El Gouna: A Guide to Egypt’s Premier Resort Town

El Gouna is a luxurious resort town on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. Developed in 1990 by Samih Sawiris’ Orascom Development, it has become a popular tourist destination due…

El Gouna is a luxurious resort town on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. Developed in 1990 by Samih Sawiris’ Orascom Development, it has become a popular tourist destination due to its stunning beaches, high-end resorts, and vibrant nightlife. The town is just 25km from Hurghada, making it easily accessible to visitors from Europe’s major capitals.

The resort town of El Gouna is built around lagoons and waterways, providing plenty of beaches and picturesque views of the Red Sea. It is a self-contained community with many amenities, including an 18-hole golf course, spas, trendy bars, and open-air discos. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of land and sea excursions, including quad bike tours of the desert.

El Gouna is a part of the Red Sea Riviera and hosts the El Gouna Film Festival. The town is frequented by Egypt’s elite and Europeans on package tours. With its convenient seaside living and exclusive community, El Gouna is the best destination for those seeking a luxurious beach vacation.

History and Development

El Gouna is a tourist city in the Red Sea Governorate, 20 kilometers) north of Hurghada. It was created in 1990 and is owned and developed by Orascom Development, a company founded by Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris.

El Gouna has increased since its establishment, and it now boasts a population of around 25,000 people. The town has become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. It is part of the Red Sea Riviera and has been the host city of the El Gouna Film Festival.

Orascom Hotels and Development has been instrumental in the development of El Gouna. The company has invested heavily in the town, building hotels, restaurants, and other tourist facilities. The company has also been committed to making El Gouna an environmentally sustainable community. The city has been designed to minimize its impact on the surrounding environment, and efforts have been made to reduce waste and promote renewable energy sources.

Overall, El Gouna has been a success story in developing sustainable communities. It has become a popular tourist destination, and its environmentally friendly design has set an example for other communities.

Geography and Climate

Location

Al Gouna is a resort town on the western shore of the Red Sea in the Hurghada Governorate of Egypt. It is situated approximately 22 kilometers north of Hurghada and covers an area of 10 square kilometers. El Gouna is built on a series of islands and lagoons connected by bridges and canals, giving it a unique and picturesque appearance.

The climate in Al Gouna is influenced by its location on the Red Sea, which moderates the temperature and creates a more pleasant environment than other desert regions. The sea breezes also provide a cooling effect during the hot summer months.

MonthTemperature (°C)Precipitation (mm)
January191
February202
March223
April261
May301
June330
July340
August340
September310
October281
November241
December211

Overall, Al Gouna has a pleasant climate throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for tourists seeking to escape colder climates.

Travel and Transportation

Getting There

Al Gouna is a resort town on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. It is 25 km from the city of Hurghada and can be reached by various modes of transportation.

  • By Flight: Travelers can take a flight to Hurghada International Airport, the nearest airport to Al Gouna. The airport is served by several airlines and has regular flights from most major European cities. 
  • By Road: Al Gouna is located around a 4-hour drive from Cairo. Travelers can take a taxi or rent a car to reach the town.

Local Transport

El Gouna offers a variety of transportation options for visitors and locals alike, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

  • Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Al Gouna and are a convenient mode of transportation for short distances. Travelers are advised to negotiate the fare before boarding the taxi.
  • Shuttle Buses: Shuttle buses are available in Al Gouna and are a cost-effective way to travel around the town. 
  • Tuk-tuks: They are a popular mode of transportation in Al Gouna and are ideal for short distances. Travelers are advised to negotiate the fare before boarding the tuk-tuk.

Overall, getting to and around Al Gouna is relatively easy and convenient, with several transportation options available.

Accommodations

Hotels and Resorts

El Gouna is a popular tourist destination offering accommodations, including hotels and resorts. The most popular hotels in El Gouna are Steigenberger and Ancient Sands. 

  • Steigenberger Hotel: This hotel is located in the heart of El Gouna and offers luxurious accommodations to its guests. It has a private beach, an outdoor pool, and a spa. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves international cuisine.
  • Ancient Sands Resort: This resort is located on a hilltop overlooking the Red Sea and offers breathtaking views to its guests. It has a private beach, an outdoor pool, and a spa. The resort also has a restaurant that serves Mediterranean cuisine.

