Hurghada holidays

Experience Hurghada

Experience [destination]

Best Places to Visit

With over 25 miles of beautiful beach, pristine and calm waters, vibrant coral reefs and warm, sunny weather all year around, it is no surprise Hurghada went from a sleepy Red Sea fishing village to the largest holiday resort destination in the entire country.

The best places to visit in Hurghada are its long stretches of magnificent beaches. Visitors who have booked a stay at a beachfront hotel will most likely have their hotel's private beach to relax on. However, there are public beaches in Hurghada which are worth a visit. Holidaymakers can go to the calm waters of Old Vic Village, to the surfers' paradise that is Chill Beach Bar or take in the youthful atmosphere of Papas Beach Club. On the outskirts of town, the Golden Mile is a good place to visit for its sandy beaches.

Beach-lovers will enjoy a day trip out to the Giftun Islands, around an hour away from Hurghada Marina by boat. The islands are surrounded by azure turquoise waters and coral reefs, and you may even see dolphins while you're travelling there. Mahmya Beach is worth visiting, although the recent influx of tourists mean it can lose its secluded appeal during busy holiday periods. The views out from Mahmya Beach are incredible, and organised day trips often include snorkelling sessions and fresh seafood lunches on the beach before heading back to the mainland.

The oldest part of Hurghada is El Dahar and this is the best place in town to do some shopping. There are several traditional shops here selling all sorts of wares, from tacky souvenirs to wooden furniture, and tourists should expect to be openly approached by people trying to sell goods. Plenty of food stalls can also be found offering fresh fruit and vegetables along with freshly cooked meat dishes for superb prices.

Those looking to explore what else Hurghada has to offer will want to head to Sakala. Located south of El Dahar, Sakala is where many hotels, restaurants and shops can be found. It is the perfect place to visit after a day of doing nothing at the beach.

A new area in town that is worth a look is El Kawser. Visitors to this district will find a shiny new promenade following the coast and like Sakala, El Kawser has some chic hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes.

Top Landmarks

Hurghada became a premier vacation spot precisely because of its fantastic location along Egypt's Red Sea coast. It is easy to understand therefore that the main landmarks of this destination are the beaches and sea.

The first and most prominent attraction of Hurghada is naturally the Red Sea. Having been explored by ancient civilisations such as the Ancient Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, the Red Sea is known not only for its history but for the abundant marine life it harbours underneath its surface. One area of the Red Sea with rich marine life is Abu Rimata. The reef here has been endearingly called the 'aquarium' because of its diversity of sea creatures.

While there is not much to do on the desert islands of Big Giftun and Small Giftun, the islands' real treasures lie underneath the waters surrounding them. The reefs here are also home to remarkably colourful corals and a rich marine life.

Those visitors looking to experience Hurghada's marine life but who do not want to scuba or snorkel to do it can head to a popular attraction in town. The Red Sea Aquarium has exhibits and tanks all labelled in English that educate visitors about the sea life this destination is famous for.

One attraction that is away from the sea is Hurghada's main shopping destination. The El Dahar Bazaar is a lively market in Hurghada's old quarter. Here, visitors will find a traditional Egyptian bazaar complete with donkeys, brassware, spices and shisha (tobacco pipes).

Entertainment

The millions of tourists that come to Hurghada yearly want some form of entertainment after a day of swimming, snorkelling and diving in the waters of the Red Sea. Several night-time entertainment attractions have been developed along with the waterfront properties that now line the Hurghada coastline. Most of the hotels and resorts provide their guests with a great dining area as well as a disco with a dance floor.

Those heading out for night-time fun and drinks in the city will need to steer towards the New Marina area to find the burgeoning nightlife that Hurghada is slowly becoming famous for. Papas Bar and Hed Kandi Beach Bar are two famous establishments for live music and dancing.

Those wanting a taste of something a bit more sophisticated can head to Little Buddha, the place in town to party and be seen. This hot nightclub which serves tasty cocktails, not to mention fine Asian food, is located at Sinbad Resort along Village Road.

