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Where is Hurghada? Discover Egypt’s treasure on the Red Sea

by Pilar Dujan | April 25, 2023
the city of Cairo in Egypt

Of course everybody knows that Egypt is a country worth visiting. It has an enormous amount of historical monuments and an iconic desert (and river, ever heard of the Nile?). There are also stunning cities in Egypt!

Another great and lesser known activity to do while you’re visiting is going to the beach or cruise to Egypt. Travel in Hurghada is one of the best ways to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Red Sea in Egypt, discover it here.

Where is Hurghada?

Map showing where is Hurghada

Are you wondering where is Hurghada? This city is located in central East Egypt along the coast of the Red Sea. It's also the capital of the Red Sea Governorate.

How much time do you need to spend if you travel to Hurghada? 

Well, it depends. Depending on what you want to do, the amount of time you will need for travel in Hurghada. 

If you plan on relaxing on the Red Sea and just take a tour of the city, a couple of days will be enough. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do in Hurghada: you could be there a week and not get bored. 

If you stay for more than just a few days, you could take the chance to visit the Giftun Islands for scuba diving. These islands are very close to Hurghada and have beautiful beaches you shouldn’t miss.

What’s the best time to travel to Hurghada?

The best months for a trip to Hurghada are between April and June, or between September and November. Those are the times of the year when the weather is hot and sunny without being suffocating, which means that it’s the best time to enjoy the main activity of Hurghada: its beaches.

What can you do in Hurghada?

Hurghada’s tourism industry is rising constantly, and this is why the best beaches of the city are located inside private resorts. You should try to find one that fits your interests and budget so you can relax next to the Red Sea on an amazing beach. 

Here are our recommendations on what to do in Hurghada, whether you’re staying in a resort or on some other kind of accommodation.

Visit the Giftun Islands

The Giftun Islands are located very close to Hurghada. Its main islands are Giftun Kebir or Big Giftun, located to the west and closer to Hurghada, and Giftun Soraya or Little Giftun, which is further east.

In them you will find stunning beaches with clear water and all kinds of sea life, which means they are a perfect destination for snorkeling or scuba diving. The mainland is a desert, a contrast worth seeing.  

Scuba dive in Hurghada

Scuba diving is one of Hurghada’s main attractions. The biodiversity you will be able to find both in Hurghada and the Giftun Islands makes for a unique underwater show. No wonder it’s one of the three best scuba diving spots in the entire world!

Is this your first time scuba diving? Then you should go to diving school to get certified. This usually takes a couple of days, so make sure to leave room in your itinerary for the wait.

So what makes Hurghada a great place to learn how to dive? The currents are not strong and you can see the biodiversity without the need of going very deep. 

Snorkeling in Hurghada

Do you trust your swimming skills? Do you want to see what Hurghada’s sea has to offer? Then pack your snorkeling gear and get in the water! This doesn’t require lessons of any kind and it still makes for an amazing experience. 

If you can’t swim, then don’t worry! You can get up to 20 mts. deep on a submarine tour. Enjoy this unique activity and witness the amount of fish that live below Hurghada. 

You should take into account that all the best snorkeling/scuba diving spots in Hurghada are far away from the coast. The best thing you can do is book a boat trip or an excursion that gets you to these spots. 

Another amazing Hurghada fact? It is very likely that you will get to see swimming dolphins! If you run into them on your tour and get the chance to join them in a swim, remember to listen to every security recommendation from the professionals in charge. You should never jump on them, avoid touching them and keep a safe distance. 

Get to know the city of Hurghada

Hurghada is divided in three main areas: Sigala, El-Dahar y El-Memsha. 

Sigala has the best beaches filled with resorts and restaurants. The luxury resorts are located in the south part of Sigala. 

El-Dahar is the oldest part of the town. Visit the El-Dahar bazaar (remember to haggle in every single transaction) and walk through the neighboring streets for the realest Egyptian experience. 

Al Fondok avenue is the center of all foot traffic in Hurghada. This is where you will find many restaurants, bars, shops and more. 

To visit modern Hurghada, El-Memsha is the correct place. Close by you will find the Sahl Hasheesh and Makadi areas, which have the best white-sand beaches and hotels. 

Visit the El Mina Mosque 

The El Mina Mosque opened its doors in 2012 and it’s the biggest (and most beautiful!) of the area. It holds space for 10.000 people.

Simply watching it from outside will be an unforgettable experience: it’s fully decorated with white marble and it has 25 domes. However, you should still try to get inside: you will see hanging lamps and many different types of murals. When it’s not the time for prayer, everyone can enter the mosque for free

Remember: muslim countries have their own rules, especially inside mosques. Bring clothes that will cover your shoulders and knees, and a scarf for the women with long hair. 

