FOR a country whose civilisation stretches back thousands of years into ancient history, it seems like Hurghada has only been here five minutes. But in that short space of time, it has developed into one of Egypt’s most popular Red Sea resorts.
The resort lies on the west coast of the Red Sea in Egypt on the opposite shore to Sharm el Sheikh where the sea splits into the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. It was only founded in the early part of the 20th century and was until very recently still a fishing village. Then it was decided to turn this little village into one of the tourist hotspots of Egypt, a resort to rival any other on the Red Sea coast.
Hurghada is in reality three main centres and numerous self-contained tourist villages now growing into one body. To the north lies Dahar, which is home to more than half of the total local population, and which gives the visitor a taste of what Hurghada was like before the tourist developers moved in. Further south is Sigala, where Hurghada comes alive – a dense collection of hotels, restaurants and shops. It’s the Golden Mile of Hurghada with plenty of diners, tourist centres and bars to keep you entertained. Carry on south and you reach New Hurghada which is the hub of the modern resort. It is where you find most of the newest hotels and restaurants but large parts of it are still being developed so you have to make some allowances for that.
DIVING IN HURGHADA
For many, Hurghada and the Red Sea mean one thing – the best snorkelling and diving sites in the world.
Like Sharm, Hurghada has built its reputation on the high quality watersports culture in this part of the world. The waters of the Red Sea hold some of the most magical coral reefs, brimming with exotic, highly-coloured marine fish.
If you don’t fancy diving but don’t want to miss out on experiencing the local underwater marine life you can take a cruise over the coral reefs in a glass-bottomed boat or visit the Hurghada Aquarium at El-Dahar, the resort’s downtown district. The beaches here are some of the best in Egypt and many are safe and private, being owned by the various hotels that stretch along the seafront.
NIGHTLIFE IN HURGHADA
Because of the younger crowd Hurghada attracts, there’s plenty to enjoy when the sun goes down – but there’s a lot more to this resort and people of all ages are catered for when it comes to entertainment.
The trendiest bars and clubs are Calypso, the Hard Rock Cafe and Papas Beach Club.
Sheraton Street, one of the oldest thoroughfares in Hurghada, is famous for restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets and lively nightspots.
Off the coast lie several small islands, the biggest of which is Giftun Island.
No trip to Hurghada is complete without taking a day trip to this protected natural island, which is surrounded by some of the best coral reefs in the Red Sea. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to swim with dolphins that cut playfully through the idyllic waters.
The Giftun Island excursion is a must for holiday-makers. All hotels, diving and aqua-centres offer excursions to Giftun, by boat and with snorkelling equipment included.
For those of you that like everything on one place, El Gouna is for you. El Gouna is an artificially-created and privately-owned luxury hotel town only 16 miles north of Hurghada.
This purpose-built tourist town is made up of a series of islands connected by bridges. It has 14 hotels as well as private villas and apartments. With two miles of its own beaches, tranquil lagoons and lush gardens, it’s a world within a world and offers everything you need for your holiday – there’s no need to venture anywhere else. It even has its own golf courses as well as some fine restaurants and spa centres.