Page update - Aug 30, 2023
What are pros and cons of the resort city of Hurghada in Egypt? What are the resort areas there, and what are the features of each area? How to choose a hotel? What are the beaches in Hurghada? Read the answers on this page and see a detailed map of the resort.
This page will only talk about the resort city of Hurghada. There are many other smaller resort towns and areas to the north and south of Hurghada, which are also mistakenly considered Hurghada. But these are separate resort regions: El Gouna, Sahl Hasheesh, Makadi Bay, Soma Bay, Safaga.
In 2022, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities installed new sculptures at airports in Egyptian cities, including Hurghada airport. This action by the officials provoked a lot of questions!
Arriving tourists are now greeted by a sculpture of the ancient goddess Serket. And this is very strange. The goddess Serket played the role of the patroness of healing from the poisons of scorpions and snakes! In ancient Egypt, she was most often depicted as a scorpion with a woman's head. Fortunately, new sculptures in airports depict Serket simply as a woman.
Why have they chosen Serket? What do poisons, snakes, and scorpions have to do with tourists or airplanes? Is this some kind of hint? If they had chosen Hathor (goddess of joy, including intoxication) or Bastet (goddess of fun and love), everything would have been clear. There are many questions, but the officials don't give answers. So, let's just admire the beautiful new sculpture.
Hurghada resort region covers 45 kilometers (28 miles) of the Red Sea coast around the city of Hurghada. The city of Hurghada is the capital of the "Red Sea" province (governorate), with a population of 261,700 at the last census. See the location of Hurghada on the detailed map on the page "Map of Egyptian Resorts".
The city was formed in the 80s, when tourism boomed. Until then Hurghada was a small fishing village. Gradually, the hotels lined up north and south of the town, followed by the second line and even the third in some areas.
Now Hurghada (including nearby small resorts) is the largest resort region in Egypt. This is a classic Egyptian resort of the Red Sea. Almost all hotels are All Inclusive. Foreign currencies US dollars, UK pounds, and Euros are accepted everywhere. Almost all locals know English at least at a minimal level.
The resort region is conditionally divided into several zones. See the map of the resort with the resort areas and attractions below. Click on the map to enlarge to full screen. These zones are:
Al Ahiya and Al Helal are the northern areas. There is a line of hotels, but almost no infrastructure (restaurants and stores). The hotels there are mostly in the medium price segment. Holidays in these areas will cost less than in the center or in the south.
Al Dahar is the center of Hurghada and is also known as the "Downtown". This is where the main Al Dahar Square is located, surrounded by markets, many cafes, and restaurants. The beach hotels in Al Dahar are expensive.
Sakala is the area south of the port, along Sheraton Road. There are not many beach hotels there and some of the beaches are occupied by paid beach clubs. This area is more for those travellers arriving by yachts.
Al Mamsha is the busiest beach area of Hurghada. There are a lot of hotels, mostly of the expensive price segment. The length of the beaches is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles).
Along the coast in Al Mamsha is a pedestrian street called Village Road. On this street, there are many stores, restaurants, a Hard Rock Cafe, McDonalds, Pizza Hut. It is there the most famous night club in Hurghada - Little Buddha. For those who like to spend their evenings and nights cheerfully, the Al Mamsha area is clearly the best.
The southern hotels are located south of Al Mamsha. The area has no established name. They are called as: Southern Hotels, Southern Hurghada, Safaga Road area. Call it what you want.
There are mostly 4-star hotels. There are water parks, a large Senzo Mall shopping center, a new oceanarium, and a new museum of antiquities. For those planning an entertainment program outside the hotel, this area is the best.
The first advantage is the international airport right in the center of the resort region.
Hurghada International Airport (code: HRG) is located right in the center of the resort. It takes no more than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) to get to any hotel, no more than 25 minutes. A cab will cost not more than 300 Egyptian pounds. See the current exchange rates of the Egyptian pound in our review "What is the money in Egypt".
The second advantage is the specialization of the resort areas.
This advantage is obvious only if you know the specialization of the areas. And you already know, since you read our review and our website.
Each Hurghada's area has its own clear specialization. If you need only a beach, it's better to choose the north, where it is cheaper, but there is almost no infrastructure. If you want to have fun in the evening and night, it is better to go to Sakala. If you need sightseeing, it is better to choose the Southern hotels.
