Journey to the Jewel of the Red Sea: A Hurghada Travel Guide
Nestled along the azure waters of the Red Sea, Hurghada is a haven for beach lovers, adventurers, and history buffs alike. Once a quiet fishing village, this stunning destination has blossomed into one of Egypt’s travel hotspots, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.
After spending a couple of weeks here on a luxury family vacation in Hurghada, I’ve put together the ultimate travel guide to help you discover all the highlights and hidden gems for yourself!
Top things to do in Hurghada:
#1 An underwater dream: World-class Snorkelling and Diving in Hurghada
The Red Sea is known worldwide for its rich biodiversity, and Hurghada is a prime spot to witness this aquatic spectacle. Dive sites here cater to all levels, from beginner to technical divers.
The underwater world here is truly a hidden paradise beneath the waves, offering an array of vibrant coral reefs, exotic marine life, and crystal-clear waters.
For the thrill-seekers out there, the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm, a British Merchant Navy ship sunk during World War II, offers a fascinating deep dive. The shipwreck, teeming with marine life, has become an artificial reef, making Hurghada one of the top diving destinations in the world.
However, if you prefer staying closer to the surface, snorkelling in Hurghada is equally rewarding. The Giftun Islands, a protected national park, is a snorkelling utopia with thriving reefs and diverse marine species. Here, you can swim alongside colourful fish, graceful rays, and if you’re lucky, even dolphins!
So, gear up and jump in!
#2 A Journey Back in Time: Day Trip to the Valley of the Kings
Ever dreamt of stepping into the shoes of Indiana Jones, and embarking on an adventure that unravels the mysteries of ancient civilisations? Well, look no further! A day trip from Hurghada to the Valley of the Kings is exactly the journey through time you’re seeking.
Situated on the banks of the Nile, near the modern city of Luxor, the Valley of the Kings is a treasure trove of ancient Egyptian history. This UNESCO World Heritage site, tucked beneath the desert’s scorched sands, is the eternal resting place for many pharaohs of Egypt’s New Kingdom, including the famous boy-king, Tutankhamun.
The Road to Luxor:
Although it’s a long drive (about 3.5 hours), the journey from Hurghada to Luxor is a spectacle in itself. You’ll traverse the vast, golden desert, witnessing the stark contrast between Egypt’s coastal and inland landscapes.
Most tour operators offer early morning departures to make the most of your day in Luxor, which is often described as the world’s greatest open-air museum. Trust me, the historical significance and archaeological treasures make it well worth the journey.
Unlocking the Secrets of the Valley of the Kings:
Once you arrive, you’ll find yourself amidst rock-cut tombs, each a gateway to the afterlife for Egypt’s ancient rulers. The grandeur of these tombs, adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant hieroglyphics, is a testament to the pharaohs’ quest for immortality.
The star attraction is undoubtedly the tomb of Tutankhamun. Discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, it was filled with incredible treasures, including the famous gold death mask, providing an unparalleled insight into ancient Egyptian burial practices and beliefs.
A trip from Hurghada to the Valley of the Kings is more than just a sightseeing tour. It’s a journey through time, a peek into the lives (and afterlives) of the pharaohs, and an unforgettable adventure that’ll leave you in awe of Egypt’s ancient civilisation.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes, carry plenty of water, and bring a hat or umbrella for shade. The desert sun can be seriously intense, even during the cooler months!
#3 Beyond the Valley
Your day trip doesn’t have to end at the Valley of the Kings. Luxor is a city brimming with history. If you have the time, consider visiting the majestic Karnak Temple, the largest religious building ever constructed, or the Luxor Temple, stunningly beautiful especially at sunset.
#4 Nile Cruise
If you do make it to Luxor, I highly recommend doing a Nile Cruise from here – this was by far one of the best things we did on our Hurghada holiday.
There’s an old saying that Egypt is the gift of the Nile, and taking a cruise down this iconic river will soon make you understand why!
The moment the cruise sets off, you’ll be treated to a different side of Egypt. The Nile’s banks are a tapestry woven with lush green fields, palm-fringed villages, and the occasional sight of children running along the banks, waving at passing boats. It’s truly a voyage through time, where you can take in the rhythms of life that have flowed along the Nile for centuries.
As you disembark and make your way back to Hurghada, you’ll carry with you a deep sense of connection to this ancient land and its enduring river.
