also magically attracted by the coasts and winds of Hurghada. On a boat tour to the most beautiful water sports spots, you can also enjoy white powdered sugar-fine sandy beaches, which invite you to take a well-deserved break by the sea.

Adventure seekers will get their money’s worth in the vast desert landscape. Whether by quad, jeep, or on the back of a camel – a desert safari through the eastern part of the Sahara is not only fun but can also be combined with a visit to a Bedouin village. In addition to all the exciting activities, Hurghada also attracts some sights that you can visit on guided day tours or your own. Whether mosques, churches, or grave monuments – on a sightseeing tour through the surrounding area, you can not only immerse yourself in history but also get to know the country and the people better.

Equally delightful is a stroll through a traditional bazaar, the souk, where oriental scents will surround you while you choose a great souvenir for your loved ones. After an exciting day, you should end the evening just as spectacularly. The old town of El Dahar attracts some nightlife options, such as restaurants, clubs, and bars. Families will find their holiday happiness in Hurghada – the beaches are child-friendly, and parents relax by the sea. Besides, the city’s hotel landscape is known for the attention the guests receive from the employees, able to read your every wish from your eyes. If you choose a family-friendly resort hotel, you can also look forward to children’s entertainment and supervision. So get ready for a varied vacation in Hurghada.

Sights & excursions

Even if your hotel landscape surprises with extensive service, the city center of Hurghada attracts numerous excursion destinations and sights that offer a great alternative to relaxing in the hotel.

El Dahar

El Dahar and the local bazar in Hurghada
Typical street Downtown Hurghada

El Dahar is the oldest of the four districts of Hurgada and is also known as “Downtown.” Located in the north, El Dahar delights with imposing buildings such as the Coptic Cathedral of St. Shenouda. This was built for the few Christian Copts in Egypt, but you can enter the impressive church free of charge.

The largest and most famous mosque in Hurghada is located in El Dahar, the Aldahaar Mosque, also known as Al Mina. This enchants with gigantic white towers and gives the impression of a palace from 1001 nights. Decorated with Ottoman ornaments and illuminated by bright spotlights in the evening, the mosque is not only a feast for the eyes from the outside. You can visit the oriental interior of the snow-white mosque as a traveler. Women should remember to cover their hair with a cloth to show respect for the Islamic religion.

After you have marveled at the Aldahaar Mosque, numerous small souks beckon with a rich selection of fresh foods, detailed handicrafts, and everyday items. If you can’t find a suitable souvenir here, you can continue to look around on the marina promenade. Here you will find numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes from which you have a wonderful view of the marina. In the evening, it only really comes to life, and if you want to turn night into day, this is the right place for it.

Sand City

Sand City figures
Sand figures in the Sand City

The Sand City of Hurghada is a great destination for families with children. Here, 30 international artists have made funny figures out of sand that is sure to amaze you. Whether Pippi Longstocking, Ariel the Mermaid, or Zeus – it is entertaining to hold a quiz about which of you can guess which famous character it is first. It will never get boring, because the sand sculptures are regularly renewed.

Hurghada Grand Aquarium

Another highlight for the whole family is a visit to the Grand Aquarium, also called “the Red Sea in a glass.” The 40,000 square meter aquarium houses over 1,000 different underwater animals and is, therefore, a small copy of the fauna of the Red Sea. The special highlight is the walk through the spectacular underwater tunnel, in which sharks and rays will circle you.

Cairo

The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giseh
The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, in Cairo

If you want to learn more about Egyptian history, you should definitely plan a day trip to the pyramids of Giza in Cairo. It takes four to five hours by bus from Hurghada, but it’s definitely worth it. Cairo also attracts the last surviving world wonder of antiquity: the 140-meter-high Pyramid of Cheops / Khufu from 1975 BC and the impressive Sphinx.

Luxor

In Luxor, you have the opportunity to visit the burial chamber of Tutankhamun and old temples or to take a boat trip across the Nile. You can also visit the Karnak temples, the largest temples in Egypt, including Luxor’s most famous sight, the Luxor Temple, which was once dedicated to the god Amun, his wife, and their son.

Beaches

Of course, Hurghada is above all a dream travel destination for sun worshipers and beach lovers who want to spend a relaxing time on the Red Sea. However, you should know that most of Hurghada’s beaches are shared among the city’s large hotel complexes. You can use them either as hotel guests or for a small fee. The advantage is that all beaches are clean, well-kept and tidy. Moreover, you can usually borrow loungers and umbrellas here and have the opportunity to satisfy your hunger in-between tanning sessions at the snack bars. Hurghada delights visitors with almost 20 kilometers of sandy beach, stretching from northern El Gouna to the southern beach paradise Soma Bay.

Hurghada beach
Sunset at the beach

The sea is very calm here, and the fine sandy beach slopes gently into the water. You can safely bathe and romp around in Hurghada even with small children. The most beautiful beach is the four-kilometer-long sandy beach Makadi Bay and the Magawish framed by coconut palms. If you are ready to go a little further out, the snow-white and icing sugar-fine Mahmya Beach in Giftun Island National Park beckons. However, this can only be reached by boats, which start from Hurghada several times a day.

Activities

Hurghada is a paradise for active vacationers who want to experience exciting adventures under the hot Egyptian sun. Whether in the water or on land – you are sure to have fun in Hurghada.

