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Thu, 11 May 2017

Holidays In Hurghada

Hurghada Holidays at a Glance

A boat ride away from Sharm el Sheikh across the lower end of the Gulf of Suez, Hurghada has become the number one holiday destination in Egypt for foreign holidaymakers. Burgeoning out of the simple fishing village it was two decades ago, it is now a thriving holiday oasis in the midst of the Eastern Arabian Desert at the edge of the Red Sea.

Up there among its attractions is the amazing marine ecology along its shores, where accessible coral reefs and the eerie remains of shipwrecks teem with underwater wildlife, their bright colours agleam in the rays of the desert-hot sun filtering through sparkling water. First visitors were serious diving enthusiasts, but as word of the area's charms spread, so expanded the numbers and range of tourists. The stunning sands of the coastal edge are now hugged by over a hundred high-end hotels where sunseekers, watersports enthusiasts and those looking for a vibrant night scene come to let their hair down and unwind.

Who goes to Hurghada?

Hurghada is a paradise for anyone for whom endless sunshine is a holiday prerequisite. Swimmers, snorkelers, divers, families and bons viveurs flock to the area to take advantage of the excellent facilities and ideal holiday conditions on offer.



Key Facts - Hurghada

  • LanguageArabic
  • CurrencyEgyptian Pounds (EGP)
  • Dialing Code00 20
  • Time Difference+2 GMT
  • Flight Duration5 hours 30 mins (Approx)
  • Distance From Airport10 km
  • Airport Transfer (Taxi)15 mins

The largest town on the Red Sea Coast, Hurghada is a resort which blends the cultures of east and west in a resort offering an unforgettable holiday to all comers. The smart hotels bear the stamp of arabic influence in the architecture of cubed buildings punctuated with hundreds of small, square windows and in the occasional ornate minaret, dome or arch adorning them. These hotels, along with international restaurants and buzzy night spots are the components of first impressions but are soon followed by elaborate mosques from where chants emanate, and the eastern-promise scents of spice stalls which pervade the souks and bazaars where the richly colourful tapestries of rugs and throws grab your attention. There are bargains to be had and haggling to be done for jewellery and leather goods; you won't be short of souvenir ideas, it's avoiding getting carried away that is the hard bit.

Visitors will also find museums, art centres, sporting events and festivals to entertain them and, after dark, Hurghada has much to offer energetic fun-seekers. The hotels, bars and restaurants swing into party gear with live music, dancing, and shows, and casinos and nightclubs persuade night time revellers to keep going into the small hours.

It would be a shame to come to Hurghada and not get a glimpse of the glorious marine life that put the town on the holiday map. There is some coral at the southern end of the resort which is ideal for simple beachside snorkeling, but to get the full picture of why the area is so popular, take a boat out to some of the offshore reefs and join in snorkeling or diving excursions. You will be treated to the sight of hundreds of tropical fish, coral mountains and coral covered shipwrecks shimmering in the ethereal blue of the Red Sea. Beginners and non-swimmers alike can get involved as the local diving instructors are experienced in dealing with all levels of ability. For more timorous travellers, glass-bottomed boat trips offer a more sedate way to see what lies beneath the sea's surface.

Trips further in land, perhaps on one of the many desert safaris on offer, will bring you to some stunning scenery, the formations shaped by ancient volcanic activity which have left a permanent imprint on the landscape. These mountains are the result of faults and elevating shifts that took place during the formation of the Red Sea basin, some twenty to thirty million years ago.

See the sections on Things to See and Things to Do to find out what attractions await you and the excursions available on your Olympic holiday to Hurghada.

Cairo Delights: Olympic Holidays offer three organised excursions to Cairo where you will be able to admire the majesty of the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza close up. Enter the astonishing Egyptian museum with its magnificent treasures which including Tutankamen. There is also, time to browse the renowned Khan al-Khalili bazaar. Lunch, transport, guide & programme entrance fees included. Choose between Cairo by plane, or Cairo by coach. The third option is a Cairo overnight stay which will allow you also to visit the great Citadel with its mosques and views of Old Cairo. There is also an optional evening Sound and Light Show.

