Hurghada, Egypt

Recently, what was a small sleepy fishing village, Hurghada (Al-Ghardaqah) has grown into a booming resort town – the Red Sea Coast’s largest. Hurghada now comprises of three sections: at the northern end, the old downtown (El Dahhar) is the most “Egyptian” part with souqs, local restaurants, general authentic bustle; the mid-section, known as Al-Sakkala, is like any modern Mediterranean package resort and has several boat and dive operators running from its marina; and then the developed strip running south along the coast for over 20km (12.5 miles), with five-star resorts and Western-style shopping malls.

Travel tips for visiting Hurghada

El Dahhar was the original Hurghada village and has some of the Red Sea’s earliest hotels, built between the Gabal al-Afish hill and the sea. The hill itself is slowly being hacked away as houses and hotels push further back, and it could disappear completely within the next few years.

The crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea provide excellent opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and other water sports, while the nearby desert offers thrilling off-road adventures. The modern town is not particularly attractive, but it is rich in history and culture, with ancient temples and ruins to explore. The warm and sunny climate ensures year-round enjoyment, and the local cuisine is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

With a wide range of accommodations and activities to suit all budgets and preferences, Hurghada is an ideal destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. So come and experience the magic of Hurghada for yourself – you won't be disappointed!

Keen on travelling to Egypt? Perhaps our local experts can help you out.

Hurghada El Mina mosque, Egypt © Pixabay

Hurghada El Mina mosque, Egypt © Pixabay

Best things to do in Hurghada

The beaches are small, but the hotel pools are large and more than compensate for the fly-and-flop crowd, but with each of the major beach resorts offering activities and excursions, there’s lots to do in Hurghada.

#1 Partake in some watersports

Snorkeling and diving are particularly popular here, with the Red Sea's vibrant coral reefs and marine life providing a stunning underwater playground. You can also try your hand at windsurfing, kiteboarding, jet skiing, parasailing, or banana boating.

For those looking for a more relaxing experience, take a leisurely boat tour and explore the surrounding islands and beaches. With so many options to choose from, Hurghada is the perfect destination for water enthusiasts.

#2 Visit the Hurghada Grand Aquarium

This fantastic aquarium offers insights into the Red Sea’s rich marine life. A trip here affords the opportunity to observe the many types of fish close-up, including sharks, turtles, rays and stone fish. This impressive facility is home to over 1,200 marine animals from over 100 different species, including sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

You can stroll through the aquarium's numerous themed exhibits, each showcasing a different aquatic environment, and observe the creatures in their natural habitats. The highlight of the visit is the massive 24-meter long tunnel, where you can walk through and witness the majestic creatures of the deep swimming all around you.

#3 Head underwater with Sindbad Submarines

Dive to a depth of 25 metres (82ft) on a submarine and view the underwater life through large portholes – an activity guaranteed to delight children. These semi-submersible vessels allow you to descend into the depths of the Red Sea and observe its incredible marine life from the comfort of a cozy, air-conditioned cabin.

You'll be able to see colorful coral formations, exotic fish, and even shipwrecks up close and personal, all without getting wet! The Sindbad Submarines tour is perfect for those who may not be able to snorkel or dive due to physical limitations.

#4 Dive some shipwrecks

If you're an experienced diver or want to take your diving skills to the next level, Hurghada is the perfect place to explore some stunning shipwrecks. The Red Sea is known for its rich maritime history and has a plethora of well-preserved wrecks that are just waiting to be explored.

Some of the most popular wrecks to dive in Hurghada include the SS Thistlegorm, a British cargo ship sunk by the Germans in World War II, and the Rosalie Moller, another World War II-era vessel.

From Hurghada there are day trips to Shaab Abu Nuhas, where four wrecks are lined up against the reef, including the steamer Carnatic, which hit this infamous reef in 1869, and the more recent Giannis D, sunk in 1983.

#5 Spent a day at the beach

No visit to Hurghada would be complete without spending a day relaxing on one of its stunning beaches. The city boasts miles of pristine sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea.

Some of the most popular beaches in Hurghada include the public beach in El Dahar, the picturesque Makadi Bay, and the luxurious private beaches of the many resorts lining the coastline. You can soak up the sun on a beach chair or take a refreshing dip in the sea to cool off.