But if you are not aware of these features, then there is no plus for you, but only a big minus. If you choose the wrong area, you'll empty your wallet paying for cabs and lose a lot of valuable time.
The third advantage is a wide range of local attractions.
Hurghada has excellent coral reefs, three public water parks, two aquariums, a museum of antiquities, and shopping malls. These attractions are enough for seven days of vacation, and even ten. You do not even need to go on expensive excursions.
The first disadvantage is that you have to buy a full-fledged visa.
When entering Egypt through Hurghada airport you have to pay 25 US dollars for a visa on arrival (if your citizenship allows visa on arrival). This is a disadvantage compared to Sharm El Sheikh and other resorts in Sinai, where you can get a "Sinai Stamp" for free.
The second disadvantage is that you need to choose your hotel wisely and thoughtfully.
And the first reason is the variety of beaches in Hurghada hotels. The beaches there are externally similar to each other, but only externally. Beautiful golden sand on the beach almost everywhere. But the bottom is very different.
Somewhere the bottom is completely sandy, somewhere sand is mixed with sharp stones. Somewhere the bottom is completely stone. Try to find a photo where you can see the bottom coverage on the beach. Unfortunately, it is not always possible. See the beach in Hurghada in the photo near. As you see, the bottom is stony, which is very uncomfortable.
Attention! There are corals in the sand on all beaches in Hurghada. Somewhere more, somewhere less. Stock special protective footwear (water shoes). If you forget, you can buy water shoes in a hotel store, the price is usually 20 US dollars.
Hurghada's international airport is a distinct advantage. The airport is conveniently located almost in the center of the resort region, just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the city center (Dahar Square).
It is the second largest airport in Egypt in terms of passenger traffic after Cairo Airport. In 2019, the passenger flow through Hurghada airport was already more than 7.4 million. In 2020, a new record was expected, but obviously no record took place because of the coronavirus. In 2021, the passenger traffic was 4.9 million.
Hurghada Airport has two runways and two terminals. Terminal 2 was recently rebuilt, and the renovated terminal became operational on July 31, 2019. The rebuild cost USD 335 million. Hurghada Airport can now comfortably handle up to 13 million passengers a year.
Like all Red Sea resort regions, Hurghada is considered year-round. The sea temperature there is acceptable for swimming all year round. However, not all tourists will agree with this. Some think it's too hot in summer and some think it's too cold in winter.
We do not support anyone's opinion. We will give you the weather statistics for Hurghada, and leave it to the reader to decide how comfortable it is during any given month.
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|Downfall, mm (in)
There are now more than 100 large hotels in Hurghada, working on an All Inclusive system, of which 60 have 5 stars. There are also more than a hundred mini-hotels, apart-hotels, and guest houses. Several hundred apartments and villas for rent to tourists.
The choice is vast. The most luxurious "fives" are: Steigenberger Aldau Beach, Jaz Aquamarine Resort, Titanic Palace, Albatros White Beach, Sentido Mamlouk Palace, Sunrise Garden Beach, Sunrise Crystal Bay, Desert Rose Resort.
The rules for choosing a hotel are as follows:
1. If you do not plan to leave the hotel. Choose a hotel in the north. Vacation will cost 10-20% cheaper than at a similar level hotel in the south.
2. If you want to go to big shopping malls, water parks, and other local attractions. Then choose a hotel in the south, see the map with attractions above on this page.
3. If you want to spend the evenings and nights actively. Then choose a hotel in the Al Mamsha area. All the rich evening and nightlife is there.
4. If you want to see the real Egypt. Then choose a hotel closer to the Al Dahar area. This is the area most similar to the "real Egypt". Similar, but still not quite there.
5. Be sure to look at photos of the beach. Try to understand the type of the bottom, how many stones are at the bottom.
Yes. There was a terrible case of an attack in 2023. Read all the details in our review "Sharks in Egypt".
Recall that rules about imported and local alcohol are different in Egypt.
Local alcohol is sold in some stores. The store needs the appropriate license. Now the licenses are issued hardly, so there are few such stores. Now (August 2023), in Hurghada, there are 5 stores selling alcohol. Two of them are of the Drinkies chain. There are also illegal stores (they sell without a license), but how many we can't say.
