Hurghada: A Guide to Egypt’s Popular Red Sea Resort

Hurghada is a town on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. Its stunning coral reefs and turquoise waters have become a tourist destination for beach lovers. The city has grown…


Hurghada is a town on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. Its stunning coral reefs and turquoise waters have become a tourist destination for beach lovers. The city has grown significantly, stretching 40 km along the coast.

Tourists can enjoy various activities in Hurghada, such as windsurfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The city is also home to many restaurants, cafes, and shops. Additionally, Hurghada is within easy reach of the stunning Giftun Islands and the Eastern Arabian Desert, making it an ideal location for those who want to explore beyond the city limits.

Whether relaxing on the beach, exploring the underwater world, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Hurghada has something for everyone. This article will explore the city’s history, attractions, and culture.

Geography and Climate

Red Sea Location

Hurghada is a city in eastern Egypt located on the western shore of the Red Sea. It is about 550 kilometers south of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. The Red Sea is a saltwater inlet of the Indian Ocean, bordered by Egypt to the west, Saudi Arabia to the east, and Sudan to the south. The Red Sea is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to over 1,200 fish and 200 species of coral.

Climate Patterns

Hurghada has a subtropical desert climate, with mild winters and sweltering summers. The climate has low humidity, high temperatures, and clear skies throughout the year. The city receives very little rainfall, averaging only 5 mm per year. The winter months (December to February) are generally mild, with daytime temperatures averaging around 22 °C (72 °F). The summer months (June to August) are scorching, with daytime temperatures averaging around 38 °C (100 °F).

Eastern Arabian Desert Proximity

Hurghada is near the Eastern Arabian Desert, one of the world’s largest deserts. The desert covers an area of approximately 2.3 million square kilometers and extends from the Arabian Peninsula to Egypt. It has extreme temperatures, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 50 °C (122 °F) during summer. The desert also experiences sandstorms, which can last for several days.

Sea Temperature

The Red Sea is warm and stable throughout the year. The sea temperature reaches its highest value in August, with an average of 29.0 °C (84.2 °F), while the lowest value is in March, with about 22.3 °C (72.1 °F). The warm sea temperature makes Hurghada a popular destination.

Hurghada’s location on the Red Sea coast, its subtropical desert climate, and its proximity to the Eastern Arabian Desert make it a unique destination.

History and Development

Over the years, it has transformed from a small fishing village to one of the most prominent resort destinations along the 40-km stretch of the Red Sea coast. The history and development of Hurghada span three main periods: The origins of the fishing village, the expansion of tourism, and modern developments.

Fishing Village Origins

Hurghada was first settled in the early 20th century when British geologists discovered oil reserves nearby. For decades, oil and fishing drove the small Egyptian town’s economy. However, the city remained relatively unknown and underdeveloped until the 1980s.

Tourism Expansion

In the 1980s, the Egyptian government launched an ambitious project to transform Hurghada into a world-class resort city. Construction of hotels, resorts, and marinas began in full swing, attracting tourists from around the globe to its magnificent sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. The development of modern Hurghada started during this period, and the town became a hub for tourism in the region.


Modern Developments

Today, Hurghada is a thriving resort city that attracts millions of visitors annually. The town has many hotels, resorts, restaurants, and entertainment options, making it ideal for tourists of all ages and interests. Thanks to its marine life and coral reefs, Hurghada has become a popular destination for diving enthusiasts in recent years.

Tourist Attractions

Hurghada is a tourist destination in Egypt, attracting visitors from all over the world. The city offers attractions that cater to different interests and preferences. In this section, we will explore some of the top tourist attractions in Hurghada.

Giftun Islands

The Giftun Islands are a group of small islands located off the coast of Hurghada. They are known for their stunning beaches.

El Dahar Old Quarter

El Dahar is the old town of Hurghada, in the city’s heart. It is a bustling area filled with shops, markets, and restaurants. The area also has several historic landmarks, including the St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church and the Hurghada Grand Mosque.

Hurghada Marina

The Hurghada Marina is a modern development located on the coast of the Red Sea. Visitors can stroll along the marina, admire the yachts and boats, and enjoy the stunning sea views.

Sand City Open-Air Museum

The Sand City Open-Air Museum is a unique attraction located in Hurghada. It is an outdoor museum showcasing local artists’ intricate sand sculptures. Visitors can marvel at the sculptures’ intricate details and designs, which depict famous landmarks and historical figures worldwide.