#5 Dunes, Dust and Desert Stars: An Exhilarating Desert Safari from Hurghada
Ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure taking you off the beaten path and into the heart of Egypt’s mystical desert landscape? Then buckle up and do a thrilling desert safari tour from Hurghada!
Your desert adventure kicks off as you venture into the expansive, untamed wilderness surrounding Hurghada. As you take in the seemingly endless expanse of golden dunes and rugged mountains, you’ll truly appreciate the stark, raw beauty of Egypt’s desert.
Did you know the Egyptian desert covers about 90% of the country? That’s a whole lot of sand!
Zip across the desert sands on a powerful 4×4 vehicle or quad bike. The feeling of the desert wind in your face as you navigate the shifting dunes is an experience like no other. Remember to hold on tight!
Deep in the desert, you’ll encounter Bedouin tribes, the desert nomads of Egypt. Experience their warm hospitality as they welcome you into their traditional tents. Here, you can enjoy a cup of Bedouin tea, try your hand at bread baking, or even take a short camel ride.
As the sun sets, painting the desert sky in hues of orange and red, prepare for a stunning star show. Far from city lights, the desert offers a perfect stargazing spot. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye!
Round off the day with a traditional Bedouin dinner under the stars. The food is simple, yet flavourful, often including dishes like grilled meats, rice, and freshly baked bread.
A desert safari from Hurghada offers an unforgettable adventure that takes you beyond the typical tourist trail. It’s not just about the thrill of the ride; it’s about experiencing a different way of life, connecting with nature, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
#6 El Dahar: Experience the Heartbeat of Hurghada
Have you ever wanted to peek behind the curtain of a resort town and glimpse the real, everyday life of the locals? Welcome to El Dahar, the old town of Hurghada, where you can immerse yourself in authentic Egyptian culture, vibrant markets, and mouthwatering local cuisine.
Exploring the Lively Streets of El Dahar: El Dahar’s streets are brimming with life, presenting a stark contrast to Hurghada’s resort areas. Here, you’ll find everything from traditional Egyptian houses with their ornate wooden balconies to contemporary buildings reflecting the town’s growing modernity.
El Dahar’s Vibrant Market: The beating heart of El Dahar is its vibrant market, where locals come to shop for everything from fresh produce to household items. The market is a sensory feast, with the smell of exotic spices, the sight of colourful fruits and vegetables, and the sound of energetic bargaining filling the air.
El Dahar’s Historic Mosque: Don’t miss the El Mina Masjid, a beautiful mosque that’s a testament to the town’s rich Islamic heritage. Its towering minaret and intricate architecture make it a must-see in Hurghada.
Navigating El Dahar: While wandering the lively streets is part of El Dahar’s charm, keep in mind that it can be a maze for first-time visitors. Consider going with a local guide who can not only help you navigate the streets but also provide fascinating insights into the local culture and history.
A visit to El Dahar offers a real slice of life in Hurghada, away from the glitz and glamour of the tourist resorts. It’s a place where you can experience the rich culture and see the everyday life of the locals.
#7 Mahmya Beach: A Pristine Paradise off Hurghada’s Coast
Ready for a slice of paradise in Egypt? Just a short boat ride from Hurghada lies the spectacular Mahmya Beach, a hidden gem nestled on the southern shores of Giftun Island.
Offering crystal-clear waters, pristine white sands, and a vibrant underwater world, Mahmya Beach is a haven of tranquility away from the bustling city.
Take a scenic boat ride from Hurghada, across the breathtaking turquoise waters of the Red Sea. As Mahmya Beach unfolds before your eyes, its beauty will take your breath away.
Upon arrival, sink your toes into the powdery white sand and bask in the sun-drenched peace of Mahmya Beach. The beach provides loungers and umbrellas, ensuring your ultimate comfort as you soak up the sun or enjoy a good book.
Fun Fact: ‘Mahmya’ in Arabic means ‘protected area.’ Aptly named, this beach is part of the Giftun Island National Park, a protected marine area. One of Mahmya Beach’s unique attributes is its commitment to sustainability. The beach operators strive to preserve its natural beauty, promoting responsible tourism. By visiting Mahmya, you’re not only enjoying a beach paradise but also helping to conserve it for future generations.
