Red Sea Diving Holidays
Hurghada Travel Information
Hurghada stretches along the Egyptian coast for some 40 km but doesn't stretch far into the surrounding desert. Known as the 'Venice of Egypt', this once small fishing village, located about 530 km south of Cairo, is now Egypt's 2nd most popular dive tourist area.
As an international centre for water sports, Hurghada is also the gateway to the dive sites of the Southern Red Sea.
In actuality, Hurghada is the fusion of 3 centres, namely New Hurghada, El Dahar and Sigala. As they expand, these 3 centres are growing into 1 conurbation.
Downtown Hurghada, or Dahar, is the oldest district of the city. As in all of Egypt, the proprietors of the busy bazaars and shops will relentlessly hassle you for business. Sigala towards the south is right in the middle of the tourist section. Here you will find a treasure trove of hotels, bars, cafés, beach discos, hotel discos and shops. As you go even further south, you will encounter New Hurghada, which sports a walkway with cafés, a shopping mall, shops and even a bowling alley.
As a whole, Hurghada is regarded as a bit of a party town and discos and bars are easy to come by.
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How to Get There
The easiest and most expensive way to cut a line straight to Hurghada is a 1 hour long flight via Egypt Air from Cairo. Via the UK or Europe, it's also possible to reach here via a direct flight of about 5 hours or so.
An alternative route is to fly direct in to Luxor and get a 4 hour taxi from there to Hurghada. This often saves on a connecting flight from Cairo since Luxor has an international airport.
For the budget conscious, or those willing to go out of their way for an adventure, Hurghada is also accessible from Cairo via taxi or bus, both of which depart from the Eltorgan Station in the centre of Cairo. A 6 hour journey on the East Delta bus will deposit you in Hurghada. A taxi, for which the rates should be negotiated prior to setting off, will be slight faster and perhaps a smidgen more comfortable.
Where to Stay
Our affiliated hotel reservation agents Agoda.com have a wide variety of diver-friendly accommodations in Hurghada. Browse their website choices, use their on-line chat to ask your questions, or simply use your credit card to make your booking:
Take your pick from dozens of options, from international 5 star hotel chains to budget guesthouses, and everything in between, there's something to suit everyone's taste and pocket.
And you can be sure that whatever option you go for, it will be backed up with their 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.
In Hurghada the quality of your beach is directly linked to the quality of your hotel as most of the beaches, save for a stretch of a few hundred meters or so, are ruled by hotels. Access to the beaches is usually possible though, as the hotels allow visitors, albeit at a fee.
Old Vic Tourist Village
The Old Vic features a sandy beach, which is quite large and is also decently sheltered. This makes it ideal for families.
Magawish Resort Village
Hurghada's longest beach is at the Magawish Resort Village. Located just 10 minutes from both the city's downtown area and the airport, the village is quite big and ideally located.
Shedwan Golden Beach Hotel
About 2 km of beach can be yours for a few dollars per day, which includes the use of the Village's pool - a bargain!
Sightseeing and Adventure
Why not combine your Hurghada dive trip with a tour to discover the historical sights of Egypt? You can take an overland tour of Cairo to visit the pyramids, Sphinx and museums, or a Nile River cruise through the Valley of the Kings: Egypt antiquity tours.
Giftun Island is high up on the "to do" lists of tourists diving in Hurghada. The reef sand island is surrounded by vibrant corals, which is home to exotic marine life. Here you can soak up as much of the Egyptian sunshine as you can manage on the beach, or swim in the crystal clear waters.
Nearby other islands abound and you can easily venture off to Shaab El Erg, Shaab Abu Shiban, Umm Gammar Island, Sharm el Arab, Shaab Abu Hashish Island and Abu Mingar Island.
Of course, a visit to the desert just wouldn't be complete without at least 1 desert safari. Although desert safaris can range greatly in format, duration, vehicles and prices, most trips will take you off the beaten track and as far into the desert as 40 to 80 km. Trips vary in length from 3 hours to a whole day, but it's a great thrill to explore the sand dunes on either quad backs or in a Jeep.
If you prefer your wildlife slightly more contained, then visit the zoo where a variety of local and foreign animals are on display. Hurghada is also a haven for ornithologists.