Beaches and Resorts

Hurghada is known for its stunning beaches and luxurious resorts catering to all travelers. Hurghada has something for everyone. Here are some of the top beachfront hotels and all-inclusive packages in Hurghada:

Beachfront Hotels

Hurghada is home to some of the most beautiful beachfront hotels in Egypt. From luxurious five-star resorts to budget-friendly options, there is something for every type of traveler. Some of the most popular beachfront hotels in Hurghada include:

  • The Oberoi Beach Resort Sahl Hasheesh
  • Jaz Makadina
  • TUI BLUE Crystal Bay
  • Pickalbatros White Beach Resort Hurghada
  • Hurghada Marriott Beach Resort

All-Inclusive Packages

Many beachfront hotels in Hurghada offer all-inclusive packages, which can be a great way to save money on your vacation. These packages typically include meals, drinks, and access to hotel amenities. Some of the top all-inclusive packages in Hurghada are:

  • Jaz Aquaviva
  • Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel
  • SUNRISE Crystal Bay Resort – Grand Select
  • Titanic Beach Spa & Aqua Park
  • Jasmine Palace Resort & Spa

Sahl Hasheesh Bay

Sahl Hasheesh Bay is one of Hurghada’s most popular beachfront resort areas. This area is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Some of the top resorts in Sahl Hasheesh Bay include:

  • The Oberoi Beach Resort Sahl Hasheesh
  • Baron Palace Sahl Hasheesh
  • Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa
  • Pyramisa Sahl Hasheesh Resort

Makadi Bay

Makadi Bay is another popular beachfront resort area in Hurghada. This area is known for its beautiful beaches and calm waters. Some of the top resorts in Makadi Bay include:

  • Jaz Makadi Aquaviva
  • SUNRISE Royal Makadi Aqua Resort
  • Cleopatra Luxury Resort Makadi Bay
  • LABRANDA Royal Makadi

El Gouna

El Gouna is a beautiful resort town located just north of Hurghada. This area is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxurious resorts. Some of the top resorts in El Gouna include:

  • Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna
  • Movenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna
  • Steigenberger Golf Resort El Gouna
  • Ancient Sands Resort

Water Activities

Diving and Snorkeling

Hurghada is a world-renowned destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The Red Sea is known for its crystal-clear waters. Numerous dive sites surround Hurghada, ranging from shallow reefs to deep wrecks. Some popular dive sites include Abu Nuhas, El Fanadir, and Giftun Island. Snorkeling is also a popular activity, and many tour operators offer snorkeling trips to explore the coral reefs and see the colorful fish.

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

Hurghada is a popular destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing due to its consistent winds and warm waters. The Red Sea is an ideal location for these water sports, and several schools and rental shops are in the area. Some popular spots for windsurfing and kitesurfing include Soma Bay, El Gouna, and Safaga.

Boat Trips and Sailing

Boat trips and sailing are a great way to explore the Red Sea and its surrounding areas. Several types of boat trips are available, ranging from glass-bottom boat tours to luxury yacht charters. Some popular boat trips include day trips to Giftun Island, sunset cruises, and fishing excursions. Sailing is also popular, and the area has several sailing schools and rental shops.

Fishing Excursions

Fishing excursions are popular in Hurghada, and several tour operators offer them. The Red Sea is home to various fish species, including barracuda, tuna, and snapper. Some popular fishing techniques include trolling, bottom fishing, and jigging.

Cultural Experience

Hurghada is a city rich in culture, and there are various ways for visitors to immerse themselves in the local way of life. Here are some of the best cultural experiences to have in Hurghada:

Local Cuisine

One of the best ways to experience Hurghada’s culture is through its cuisine. Visitors can try local dishes like koshari, a hearty rice, lentils, and pasta mix, or ful medames, a dish made with fava beans, herbs, and spices. Seafood is also a specialty in Hurghada, with fresh catches from the Red Sea available at many restaurants.

Shopping and Souks

Visitors can explore the vibrant markets of Hurghada to find unique souvenirs and gifts. The El-Dahar market is a popular spot for shopping, with vendors selling everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and souvenirs.

Bedouin Village Tours

Visitors can tour a Bedouin village to get a deeper look at the local culture. These tours offer the traditional way of life in the desert, with opportunities to try Bedouin-style food, ride camels, and learn about Bedouin customs and traditions.

