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Hurghada, Red Sea

marmaid (statue in Sakalla) - symbol of Hurghada, Red sea

About Hurghada

Founded in the early 20th century, Hurghada has gone on to become the foremost tourist resort of the Red Sea coast and an international center for aquatic sports. if it takes place in or on the water you can do it here: windsurfing, sailing deep-sea fishing, swimming, but, above all, snorkeling and diving. The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world justifiably famous amongst divers.


  • located on the West Cost of the Red Sea (around 40 km cost line)
  • population: 35.000 (including around 5.000 foreigners)
  • symbol: marmaid (statue in Sakalla)
  • there are around 150 hotels in Hurghada
  • there are 70.000 tourists from Europe coming every week to Hurghada
  • sun is shining 99% days in the year
  • hotest months: July, August, coldest months: January, February

Hurghada (Al Ghardaqah) is a city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt. It is a main tourist center and second largest city (after Suez) in Egypt located on the Red Sea coast. The city was founded in the early 20th century, and since the 1980s has been continually enlarged by Egyptian and foreign investors to become the leading seashore resort on the Red Sea. Holiday villages and hotels provide aquatic sport facilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers. Discover activities, recreation and entertainment - both on site and nearby.

Close to Hurghada you will find many of Egypt's top tourist attractions and most impressive resorts. A particularly favourite is Sharm el Sheikh, which lies alongside the Gulf of Aqaba and is famous for its scuba diving and sandy beaches, while on the south-western side of Hurghada, the provincial capital of Qena contains a particularly impressive temple complex. Also within reach of Hurghada, the city of Luxor is without equal and full of awe-inspiring monuments, such as the Valley of the Kings.

Hurghada has three districts: Dahar (old downtown), Sakalla (new downtown) and Village Road (hotels part). The most exciting is Sakalla. Here you can find the best bars and discos and a lot of souvenir shops, duty free shop, oriental cafe's, banks. Dahar has its oriental charm - if you want to experience real egyptian atmosphere, you have to go there and visit bazaar. Village Road is the most quiet and clean place in Hurghada. There are shops, restaurants and bars, but still the touristic atmosphere you'll find in Sakalla and the real, oriental life - in Dahar.

Hurghada, Centre of Red Sea diving

Hurghada is one of Egypt’s most unusual diving sites, a life-size aquarium which is a must for dedicated divers. After threading your way through the swaying branches of giant red gorgonians at Police Station and admiring the fabulous alcyonarian coral at Erg Somaya, you’ll find yourself in the magical underwater garden which surrounds the coral reef islands of Shadwan, Giftun and Gubal.

Anybody who loves diving will also love this extraordinary diver’s paradise. Renowned for the variety of its aquatic flora and fauna, this seaside resort is ideal for snorkelling and scuba-diving. The crystal-clear waters caress coral reefs that shelter a multitude of rainbow-coloured fish – so get your mask and snorkel ready! Hurghada is also famous for its graceful shoreline and bustling night life.

MARINE LIFE
Butterfly fish, rainbow wrasse, rocklings and moray eels, Napoleon fish, turtles, grouper fish, dolphins, blacktip sharks, schools of surgeonfish.

UNMISSABLE DIVES
Police Station for its giant gorgonians Small Giftun Islands (depth 100m) Erg Somaya for its alcyonarians

WRECKS

  • El Mina
  • Colona IV
  • Excalibur

The Eastern Desert, between Nile and Red Sea

South-east of Cairo stretches the Eastern Desert, a land of quarries that played a major role in the construction of the buildings of Upper Egypt. Your journey will take you through fertile valleys across a mountain range that rises to an altitude of 1,500 metres. Once on the other side of the peaks, you will espy the intense blue of the Red Sea, edged by the dark line of the coastal road to Hurghada. As you continue your journey, make sure you stop at the monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul. The Coptic monastery of St. Anthony is thought to be the oldest monastery in the world, and the monastery of St. Paul shelters a spring said to have miraculous healing powers.

