Hurghada, Egypt

The beach resort town of Hurghada located on the side of the Red Sea stretches 40 kilometres along Egypt’s Red Sea Coast. It’s renowned for scuba diving, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The Old Town of El Dahar is home to some of the best traditional Egyptian coffee shops. For some great shopping head to the Ad Dahar Souq in the evening. Hurghada has great weather all year long with incredible beaches and so many exciting attractions to explore.

The Hurghada Marina is an upmarket and modern area and since its opening has become one of the major dining and bar areas after dark, serving all types of Egyptian and international cuisines. Enjoy a tea or a traditional Shisha water pipe at one of the upscale cafés next to the Red Sea while enjoying the magical sunsets. The Marina Boulevard is a great place to people watch, take a stroll and look at all the multi-million dollar yachts that can be seen floating on the majestic Red Sea.

With its classic Islamic architectural appearance and an intricate design, the Abdulmoneim Riadh Mosque also known as the Big Mosque is ideally located between the main street and the ocean. The minarets can be seen from far away and the arches, domes and hallways feature delicate carving details.

The Giftun Islands are one of Hurghada's most popular day trips with beautiful white sand beaches, snorkelling opportunities and superb scuba diving. There are easily accessible coral reefs around the island and an excellent preview of the Red Sea's beauty and crystal clear water. Alternatively for visitors who are not interested in water sports but still want to enjoy the beauty the sea has to offer the Hurghada Grand Aquarium offers all the experiences of the Red Sea marine life. The Sinbad Submarine is a fantastic way to see the underwater world of the Red Sea without getting into the water. Diving to a depth of 22 metres the submarine features specially designed windows to maximise the viewing of the colourful coral reefs and the vibrant marine life.

Some of the best dive sites from Hurghada include the Straits of Gubal, a narrow strip of water nestled between the Red Sea Coast and the Western shore of the Sinai Peninsula. Known for its wreck diving and home to The Thistlegorm, a WWII cargo ship rediscovered by French diver Jacques Cousteau, renowned as one of the world's top wreck dive sites. Another popular dive site known as 'The Aquarium', Gota Abu Ramada is a dive site with huge amounts of marine life and a coral garden of pinnacles. For the more experienced diver you will come across triggerfish, lionfish and clownfish that whiz through the unearthly blue waters. There is even Reef diving in The Caves of the Careless Reef, this popular site features many coral forests and a dense population of fish, such as tuna, jacks and the occasional hammerhead shark.

The beaches of Hurghada have all been claimed by the coastal resorts, however even if you are not staying in one of the hotels all the resorts offer day access to non-guests. The best beaches lie south of the main town of Sigala in the 'Resort Strip.' Travel a bit further south and you arrive in Sahl Hasheesh, which is home to some of the Red Sea's best white sand beaches and hotels.

For an interesting evening a Bedouin dinner tour is an experience to sample the wholesome Egyptian dishes that never make it onto restaurant menus. Head into the desert or to a nearby Bedouin settlement to enjoy some local and traditional cooking while sitting on a colourful cushion in a Bedouin tent. Some tours even include a camel ride.

Locally known as the ‘Alf Layla w Layla’, the 1001 Night Show is held in the open air theatre of the Fantasia Hotel. This exotic and oriental show portrays scenes from the legend of the Scheherazade, the times of the Pharaohs and ancient cults. The spectacle is followed by a traditional Egyptian dinner and by sound and light effects, belly dancers, horse and carriage riders as well as traditional Nubian music played on drums.

Another action packed adventure is the very popular desert tour by jeep or quad bike travelling by dune buggy over the sand dune hinterland. Here you can discover the Acacia tree studded Wadis (Valleys), inserted between the red tinged mountains that make up most of the landscape of the Eastern Desert.

Just 25 kms from Hurghada lies the modern resort town of El Gouna on the Red Sea. Built along the coast and on small islands it is best known for its coral reefs, sandy beaches and lagoons. Mangroovy Beach is a popular hangout with kite surfers. The vibrant Abu Tig Marina is lined with restaurants and bars and the downtown area around Tamr Henna Square is lined with palm trees, cafés and shops. The town has great access to some of Egypt’s historical sites and archaeological treasures.

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