Hurghada was once a relatively small and unimposing fishing village, located next to the Red Sea and boasting several superb beaches. Now, the resort of Hurghada is almost unrecognisable compared to its past life. It has grown to become the most visited tourist destination in Egypt, with more than 100 different hotels, many of which line the shoreline.
Famous for its superb diving opportunities, Hurghada is especially appealing to those with little scuba diving experience, who come to marvel at the underwater reefs and remarkable marine life. Presently, tourism constitutes a considerable part of Hurghada’s income. Each year, many tourists combine their holiday with visits to other prominent locations along the Nile Valley, including the relatively nearby city of Luxor.
- Location of Hurghada City
- Administrative Divisions
- Hurghada Attractions
- Shopping in Hurghada
- Hurghada Activities
- History-Related and Sightseeing Activities in Hurghada
- Snorkelling Activities in Hurghada
- Diving Activities in Hurghada
- Fishing Activities in Hurghada
- Sea-Related Activities in Hurghada
- Water Sports Activities in Hurghada
- Desert Safari Activities in Hurghada
- Horse Riding Activities in Hurghada
- City Touring Activities in Hurghada
- Beauty and Wellness Activities in Hurghada
- Entertainment and Fun Activities in Hurghada
- General information about the Hurghada International Airport
- How to Get to Hurghada?
Location of Hurghada City
Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century. It was a small fishing village for many decades, but it has grown into a significant Red Sea resort due to Egyptian and foreign investment in the 1980s. Holiday resorts and hotels provide windsurfing, kitesurfing, yachting, scuba diving and snorkelling. The city is known for its watersports, 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 Europeans, especially during the winter, and some spend Christmas and New Year there. Russia’s tourist numbers dropped significantly after the Metrojet Flight 9268 plane crash in November 2015.
Hurghada extends for about 36 kilometres (22 mi) along the coast but does not reach far into the surrounding desert. The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt and holiday tourists from Europe.
Hurghada has a population of 248,000 and comprises the following areas:
- El Ahia and El Helal – the northern part
- El Dahar (Downtown) – the old town
- Saqqala – the city centre
- El Kawsar – the modern part
- El Mamsha (Village Road) – a pedestrianised street with a length of over 4 km (2.5 mi)
Many of Hurghada’s newer hotels, restaurants, and shops open doors along El Mamsha. Most of the most recent and significant hotel resorts exist 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, where the town’s traditional bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus stations (Go Bus and Upper Egypt Bus) are situated. The busiest area is Sakala, the “city centre” on Sheraton Road, where hotels, shops, and restaurants are located.
The city is served by the Hurghada International Airport, with scheduled passenger traffic connecting to Cairo and directly to several cities in Europe. A new terminal was opened in 2015 to accommodate increasing traffic.
The village, which later evolved into what is now the city of Hurghada, was first settled in 1905. It acquired its name from a plant that has grown there naturally since Ancient Egypt. Originally Hurghada was a fishing village. Oil was discovered in the area in 1913, and in 1921 British oil companies began their production and export. During the reign of King Farouk, a recreational centre was built in the city, but after President Nasser nationalised Egypt’s industries, it was reallocated to the Egyptian Armed Forces.
During the War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt (1967–70), Shadwan Island in the Red Sea to the east was fortified by Egyptian troops and used as a radar post. On January 22 1970, the island was the site of Operation Rhodes, a helicopter assault by Israeli soldiers who occupied it for 36 hours. The battle of Shadwan began on January 22, 1970, until January 26. This battle took place on Shadwan Island at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez, 35 km from Hurghada when the Israeli aggression tried to occupy Shadwan Island to respond to the successful and painful strikes of the Egyptian armed forces during the war Attrition.
During the October War of 1973, Hurghada harbour was the target of four Israeli operations. Israeli forces also occupied Shadwan Island resulting in over 32 casualties to the Egyptian army and 7 to the Israeli military.
In September 1994, drive-by shooters killed two Egyptians and a German tourist; another German man was wounded in the attack and died of his injuries after returning to Germany.
