Once a small and fishing village situated on the Red Sea, Hurgada has tranformed into the most visited tourist destination in Egypt. It is particularly loved by divers and snorkelers who flock there to catch sight of the multicolored underwater reefs and awesome marine life. With more than 100 hotels, it is a popular exotic destination where one can still enjoy the sunshine and great beaches when other parts of the world are in the dead of winter.
Is it worth visiting Hurgada? My answer is yes. Hurgada is indeed a touristy place, but is the perfect destination if you want to start your summer early. Together with my boyfriend, we spent the first two weeks of April there, when the temperatures were already around 30 degrees. It was sunny and perfect for both relaxing on the beach, and making trips to explore the surroundings. We even made a day trip to Cairo!
Are you planning your holiday to Egypt? It would be a pity to just stay at your resort. In this article, I will focus on the best things to do in Hurgada. I’ll help you find an activity suitable for you and plan your explorations, even if it’s just a simple boat trip to an island or an evening tour of Hurgada.
TOP 7 Things to do in Hurgada:
Most people come to experience the beach and never leave their resort, which is a pity. Follow my recommendations and experience at least some things what Hurgada can offer.
These are my recommended things to do in Hurgada
01 | The stunning mosques of Hurgada
Most people who live in Egypt are Muslim. (There is no proper census in Egypt, but it is estimated that around 95% of the population are Muslim, and 5% are Christian, while at least 1% adhere to other religions). When visiting a mosque, it is important to respect local traditions: remove your shoes and have your shoulders and knees covered before entering.
There are a lot of mosques around, but I’m going to recommend two that are the most worthwhile to visit. The first one is Al Mina Masjid Mosque, situated directly by the sea just at the end of the New Marina. It features beautiful architecture and the energy inside is mesmerizing. The second mosque you should visit is Abdulmoneim Riadh Mosque, also referred to as the Big Mosque. It was built in the 1970s and you can find it in the Old Town of Dahar (the neighboring shipyard is worth seeing, too).
02| The New Marina
The New Marina is a harbor located in the central district of Sigala in Hurgada. The promenade features a restaurant with food from around the world (Italian, Thai, Argentinian), as well as bars and shops. It is a nice and clean location with views of the sea and luxury yachts. I paid my visit in the morning when the marina was rather empty: the place comes more alive around the sunset.
New Marina tends to be a little more expensive for eating out than other places in Hurgada, but it is a popular dining spot worth experiencing. The views over the bobbing yachts and the Red Sea stretching to the horizon can’t be beat!
03 | The colorful markets
Wondering what to do in Hurgada is you want to escape the tourist crowds? Try exploring local markets, where foreign faces are rare and locals are focused on selling real products, rather than talking visitors into doing trips and buying souvenirs.
My recommendation is the Fresh Market in Dahar, where you can see an amazing variety of local fruits, vegetables, and spices. We saw some delicious products there, and the locals were friendly. Apart from this, I also visited the Fish Market near New Marina, which featured all kinds of underwater creatures. Very basic fishing boats can be seen there as well.
04 | Snorkeling
Thanks to its huge variety of fish and corals, exploring underwater wildlife is one of the best things to do in Hurghada. The most immersive experience can be enjoyed while diving, but if that is too much for you, you can still get a decent look at the magnificient underwater world during a snorkeling trip.
The most popular snorkeling trips are to:
Giftun Islands: the most bookend boat excursion in Hurgada. The easily accessible coral reefs surrounding the island shore are an excellent taster of the Red Sea’s beauty. The trips to Giftun island vary depending on which side you visit: some excursions are to Mahmya beach, while others are to Paradise Bay, Orange Bay, and more. Usually, it is a whole day trip with food served on board.
Sharm El Naga: Great option you are not a huge fan of boat trips and you would like to enjoy a day at your own pace. This coral reef is reachable by land, about 40 kilometers from Hurgada. The price for this trip is usually 45-50 EUR per person including food and transportation, out of which 25 EUR covers the entrance fee to the area.
04 | Diving including the shipwrecks
Hurgada offers some of the best diving sites in the world. No matter whether you want to try diving for the first time, or you are an experienced diver looking to explore unique shipwrecks, you will have a great time.
These two are the most recommended:
Abu Nuhas Shipwreck Sites: The popular and well-maintained ship wrecks called Abu Nuhas include four well-known wrecks (Giannis D, Carnatic, the Chrisoula K and the Kimon M). They all offer spectacular dives and plenty of marine life.
Gota Abu Ramada: Wall dive site with huge amounts of marine life and it’s one of the most popular dive sites near Hurghada. It is popular among novice divers. There are large concentrations of triggerfish, lionfish, and clownfish.
05 | A trip to the Pyramids
The visit to Egypt would not be complete without seeing the pyramids. At least that was what my boyfriend and I thought. Although visiting the Pyramids from Hurgada is an intensive trips (you have to travel 500 kilometers), it is really worth it. The Great Pyramid at Giza is the only one of the Ancient Seven Wonders that is still standing today.
The trip from Hurgada to Cairo can be made either by land or by air. Taking into account the poor quality of the roads, we decided to fly. In one day, we visited the famous Egyptology museum, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. We paid 200 EUR each for the tour, which is a pretty standard price. I recommend that you research the size of the groups in the tour your choose; we were lucky to be on a smaller tour just with 8 other people. However, you can also end up on a 60-person bus, which may not be for you.
06 | Other Day trips from Hurgada
The truth is, you don’t have to travel all the way to Luxor or Cairo to have an enjoyable trip. There are enough things to do in Hurgada that involved much less travel so that you won’t have to compromise your time at the beach.
These are other popular things to do around Hurgada:
Deset Safari: usually done on a jeep or quad. Classis trip, and very touristy. Don’t expect the Bedouin village to be very real.
El Gouna: This trip takes you to to the Venice of Egypt: a town build on water. Definitely an interesting and unique place to visit.
Sindbad SubMarine: a one hour trip on the only operating submarine gets you as much as 22 meters underwater.
Hurgada Aquarium: another way to experience the undersea life, but while keeping dry. Entrance fees and more info here.
07 | Shopping
Hurgada is known for its shopping opportunities. You can buy almost anything there, from shoes and clothes to electronics and even fish. Although, speaking for myself, I consider shopping in these bazaars a little overwhelming. I would only enter if you really need a small present or souvenir, such as Hibiscus tea, oil or spices. However, after one hour, I am always exhausted from negotiating with the overly chatty vendors.
It is important to keep in mind that you have to bargain with them, otherwise you will end up paying too much. If you are not comfortable with this way of shopping, another possibility is the Senzo shopping mall, with fixed prices and the possibility to pay with credit card. We visited it since it was near our accommodation, and it was a nice opportunity to buy a few snacks and presents in a supermarket (with fixed prices and credit card!). We also did appointment at local hairdresser to cut our hair.
I hope you found some inspiration above to make the best of your trip to Egypt. If you have any question about things to do in Hurgada, feel free to ask in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
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