Luxor Highlights: The old capital of Egypt on the Nile River is 180 kms from Hurghada, but is well worth a visit. Olympic Holidays offer two trips. See the Luxor Highlights in the great temples of Karnak, the spectacular tombs in the Valley of the kings and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and take a boat across the Nile on this amazing day trip. Lunch, transport, guide and programme entrance fees included. On the Luxor Extravaganza, with an overnight stay, you will be taken right to the heart of Pharaonic Egypt. Spend an hour sailing on the River Nile and visit the breathtaking temples of Karnak and Luxor. In the evening watch the world-famous dramatic sound and light show also at Karnak. The impressive tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the superb temple of Ramses III, the great Colossi of Memnon and the brilliant temple of Queen Hatshepsut are all on the schedule. Transport, guide, lunch on each day, breakfast, dinner and accommodation at a four star hotel and programme entrance fees included.

Sharm El Naga: Sample one of the best coral reefs on the west coast. Make your day memorable with its combination of sand, sun and sea. Take some time to snorkel in the Red Sea. Lunch & Equipment is included.

Giftun Island: Known throughout the world for its coral reefs, crystal clear waters and relaxing beaches. Relax, unwind and get a fantastic tan. Snorkel equipment provided. Lunch included on the boat. See also under 'Things to do', a trip to Mahmya Beach.

Mount Sinai: Mount Sinai, just south of the Monastery of St Katherine, is of great religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike and according to the Old Testament, it is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It therefore attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world each year. You can ascend to the summit (2285 m) for the ultimate spiritual high, by ascending 4000 steps built by monks, or on a less arduous, but longer path. Both lead to Elija's Basin where a further 750 steps will take you to the summit where the Chapel of the Holy Trinity sits, built in 1934 on the site of a much earlier chapel from 363 AD. The climb takes about three hours but the view from the top is truly breathtaking, especially at sunrise.

Ras Mohammed National Park: To visit this, Egypt's first national park, you will need to take your passport and pay a small entrance fee, but it is well worth a visit. Having crossed the gulf to Sharm El Sheikh, you can take a further boat tour west roughly 20 kms to the park. Here you will find a camping area and some lovely sandy beaches. Marsa Bareika is a very safe area for children and perfect for snorkeling. At Main Beach or Old Quay you will be able to see vertical coral walls teeming with colourful underwater wildlife. There is also an Eel Garden and Shark Observatory. Many more excellent snorkeling and diving points are to be found in the park.

Rock Art of the Eastern Desert: Often overlooked due to the abundance of pharaonic monuments in Egypt these fascinating hyroglyphs that can be found in the Eastern Desert, south-west of Hurghada are regarded by many as one of Egypt's hidden gems.

Cairo Delights: Olympic Holidays offer three organised excursions to Cairo where you will be able to admire the majesty of the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza close up. Enter the astonishing Egyptian museum with its magnificent treasures which including Tutankamen. There is also, time to browse the renowned Khan al-Khalili bazaar. Lunch, transport, guide & programme entrance fees included. Choose between Cairo by plane, or Cairo by coach. The third option is a Cairo overnight stay which will allow you also to visit the great Citadel with its mosques and views of Old Cairo. There is also an optional evening Sound and Light Show.

Luxor Highlights: The old capital of Egypt on the Nile River is 180 kms from Hurghada, but is well worth a visit. Olympic Holidays offer two trips. See the Luxor Highlights in the great temples of Karnak, the spectacular tombs in the Valley of the kings and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and take a boat across the Nile on this amazing day trip. Lunch, transport, guide and programme entrance fees included. On the Luxor Extravaganza, with an overnight stay, you will be taken right to the heart of Pharaonic Egypt. Spend an hour sailing on the River Nile and visit the breathtaking temples of Karnak and Luxor. In the evening watch the world-famous dramatic sound and light show also at Karnak. The impressive tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the superb temple of Ramses III, the great Colossi of Memnon and the brilliant temple of Queen Hatshepsut are all on the schedule. Transport, guide, lunch on each day, breakfast, dinner and accommodation at a four star hotel and programme entrance fees included.

