Travel Guide Africa Egypt Red Sea Coast Hurghada

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Introduction

Hurghada is a resort town on Egypt's eastcoast and is popular among tourists wanting to enjoy sun, beaches and snorkelling and diving. Many people come here on package holidays, but there are options for budget travellers as well.

Hurghada was once a fairly small and unimposing fishing village, next to the Red Sea. It has a number of superb beaches. Today, the resort of Hurghada is almost unrecognizable from its past life and has become a major destination in Egypt for budget tourists especially from Europe and Russia. It has more than 100 hotels, many of which line the shoreline, and numerous flights from and to smaller but cheap airports across Europe.

Famous for its superb diving opportunities, Hurghada is especially appealing to those with little experience of scuba diving, who come to marvel at the underwater reefs and awesome marine life. Tourism is now a huge part of Hurghada and each year, many tourists choose to combine their holiday here with visits to other prominent locations along the Nile Valley, including the relatively nearby city of Luxor.

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Sights and Activities

Hurghada does not have many spectacular sights except for the Red Sea. However, daily one or two day trips are available into both Luxor and Cairo. The Nile at Luxor is popular, as are the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza, Cairo.

The main reason to visit Hurghada is the Red Sea, which is excellent for diving or snorkeling. Due to the recent drop in tourists coming to Egypt, it can be enjoyed at a bargain rate like almost nowhere else around the world, except for maybe Koh Tao in Thailand. See incredible coral reefs and hundreds of varieties of tropical fish just 10 m from the beach or with boat trips. Either your hotel will have dive escorts on site, or it can arrange a scuba diving expedition with guides. The divers are locals and generally excellent in handling beginners. You don't need to know how to swim to scuba dive. In late March, the water may be a bit cold, so a wet suit might be necessary. Most budget hotels have dives tours (2 regular dives) for €20 on offer, but if you are staying at one of the more posh accommodations, you will end up paying up to US$65. So better to step out of your comfort zone (aka hotel) and ask around for prices.

  • El Gouna - Take a trip north of Hurghada to El Gouna, which is built around an artificial lagoon. The beach is great for kite surfing and sunbathing and is a nice break in the holiday.
  • Sharm el Naga - Go 40 kilometres south of Hurghada to the beach Sharm el Naga, where there are excellent opportunities for snorkeling directly from the beach.
  • The bazaar - The bazaar in the old town, El-Dahar, selling everything from spices to clothes and souvenirs.
  • The Marina - Hurghada Marina with large yachts and many cozy restaurants.
  • Golf - In El Gouna approximately 25 kilometres north of Hurghada is one of Egypt's best golf courses, Steinberger PGA Championship. The track is located in the city and is an elaborate 18-hole course for all players.

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Weather

Hurghada has a hot and dry climate with average daytime temperatures ranging from a pleasant 22 °C from December to February, to a roasting 37 °C in August. Nights average between 11 °C and 27 °C respectively. The average annual amount of rain is just 5 (!!) mm and there's 300 to 400 hours of sunshine each month. Basically, if you want to be sure of a sunny holiday, come here.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max21.5 °C22.6 °C25.2 °C29.1 °C32.9 °C35.3 °C36.2 °C36.1 °C34.3 °C31.1 °C26.8 °C22.7 °C
Avg Min11 °C11.4 °C14 °C17.8 °C21.9 °C24.8 °C26.4 °C26.2 °C24.2 °C20.9 °C16.6 °C12.5 °C
Rainfall0.4 mm0.02 mm0.3 mm1 mm0.04 mm0 mm0 mm0 mm0 mm0.6 mm2 mm0.9 mm
Rain Days0.30.20.30.30.200000.20.20.3

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Getting There

By Plane

Hurghada International Airport (HRG) offers a wide range of international flights, as well as domestic services. The main international cities served include Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Moscow, Kiev, Zürich, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Vienna, London, Geneva, Brussels, Kuwait, Milan, Vienna, Saint Petersburg, Paris an Helsinki, but there are many more options mainly to European cities. Cairo and Alexandria have connections as well.

