When it comes to tourism, Hurghada is a trailblazer in Egypt. It was the first major sun and beach vacation destination to take off, and since the 1980s, it has seen massive investments in real estate to create some of the best resorts in the country.
However, the real allure of Hurghada lies in the stunning Red Sea waters. It’s not only one of the best places for diving and snorkeling on the Egyptian coast but also in the world. The year-round guarantee of sun and warmth makes it a popular destination among Russian travelers, but it’s open to tourists of all backgrounds.
At Egipto Exclusivo, we’re experts in tourism in Hurghada and offer professional solutions for all travelers. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about this top destination, including the main activities to do in Hurghada, from exploring historical monuments of Ancient Egypt on one or several day trips to soaking up the sun on pristine beaches.
Hurghada is situated on the coast of the Red Sea Governorate, in Egypt’s Eastern Desert. While it is located over 450 km southeast of Cairo by road, it is closer to other nearby cities. For instance, it is approximately 50 km from Safaga, which is the port where pilgrims embark once a year to Mecca, and around 230 km from Qena, the nearest city in the Nile Valley, located in Middle Egypt.
The Eastern Desert acts as a natural barrier that has caused the entire Red Sea coast to remain almost free of civilization until recent times. This is why there were only a few fishing villages and some industrial plants for mining exploitation, such as phosphates.
In contrast, the Sinai coast is closer to Hurghada, just a few tens of kilometers away by sea. This makes crossings or small cruises on the Red Sea viable, allowing tourists to explore other places of similar underwater interest, such as Sharm El Sheikh.
Hurghada is situated at a latitude of around 27ºN, resulting in intense sunlight at noon during the hot months. As a result, it’s crucial to have proper protection such as sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, and so on. However, the presence of the Red Sea helps moderate the maximum temperatures, making them milder compared to other regions of the country, such as the Nile Valley.
The abundance of sunlight is an advantage for Hurghada, as tourism is guaranteed even during the cooler months, which can be chilly in other parts of the world. Here are some average values to help guide your trip:
When it comes to things to do in Hurghada, the possibilities are endless. While history and culture enthusiasts may need to venture out of the city to satisfy their interests, those seeking a relaxing beach vacation or thrilling underwater adventure will find plenty to do here. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Diving is undoubtedly the most popular activity in Hurghada, drawing in visitors from all over the world. The Red Sea’s unique underwater topography and crystal-clear waters make it a diver’s paradise. From rugged underwater terrain with areas of great depth to stunning coral reefs and shallow sections near the shore perfect for snorkeling, Hurghada offers an unforgettable diving experience for all levels of expertise.
In addition, the diversity of fish, sharks, and corals is enormous. And with species that stand out for their beauty thanks to their vivid and whimsical colors. In this sense, the list of species is very extensive, so if you come to Hurghada as a tourist to dive, you may come across specimens of this type: Dascyllus aruanus, sergeant major, yellowtail barracuda, haddock, castanet, raccoon butterflyfish, masked butterflyfish, blue triggerfish, angelfish, lionfish or Red Sea Scarus microrhinos. Whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, sea snails, blue-spotted rays, Millepora complanata coral, and Acropora cervicornis coral are also illustrious inhabitants of these waters.
The diving spots are very varied and not too far from the coast in some cases. There are options for all levels, so anyone can come to Hurghada as a tourist with this intention. These are some of the most famous diving spots among divers:
Further north of the city, you can find:
For those who are unable or unwilling to go diving or snorkeling, Hurghada still offers the opportunity to see marine species as a tourist. How? By boarding specialized boats. One example is the glass-bottomed boats, which allow for comfortable viewing of marine fauna in their natural habitat. These boats are called semi-submarines and are equivalent to snorkeling in open waters, as they allow for observation of species in surface waters.
To reach greater depths, you can opt for mini-submarine tours instead. From the ports of Hurghada, some depart daily and can dive more than 20 meters, allowing for the contemplation of species that are more difficult to see.