It's not hard to find such a store. Get in a common cab and tell the driver the phrase "liquor store", he is sure to understand. But not the fact that he will take you to the nearest one.
Imported alcohol can be bought only at DutyFree or bars of expensive hotels. You can buy only up to 3 liters at DutyFree, only once, and no later than 48 hours from the time of arrival. We recommend to buy imported alcohol and cigarettes immediately upon arrival in order to avoid wasting time and money on cabs. Obviously, nobody wants to go to and from the airport extra.
The main transport for tourists in Hurghada is a cab. Recall that Egypt is the country with the cheapest cabs in the world.
However, in Hurghada, cabs are expensive by Egyptian standards, because there are no the cheapest white and black-white cabs. Cabs there are orange-blue (with higher fares). Uber and Careem are also available. See our review "Taxis in Egypt" for all the details and fares.
There are no buses in Hurghada. There are only mini-buses. Most of them go between the central Dahar Square and different parts of the city. Fares range from 5 to 15 Egyptian pounds, depending on the route and distance.
Theoretically, you can get anywhere with a change in Dahar. But in practice it is very inconvenient. The inscriptions on the buses are only in Arabic. In Dahar now the buses do not stop in the square, but in the parking lot 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) from the square, which is also inconvenient. They have no stops, you have to tell the driver where you want to get off. But it's cheap.
Above on this page is a map of the region. All the attractions that will be discussed below are shown on this map.
This is the newest attraction in Hurghada. The museum was opened on March 1, 2020, by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly himself. However the museum closed almost immediately due to the coronavirus, but then reopened in June 2020.
The museum has more than 2,000 ancient artifacts from all over Egypt, including sarcophagi, canopies, and mummies. Also on display are ancient Coptic icons, an ancient torah case, and paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition area is 3,000 square meters (32,300 square feet).
It is the first and only museum of antiquities in the Red Sea governorate. If you do not have time and money to go to the Cairo Museum, you can look there.
Admission price is 200 Egyptian pounds for an adult, 100 for a child, children under 6 years are free. Tickets can be bought in advance at hurghadamuseum.com
The museum is located in the resort area to the south of the city, right next to the airport, opposite the Hilton and Continental hotels.
The exact address is Airport Road, Mubarak 6. We give the exact address because not all cab drivers know this museum yet.
Hurghada does not have large separate (not attached to hotels) water parks. However, some hotels allow outside visitors to their water parks. Prices are about the same - USD 20-30 per person.
Albatros Jungle water park is at the Jungle Park Resort hotel in the south of the resort. It is the largest water park in Hurghada - 21 slides for adults and two dozen slides for children of different ages.
Titanic Waterpark is located in the Titanic Resort & Aquapark hotel, which is in the very south of Hurghada, on the border with Sahl Hasheesh resort. The water park is small - about 20 slides, and the slides are very similar.
Sindbad Aquapark is located in Sindbad Aqua Hotel in El Mamsha (Tourist Village). It is a small water park with 10 slides. But all visitors get the full All Inclusive package.
A fairly new attraction in Hurghada opened in 2015. There are aquariums with 1,200 marine animals of over 100 species and an underwater tunnel. You can see the marine life of the Red Sea without diving to the reefs.
Fans of the extreme can dive into the shark pool. The price of this entertainment is USD 100 and advance reservations are required.
Those who like a quiet observing can walk through the zoo, an artificial jungle, a small paleontological exhibition, and see the traditional life of the Arabs in a small heritage village.
The ticket price is 25 euros per person. The opening hours are from 9-00 am to 7-00 pm. The aquarium is located in the south of the resort, near the airport.
This is the only mall in Hurghada and the Red Sea governorate. It means a large shopping mall in a large building with a food court and entertainment facilities. That is, the only mall in the European-American style.
You can get to Senzo Mall for free by buses, which run along the hotels in the southern part of Hurghada. Ask at the reception of your hotel where this bus stops.
There are several good cafes and restaurants in the mall, as well as McDonalds and KFC. There is a large Spinneys hypermarket. Recall that half of the interesting gifts and souvenirs from Egypt are cheaper and more convenient to buy in the supermarket. Read more in our review "What to bring from Egypt".