Package tourist arrivals will have their own bus awaiting, everyone else will need a taxi. The airport is about 8 km west of the resort strip and 10 km from downtown Sigala, but fares are high for this short distance. You could easily be paying LE200. Careem to Soma Bay is LE220. The regular fare towards the airport is much cheaper. Drivers pay LE35 to enter and wait within the airport: naturally they seek to recover this from both the inbound and the outbound traveller. Otherwise, just head to the highway, about 500 m out of the terminal, and catch a taxi there. There is also an LE50 toll on the highway south to Safaga (Oct 2018) that is included in dates.

By Car

Long-distance "servees" taxis run from Hurghada bus station in El Hegaz Street (which you can reach by bus 4 or 7, or by local taxi). These run to all major cities in Egypt, but consider them especially for the run to Luxor, where the time saved by flying is less compelling.

With 2 or 3 of you, you could negotiate a private long-distance taxi; again, the journey to Luxor works well this way. And unlike a "servees", the driver will pause at antiquities and photo opportunities on the way.

By Bus

There are regular buses to/from Cairo (7 hours), Alexandria (10 hours), Aswan (8 hours) and Luxor (4 to 5 hours) and there are several bus companies to choose from.

By Boat

Ferry services between Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, on the Sinai peninsula, were suspended in 2010, and no resumption is in sight.

A fast-cat ferry runs between Safaga, 50 km south of Hurghada, to Diba (or Duba) in Saudi Arabia. As this route carries a lot of pilgrims and trucking, it's not been hit by the tourist downtown. You'll need to have sorted your Saudi visa well in advance.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxi drivers in Hurghada have astonishing talent for spotting tourists from far, far away; look at the approaching car and it will stop for you - at a price.

Before stepping in, find out if driver speaks any English, and show the wanted destination on the map. There are only few streets with names, so the destination is specified with nearby places, a hotel for example. Discuss and agree the total price (not per person) with the driver: the price should be LE5-10 inside the same part of the town and LE20 when downtown to Senzo mall, for example. Do not travel with the meter on, driverd can control it. After the driver agrees on a price, jump in. Get out in front of the hotel.

To avoid confrontation with the drivers ensure you have the correct amount of money you agreed at first, hand over the money on at destination, get out and walk away.

If you pay with a LE5 or LE50 notes drivers may try to switch it for a 50-piastre note, and then they request the original note that you have already paid. Piastres notes are smaller than pounds. Sometimes the driver agrees on LE15 fare, and when you arrive tells you he said LE50 and his accent worsens.

Uber and Careem both have presences in Hurghada. They are reasonably priced and convenient, sparing you the incessant haggling required for taxi rides.

However, some locations (e.g. the bus station) within Hurghada have been "blocked" on Uber. You will see a message that Uber "does not operate in this location". Simply walk about 2-3 blocks/5 minutes away from the building (avoiding the taxi touts along the way) , and you will be able to use Uber again.

By Public Transport

A swarm of white minibuses (Toyota Hiace) called micro bus serve the area, with a flat fare of LE2. They run fixed routes, mostly along the coastal strip, picking up and dropping off anywhere along the way. Ask around for your destination before getting in - if it's not this bus, it's probably the next one already pulling up. They're cramped and crowded, and young women may have to ward off pests.

Slightly larger minibuses or small regular buses run frequently along the coastal highway to El Gouna and Safaga.

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Eat

Hurghada offers a variety of cuisine, including fast food, western restaurants, oriental food, and many others. KFC and McDonald's, and local fast food GAD, are present.

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Drink

Those new to Egypt will find karkaday (a drink made from an infusion of hibiscus, served hot or cold and reputed to have many health benefits) and chi (local version of tea, usually served in a glass) offered everywhere. Both are delicious and will usually come replete with a smoke on a sheesha pipe, known in the West as a hookah. Sheeshas are used for smoking molasses tobacco in various flavours, with the smoke passing through water before inhalation through a long tube attached to the bowl. Although they may resemble a device used to smoke illicit substances in the west (a bong), sheesha is legal.

Alcoholic drinks can usually be found in bars or hotels. Hurghada has a very western atmosphere so it is much easier to drink than in other areas of Egypt. Non-alcoholic drinks include canned soft drinks and fruit juice, and famous Egyptian drinks such as sahlab, karkadeh, mirinda, yansoon, gansabeel and irfa.

Over the years, Hurghada has developed a bubbling reputation for its cosmopolitan nightlife scene, alongside the many bars within the new Hurghada Marina, Papas Bar has two venues (one inside the marina, the other next-door to the Shedwan Hotel in downtown Dahr). The Hed Kandi Beach Bar is still the only Kandi beach bar.

