30 years ago Hurghada was a fishing village. 20 years ago sport fishers took to the beaches and were amazed by the amount of fish biting on their hooks. Then came the divers and now the streets of Hurghada are filled with shopping holiday-makers and sun seekers. Some say it has turned into Sharm El Sheikh with Burger King, Costa Coffee and other signs of “civilisation” and for sure it’s lost some of its original genuine charm since I came here in 1999 but you can still find the real Egypt if you stay off the main strip.
Diving around Hurghada
The Red Sea around Hurghada is rich in coral reefs and marine life and there are plenty of dive sites to chose from. From the hors shoe shaped reef system Shaab El Erg with the famous “Dolphin Hose” via sheer walls of Um Gammar and Shaab Ruhr, the semi tame moray eels on Carless, the spectacular coral gardens around Abu Nugar and Abu Galawa, the frogfishes on El Fanadeer, the walls and pinnacles of marine park Giftun Islands and Abu Ramada, the nice and shallow reefs around Magawish Islands all the way down to El Desha and Abu Hashish. The variation is unbeatable and suitable to any level of experience.
And for non divers?
But what to do if you don’t dive? Have no fear; bring the non-diving spouse, sibling or granny. There is plenty to do on land as well.
Getting around in Hurghada
Hurghada is almost 45km long but only a fraction of that wide so to move around can be time consuming. As long as you chose one part per day, like El Dahar, Segalla or the new touristy area in the south around Esplanada Mall you can pretty much walk around but to get from one part to another you need to use some sort of transportation. Basically there are three ways to do this. Bus, taxi or limo. Your hotel will have its own limo-service which is easy to use but way more expensive than anything else (unless you get a Harrier Jump Jet)
Cheaper then to walk outside the hotel area (taxis from outside are normally not allowed in) and get one of the plentiful taxis. These are orange and dark blue and a fairly new addition (2006) to the public transportation system in Hurghada. They are supposed to drive on taximeter but it’s worth to remember that the government decided the fair one day and the next raised the price on fuel with 140%… It’s a good thing to ad some on what the metre says to be fair to the driver. Normally you’d pay LE5 within a zoon and LE10 from one to another. This is per car… Not per person!
If you want to get around even cheaper you can get into a “Yalla-bus” and travel around the Good old Egyptian way. Here you pay 25 piaster/head for short distances, like a few blocks, 50 piaster/head within a zoon and LE1 to LE1:50 from one zoon to another. These travel a preset rout but you can hire the whole vehicle for about the same price as a taxi and then of course you decide how you’ll go. This is called mahsous (special).
Note: These busses are not allowed into the new area from Old Vic to Princes Palace hotel so if you want to go to the duty free shop, Esplanada Mall, Dutch Bar or Hard Rock Cafe you’ll have to walk the last bit. For bus prices look here.
There are also two official bus lines. The El Gouna transport and The City Bus Hotel Shuttle. If you get on to one of those they have a “ticket man” that will tell you how much you should pay.
All three photos above was taken within 2 minutes and that’s about the same time you would have to wait for transportation in Hurghada… Maximum… There is no shortage…
I see some people walking around in the streets in less they wear when they go to bed! You are a guest in a Muslim country. Respect that!
As a rule women should cover either shoulders or knees. Preferably both but you get away with one out of the two.
There is no exact rule for men but follow common sense. At least put a shirt on.
Other ways than diving to kill a day or a night in Hurghada might include:
Off Road Motor Bike
For the more adventures there is a thrilling experience to be had with Kimmo Hagman in the dessert on a KTM. Check out Bike Egypt’s website www.bike-egypt.com for more details.
There are two bowling alleys in Hurghada, one behind to Sindbad Resort and one behind the AKA pyramid (the latter temporary closed at the moment).
You can have a game and a beer except during Ramadan.
There are two cinema theatres in Hurghada. One in Farouk Centre (right picture) and one in Sea Gull Mall (left picture). It’s not every week there is a “foreign” movie but now and then.
There are two go-cart tracks in Hurghada, one on the airport road just before Magawish Resort and one in El Gouna. If you’re a group it might be a good idea to call ahead and book the track.
In the new marina you can do more than dine and wine and dance the night away. You can also be shot halfway into space with the reversed bungee-thingy.
For the water addicted diver who can’t see himself out in the dessert miles away from the sea there are always kite surfing. There are plenty of schools around and probably you can get instructions from the beach of your hotel.
Almost every tour operator arrange Jeep Safaris into the desert where you get to see a “beduine village”, ride a camel and watch the spectacular dessert-sunset.
Drive a quad bike in the desert and get sand everywhere.
Fun and refreshingly unsafe.
Horse back riding
There are plenty of stables in Hurghada where you can either get lessons or take a horse out for a spin in the dessert or on the beach. You’d never felt more like movie star…
If you want to bring a memorabilia from Egypt the water pipe or shisha is a classic choice. Depending on the size and model you’ll get one for around 50-150LE. There are about one million shops that sell them so if you have time and patience you’ll make a good deal.
Another popular item to buy and bring home is a collection of spices. There are pre-packed assortments in every souvenir shop but you can also find stands, like the one to the right, with baskets where you botanize and chose your own favourites.
Wining, Dining and misbehaving in Hurghada
Since the original incarnation of Aziab.com a lot of the restaurants in Hurghada have changed. We will be updating this page with new reviews soon. 🙂