As your day draws to a close, savour a cocktail at the beach bar or indulge in some freshly-caught seafood. When the sun dips below the horizon, you’ll find it hard to bid farewell to this idyllic place.
Best Places to Eat in Hurghada
In Hurghada, you absolutely must try fresh Red Sea fish, Egyptian Delicacies like Ful Medames (mashed fava beans), Koshary (a mix of pasta, rice, lentils, and chickpeas), and Molokhia (a soup made from jute leaves). Don’t forget to try some local sweets too – indulge in treats like Baklava and Basbousa.
Here are some of the coolest, most Instagram-worthy restaurants in Hurghada, where every corner is a potential backdrop for your next post.
Waves Café & Lounge – If you’re looking for a gorgeous venue with a beach vibe, Waves Café & Lounge is your spot. The bright, airy space with its stunning views of the Red Sea offers plenty of Instagrammable moments.
Moby Dick Restaurant – When dining in Hurghada, Moby Dick Restaurant is a must-visit. Located in the heart of the city, this seafood eatery offers a feast for the senses. The nautical-themed décor sets the tone for a menu teeming with fresh, local seafood delicacies. For the adventurous, you can even try Camel meat! Don’t forget to end your meal with their signature dessert, the ‘Moby Dick Special’ – a delightful surprise for your palate!
Sofra Restaurant & Café – For a taste of traditional Egyptian cuisine, head to Sofra Restaurant & Café in Hurghada. This charming establishment offers a wide array of dishes rich in Middle Eastern flavours. A visit to Sofra isn’t just a meal – it’s a journey into the heart of Egyptian culture.
Caribbean Bar – Caribbean Bar is always a good decision! This casual beach restaurant overlooks the spectacular panorama of Red Sea and is sure to win you some Instagram love.
Best time to visit Egypt 🌞
The best time to visit Hurghada, Egypt, is from April to June and from September to November. During these periods, the weather is warm but not overly hot, making it ideal for beach activities and desert exploration. The winter months, from December to February, are also pleasant, but evenings can be a bit chilly.
Safety in Hurghada, Egypt
Hurghada is generally safe for tourists, but like any travel destination, it’s wise to stay vigilant, particularly in crowded areas. For the ladies especially, make sure you dress modestly to respect local customs and avoid any unwanted attention.
Best Travel Insurance for Hurghada, Egypt?
If you are planning on heading to Egypt, one thing that is essential for everybody is good travel insurance. Accidents can happen anywhere and at anytime and unexpected hospital bills will no doubt spoil your trip. Remove the stress from your next adventure and get covered for the worst!
SafetyWing Insurance provides reliable travel insurance that will keep you covered for any level of adventure in Hurghada. Check them out for yourself here:
Best Places to Stay in Hurghada
If you’re looking for a Hurghada getaway that combines luxury, comfort, and unforgettable experiences, then Mövenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna is your dream destination.
Nestled on the sparkling shores of the Red Sea, this resort offers much more than just a place to rest your head.
After spending 2 blissful weeks here, I can truly say it should be on top of your must-visit list!
Every aspect of Mövenpick whispers luxury. From spacious rooms and suites designed with contemporary elegance, to stunning lagoons and lush gardens, it’s a picture-perfect paradise. Not to mention free Mövenpick ice cream!
Best of all, the resort is committed to sustainable tourism, ensuring a guilt-free holiday! 😌🌿
Budget friendly options:
As well as having lots of luxury resorts to choose from, there are also tons of budget-friendly hotels in Hurghada that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
If you’re looking for a hotel that offers more than just a place to sleep King Tut Aqua Park Beach Resort is your answer. With its own aqua park and private beach area, it’s perfect for travellers seeking fun and relaxation on a budget.
Remember, booking in advance and traveling during the off-peak season can also help save on accommodation costs.
Forget Plastic Sims, get an E-Sim
Airalo is an incredible app, which gives you a variety of data packages to help make your travels as convenient as possible. I do love an E-sim!
With its sun-drenched beaches, vibrant marine life, and proximity to historical wonders, Hurghada offers a unique travel experience that seamlessly blends relaxation with adventure. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable Egyptian holiday!
If you found my Hurghada Travel Guide useful, please let me know in the comments section below. Do you have any places to add that I missed out? I love chatting to you all about this kind of thing, and sharing our top experiences!
Also, make sure you share this article with your family and friends to show them how stunning Egypt can be.
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