#6 Go kitesurfing

Hurghada is considered one of the best kitesurfing destinations in the Africa, making it one of the best things to do in Egypt. With its consistent winds and perfect water conditions, Hurghada provides the ideal environment for kitesurfing enthusiasts of all levels.

You can take lessons at one of the many kitesurfing schools in the area, or if you're already experienced, rent equipment and hit the waves solo. The most popular spots for kitesurfing in Hurghada include the beaches of El Gouna, Soma Bay, and Magawish Island..

Hurghada kitesurfing, Egypt © Pixabay

Hurghada kitesurfing, Egypt © Pixabay

Where to stay

Hurghada has a large range of accommodation, from basic hotels catering to backpackers to up-market resorts. Many of these villages, which rival each other for splendour, the size of their pools and the number of rooms, are operated by international four- and five-star chains.

El Dahhar

This is where you’ll find most of the budget hotels and cheap guesthouses.


This part of Hurghada is rowded with mid-range hotels along the public beach.

Further south

A developed strip runs south along the coast for over 20km (12.5 miles), with plenty of private self-contained high-end resorts.

Browse the best hotels in Hurghada.

Best restaurants and bars

There are plenty of places to eat in Hurghada from up-market fine dining to Greek mezze via steakhouses, pizzerias, and plenty of authentic Egyptian restaurants as well. Here’s where to eat.

El Dahhar

This is where you’ll find the pick of budget restaurants with lots of good places selling fresh, Middle Eastern fare.


Expect fast-food restaurants, international chains and ice cream parlours. Hurghada Marina Boulevard is packed with decent choices as well.

Further south

Many of the high-end resorts have appealing restaurants but book ahead if you’re not staying.


Coral reef, Red Sea, Egypt © Shutterstock

How to get there

As the Red Sea coast’s largest resort, Hurghada is easy to get to with flights, ferries and direct coaches all an option. Here’s how to get to Hurghada.

By plane

There’s an international airport in Hurghada with direct flights (including many charter flights) from the UK, Germany, Russia, the Ukraine and others. There are domestic flights from Cairo (one hour) and Sharm El Sheikh (35 minutes).

By coach

There is also the option of coming from Cairo by luxury coach, but given that it’s a seven hour drive, this can mean departing very early morning and getting back late at night. The coach ride between Hurghada and Luxor takes five hours.

By ferry

The modern ferry service between Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh operates four times a week and takes two hours.

Find out the best ways to get to Egypt.

How many days do you need in Hurghada?

You will only need to spend around 3-4 days in Hurghada. This will give you enough time to explore the coral reefs and marine life, take a boat trip to nearby islands, and enjoy the beautiful beaches.

However, with so many resorts, most people stay a week or two and use Hurghada as a base for visiting ancient sites such as Luxor and Karnak or taking a camel ride into the desert. Chuck in some great swimming, snorkeling, and diving and it's easy to fill a fortnight.

Looking for inspiration for your trip? Talk to our Egypt travel experts.

Hurghada tea Egypt © Pixabay

Hurghada tea Egypt © Pixabay

Tips for getting around

By hire car

Lots of reputable, international car rental companies have offices in Hurghada, though driving in Egypt can be a honking nightmare at times.

By taxi

For one of the experiences of your life, take an Egyptian taxi. Drivers seem to need to fill every empty space on the road (and sometimes the pavement).

All taxis have orange licence plates and are identified by a number on the driver’s door. Drivers are required to display their licence and identity numbers on the dashboard.

Alternatively, Uber operates in Hurghada.

By minibus

Minibuses whizz up and down the coast here, stopping at all the major (and minor) hotels and places of interest.

Best time to visit Hurghada

With an arid desert climate, summers are hot and dry throughout Egypt, and humidity is high in the peak months of July and August. Summer temperatures can average is around 37ºC (99ºF).

Spring and autumn are short here; during the 50 days (khamseen) between March and April, dust storms may occur.

The water is warm all year round except for a few weeks in December and January; the sun is always shining and even in the hottest months there is a good breeze, which can sometimes turn into a strong wind.

Find out more about the best time to visit Egypt.

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 31.01.2024

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