From mountain peak to undersea Paradise

You’ll enjoy exploring this land of contrasts, where you can climb from sea level to an altitude of over 2,500 metres in just a few kilometres... From Sharm El-Sheikh to Mount Moses via Hurghada and St. Katherine’s monastery, you’ll find enough adventures, leisure activities and history combined to make your stay an unforgettable experience.

Sheraton Road/New Downtown (El Sakala)
Sheraton road or El Sakala center is the main tourist street in town. It is the busiest street in town with numerous bazaars, coffee shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, restaurants and night clubs. You will find many hotels on the sea side of Sakala. Across the street are situated apartments for locals and foreigners living here (especially Hadaba). Sakala square is located in the one end of the main street. Here you will find many fish restaurants and local eateries. From the beginning of Sakala in a walking distance you will find an El Arousa square – a bride or mermaid standing in the middle of the road. The street to the sea side will lead you to Hurghada Marina – the new city promenade by the marina with luxury yachts and apartments surrounded by old fisherman households. Opened in 2008, one will find in Marina many shops (incl. some high street brands), fabulous bars, fine dining restaurants, nightclubs or just nice walking area for warm summer nights.

The Promenade (Village Road)
The second famous touristic area is called Village road (El Memsha in Arabic). More than 5 km long promenade with wide and clean walking area, mainly 4 stars hotels, famous nightclubs, restaurants with international cuisine, some mall-type shopping centers and uncountable number of shops. For a first acquaintance with Hurghada, Village road is more peaceful and less harassment for tourist than one will experience in Sakala area, but therfore as well reflects much less local culture and lifestyle than any other parts of the town. Famous spots in Village road include Esplanada Mall, Kottas mall, Duty free shop, Little Buddha nightclub and Hard Rock café.

El Dahar (Old Downtown)
And then there is left El Dahar. Dahar is home for most of the locals living in the area, but as well for number of hotels, city council, aquarium, library, biggest mosques and food market. In Dahar one will find touristic and not so touristic areas, although until now, most of the areas are safe enough to sneak around and discover the other face of Hurghada. If interested in shopping, Dahar offers you streets full of bazaars and good bargains.

Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometres (22 mi) along the seashore, and it does not reach far into the surrounding desert. A great place for luxury loving tourists, who aim to do nothing but lying around in the sun, on pebble beaches, which have been created artificially (with dynamite blastings). The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe, notably Serbs, Italians, Russians, Poles, Czechs and Germans. Until a few years ago it was a small fishing village. Today Hurghada counts 248,000 inhabitants and is divided into three parts: Downtown (El Dahar) is the old part; Sekalla is the city center, and El Memsha (Village road) is the modern part. Sakkala is the relatively modest hotel quarter. Dahar is where the town's largest bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus station are situated.
Hurghada, red sea
If you're an amateur snorkeler or a professional diver you will love Hurghada on the Red Sea. One of Egypt's top destinations for those looking to simply relax on the beach or enjoy some of the world's clearest waters and spectacular coral reefs. Hurghada offers more than 10 miles of beach and plenty of accommodation, restaurants and nightclubs for all budgets.

Take a day-trip to Giftun Island for snorkeling and a fish barbecue, view the ocean through a glass-bottomed boat or in a submarine. When you're not in the sea you can shop in the boutiques, relax in the Luxury holiday villages, visit the Aquarium or the Roman remains at nearby Gebel Abu Dukhan. Day-trips of safaris to explore the Red Sea Mountains by camel or jeep are also available.