And for those who prefer to stay on the surface, boats for dolphin watching are also available. In some cases, if you’re lucky, the option to jump into the water and swim with the dolphins is included.
While Hurghada is surrounded by arid territory, it also offers desert tours, making it a popular attraction for tourists.
One can hire a 4×4 or quad bike to explore the desert, or opt for a more traditional experience like a camel ride, which provides an up-close view of the Bedouin culture. Some tours also include Bedouin tea or traditional gastronomy of the area. Tours can last from a couple of hours to a full day.
For tourists with extra days, there are several excursion options outside of the city, where they can stay overnight or return to their accommodation in time. These are some of the most common options, due to their interest and proximity:
Despite not having the historical monuments of other Egyptian cities, Hurghada offers plenty of opportunities for tourists to explore and capture beautiful memories. Here are some of the top sights to see:
The best beaches in Hurghada are the private ones managed by the resorts for their guests, although some also sell tickets to other tourists. Public beaches do not offer comparable services or cleanliness, so it’s recommended to opt for paid bathing areas for a better experience.
One must-visit destination is Giftun Island, especially the larger one, which offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, along with fine sandy beaches and crystal-clear water. Paradise Beach and Orange Bay are the two most popular spots here. A short 5-km boat trip is required to reach the island.
If you’re fascinated by the diverse and vibrant marine life of the Red Sea, a visit to one of the aquariums or marine museums in Hurghada is a must. One of the most impressive options is the Hurghada Grand Aquarium, located just a short distance from the city’s airport. This aquarium boasts a large glass tunnel where you can get up close and personal with a variety of fish species. It also has outdoor spaces that house other exotic animals like reptiles and birds, making it a perfect destination for families with children.
Apart from the Hurghada Grand Aquarium, there are two smaller yet equally fascinating options: the Red Sea Aquarium on the Corniche, and the Hurghada Marine Museum & Aquarium located north of the city. These museums showcase life-size reproductions and exhibits that can supplement your knowledge of the marine life found in the Red Sea.
Hurghada offers a range of family-friendly activities beyond the small parks with attractions. One of the most popular is the Jungle Aqua Park, a large water park with numerous and thrilling slides, small pools with water jets, and ample sunbed areas. The complex also offers catering options for visitors.
For a different kind of entertainment, Sand City is a must-visit. It is an open-air museum showcasing breathtaking creations made entirely of beach sand. Talented artists sculpt sculptures of famous cartoon characters, ancient pharaohs, deities from Egyptian religion and Western mythology, and creatures from the artists’ imaginations.
Further south, near Makadi Bay and approximately 25 km from the airport, is Mini Egypt, a small theme park full of miniature replicas of Egypt’s main monuments. Visitors can take fun pictures with large constructions that are equivalent in height to an adult person. These include the Pyramids of Giza, mosques of Cairo, Abu Simbel, the New Library of Alexandria, and the Temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el Bahari, providing a delightful experience for children and adults alike.
Hurghada, with its predominantly hotel and resort infrastructure, offers visitors a range of attractions typical of a city with a population of over 250,000.
A popular destination for tourists is the Marina, a luxurious marina where spectacular yachts and other motor or sailboats can be seen moored. Visitors can also witness boat builders at work, preserving a tradition that has been passed down for generations, such as the dahabiyas and falucas that we use in our Nile cruises. The Marina also boasts a wide range of hospitality and catering options, including international food venues and ice cream parlors.
On the way to or from the Marina, visitors will come across the most beautiful and monumental construction in Hurghada, the Al Mina mosque. This recently built mosque stands out for its refined and numerous domes that sparkle in the sun like the desert sand. The marble pavement in front of its main entrance adds to its beauty, while its minarets, reminiscent of Turkish architecture, give the building an air of majesty that can be seen from many points in the city. Whether with or without children, taking a walk in Hurghada to explore the city is a great way to get a feel for the place.