For a small sampler of Christianity, you can visit the St. Anthony and St. Paul Monastery, which were founded by Christian monasticisms. Coptic monks perform a variety of religious rituals that can be viewed by the curious.
For a taste of local traditions, customs and food, the Fantasia 1001 Show at Alf Leila We Leila is a must visit. Witness belly-dancing, full blooded Arabian horses and a sound-and-light show that will have you feeling like you've stepped onto the set of Lawrence of Arabia, all whilst feasting on an oriental dinner.
Hurghada, the tourist destination that it is, has a host of water sports on offer. Deep-sea fishing, swimming, snorkeling and windsurfing, as well as scuba diving in Hurghada, are all accessible via various locations along the sandy beaches.
If you happen to be traveling with non-divers, then the ideal way to share your passion for diving with them is Hurghada's small submarine. Dive to a maximum depth of 22m and share the joys of the underwater world whilst leaving buoyancy control to the pilot. A typical trip will allow you 50 minutes of bottom time.
Dining Out & Nightlife
Egypt is considered a melting pot of cultures and is observed no better than in Egyptian cuisine. As a pit stop and link between Africa and Asia, Egypt's cuisine comprise the best of both worlds reflected in their food.
Local dishes are often meaty with hints of spice and subtle fruity flavours. Hurghada, however, is a cosmopolitan resort city and thus, if you so wish, you can find the cuisine of just about any country. Fast food, western food, oriental food, you name it, it's likely represented on the highways or byways of Hurghada.
Hurghada's Marina Boulevard is a recently opened venue set amongst beautiful surroundings. It's home to about 15 upmarket restaurants, which includes fare ranging from Thai food to Sushi, fish and chips to continental and much in between.
Hurghada's nightlife is legendary in the region and is one of the major attractions of the town. As such a variety of entertainment options abound all over town. There are of course, the international names like the (in)famous Hard Rock Café, but in addition to these and similar bars and pubs glimmering with their international sophistication, the local hang outs should not be frowned upon.
Local haunts are the best places from where to get insight into the life and times of the locals. Papa's Beach Club, for instance, comes highly recommended and is very popular amongst the young and hip. Black Out Disco, the Calypso, the Jungle Disco of Grand Hotel Mall and Disco of Hadaba Road are all popular spots with local flavours.
Theme nights are common practice and vary in popularity. Keep and eye and ear out for news about the hottest places to be seen at around town.
Bazaars are the shopping staple of Egypt and in Hurghada this too holds true. The largest of its kind, the Downtown bazaar is the town's biggest and features a caboodle of tourist stalls selling a host of bits and bops to satisfy your curious thirst.
Be advised though, Sigala's prices are some 10 - 50% lower than Downtown prices. Here is where you'll find price tags on souvenirs around the range you'd find in Cairo's Khan El Khalili bazaar.
Other worthwhile places include Marc's Bazaar, which sells shoes, perfume, clothes, souvenirs and other popular tourist items. Don't miss the Alama and the Papyrus shop for everything and the kitchen sink, when it comes to gifts.
If you'd prefer not to bargain for every item you're interested in, try the fixed-priced shopping to be found at the Marina Boulevard.
Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century and was pretty much a small fishing village as recently as a few years ago when it started its transformation to what it is today, one of the key diving holiday destinations on the Red Sea coast.
There is a distinct lack of any evidence that Hurghada played a role of significance in Pharaonic times, with a complete absence of historical happenings that cities such as Luxor and Cairo offers.
Hurghada's transportation system is much like elsewhere on the Red Sea coast with the minibus being the city's main form of transportation. Cheap and quick, minibus routes are plied frequently enough to never have to wait too long for one to zoom past and be flagged down pretty much anywhere along their route.
Local taxis are a secondary option within Hurghada, but be sure to negotiate your rate prior to setting off on your journey, as rates can vary according to the whims of the driver.
If you're keen to dive the Red Sea waters from Hurghada, then click below to check your options now for:
Be sure to book in plenty of time to avoid limited choice! The best Hurghada diving opportunities are booked by repeat customers who book well in advance to ensure their reservation!
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