The 2016 Hurghada attack was caused by two terrorists inspired by the jihadist group Islamic State. As a result, three tourists were wounded.
On July 14 2017, in the 2017 Hurghada attack, a man declared that he wanted to kill only non-Egyptians. He stabbed seven female tourists: five German, one Czech and one Armenian. Two of the German women were killed. The Czech tourist died later in hospital. The attack occurred at two different resort hotels.
- El Dahar is the old Downtown.
- Sekalla is the city centre and the old part of the city.
- Also, El Qura is the modern part.
- Abdulmoneim Riadh Mosque.
- El-Mina Grand Mosque.
- Saint Shenouda Church Hurghada.
- Hurghada Marina Boulevard.
- Fish Market.
- Fruit Market.
- El Dahar Market.
- Marine Port.
- Giftun Islands.
- Hurghada Grand Aquarium.
- Jungle Aqua Park.
- Hurghada Museum.
- Sand City.
- Mini Egypt.
- Hard Rock Café.
- Also, Little Buddha.
Hurghada Marina Boulevard
The Hurghada Marina project is considered one of the most significant and most splendid projects in Hurghada, Egypt. Hurghada Marina Boulevard lies on the west coast of the red sea with a surface of over 150 000 sq. Meters. It was designed by the Sorgreah Consultants in France, while the ASA consultants in Egypt carried out the project’s overall consultancy services.
Hurghada Fish Market
The local fish market (in Arabic, Hallaqat El-Samak) is a must, a fantastic place to see a great local culture. This Fish Market is an excellent shopping venue for a great local shopping experience in the popular Hurghada Marina area. Moreover, the market offers an extensive assortment of fresh local fish and other products from the sea.
Munim Riad Mosque Hurghada
Dahar Mosque is one of the most important landmarks of Hurghada and one of its most beautiful mosques. It exists in the Al-Dahar district in the city centre. This mosque is famous for its two distinctive high-rise minarets and the decorations on the interior walls. In the evening, a wall façade is lit from it, which gives it a magnificent view, and whoever goes to this mosque will see the large number of street vendors spread over its yard, making it one of the main crowded areas in the city.
Abdul Munim Riad Mosque Hurghada stands tall on its own — offering visitors the chance to connect with the daily life and culture of the beach town. It is one of the oldest mosques in Hurghada city; it was also the leading tourist destination for Egyptian officials and tourists before constructing the Mina Mosque in the Saqqala area.
El Dahar Market
El Dahar Market exits in the area around Dahar Square, Hurghada. It is a local market. Twenty years ago, it was the leading tourist destination. However, it holds a little bit of its past brilliance; now, it mainly supplies local demand. There are lots 0f things that locals buy from the place. As a tourist, you can choose one spot in Dahar market to visit: the vegetables and fruit market. This spot has many stands that offer fresh vegetables and fruits—moreover, city tours in Hurghada head to this spot.
El Mina Mosque Hurghada
The El Mina Mosque (in Arabic, Masjid El Mina) is one of the most famous mosques and the top attractions in Hurghada. It is undoubtedly the biggest and most impressive mosque and building in Hurghada. This mosque opened in 2012 on 8,000 meters at 20 million pounds.
Masjid Al-Mina Al-Kabir is the largest mosque in the governorate of the Red Sea and is a significant tourist attraction with its magnificent architecture. Tourism companies in Hurghada organise visits to the mosque as one of the most important Islamic shrines in the city.
Saint Shenouda Church Hurghada
The Saint Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church is located in the El Dahar area of Hurghada and belongs to the Coptic Orthodox community. The church occupies 1500 m2. It appears to be relatively modest from the outside. However, inside, the architecture is intricate and simply astounding, featured primarily on the stained-glass windows and the painted ceilings and interesting religious murals and paintings above the altar. Travellers can find a second church under the main cathedral to accommodate the overflow of worshipers attending on special holy days.
Hurghada Museum is the first antiquities museum in al‑Bahr al‑Ahmar (Red Sea) Governorate, the first museum of its kind. It is the fruitful result of a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, al‑Bahr al‑Ahmar (Red Sea) Governorate, and the private sector. In this case, the private sector funded the museum’s construction as a sponsor partner.