Other popular hotels and resorts in El Gouna include:

  • Movenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna
  • Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna
  • Fanadir Hotel El Gouna
  • Sultan Bey Hotel El Gouna

Bookings

Booking a hotel or resort in El Gouna is easy and convenient. Visitors can use online booking platforms like Booking.com to find the best deals on accommodations. These platforms offer different options to choose from, including budget-friendly hotels and luxurious resorts.

  • Booking.com: This platform offers a wide range of accommodations in El Gouna, including hotels, resorts, and apartments. 

When booking a hotel or resort in El Gouna, visitors should keep in mind the following:

  • Read the reviews of the hotel or resort before booking
  • Compare the prices of different hotels and resorts before booking

Overall, El Gouna offers a variety of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Visitors can choose from luxurious resorts to budget-friendly hotels and enjoy their stay in this beautiful destination.

Activities and Attractions

Beaches and Lagoons

El Gouna is famous for its crystal-clear lagoons and sandy beaches, which offer a wide range of water activities such as windsurfing, diving, and snorkeling. The lagoons are perfect for swimming and relaxing, while the beaches are ideal for sunbathing and beach volleyball. Visitors can also take glass-bottom boat trips to explore the marine life in the Red Sea.

Sports and Recreation

El Gouna is a paradise for sports enthusiasts. The town boasts a world-class golf course, designed by Gene Bates and Fred Couples, that offers stunning views of the Red Sea. Visitors can also enjoy quad biking, karting, and other exciting activities in the desert surrounding El Gouna. The town also offers water sports like windsurfing, kiteboarding, and scuba diving.

Cultural Experiences

El Gouna has a rich cultural heritage that visitors can explore through museums, mosques, and other cultural attractions. The town’s most famous cultural attraction is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina El Gouna, a branch of the renowned library in Alexandria that offers a wide range of books and multimedia resources. Visitors can also visit the El Gouna Mosque, an excellent example of Islamic architecture. The town also has several art galleries, including the Alfredo Freda Gallery, which showcases contemporary art worldwide. Visitors can also explore the Desert Breath, an art installation created by the D.A.ST. Arteam in 1997, and the Culturama, an interactive museum showcasing Egypt’s history and culture.

Dining and Nightlife

Restaurants and Bars

El Gouna offers various dining experiences, from upscale restaurants to casual bars and cafes. Seafood is a must-try in the area, with many restaurants offering fresh catches from the Red Sea. Tamr Henna Square is a popular spot for dining, with different restaurants and cafes to choose from.

Some recommended restaurants in Al Gouna include:

  • El Sayadin Restaurant is known for its seafood and fusion cuisine.
  • The Smokery Beach offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu and a beachfront setting.
  • Chez Chantal is a French restaurant with a romantic atmosphere.

Moods Beach is a popular spot for drinks and light bites, with a laid-back atmosphere and stunning views of the Red Sea. Trendy bars like DuPort Pool Club and Jobo’s Sports Bar & Restaurant offer a lively atmosphere and a variety of drinks and snacks.

Entertainment Venues

El Gouna is also known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with various entertainment venues. Open-air discos like the Crooners Club offer a unique experience, with music and dancing under the stars.

Several nightclubs and lounges offer upscale experiences. The Clubhouse is a popular spot for dancing and live music, while Tamr Henna Square offers endless entertainment options, from live music to street performers.

Shopping and Leisure

Local Markets

El Gouna is a shopping paradise for those who love to explore local markets. The town is home to several markets that offer a unique shopping experience. Here are some of the best local markets in Al Gouna:

  • Downtown Star Bazar: This market is a must-visit for those who love to buy souvenirs and handicrafts. The products available here include lamps, small pieces of furniture, papyrus, wooden boxes, jewelry, and other souvenirs.
  • Abu Tig Marina: This is a famous market in Al Gouna that offers many products, such as clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. The market is located near the marina and is a great place to relax and shop.
  • Tamr Henna Square: This market is located in the heart of Al Gouna and is a great place to shop for local products. It offers spices, herbs, and handmade crafts.