A Hurghada night-time entertainment institution is the Ministry of Sound Beach Club. Located in Sakala, this establishment plays all types of music, from house and techno to RnB and hip-hop.

One of the newest areas to be developed as an entertainment district is El Kawser. Here, visitors can walk along the promenade by the coast to find restaurants, caf's and bars offering a low-key scene.

For an even more laid-back night scene, visitors may want to head to any one of the many Bedouin bars found across town. Tea, coffee and shisha, or tobacco pipes, await holidaymakers who are eager to experience traditional Egyptian pastimes.

Dining Out

Dining out in Hurghada involves a variety of foods, ranging from the greatest hits of traditional Egyptian cuisine to local seafood and international fast food. The areas of town where visitors will have a wealth of dining choices are Sakala Square in Sakala and the new and very hip and happening area of El Kawser, specifically along its promenade, which is lined with restaurants and caf's.

In Hurghada, seafood is, of course, exceptionally delicious and holiday makers will find several restaurants in town serving the best of what the Red Sea can offer. Starfish Seafood Restaurant is worth a mention as it prepares the freshest catch of the day, which is often served with rice and salad. The chain restaurants that are Red Sea I and Red Sea II, meanwhile, offer diners a great variety of seafood, traditionally prepared the Egyptian way.

Those with a hankering for traditional Egyptian fare need not worry as Egyptian restaurants are plenty around these parts. Felfela Restaurant and Abu Khadigah are two must-try places. Traditional Egyptian dishes served here include kushari, a hearty mix of chickpeas, lentils, rice, pasta and tomato sauce; kofta, which is ground meat that is often shaped into balls and grilled to perfection; and ta'amiya or falafel, deep-fried ball of chickpeas or fava beans.

Beach

The beach is the main reason many holiday makers in Egypt insert Hurghada into their Egyptian holiday itineraries. Aside from the private beaches of hotels and resorts, there are a number of public beaches which are worth a look here. Chill Beach Bar is a small beach but the waters are great for surfing. Papas Beach Club, meanwhile, attracts a young yet and its laid-back atmosphere is perfect for those long, lazy do-nothing days.

Romance

Couples on Egyptian holidays will want to splurge on any one of Hurghada’s luxury resorts. Not only can they provide choice accommodation, but they can arrange romantic daytrips out on the sea for relaxation or snorkelling. Sharm el Naga Bay is a beautiful spot for boat trips. Then, a romantic night out at the New Marina or El Kawser is the perfect ending to a romantic holiday.

Family

Hurghada is a family-friendly beach destination. Parents are offered a range of attractions to take their children to. The Red Sea Aquarium and Dolphin World are two such places where kids can see and interact with the marine creatures of the Red Sea. As for beaches, Old Vic Village has a calm and surf-protected beach that is ideal for kids to play at.

Adventure

Thrill-seekers wanting to find adventure activities in Hurghada will not be disappointed. Diving and snorkelling in the waters off Giftun Islands or Abu Rimata are experiences worth having because of the richness of the marine life. Away from the water, quad biking and taking in Hurghada’s spectacular desert scenery are other must-dos.

Need to know

Need to know [destination]

Language

Hurghada is a territory of Egypt and the language spoken here is Egyptian Arabic, a dialect of Arabic that is quite distinct from Standard Arabic, which is the official language in the country. Basic words and phrases are easy to pick up, and locals appreciate any effort on the part of visitors to use the dialect. Because Hurghada is a huge holiday destination for many Europeans, English and French are widely used, so visitors should not have any trouble ordering food and drinks in English in the popular tourist areas.

Currency

The official currency of Egypt, and therefore Hurghada, is the Egyptian pound (EGP). The first thing any visitor to Egypt will need to know is that Egypt is a cash society and it's a good idea to always have enough change on you. Local currency can easily be obtained from ATMs (with English instructions) and official exchange bureaux, hotels and banks. Credit cards are accepted only in large establishments. Travellers' cheques are accepted, too, and best carried in pounds sterling or US dollars.