Grand Aquarium stands in Hurghada’s heart, just 5 minutes away from Hurghada International Airport, in the Magawish tourist area. Hurghada’s Grand Aquarium is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa, and also it counts as the seventh in the world. It is home to thousands of species of marine organisms. In addition, it uniquely has a rainforest with its abundant rain, intertwining trees, and open forest similar to the African forests, which contain the most beautiful animals and different birds.
Sand City Museum
Sand City possesses more than 70 sculptures of sand statues and inscriptions. Artists formed these statues from pressed wet sand to become stiff like stones. Sculptors painted their surfaces with varnish to protect them from wind and rain. Some of these statues are about 10 meters high. It took about six months to complete this museum 29 artists from different parts of the world participated in the exit of these creations. It includes different eras and civilisations, notably Pharaonic figures and sculptures, and Napoleon, Zeus, Cleopatra, Posiden, Caesar and Eros. Modern-day heroes such as “King Kong”, “Jack Sparrow”, and Spider-Man.
Hard Rock Cafe Hurghada
Hard Rock Cafe, Inc. is a chain of theme restaurants founded in 1971 by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton in London. In 1979, the Cafe began covering its walls with rock and roll memorabilia, a tradition that expanded to others in the chain. The Hard Rock Cafe Hurghada was established on November 12 2004. In 2007, Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida and was headquartered in Orlando, Florida, until April 2018, when the corporate offices were relocated to Davie, Florida. As of July 2018, Hard Rock International has venues in 74 countries, including 185 cafes, 25 hotels, and 12 casinos.
The Buddha-Bar is a bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise created by French-Romanian restaurateur Raymond Vișan and DJ and interior designer Claude Challe. Its original location opened in Paris, France, in 1996. Locations have since been opened in several other countries, although not without controversy arising from the theme. Little Buddha Bar Hurghada was founded in 2008. The Buddha Bar “soon became a reference among foreign yuppies and wealthy tourists visiting the city” and “has spawned numerous imitators”, becoming prevalent partly because of the DJ’s choice of eclectic, avant-garde music. It became known internationally for issuing the Buddha Bar compilation albums, famous compilations of lounge, chill-out music and world music, also under the Buddha-Bar brand, released by George V Records. Buddha-Bar “has made a name for itself with its Zen lounge music CDs and remains a hit – especially with tourists”.
3. Sahl Hasheesh
The resorts of Sahl Hasheesh have a distinctive character. It is famous for higher tourist accommodation prices than hotels in Hurghada and includes 1660 hotel rooms. It will open 6 thousand hotel rooms and an open theatre famous for the vast concerts held by foremost Arab singers and attended by thousands of their fans.
4. El Gouna
El Gouna dates back to 1990 and was established by the Orascom Group company owned by the Sawiris family, about 20 km away from Hurghada International Airport and 470 km away from Cairo. The city is heading to achieve self-sufficiency in food by relying heavily on the products of the El Gouna farm built on an area of 120 acres. The area is famous for being a site for diving in the depths and various water sports such as water skiing, windsurfing, and golf. There are two main beaches, “Zitouna Beach” and “Mangroovy Beach”.”Furthermore, the resort has many water channels, many Islands, marinas and yachting in large numbers, and many health clubs.
There are six neighbourhoods in El Gouna: Marina Town, the Mediterranean, the Golf District, the Nubian Quarter, the Hadaba neighbourhood and the Italian Quarter. All resort investments tend to rely on clean solar energy and dispense entirely with government-generated electricity by storing batteries for the power generated from Solar cells.
Shopping in Hurghada
Beaches are not the only one that attracts visitors, but rather the shopping places and the tourist walkway of Hurghada. This place has cafes, restaurants and shops, famous markets and malls. Thus, the area provides more fun and nightlife to wander at night alone without boredom or with friends and family.
You can buy many souvenirs from the shops spread inside the main town (Sekalla high street) and the beach areas. Also, the old Downtown (El Dahar) has a wide selection of bazaars with lower prices than Sekalla.
