Located on the western side of the Red Sea Riviera and hemmed by soft golden sands, the town of Hurghada has blossomed from a quaint fishing town to a bustling seaside resort, catering to over 96,000 tourists annually.
Beneath the warm waters of the Red Sea lie the multitudinous coral reefs and sunken wrecks surrounded by colourful shoals of tropical fish, manta rays and other marine life creating the perfect snorkelling environment, particularly around the Sha’ab Abu Nuhas reef and the El Quseir ruins. For the more adventurous, a variety of scuba diving excursions are also available locally, taking divers around the Red Sea Islands and surrounding wrecks such as the SS Thistelgorm located close by. Glass bottom boats are also a popular choice for those wishing to discover the wonders beneath the sea without having to don a wetsuit! The Marine Biology Museum in Ad-Dahar prides itself with a miniature museum of discovered relics, as well as an aquarium featuring a selection of local marine life.
By day, the Marina Boulevard is where the local tradesmen vend a variety of local goods, as well as a selection of ubiquitous Pharaonic statuettes that can be found throughout Egypt. However, by night the town comes to life as restaurants and bars are bursting with visitors wanting to savour a taste of authentic local cuisine and entertainment.
The luxury resort of Sahl Hasheesh can be found 10 miles south of Hurghada and is an ideal destination for relaxation and rejuvenation amongst the vast array of world-class hotels and impressive spas. An up and coming precinct, Sahl Hasheesh’s Old Town features a grand selection of retail outlets reflecting the air of opulence that surrounds, whilst the stately boardwalk known as The Pier offers a peaceful spot to stop and gaze across the horizon, or down into the captivating ruins of the ‘Sunken City’ below.
10 miles to the north of Hurghada situates the picturesque fishing village of El Gouna, a popular location for watersports to include windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing and parasailing. The two main beaches of this resort are Zeeeytuna and Mangroovy and offer many of these exhilarating activities. Walk towards the centre of town and wander through the many winding alleys that lead to charming houses bedecked with traditional Egyptian characteristics.
Not only an alternate route into Sinai, Hurghada offers a fine selection of beaches, magnificent diving opportunities and a great selection of activities suitable for couples, groups and families alike.
GMT +2 hours
4¾ hours to Cairo; 5¼ hours to Luxor
Tipping or ‘baksheesh’ is a way of life in Egypt and it’s customary to tip about LE£1 for every little service, so keep a pocketful of small change!
• Egypt is predominately a Muslim country, so make sure you’re properly dressed when out and about. Revealing outfits are a no-no, especially for women.
• Pack lightweight cotton clothes in the summer and a jumper or jacket for cooler winter evenings.
Try snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing and deep-sea fishing. Hurghada also has several PADI centres where you can learn to dive among the multitude of tropical fish.
• Explore the alleyways of Hurghada’s souk, haggling for jewellery, spices and handicrafts.
• You’ll also find shops selling popular western brands in the recently-opened Hurghada Marina Boulevard.
Hurghada boasts a beautiful coast edging the warm waters of the Red Sea, which shrouds fantastic coral reefs and sunken shipwrecks.
• Authentic Egyptian starters are called mezzeh, and are best eaten with traditional pitta-style bread.
• Lamb is marinated in spices and grilled for juicy kebabs and shwarma is the Egyptian equivalent of the Turkish doner kebab.
• Popular desserts include dates soaked in milk, honey-laced pastries and baked rice.
• Stick to bottled water, and remember that it’s easy to get dehydrated here in the summer.