Hurghada

Hurghada is a modern resort on the Red Sea coast. Once a small fishing village, its popularity with both Egyptian and European holidaymakers has led to the building of so many hotels, bars, shops and restaurants that it now stretches along 20 miles of coastline, which has necessitated a major expansion of the local airport. Today it is one of Egypt’s premier holiday destinations.

The Red Sea climate is consistent throughout the year, with daytime temperatures of around 30oC, which makes it a popular choice for winter breaks. In fact, many Europeans choose to spend their Christmas break in Hurghada.

Hurghada’s main attraction is its excellent range of aquatic sports: snorkelling and diving around the beautiful coral reefs, wind-surfing, swimming, kiting and deep-sea fishing. Even non-swimmers can enjoy the underwater gardens and colourful fish species that live on the coral reefs via glass-bottomed boats. For even more fun, there are also several aqua parks in the town – Titanic, Jungle and Sinbad – with water slides, pools and rides.

It should be noted that most of the beaches in Hurghada are owned by the hotels that face on to them, and most of these strictly forbid non-residents to use them. However, a few stretches, such as the Elysees Dream Beach and the Hed Kandi Beach Bar, are accessible to holidaymakers for a small daily fee.

The principal tourist area of the town is El Sakala (or Sheraton Road). This street is lined with hotels and apartments, shops, bars and restaurants, banks and night clubs. Nearby is the new Marina, surrounded by luxury apartments and designer shops. This is the place to enjoy fine dining, or to take an evening stroll and admire the beautiful yachts in the harbour.

For lively nightlife, there is the El Memsha (Village Road) district, with its nightclubs – including the world-famous Little Buddha - bars, international restaurants and the Hard Rock Café.  There are also lots more hotels and shopping malls round about.

For a more authentic glimpse of Egypt, El Dahar is the area of Hurghada where most of the locals live, so here you will find bazaars, coffee shops where you can sample a ‘shisha’ pipe, and mosques, as well as a large food market.

It is possible to visit either Cairo or the temples of Luxor from Hurghada; but for a slightly more unusual excursion you could take a desert safari by jeep, and enjoy an Egyptian barbecue in a real Bedouin camp, or go horseback riding amongst the sand dunes at sunset.

There is a huge range of places to dine out in Hurghada.  Most of the well-known fast food chains are represented, but for something a little more sophisticated, there are sushi bars, seafood diners, Thai, Indian and Italian restaurants and – of course – traditional Egyptian eateries.

Shopping opportunities are equally varied, ranging from modern shopping malls and boutiques to bazaars where you will be expected to haggle. Evening is the best time to shop, when the temperature cools, and local specialities include alabaster, papyrus, perfumed oils, jewellery and cotton.