The Al Mina mosque in Hurghada is not only a beautiful architectural gem, but also offers stunning views from the harbor and a magical sight at night. While it’s possible to visit the mosque outside of prayer times, the interior is just as impressive as the exterior, with a spectacular central lamp as one of its highlights.
For those looking for a more traditional bazaar experience, the Ad Dahar area is home to Hurghada’s own marketplace. Although it may not be as bustling as other bazaars in Egypt, it offers an authentic shopping experience where visitors can find local crafts, clothing, and other unique souvenirs to take back home. It’s a great option for those looking for a more local touch to their travel gifts, compared to the more generic souvenir shops found in many tourist areas.
If you’re planning a trip to Hurghada, it’s helpful to have some practical information to make your visit as smooth as possible. Here are some useful details about getting there, getting around, and exploring the city:
The success of tourism in Hurghada is largely due to its magnificent infrastructure, including its international airport, which has direct flights from numerous countries, making travel organization much easier. Many of these flights are chartered or seasonal, while others come from the capital, Cairo. The most common route for those traveling from Spain is through Cairo, as there are no direct air routes from our country, except for recent changes. Below is a list of destinations that usually have connections with Hurghada Airport:
In addition to planes, cars are another usual means of transport for tourists in Hurghada. This is particularly common for those who organize a closed and tailored package tour of Egypt, as our agency does. The entrance to the city is the 60 highway from Qena, and the approximately 220 km distance between the two cities can be covered in just over two and a half hours. The journey from Cairo via the coastal 65 highway takes about 5 hours. From Marsa Alam, another holiday destination on the same coastline but further south (about 280 km), the journey is just over 3 hours on the aforementioned 65 highway.
Bus is also an option to reach Hurghada, as some transportation companies include it on their national routes. In the absence of a large central bus station, the companies have their own stations, such as Go-Bus and Blue Bus, located in the center, and often with stops at other strategic locations near resorts.
Another viable option, although only privately, is by boat. Sea crossings can be organized from other Red Sea tourist destinations, such as Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, or Taba, all of them in the Sinai Peninsula.
If you’re visiting Hurghada for tourism, moving around the city independently can be quite challenging. This is primarily due to the city’s limited and inefficient public transport network, as well as its vast size, with three distinct areas:
Therefore, walking between these three areas of Hurghada is impractical and very uncomfortable on local minibusses. Taxis are much more readily available, accustomed to traveling across the city from one end to the other. You will recognize them by their unique combination of colors: orange hood, doors, and roof, and the rest (fenders, bumpers) in black. An indicative fare is 40 LE between Ad Dahar and the resort strip.
There is also a certain variety of car rental offices in Hurghada, especially in the Sigala area and around the Marina, where you will find some of the major chains of this type. Of course, there are also many branches at the airport and other strategic locations.
But undoubtedly, the most comfortable, safe, and fast way to get around and sightsee in Hurghada is by using private taxis. These are companies and professionals specifically focused on tourists, so the quality standards are higher than average. Through Egipto Exclusivo, you can hire this customized service, to have a chauffeured vehicle at your disposal at all times.
If you’re looking for tourist information in Hurghada, options can be limited. The Egyptian Tourism Authority has an office located on the main avenue in the resort area, south of the city and next to the airport.
However, it may be more convenient to seek information from the reception at your hotel, particularly if it has a good customer service.
In practice, it will be more comfortable for you to ask your questions at the hotel where you are staying, especially if it is a resort with good reception service. If you need more detailed assistance, such as organizing a desert excursion or booking a diving activity, it’s recommended to turn to a reputable local agency like Egipto Exclusivo.
We can provide a customized experience for you prior to your trip, as well as offer support during your stay, including private transportation, professional guides, certified monitors, and more. With their assistance, you can make the most out of your visit to Hurghada and have an unforgettable vacation.