For brand names and higher-quality products, head down to ‘New Marina’ ‘and Sheraton Road, where you can find Adidas, Timberland, Dockers and LeLevi’sas well as a traditional bazaar (Souq in Arabic). Often the clothes are counterfeit knockoffs, though you will notice that any shop may post famous trademarks on its banner and yet sell fake garments.
Senzo Mall is the first real shopping mall in Hurghada. Since its opening, it has been a significant destination for those who want to replace the city rush enjoyment. Diverse shops known as local and international brands always offer visitors current fashion collections and an excellent selection of home appliances and other products. Fresh and tasty specialities will provide a real break for all visitors, bringing additional energy for all-day fun in Senzo Mall. Leafing through the magazine with a perfect coffee aroma is complemented by a wide selection of delicious sandwiches and cakes.
Hurghada is famous for its coral reefs, islands and entertainment. Generally, many tourists visit it annually to enjoy snorkelling, diving, and sightseeing. For the sake of the sea and culture, excursions go everywhere in Hurghada. On the other hand, these trips head from Hurghada to various tourist destinations in the coastal cities of Safaga, Marsa Alam, and El Gouna. Moreover, several tours go far to Cairo and Luxor. Infrequently, they head to Israel and Jordan.
So, here is a comprehensive list of the activities and things to do in Hurghada. For your convenience, we have grouped these entries into the following basic categories:
- History Related/Sightseeing in Hurghada.
- Snorkeling in Hurghada.
- Diving in Hurghada.
- Sea Related Activities.
- Water Sports/Water-Related Activities.
- Also, Fun and Entertainments in Hurghada.
History-Related and Sightseeing Activities in Hurghada
Group Sightseeing Activities
- Excursion to Cairo-Giza from Hurghada.
- Two-Day Trip to Cairo from Hurghada – Old Cairo.
- And, Bus Trip to Cairo-Alexandria from Hurghada.
- Excursion to Luxor- Valley of the kings from Hurghada.
- Day Trip to Dendera – Luxor from Hurghada.
- And, Trip to Luxor – Valley of Queens by Bus from Hurghada.
- Also, Nile Boat Trip Hurghada.
Individual Sightseeing Activities
- Individual Trip to Luxor from Hurghada.
- Private Trip to El-Minya from Hurghada.
- Trip to Monastery of St. Anthony from Hurghada.
- Private Trip to Cairo from Hurghada by plane.
- Individual Excursion Cairo from Hurghada.
- Private Trip to Abydos – Sohag from Hurghada.
- Individual Trip to Abydos – Dendera from Hurghada.
- Also, Individual trip to Dendera – Luxor from Hurghada.
Snorkelling Activities in Hurghada
- Individual Trip to Sharm El-Naga from Hurghada.
- Excursion Super Utopia from Hurghada.
- Private Speedboat to Dolphin Bay from Hurghada.
- Sea trip to El-Gouna from Hurghada.
- Private Speedboat to Orange Bay in Hurghada.
- Excursion to Orange Bay in Hurghada.
- And a fishing trip in Hurghada.
- Tour to Abu Dabab Beach from Hurghada.
- Boat trip to Mahmya Island-Beach from Hurghada.
- Excursion Super Gouna from Hurghada.
- Boat trip to the Dolphin House in Hurghada.
- Excursion to Giftun island in Hurghada.
- Also, Snorkeling trip to Paradise Island Beach in Hurghada.
Diving Activities in Hurghada
Fishing Activities in Hurghada
Sea-Related Activities in Hurghada
- Sea adventure on Sindbad Submarine in Hurghada.
- Also, Sea trip onboard a semi-submarine from Hurghada.
Water Sports Activities in Hurghada
Desert Safari Activities in Hurghada
Horse Riding Activities in Hurghada
City Touring Activities in Hurghada
Beauty and Wellness Activities in Hurghada
Entertainment and Fun Activities in Hurghada
General information about the Hurghada International Airport
Hurghada International Airport stands inland, 5 km (3 miles) southwest of the downtown of Hurghada (El Dahar district). This airport presents Hurghada, the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt, and Safaga. In addition, it serves many amazing Red Sea beaches and aquatic sports resorts: Al Quseir, Sharm El Naga, El Gouna, Al-Mahmya, Soma Bay and Makadi Bay.