Sharm El Naga: Sample one of the best coral reefs on the west coast. Make your day memorable with its combination of sand, sun and sea. Take some time to snorkel in the Red Sea. Lunch & Equipment is included.

Giftun Island: Known throughout the world for its coral reefs, crystal clear waters and relaxing beaches. Relax, unwind and get a fantastic tan. Snorkel equipment provided. Lunch included on the boat. See also under 'Things to do', a trip to Mahmya Beach.

Mount Sinai: Mount Sinai, just south of the Monastery of St Katherine, is of great religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike and according to the Old Testament, it is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It therefore attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world each year. You can ascend to the summit (2285 m) for the ultimate spiritual high, by ascending 4000 steps built by monks, or on a less arduous, but longer path. Both lead to Elija's Basin where a further 750 steps will take you to the summit where the Chapel of the Holy Trinity sits, built in 1934 on the site of a much earlier chapel from 363 AD. The climb takes about three hours but the view from the top is truly breathtaking, especially at sunrise.

Ras Mohammed National Park: To visit this, Egypt's first national park, you will need to take your passport and pay a small entrance fee, but it is well worth a visit. Having crossed the gulf to Sharm El Sheikh, you can take a further boat tour west roughly 20 kms to the park. Here you will find a camping area and some lovely sandy beaches. Marsa Bareika is a very safe area for children and perfect for snorkeling. At Main Beach or Old Quay you will be able to see vertical coral walls teeming with colourful underwater wildlife. There is also an Eel Garden and Shark Observatory. Many more excellent snorkeling and diving points are to be found in the park.

Rock Art of the Eastern Desert: Often overlooked due to the abundance of pharaonic monuments in Egypt these fascinating hyroglyphs that can be found in the Eastern Desert, south-west of Hurghada are regarded by many as one of Egypt's hidden gems.

Camel Safari Adventure: Be Lawrence of Arabia for the day on the back of a camel. Take part in many adventures including jeep travel and quad biking. Watch the sunset before eating under the stars in a Bedouin Camp. Lunch and dinner are included.

Quad Safari: Travel on a quad bike through the desert to a Bedouin camp to watch the sunset and stars in the night sky while dinner is cooked for you. Smoke a sheesha pipe, drink tea and relax. Individual bikes guaranteed. Suitable for over 16's only.

Mahmya Beach: Chill out on the amazing white sands of Mahmya Beach, sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling throughout the day. Equipment and lunch included.

Glass Bottom Boat: Enjoy a cruise on the Red Sea in this enclosed catamaran and admire the coral and beautiful array of tropical fish without even getting your toes wet.

Sinbad Submarine: Revel in the fantastic underwater sights visible through the large panoramic windows of the vessel taking you on this underwater cruise beneath the surface of the sea.

Scuba Diving: Hurghada along with Sharm el Sheikh, is where tourism began in this region. These were the original two destinations of the nearly 20-year-old diving history of the Red Sea - a paradise for a perfect Red Sea diving holiday where you can see turtles, dolphins, mantas and moray eels, tuna, barracudas, hammerhead, reef and pelagic sharks, and swim among hard and soft coral and the legendary World War II wreck of the Thistlegorm. Olympic Holidays offer a scuba diving day trip, Scuba Sensation, when you will dive explore the underwater world and this vast array of marine life. This fascinating introductory day to diving includes two dives in the fabulous Red Sea.

Snorkeling: Snorkeling offers an easy and enjoyable way to discover the wonders of the richness of marine life in the region. Some coral reefs lie near enough to the shore to be accessible from the beach, or you can take a boat out to some of the deeper reefs. Either way, it will be an unforgettable experience. Olympic Holidays offers a Red Sea Snorkeling day trip to three very different sites. If you are lucky, you may see dolphins in their natural environment. Equipment and lunch are included.