There are many bars, nightclubs and discos in Hurghada. Almost every hotel comes equip with its own disco, and then you can find the only beachside Ministry of Sound venue, coupled with the world's first Hed Kandi Beach Bar, other nightlife leaders in the city include Hard Rock Cafe, Little Budha, Calypso Disco, the R&B Club, and throughout the summer months you can find the popular Voodoo parties (every Wednesday) within the Grand Hotel Resorts.

Global leaders in dance music, Ministry of Sound Beach Club, operate a daily schedule ranging from disco, R&B/hip-hop and house/techno. There are also many other discos and late-night bars dotted around the city, generally speaking ask at your hotel or tour guide to recommend a venue.

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Sleep

A little internet searching will throw up some private self-catering accommodation that is usually owned by Europeans as a holiday home, which gives much more independence than staying in a resort hotel and is potentially much cheaper. Budget hotels catering to Egyptians with rooms at LE50 can be found near the Upper Egypt bus station.

  • Golden Rose Hotel, Qesm Hurghada, ☎ +20 653440876. Good value. Includes access to a beach (200 m) – not great but free chairs and towels. There is a dog that continuously barks and fights with other dogs or various by-passers, even during the night. Single from LE177. (updated Dec 2017 | edit)
  • Snafer Hotel (in the northern part of the city), ☎ +20 653540260. Almost even better value than Golden Rose but without free beach access. But there is Sea Sand Resort around the corner, which charges LE50 for a whole day of beach access. However, it is in the northern part of the city, where not much is happening due to the low occupation of the local resorts. Single from LE100.
  • Sonesta Pharaoh Beach Resort, Safaga Road, Hurghada Egypt, ☎ +20 65 346 1001.
  • Sunrise Holidays Resort, Coronation Road, Hurghada Egypt. Adults only.
  • Sunrise Crystal Bay Resort, Hurghada Egypt.
  • Sea Star Beau Rivage, Hurghada Egypt.
  • Giftun Azur Beach Resort, Hurghada Egypt.
  • Marriott Beach Resort (just south of disused Sheraton), ☎ +20 65 344 6950. On Resort strip. Small beach but good water-sports facilities, Aquarius Diving is based here.
  • Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh (Sahl Hasheesh is 15 km S of downtown Hurghada), ☎ +20 65 334 0777. Opulent Moorish-style hotel.

View our map of accommodation in Hurghada or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet access is easy to find and cheap. Most cities, such as Greater Cairo and Luxor, and even smaller tourist sites, such as Edfu, boast a plethora of small internet cafés. The price per hour is usually EGP 2-10 depending on the location/speed. In addition, an increasing number of coffee shops, restaurants, hotel lobbies and other locations now provide free wireless internet access. Free wi-fi (Mobilnil) is also available at modern coffee shops such as Cilantro and Costa Coffee, where you obtain access by getting a 2-hour "promotional" card from the waiter, and if you go into almost any McDonald's, you will have access to a free WiFi connection.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international telephone code for Egypt is 20.

Egypt has a reasonably modern telephone service including three GSM mobile service providers. The three mobile phone providers are Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat. Principal centers are located at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta. Roaming services are provided, although you should check with your service provider. Be aware that using your home SIM card can be very expensive, especially when using internet services but also calling is much more expensive. Try to get a local SIM card for your cell phone instead. Also, it is possible to purchase tourist mobile phone lines for the duration of your stay, which usually costs around EGP 30.

Post

Egypt Post is the national postal service in Egypt. Services are generally reliable, affordable though pretty slow, even if you send post domestically. International letters and postcards take days, if not weeks if send to the US or Australia. They do have express mail services though, but these are relatively expensive. Opening hours of post officies are mostly from 8:30am to 2:00pm or 3:00pm daily except Friday, when all of them are closed. The central ones might keep longer hours, generally until 8:00pm. You can buy stamps here, or at certain newspaper kiosks. In touristic areas, these are available at many shops as well. For parcels, it's much better to use international courier services such as DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 27.2574
  • Longitude: 33.8097

Accommodation in Hurghada

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Hurghada searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Hurghada and areas nearby.

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This is version 33. Last edited at 9:11 on Mar 11, 19 by Utrecht. 22 articles link to this page.

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