Children will love the KIDZO entertainment center. There you have to buy a card for EGP 10 and top it up with a minimum of EGP 50 to pay for the rides with this card. For fun "on a full program" 300 Egyptian pounds are usually enough.
There are several dozens of stores in the mall. At entrance 1 (Gate 1) there is a Duty Free store. For a full list of stores see the official website senzomall.com
Hurghada is almost the closest Red Sea resort to Luxor, only El-Quseir is closer. From Hurghada to Luxor is 300 kilometers (185 miles) by road. You can take a tour, or you can ride by bus. Read all details in our review "From Hurghada to Luxor and back".
Luxor is a city on the site of the ancient Thebes, capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom. Tourists see two parts of the ancient city.
The first is the "city of the living" on the east bank of the Nile. There are the huge Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple, and the Mummification Museum.
The second part is the "city of the dead" on the west bank of the Nile. There are the Colossi of Memnon, the Temple of Hatshepsut, and the Valley of the Kings, where more than a dozen tombs of New Kingdom pharaohs are open to tourists, including the famous tomb of Tutankhamun.
The price of a one-day tour is from 50 US dollars per person. On your own, you can get there for 175 Egyptian pounds by bus.
It is the historical center of the city. There are many stores, restaurants, and cafes. There is also a large bazaar. It is all located around Dahar Square.
The easiest way to get there is by cab. But you can also take a mini-bus, because almost all mini-buses go to Dahar Square.
First of all you should go to the big grocery market. It is the best place to buy fruits.
There are pharmacies near the square. There you can also go to Vodafone or Etisalat offices and buy a local SIM card. Internet traffic on local SIMs is much cheaper than roaming, as we talked about in the review "Internet in Egypt".
If you want to go shopping, go along Nasr Street (El-Nasr). It is the main street of Hurghada, the street starts from Dahar Square. There will be a lot of stores, banks, and a post office down the street.
Sand City is a small sand sculpture park in the south of the resort. There are only a couple of dozen sculptures. They charge 10 euros for admission.
St. Shenouda Cathedral is the main Coptic Christian church of Hurghada. It is located next to Dahar Square. Walk towards the sea, and after 150 meters (500 feet) you will see the cathedral.
Hurghada Marine Museum & Aquarium is a science center, sea museum, and a small aquarium in the northern part of the resort. The price of admission is only 5 Egyptian pounds.
Red Sea Aquarium is another small oceanarium. Located on the coast north of Dahar Square. Admission is 30 Egyptian pounds.
Selkhet Papyrus is the largest papyrus store in Hurghada. There the papyrus is real and handmade, they give you a certificate when you buy it.
Safaris. Most of the tour agencies in the city arrange safaris to the desert. The programs are very different.
Giftun Island is located near Hurghada. It is a paradise place with magnificent beaches with blue water and reefs. Trips to the island are arranged by almost all travel agencies in the city. The price - 30-50 US dollars.
Diving to coral reefs is also provided by almost all travel agencies of the city. In Hurghada, there are a dozen beautiful reefs. Dozens of diving centers throughout the city are at the service of tourists. The price - from 20 US dollars.
A trip to Cairo from Hurghada is possible, but it's tedious. Get ready to spend 6 to 8 hours in the bus. Are the Great Pyramids worth it? The answer to this question is individual. Decide for yourself and read the details in our review "From Hurghada to Cairo and back".
- Local currency Egyptian pounds may not be needed at all, as in Hurghada almost everywhere accept dollars and euros. However, shuttle buses and sightseeing ticket booths may only accept Egyptian pounds. Read our review "Currency exchange in Egypt";
- If you are going to Luxor or Cairo, be aware that the climate there is different from Hurghada. Read the details in our review "Weather and climate in Egypt";
- Those tourists who like to rent apartments and cook by themselves, there is an unpleasant surprise. Food prices in Hurghada are 20-30% higher than the Egyptian average. In addition, in stores "near home" the prices are even higher. The most reasonable option is to go shopping at Spinneys in Senzo Mall.
Enjoy your holiday in Hurghada, and read our useful pages about Egypt (see the list of the pages below).
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