How to Get to Hurghada?
Prices depend on the time of the booking and the airline. Most major airlines in Europe and the Middle East can fly you straight to Hurghada International Airport (IATA: HRG) without stopping in Cairo. You will see a big sign saying “V” 25USD” “s you enter the airport building. Airport guides will usher you towards a stand where you must buy the visa for 25 Euro (over 30USD). You can easily avoid this by going to the ‘National Bank Of Egypt stand in the same hall and presenting your passport, along with precisely 25 US dollars, to the attendant. This bank will give you the visa, and you finish everything in half the time, for half the price.
From the airport to the town, vice-versa, cab drivers will likely ask for quote prices in Euros. Note that the price they will ask is high above the metered price, about 40 LE to the city (many will start at 10 euro/200 LE plus a 50 LE airport fee). Note that you can get this price down with quite a bit of bargaining.
If you are in Cairo, you can also fly to Hurghada on Egypt Air Express (a subsidiary of Egypt Air) or Nile Air, servicing domestic locations in Egypt. Prices vary from 400-900 Egyptian pounds depending on the season and how early you book your tickets.
From Sharm el-Sheikh, you can fly with Egypt Air for about 450-550 LE (the trip takes about 1 hour).
From Cairo: the trip takes about 7 hours, depending on the operator. Prices range from 50 to 150LE for a one-way ticket, and buses will leave nearly every hour. Good operators are Super Jet and Go Bus; avoid MCV Co.
From Alexandria, operate two daily buses. The first one is run by Upper Egypt and leaves at 18:30, arriving in Hurghada around 4:30 the following day. It is not ideal as you will find the city asleep and it is tough to get a taxi this early. The second bus, operated by Super Jet, will leave around 20:30 and arrive around 6:30 in the morning. Prices are around 90-100LE for a one-way trip.
From Luxor: about 4-5h by Super Jet bus or longer by Upper Egypt. Super Jet runs twice daily, and Upper Egypt has buses more frequently.
From Aswan: 2 daily buses, both operated by Upper Egypt. The first one leaves at 15:30, and the second leaves at 17:30. The trip takes at least 8 hours, meaning you will arrive in Hurghada after midnight. Prices are around 50-55LE.
Buses arrive and leave for many destinations from the Old Town bus station. Eighty per cent of them run on schedule; the others may have long delays. Be there at least one hour before the scheduled departure. Your ticket might be an excellent way to avoid frustration whilst saving money.
Go Bus Egypt is a reliable company with friendly buses offering daily service to Cairo (from 190EGP) and Luxor (from 110 EGP).
Buses leave for Quseer and Marsa Alam (3 times a day), Luxor (3 times), and Cairo (each 1 hour). There are no direct buses to Sharm El Sheikh; you must go to Cairo or Suez with the GOV buses.
Update (September, 2019): Hurghada to Luxor. Three bus companies service routes to Luxor. Each exists along El-Nasr. Go bus has two departures daily at 08:15 and 15:30 (EGP 135). Blue Bus has one departure daily at 15:00 (EGP 150). Upper Egypt Bus Co. has six departures daily at 01:00, 03:00, 10:00, 13:00, 19:30, and 22:30 (EGP 40).
Since the 1980s, Hurghada has grown from a small fishing village to an internationally renowned resort town in the Red Sea Governorate. It became an international centre for aquatic sports like windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming, and snorkelling and diving. The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous amongst divers. Hurghada’s warm waters are ideal for rare fish and coral reefs, observed through glass bottom boats. for more details
Hurghada is merging the old with the new. It boasts some of the most delicate hotel chains in Villages Road and the tourist districts like Sahel Hasheesh, or north of it and El-Gouna in the south. The Hurghada International Airport serves the city, which has direct connections with several cities in Europe for more details.
860791 people inhabit Hurghada (according to the 2006 census). The majority of the inhabitants depend on tourism. However, some of them work in fishing.