Walk through the Hurghada Marina

Taking a stroll through the Hurghada Marina is one of the top activities to do in this city. 

There you will find many restaurants and bars, ideal for enjoying the sunset over the Red Sea with delicious food and drinks. You can also sit down to smoke shisha if you dare!

egypt ruins with hieroglyphics in the columns

The best thing Hurghada has to offer: its beaches

Going to Hurghada and not taking advantage of its stunning beaches would be a missed opportunity. Here are our recommendations on the best beaches to visit in Hurghada:

Old Vic Beach is close to the city center. It has tranquil and clear waters and there are restaurants available by the shore. You will need to pay approximately 100 Egyptian pounds to gain access to the beach. 

Close to Old Vic you can find Dream Beach. It has better accommodations and the entry price shows it: you will have to pay 200 Egyptian pounds, double what Old Vic costs. When you pay, you will receive a towel and water bottle. 

For the smaller budgets, the Al Mashrabiya public beach would be a great option. It costs 75 Egyptian pounds and its main source of visitors are locals, not tourists. 

You could also take this opportunity as your chance to visit the Giftun Islands’ beaches, like Mahmya Beach in Big Giftun. This would be a great place for snorkeling. Another beautiful beach nearby is Paradise Beach. They are both known for having the desert right next to the beach, which makes for a stunning contrast.

Also, you must visit Orange Bay in Big Giftun, another excellent spot for snorkeling. It’s best to visit this beach during the week as it will have less visitors than during the weekend.

The best scuba diving spots in Hurghada

  • Bluff Point: it’s one of the most popular diving spots. Here you can dive for a long time in pretty shallow waters and reefs. Check out the lionfish, moray eels, stonefish and more. 
  • Ulysses: it’s a shipwreck in the Red Sea next to the reefs of Bluff Point. Built in 1871, it makes for an excellent diving spots. You may get to see sea turtles and dolphins! 
  • Shaab El Erg: it’s a 5 kilometer reef where you will be able to dive with the bottlenose dolphins that live in the area. It has seven diving spots where you will find sea turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish and so much more. 
  • Careless Reef: it’s another of the best diving spots in Hurghada. You can see tuna banks, dolphins and sharks.

Art in papyrus from Egypt with gods and hieroglyphics

Hurghada or Sharm El Sheik?

If you’re already planning on enjoying the Red Sea from Hurghada, you should also pay a visit to Sharm El Sheikh

Even though Hurghada is closer to the main attractions of Egypt and it’s easier to access by car, these two cities are not in competition: the best thing you can do is visit them both. Besides, Sharm El Sheik is closer to the best diving and snorkeling spots, so it has a lot to offer to improve your holiday.

How to get from Hurghada to Sharm El Sheik

It’s very easy to travel to Sharm El Sheik from Hurghada and vice versa: you can just take a ferry. It’s only a 90 minute trip and the ferries depart from the Hurghada port very early in the morning 4 days a week. The cost is approximately 40 US dollars for adults. 

Why is the ferry clearly the best choice? Because doing the same journey by car takes 9 and a half hours. If this is not enough, you have to take into account the gas prices, so it would not only take a lot longer than going by ferry, but it would also be more expensive. 

You can also do this trip by plane. It takes 1:30 hours and it costs between 15-31€ approximately.

How to get to Hurghada from Cairo

If your plan is to not only enjoy the best of the Red Sea but also to experience the historical side of Egypt, you may find yourself looking for transportation to take you from Cairo to Hurghada. 

Here is a list of the three ways you can do this trip:

  • By plane: it takes approximately one hour. You can buy your tickets from Egyptair and Air Cairo. 
  • By bus: it’s a 7 hour trip (or more), but it’s a lot cheaper than going by plane. The bus tickets could cost between 13 and 35 euros.
  • By car: you can rent a taxi or a private car (which will be less expensive than a taxi). The journey takes around 5 hours.

Do you need a visa for Hurghada?

Yes, you need a visa to visit Hurghada and the rest of Egypt, so you will have to get your Egypt visa. You can get yours online on You can complete your application entirely online and in your language of preference. 

If you’re not sure if your country is eligible for the online visa of Egypt, you can find out here.

Safety in Hurghada

Is Egypt safe to visit? For tourists, absolutely yes. Tourism is one of the main industries of Egypt, and it’s the reason why the country has made sure that foreign visitors feel safe when visiting. This applies to Hurghada as well. 

Even though it’s advisable to stay inside the main tourist routes and to follow the instructions of local authorities, you can rest assured that you’re not in any more danger in Egypt than in other important touristic places. 

Some general tips to improve your safety in Hurghada and Egypt would be to keep track of your belongings, avoid huge crowds and public protests and try to stay inside the designated areas for tourists.