Spa and Wellness

El Gouna is a great place to relax and unwind. The town has several wellness centers that offer many treatments, such as massages, facials, and body wraps. Here are some of the best spas and wellness centers in Al Gouna:

  • Mividaspa: This spa is located in the Movenpick Resort and offers many treatments, such as massages, facials, and body wraps. The spa also has a sauna and a steam room.
  • Spa at Sheraton Miramar Resort: This spa is located in the Sheraton Miramar Resort and offers many treatments, such as massages, facials, and body wraps. The spa also has a sauna and a steam room.
  • Soma Spa at Ancient Sands Resort: This spa is located in the Ancient Sands Resort and offers many treatments, such as massages, facials, and body wraps. The spa also has a sauna and a steam room.

Whether you’re looking to shop for souvenirs or relax and unwind, Al Gouna has something for everyone.

Events and Festivals

El Gouna is a vibrant destination that offers endless events and festivals throughout the year. From cultural celebrations to sports tournaments, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular events and festivals in El Gouna:

  • El Gouna Film Festival: One of the most significant events in El Gouna is the El Gouna Film Festival. This annual event attracts filmmakers, actors, and cinema enthusiasts worldwide. With multiple venues, including the state-of-the-art Sea Cinema, the El Gouna Film Festival is a must-attend event for anyone immersed in the film industry.
  • Sports Tournaments: El Gouna is an ideal location for sports enthusiasts, with various tournaments occurring throughout the year. The Red Sea Squash Open is a significant event that attracts some of the world’s best squash players. Other notable tournaments include the El Gouna International Triathlon and the El Gouna International Sailing Regatta.
  • Cultural Celebrations: El Gouna celebrates various cultural events throughout the year, including Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Christmas. The Ramadan Tent is popular during the holy month, offering traditional food and entertainment.
  • Music Festivals: El Gouna hosts several music festivals throughout the year, including the Sandbox Festival and the Jazz Festival. These events bring together musicians and music lovers from around the world to celebrate a variety of genres, from jazz to electronic dance music.

Safety and Travel Tips

Health and Security

  • Pack sunscreen, as the sun can be intense in Egypt.
  • Drink bottled water and not tap water to avoid stomach issues.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.
  • If you plan on participating in water sports.

While El Gouna is generally a safe destination, it is always important to remain vigilant and aware of potential risks. Travelers should keep up-to-date with any travel warnings or government travel alerts before departing.

Cultural Norms

  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Avoid public displays of affection.
  • Do not drink alcohol in public places.
  • Always ask for permission before taking photos of anyone.

Political unrest can be a concern in Egypt, and travelers should know of any potential s before departing. It is recommended to avoid large gatherings or protests and to stay informed of any developments in the country.

Overall, El Gouna is a safe and enjoyable destination for travelers who take the necessary precautions and respect local customs. By following these tips, visitors can have a memorable and stress-free trip to this beautiful resort town.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top-rated hotels in El Gouna?

  • The Movenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna is a top-rated hotel in El Gouna. It offers luxurious accommodations and a private beach.
  • The Steigenberger Golf Resort El Gouna is another popular option for those looking for a relaxing vacation in El Gouna.

What are the top attractions in El Gouna?

  • El Gouna is famous for its beautiful beaches, including Mangroovy Beach and Daytona Beach.
  • The El Gouna Aquarium is a must-visit attraction for those interested in marine life.
  • The Ancient Sands Golf Resort is a popular destination for golf enthusiasts.

How can I find El Gouna on the map?

  • El Gouna is in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt.
  • It is approximately 22 kilometers north of Hurghada, another popular tourist destination in Egypt.
  • Visitors can easily find El Gouna on Google Maps or other online mapping services.

What dining experiences are available in El Gouna?

  • El Gouna offers various dining options, from casual beachside cafes to upscale restaurants.
  • Some popular restaurants in El Gouna include The Smokery Beach, La Scala, and The Clubhouse.

How does El Gouna differ from Hurghada in terms of tourist experience?

  • While Hurghada is known for its bustling nightlife and party scene, El Gouna offers a more laid-back and relaxing atmosphere.
  • El Gouna is also known for its upscale resorts and private beaches, while Hurghada offers a broader variety of budget-friendly accommodations.

What are the latest achievements of El Gouna FC?

  • El Gouna FC is a professional football club based in El Gouna.
  • In the 2020-2021 season, El Gouna FC finished 7th in the Egyptian Premier League, its highest finish in club history.

 

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