Islands near Hurghada offer all kinds of fun and excitement. Take a day trip to Giftun Island for snorkeling and a fish barbecue, or view the Red Sea from a submarine! When you're not in the sea you can shop in the boutiques, relax in the luxury holiday villages or visit the Roman Mons Porphyrites (mountain of porphyry) remains at nearby Gebel Abu Dukhan (Father of Smoke). Day-trips or safaris to explore the Red Sea Mountains by camel or jeep are also available. Other nearby islands and destinations include the Shadwan Island (Diving, snorkeling, fishing but no swimming), Shaab Abu Shiban (Diving, snorkeling and swimming), Shaab el-Erg (Diving, fishing and snorkeling), Umm Gammar Island (Diving and snorkeling), Shasb Saghir Umm Gammae (Diving), Careless Reef (Diving), Abu Ramada Island (Diving), Shaab Abu Ramada (Fishing), Dishet el-Dhaba (Beaches and swimming), Shaab Abu Hashish (Beaches, diving, snorkeling, swimming and fishing), Sharm el-Arab (Diving, swimming and fishing and Abu Minqar Island (Beaches and swimming).

Also Check:

Al Quseir - Located between Hurghada and Marsa Alam, Quseir used to be an important port
Marsa Alam on the Coast of the Red Sea
South Egypt Dive Sites
El Gouna Dive Sites
Deep South Dive Sites - The Great South, South Coast
Sinai Scuba Schools International (SSI) Dive Centers and Dive Resorts
List Of All Red Sea Liveaboard Diving Sailboat Vessel Safari

Eating out
The dining in Hurghada has gained new meaning over the last year as numerous quality restaurants were opened throughout the city. By no chance one should skip a nice sea food meal from fresh Red Sea fish or shellfish available, and as well try out the local cuisine offering pigeons, lamb, beans or famous Egyptian rice dishes.

If you care to try out the Egyptian cuisine set your direction to Sakala square, Dahar or Shery street. The canteen like design is outweighed by cheap price and delicious heavy portions that will fill you up for half a day! Do look for cleanness and hygiene of the place! If you are ready to pay more, visit Felfela or Kanzaman Restaurant, who as well offer Egyptian menu but in higher style. Famous local sea food places are located in Sakala square or around. Bare in mind that local restaurants will not offer any alcoholic beverages. The price range of good meal for two in local eatery should be in range from 25-50 LE. Budget menu can be as little as 10 LE or less per person.

Fast food is the word of last 5-10 years in Hurghada, when internationally known chains opened up their branches. In general seems to be the big hit among local families. Pizza hut, KFC, McDonalds, Burger Kind, Hardees are all represented in Sakkala or Village Road. From local chains try out famous Cooks Door sandwiches (chicken, shrimps) or cheap shawarma bread from Kammuna corner shop, both of them located in Sherry street next to Sakkala centre. Fast food prices start from 5 LE a sandwich in Kammuna up to 40 LE meal box from KFC.

Fine dining in Hurghada is a growing trend of last couple of years, when most of the chic restaurants with local or international chiefs have opened their doors for those who prefer to go ou to eat and meet. Most of these Thai, Indian, Italian, Sea Food and International cuisine dining facilities are situated in New Hurghada Marina or on the Promenade. Some fine a la carte menus can be found also in 4 or 5 stars hotels, but prior reservation in this case may be required. A dinner for two in Marina fancy restaurant can cost you around 150-300 LE excluding the wine or other bottled drinks.

How to get to Hurghada
By air: One can fly to Cairo and board a flight to Hurghada from there. Direct flights to Hurghada are available from European countries and the Middle East. Hurghada International and Domestic Airport, 10 minutes ride from city center, is receiving many flights through out the year. Most common are charter flights to Hurghada, which you can check out from your travel agent. Increasingly, regular flights are operating.
By road: One can reach Hurghada by driving down from the city of Luxor, which takes roughly about four hours. Direct flights are available from the Middle East and European nations to Luxor.

Best time to visit Hurghada
Hurghada is a year-round destination. However the best period to visit would be between February to April; it is usually pleasant, with the onset of spring, and the sea is perfect for diving. July and August are the hottest months of the year; however, this makes it even more suitable for diving, and the rates in Egypt are usually half around this time, being a lean season.

Hurghada Red Sea Egypt best holiday guide with interactive map, directory, tourist info and online reservations: http://www.hurghada.com/

Last Updated on Monday 10th January 2011