Visas

Egyptian entry requirements apply for entry to Hurghada. A tourist visa is required and the visitor's passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of visa issuance. Nationals of the UK, the EU, the US and Canada can obtain a visa on arrival. Visa cost varies based on nationality. British citizens and most EU nationals must pay 15EGP for a single-entry tourist visa and 18EGP for a multiple-entry visa.

Climate

The climate of Hurghada is subtropical-desert. Winters are mild to warm, while summers are hot to very hot. Sunshine is felt throughout the year. The heat can be a little too much for some visitors from June to September when temperatures rise to above 37'C, and sea temperatures reach an astounding average temperature of 28'C. In contrast, December to January can be a little chilly for the beach, with temperatures averaging at 11'C. The best months to visit are November, March and April, although cheaper deals can be found out of season.

Main Airports

The main gateway to Hurghada is Hurghada International Airport. It is located just over three miles southwest of Hurghada city centre. It is a busy airport given the number of passengers arriving at this popular resort destination yearly. In 2011, it handled five million passengers. It receives regular, seasonal and charter flights from the UK, central and eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Flight Options

There isn't a single main carrier flying into Hurghada International Airport. However, the most popular flight routes here are those from central and eastern Europe, Russia most especially. EasyJet, Thomas Cook and Thompson Airways all fly the London to Hurghada route. A London to Hurghada flight typically lasts 6 hours.

Travel Advice

The best deals on flights covering the London to Hurghada route are often had late in the year, which is the best time of year to spend a beach holiday in Hurghada. Low-cost carrier EasyJet and charter carriers Thomas Cook and Thompson often feature special deals on flights or holiday packages to Hurghada. From the airport, holiday makers have a number of options to get to the city centre. There are car rentals, taxis and minibuses.

Other Transport Options

Visitors who are coming from other major tourist destinations in Egypt have the option of travelling by bus. From Cairo, a bus trip to Hurghada takes about 7 hours and many reliable bus lines such as Super Jet and Go Bus provide frequent services to Hurghada. Buses can also be taken by those coming from Alexandria, Aswan and Luxor.

Getting Around

Hurghada only has one airport, Hurghada International Airport. There are no metro, subway or commuter lines within the city. Minivans serve the purpose of buses and are a cheap, even if not the most reliable, form of transport. Taxis are also an option, but fares are expensive. Car rentals are the best form of getting around Hurghada.

Bus

While there is no established public bus system in Hurghada, white minivans, locally referred to as micro buses, travel between the city's different neighbourhoods. The minibuses, which are mostly used by locals, stop wherever passengers need them to stop. Though they are convenient, they may not be the best form of transport for young women travelling solo.

Car

Car rental is perhaps the most effective means of getting around Hurghada, as the city has no official organised public transport system in place. An International Driving Permit is required. Many major car hire companies are represented along with some local brands.

Taxi

Taxis are another option for those who want to venture from the resort and beaches to explore the rest of Hurghada area. The cabs that drive around town are usually orange and blue in colour. Taxis in Hurghada are not cheap and fares are even higher than those in Cairo. Thus, it is always best to agree on a price before getting in.

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FACTS

  1. Over half of Hurghada's population reside in the downtown area of El Dahar, while New Hurghada is home to most of the resort's hotels and tourist accommodation zones.
  2. Hurghada is one of Egypt's biggest tourist attractions, and Egypt's economy relies on it to bring in over 3 billion dollars per year.
  3. The draw of its marine life and outstanding beaches have transformed Hurghada from what was once a small fishing village to a huge tourist hotspot. Visitors to this part of the world commonly stop off at Hurghada during trips along the Nile Valley.

FACTS

  1. Over half of Hurghada's population reside in the downtown area of El Dahar, while New Hurghada is home to most of the resort's hotels and tourist accommodation zones.
  2. Hurghada is one of Egypt's biggest tourist attractions, and Egypt's economy relies on it to bring in over 3 billion dollars per year.
  3. The draw of its marine life and outstanding beaches have transformed Hurghada from what was once a small fishing village to a huge tourist hotspot. Visitors to this part of the world commonly stop off at Hurghada during trips along the Nile Valley.

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