Where to go
Things to do in Hurghada
Hurghada offers the best of both Egypts – the wonders of Red Sea and ease of access to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Once you manage to peel yourself away from the sunlounger, you can dive among some of the most vibrant reefs on the planet, rumble through the desert in an off-road safari or discover some of the greatest treasures of the ancient world. And if you fancy keeping it local, there are city tours of Hurghada and a visit to the Turkish baths to look forward to. Top six things to do in Hurghada 1. Hurghada city tour It wasn’t so long ago that Hurghada was a quiet fishing village. But you get an aromatic reminder of this when you arrive by the port, where the raucous fish market is a hive of activity. And just opposite the market is the vast Al Mina Mosque. Also worth a look is the Coptic church of St Shenouda. Its glistening geometric shapes have made it a favourite of Instagrammers. But the highlight is the shopping. Have a poke around the souk, soaking up the atmosphere and haggling with vendors. And if you can’t make it to heritage sites on the Nile, the Hurghada Museum has a collection of priceless artefacts dating as far back to the pharaohs. 2. Snorkelling or diving in the Red Sea With kaleidoscopic reefs and shoals of rainbow-coloured fish, the name Red Sea falls far short of describing the wealth of colours you’ll discover under the waves. There are countless species of invertebrates waiting to be discovered. Many boat tours head out to the Carless reef or to dive sites around the Abu Nuhas reef, with diving and snorkelling options available. While other boats have glass-bottom hulls, allowing you to see the underwater kingdom without getting wet. 3. Zoom off on a desert safari and visit a Bedouin camp The Sahara is a stone’s throw away from Hurghada, and there’s no better way to explore it than an off-road safari. Sand buggies, quads, ATVs… there are options for almost every day of the week. The hills west of the city are the stomping ground for these adrenaline-pumping experiences, with many stopping in Bedouin camps for tea and the chance to meet members of the nomadic tribes who’ve roamed the desert here for centuries. 4. Journey to Ancient Egypt in Luxor Dubbed the world’s greatest open-air museum, Luxor is worth the trip to Egypt alone. And its setting, on the banks of the Nile is the icing on the cake. Luxor’s attractions are a like roll-call of ancient Egypt’s top treasures. The Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Valley of the Kings, Karnak, the Colossi of Memnom, the Tombs of the Nobles, the Precinct of Amun-Re and the Luxor Temple are just some of the better-known ones. And for a snapshot of the riches unearthed by archaeologists nearby, the Luxor Museum has an unbeatable collection of artefacts. 5. Turkish bath experience Egypt was under Ottoman control for three centuries and one of their legacies remains immensely popular to this day. The hammam, also known as Turkish baths, is a focal point of many communities – an opportunity to ‘get away from it all’. Steam baths, saunas, hot tubs and massages are just some of the relaxing experiences you can expect to enjoy. 6. Boat trip to the Giftun Islands If anywhere deserves to be called ‘desert island’, it’s the three islands of the Giftun archipelago. These sand-covered islets float in shallow, translucent waters just off Hurghada, and make for an ideal day trip. You can laze on the beach or nurse a drink in one of the reed-roofed beach clubs. Or, best of all, put your snorkel mask on and explore the spectacular reefs teeming with marine life.