Diving and snorkeling

Hurghada impresses with a colorful underwater world, best discovered while diving or snorkeling. Whether beginner, advanced or professional – everyone is in good hands here because numerous diving schools and equipment rentals ensure that you will have a unique diving experience.

Underwater scenery Red Sea
Underwater scenery

Usually, you take a boat to the most beautiful coral reefs in the region, such as Giftun or Orange Bay, to get to know the colorful underwater inhabitants. With some luck, in addition to clown and anemonefish, you will even see dolphins or sea turtles swim by. If you don’t dare to go underwater, you can alternatively explore the fascinating biodiversity of the Red Sea with a glass-bottom boat or a submarine.

Water sports

The shallow waters, the light wind, and the wide beaches make the area around Hurghada equally attractive for windsurfers and kite surfers. But active vacationers also get their money’s worth when sailing, boating, or deep-sea fishing. Water sports of a different kind await you in the Jungle Aqua Park – a family paradise with adventurous water slides.

Horse riding

Whether in the middle of the desert or along the sandy coast – a horse ride is an extraordinary holiday experience. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional rider for this because, on guided rides, the professionals guarantee you a safe ride through the idyllic nature of Hurghada.

Desert safari

Bedouin village nearby Hurghada
Bedouin village during safari

90 percent of the country consists of a stony desert landscape that invites you to an exciting safari. You can rent a quad, book a jeep tour or explore the area on the back of a camel. A booked tour usually includes an evening visit to a Bedouin village, where you will be warmly welcomed with tea and homemade bread and introduced to the desert nomads’ way of life.

Travel information

Year-round high temperatures, exciting excursion destinations, and pure relaxation – if that sounds tempting, Hurghada is the ideal travel destination for you. Before you pack your bags, we have some valuable travel tips for you and answer the most important questions about your Hurghada vacation.

Ideal travel time

Hurghada attracts with a really fantastic climate. Temperatures of 25 to 35 degrees Celsius already prevail on the Red Sea at the beginning of June. There is almost no precipitation, and the water temperature climbs up to 30 degrees Celsius. You enjoy the most hours of sunshine in July – namely 13 hours a day.

However, it never gets too hot because thanks to the temperature difference between the land and the Red Sea, a constant wind always blows in Hurghada, making the region a bathing paradise and a Mecca for windsurfers and kite surfers.

Getting there

Since 2015, Hurghada has had its own international airport, which makes traveling to vacation much easier. With one-stop, in Cairo, Istanbul, or Central Europe, you get to spend around 17-18 hours on a plane. If you plan a longer vacation somewhere in Europe, the flight time to Hurghada is around 4.5 hours from the central part of the old continent. It is a highly appreciated destination for Germans, so you could find direct flights from almost all German airports in the main season. The city center of Hurghada is just eleven kilometers from the airport. With the bus or taxi, you only travel 15 minutes until you reach your accommodation. You don’t necessarily need a rental car because, within Hurghada, the tour operators or minibusses usually bring you to your destination. Around the city center, you can easily explore the area on foot.

On arrival, you will get a visa for Egypt, which costs around $25 for 30 days or $60 for long periods.

Behaviour rules

Despite all the service, remember that you are in an Islamic country. It is therefore at least polite to observe a few rules of conduct:

  • Do not drink alcohol in the street.
  • Avoid overly revealing clothing.
  • Refrain from caresses in public.
  • Do not take photos of police officers, soldiers, and barracks.
  • Not accepting invitations is considered particularly impolite.

If you follow these rules, you will be welcomed by the locals with absolute warmth. Are you going to Egypt in Ramadan? Please read all the information about it with us.

Culinary specialties

Typical Egyptian food
Typical Hurghada delicious desserts

Even if your hotel delights you with mouth-watering goodies, you should also go out and try the typical dishes of the country. In an Egyptian restaurant, the food is not served on a plate, as you would eat in your hotel, but in several small bowls. Take a piece of crispy flatbread and use it to scoop the food out of the bowl. If you reach for food with your hand, you should use your right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean.

Before eating, it is popular in Egypt to nibble a few kernels and nuts or order a selection of small starters, the mezze. The main course is typically a fish dish – after all, Hurghada is located on the Red Sea. But stews, meat dishes, or falafel are also among the main dishes in Hurghada. The typical spice is called Camun, ground cumin that gives many dishes a typical oriental touch. Common side dishes are grilled vegetables, crushed beans with rice, or Egyptian flatbread that you can brush with foul, a bean mash with tomatoes and garlic. For dessert, there are mostly sweet sticky delicacies with honey and dates. Since alcohol does not have a good reputation in Egypt, you should toast your successful vacation with fruit juice or black tea.

Suitable hotels

As a tourist in Hurghada, you now have the choice between a large number of hotels that make very cheap offers due to the strong competition. As part of a package tour, you can look around for a hotel with high standards even with a low holiday budget and get the full, all-round carefree package for little money.

With an all-inclusive offer, you can enjoy several meals and drinks at no extra charge. Almost every resort in Hurghada also has its own bathing area with a pool and animation programs, wellness, and sports offers. It would be best if you also looked around for a hotel landscape with private beach access to enjoy the full comfort of a vacation in Egypt.