Things to do in Hurghada

Must-see sights in Hurghada

Gone are the days when Hurghada was a sleepy fishing village. Today it’s a booming resort town - the largest on Egypt’s Red Sea coast.

  1. Explore El Dahhar
  2. Hit the beach
  3. Sign up for activities galore
  4. Discover Hurghada Grand Aquarium
  5. Visit Hurghada Marina
  6. Be pampered at a high-end resort
  7. Catch a belly-dancing show

Hurghada has enough going for it to satisfy the whims of the entire family. After souqs and authentic bustle? Make for the old downtown, serving up the traditional “Egyptian” experience. Craving old-fashioned bucket-and-spade fun? The public beach has got you covered. Seeking a spa treatment and some retail therapy? Head south to one of the high-end resorts. With so much to see and experience, the hard part is deciding what to do in Hurghada.

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1. Explore El Dahar 

At the northern end of Hurghada you’ll find the old downtown, known as El Dahar. This is the most “Egyptian” part of town, with souqs, local restaurants, general bustle and most of the budget hotels. The markets and souvenir shops hold an Aladdin’s cave of treasures: leather, brasswork, papyrus, furry camels, statuettes… As one of the most authentic things to do in Hurghada, El Dahhar can’t be beat.

Don’t forget: Affordable eating.

While you’re there: A smile goes a long way when meeting the locals - your money will too if your haggling skills are up to scratch!

2. Hit the beach

It’s okay to admit there’s a limit to visiting archaeological sites in the searing heat. If you’ve had an overdose of antiquities, chances are you’ll be desperate to do nothing at all - at most, to read a mag, build a sandcastle or splash in the sea. If that sounds about right, make for the beaches at Al-Sakkala. The water is warm year-round - except for a few weeks in December and January; the sun is always shining and even in the hottest months there’s a good breeze.

Don’t forgetThe sun can be strong, so be sure to slap on ample suncream at regular intervals throughout the day.

While you’re there: Get on Instagram and make your followers jealous. 

3. Sign up for activities galore

Want to dive? Kitesurf? Quad bike in the dunes? No problem. Take a boat trip? Go fishing? Meet some local Bedu? Yes, ma’am! Each of the major beach resorts offers activities and excursions, so there’s no shortage of blood-pumping things to do in Hurghada. Activities include diving, snorkeling, glass-bottomed boat trips, sailing, kite- and windsurfing, fishing, 4x4 and quad-bike desert safaris to meet local Bedu, and two- or three-day trips to Luxor or Aswan. Diving is particularly rewarding, as the small offshore islands include a number of fantastic wrecks with kaleidoscopic sea and coral life.

Don’t forgetIf you plan to get active, make sure your insurance covers adventure sports.

While you’re there: If you’re taking a desert safari, consider extending your trip to spend an evening with a Bedouin family. You’ll get to sample some delicious traditional food and learn more about their culture.

4. Discover Hurghada Grand Aquarium

If you’ve got kids in tow, a trip to the Hurghada Grand Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Hurghada, offering insights into the Red Sea’s rich marine life. A trip here guarantees close-up encounters with an array of colourful underwater wildlife, including sharks, turtles, rays and stone fish. It’s a sure smash hit with children.

Don’t forgetCheck the daily feeding schedule before your visit - you can see the sharks fed between 11am and noon and 3–4pm.

While you’re there: Truly fearless visitors can come face-to-face with sharks by booking onto the Aquarium’s Shark Encounter experience. The faint of heart need not apply.

5. Visit Hurghada Marina

At Al-Sekkala in old Hurghada is the ambitious development of the Hurghada Marina, designed to regenerate this part of town. Shops, restaurants, cafés and nightclubs, beach volleyball, talent contests and live music are just some of the attractions on offer. Alongside its hotel, there’s capacity for 200 yachts.

Don’t forgetCome with a big appetite - there's a great selection of international restaurants to choose from, covering Greek, Lebanese, Italian and Caribbean cuisine.

While you’re there:
Pick up a souvenir to take home from the marina bazaar.

6. Be pampered at a high-end resort 

Beyond the town, a long strip of holiday villages spreads south. Many of these villages, rivalling each other in splendor, the size of their pools and the number of rooms, are operated by international four- and five-star chains. If a spot of retail therapy sounds up your street, this is also where you’ll find the Western-style shopping malls. Searching for Hurghada holiday packages to book? Try staying at the Hilton Hurghada Resort and Regina Swiss Inn Resort & Aqua Park Hotel - both are good bets with top-notch facilities.

Don’t forgetAlways check the small print carefully before booking a hotel to see exactly what charges are included. 

While you’re there:
If you’re a diving enthusiast - or simply a novice keen to take your first dive into the deep - several of the hotels have their own diving centres.     

7. Catch a belly-dancing show 

Not just a tourist show, belly dancing is also popular with Egyptians - so you’ll find plenty of places to catch a performance in Hurghada. And if you’re longing to shake that thing yourself, you can even book a belly-dancing lesson (private and group sessions are both available). When in Rome…

Don’t forgetLet go of your inhibitions: dance like no one’s watching!

While you’re there:
There are plenty of other traditional dances popular in Egypt - another one to watch out for is tanoura.

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