Things to Do in Hurghada
The two Giftun Islands—Giftun Kebir and Giftun Sughayer—are some of the closest to Egypt’s resort town of Hurghada and comprise part of a marine reserve in the Red Sea with spectacular coral reefs and drop-offs teeming with life. Day-trippers come for snorkeling, diving, and sunbathing on the pair of islands’ pristine, protected beaches.
Opened in 2008, Hurghada Marina is the recreational hub of the Red Sea resort. Centered on a 200-berth harbour and bordered by the Marina Boulevard—a walkway flanked by palms, parks, and ochre-painted shops and residential blocks—the marina boasts an abundance of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Hurghada’s Marine Biology Museum reveals insights into the aquatic wonderland lying offshore.
Whether you’re a keen snorkeler or want to learn more about the world’s rare coral reefs, the museum provides all the answers, focusing on the Red Sea’s ecological environment.
You’ll also find out about the critters that live in the Red Sea, including sharks and turtles.
North of Hurghada’s luxury resorts lies the Old Town of El Dahar, where you’ll find the city’s most authentic restaurants and shops. A highlight of the area is a traditional Egyptian souk that’s crammed with shops selling leather, copper, papyrus, spices, and shisha pipes.
The corals of Careless Reef, set in the open waters of the Red Sea about an hour from Hurghada, are flourishing again as it recovers from the crown-of-thorns seastar’s predation. With excellent visibility, shallow pinnacles, and a steep wall with caves and overhangs, it offers something for every diver, including the chance of big pelagics.
Mahmya Island, a small island off the coast of Hurghada, offers access to some of the clearest, bluest waters of the Red Sea away from the busy nearby shores. Accessed by boat, the island has food and lounge facilities and places to get snorkel gear. Snorkeling in this area is a must, as the underwater life is bright, colorful and active and it is less crowded than in other snorkel spots.
An abundance of marine life awaits in the many reefs just below the water’s surface. Dozens of tropical fish and a variety of coral types can be seen just off the island’s beach. Dolphins are a frequent sighting and a highlight for many visitors to this area. Soak in the Egyptian sun on a white-sand beach and cool off with a dip in the calm, turquoise waters.
At the Alf Leila Wa Leila hotel property, 1,001 Nights (Alf Leila Wa Leila) is a celebration of Egyptian culture, color and dance with a variety of entertainment and dinner theater shows. Serving local food and drink, the many acts tell the history and folklore of Egypt through live music, a sound and light show, belly dancing and a pharaonic horse show that includes acrobatics and horsemanship. Each show tells the life of ancient Egypt and its pharaohs, the tribal history of the Bedouins, and other customs and traditions of the many regions of Egypt.
The shows are set in the largest theater of the area, with a seating capacity of 2,500. Other highlights include traditional Egyptian architecture including a large fountain and a performance of tanoura, an Egyptian folk dance in Sufi festivals. The whirling dance is unique to Egypt, performed by Sufi men in long, colorful skirts.
This beachfront water park in Hurgada is a favorite for many families visiting the area. With 46 different water slides, a wave pool, water cannons, a wave simulator for surfing, waterfalls throughout and the turquoise ocean merely steps away, there are dozens of ways to enjoy the water. Brightly colored themed structures provide ways to stay cool while climbing and playing in the freshwater. Palm trees create shade in a lagoon area for when it’s time to relax.
There is also a lounge area facing the sea on the hotel’s private beach, seven large pools (three of which are freeform,) or the option to stay in the water and float along in one of the many inner tubes. Water slides range from small and slow to extreme and fast, the largest of which is a 19-meter free fall slide. There are also supervised smaller pools designated for children.
Once a small fishing village, Hurghada has grown into the most toured destination in Egypt. Though it sits beside the bright-blue waters that bring many visitors to the area, the Abdel-Moneim Riad Mosque stands tall on its own — offering visitors the chance to connect with the daily life and culture of the beach town.
The intricate design of the mosque’s classic Islamic architecture — combined with the scenic placement in the area between the main street and the ocean — makes this a unique mosque to visit. The minarets can be seen from long distances, and the call to prayer can be heard resonating from within its walls. Domes, arches and hallways are detailed with delicate carvings. Local citizens can be often seen heading to the mosque, with most visiting on Fridays for prayer.
The short trip to Mons Porphyrites is a popular excursion from Hurghada.
Egypt’s rare porphyry was highly valued by the ancient Romans, and these former Roman quarries were mined for their precious purple and white crystalline stone, used to decorate columns, sarcophagi and temples.
This former quarry town was once a thriving settlement of houses, temples and workshops. Today, you can still see relics of this activity, which involved not only quarrying the semiprecious stone but also dragging it for miles across the remote desert sands to the Nile, from where it was shipped to Rome.
Nearby Mons Claudianus supplied the Romans with rare black granite, which was used to carve the pillars of Rome’s Pantheon.
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