Marine and Wildlife

Coral Reefs and Dive Sites

Hurghada is a paradise for marine life lovers, with its crystal-clear waters, coral reefs, and abundant sea creatures. The Red Sea is home to some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, including the Abu Nuhas, Shaab El Erg, and the Thistlegorm wreck. Divers and snorkelers can explore these sites and discover the colorful fish, turtles, and rays that inhabit them. Several dive centers offer courses for beginners and advanced divers, making it easy for anyone to experience the wonders of the Red Sea.

Protected Marine Areas

Several marine areas in Hurghada have been designated as protected areas. These include Giftun Island, Ras Mohammed National Park, and Abu Dabbab. These areas are home to various marine life, including dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. Visitors can take guided tours to these areas and learn about the importance of preserving the aquatic ecosystem.

Desert Wildlife

While Hurghada is famous for its marine life, it is also home to various desert wildlife. The desert surrounding Hurghada is home to several species of lizards, snakes, and birds. The desert also offers stunning views of the sunset and starry night sky, making it a perfect location for stargazing and photography.

In addition to its marine and desert wildlife, Hurghada also offers beautiful beaches and a variety of water sports activities. Whether you are a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Hurghada has something to offer everyone.

Adventure and Sports

Hurghada is not just about relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun. Visitors can enjoy plenty of adventure and sports activities during their stay. Here are some of the most popular options:

Desert Safaris

The desert surrounding Hurghada is a vast and stunning landscape perfect for exploration. Visitors can embark on a desert safari adventure on a jeep ride, enjoy sunset views over the mountains, and listen to detailed information about the stars before observing them through a telescope. For those seeking more adrenaline, quad biking tours allow visitors to race through the Red Sea mountain ranges.

Quad Biking

Quad biking is one of the most popular adventure activities in Hurghada. Visitors can enjoy the adrenaline rush and the stunning desert landscapes with quad tours. These tours are available for all skill levels, and visitors can choose from various routes and terrains. It is a great way to explore the desert and experience the thrill of off-road riding.

Golf Courses

Hurghada has several golf courses for those who prefer a more relaxed adventure. Visitors enjoy a round of golf while enjoying the beautiful desert and Red Sea views. The courses are well-maintained and offer challenges for golfers of all skill levels.

Transportation and Access

Hurghada is a popular tourist destination on Egypt’s Red Sea coast. It is well-connected to the rest of the country and the world through various modes of transportation.

Hurghada International Airport

Hurghada International Airport is the primary airport. It is about 5 kilometers southwest of the city center. The airport offers many facilities and services, including duty-free shops, restaurants, cafes, and car rental services.

Local Buses and Taxis

The primary means of public transportation in Hurghada are small buses and taxis. Small buses cover many routes around the city and need fixed stops. Pick-up and drop-off are on demand, and the fare is in cash. Visitors frequently use taxis in Hurghada. The city taxi is easily recognizable by its blue and orange colors. Passengers should memorize or photograph the unique code written on it on all sides before boarding to use it in case of any issues.

Car Rentals

Car rental services are available in Hurghada for those who wish to explore the city and the surrounding areas independently. It is important to note that driving in Hurghada can be challenging for those who need help complying with local traffic rules and driving habits. Visitors should also be aware of the risk of theft and should take necessary precautions, such as parking in secure areas and not leaving valuables in the car.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top-rated hotels in Hurghada?

  • Steigenberger Aqua Magic
  • Titanic Palace Resort
  • Jaz Aquaviva
  • Premier Romance Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Jaz Makadi Star & Spa
  • Albatros Citadel Sahl Hasheesh
  • Sunrise Crystal Bay Resort

How to be safe when visiting Hurghada?

  • Avoid drinking tap water
  • Be cautious when trying street food
  • Stay in well-lit and populated areas at night
  • Be aware of your surroundings and belongings at all times
  • Follow local customs and laws

What are the main attractions at Hurghada Marina?

  • Dining at the marina’s restaurants
  • Shopping at the marina’s boutiques and stores
  • Enjoying the marina’s nightlife
  • Taking a boat tour of the Red Sea
  • Visiting the Hurghada Aquarium

What is the best time of year to visit Hurghada based on the weather?

The best time to visit Hurghada is between March and May or between September and November when temperatures are mild and comfortable.

How do travelers get to and from Hurghada airport?

  • Taxis are readily available at the airport
  • Private transfers can be arranged in advance

How does Hurghada compare to Cairo in terms of distance and travel options?

Hurghada is about 500 km south of Cairo and can be reached by car, bus, or plane. Travel time by car or bus is approximately 6-7 hours, while a flight takes about 1 hour.

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