Watersports: Conditions here are perfect for a number of other watersports, and you will find opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, parasailing and more.

Eating/Drinking During Hurghada Holidays

The food of the middle east includes some of the tastiest flavours there are, so don't miss out on sampling the local cuisine. It offers a wide selection of wholesome and simple but delicious, and sometimes spicy, dishes with something to appeal to everyone. As well as their staple, kushari (a dish of rice, lentils, chickpeas and macaroni topped with tomato) expect to see mezza breads, traditional Egyptian salads, flame-grilled kebabs and a variety of seasonal fresh fruit. Vegetarians will also find a feast of options here - the middle east is the home of felafel, hoummous and tahini, all of which can now be found in British supermarkets - and most restaurants offer excellent vegetable soups and wonderful dishes such as stuffed aubergines and courgettes. Hurghada's coastal location means that seafood dishes are also plentiful, with various meaty fishes often being baked in salt or grilled over hot coals.

Those hankering after some typically British fare won't starve either; western-style fast food outlets are easily found, particularly around the Ad-Dahar area. As well as the familiar names, there is the Pizza Tarboush along Sharia Abdel Aziz Mustafa and the cafe Cheers on the Corniche, where burgers, sandwiches and cold beers are served 24-hours a day.

Around the souk (market) a good selection of mid-range restaurants are to be found with more international menus, mixed in with great value local offerings. One of the best areas to dine out in Hurghada is the Sigala area and along the main resort strip, where new dining options open all the time.

As an Islamic country, alcohol is not widely available. with the exception of Stella beer. Made in Egypt, it seems to be everywhere. There is also plenty of bottled water and soft drinks of all kinds. No trip to Egypt would be complete without trying Kakade, Hibiscus tea, a deliciously refreshing drink served hot or cold. Mint tea with fresh mint leaves is another option. Turkish and ordinary coffee are widely available and fresh fruit juices should not be missed. Stalls in the souk will sell you a refreshing glass of sugar-cane juice. Don't miss giving it a try.

Getting Around on Hurghada Holidays

Buses

The intercity bus service in Egypt is good offering reasonable comfort at a reasonable price. The network is extensive making it very easy to get where you want to go with little difficulty or expense. Advance booking is advisable on the most popular routes, or those with few runs timetabled. Local buses in Cairo and Alexandria (the only cities with their own bus systems) is chaotic, however. Don't expect a seat.

Mini-bus

An alternative is the minibus which leaves once full. Standing is not permitted in theory, though this is frequently ignored.

Tube train

Cairo is the only city which has an underground system. It is, however, clean, efficient and a good value way to travel. The front carriage is for women travellers only.

River bus

You can get to Giza, Manial and Misr al-Qadima (the old part of Cairo) on a leisurely 50-minute ride on a river bus. There are three departures daily from downtown Maspero: one at 8am, one at 2pm and the last at 9pm.

Taxi

The old, unmetered black and white taxis which can be hailed street-side now face competition from pre-orderable yellow taxis which a bit more expensive, and which are metered. Hold on tight for a nerve jangling experience. Tipping is expected at around 10%.

Car

An international driving permit is required for hiring cars in Egypt. You'll also need nerves of steel and sharp reactions to drive in the centre of Cairo, however. If you do decide to hire a car, keep your ID papers on you and your permit, as it is quite common to be stopped and, if without them, fined.

Hurghada Holidays Shopping

One of the great delights of Egypt is the opportunity it affords to come home with some great bargains, and exotic-looking items. It helps to learn how to barter, and to know where the best places are to buy certain goods. There is an amazing range of goods on offer from exotic spices to exquisite jewellery; gorgeously textured shawls and scarves to brilliantly coloured papyri; handcrafted brass and copperware to quality reproductions of antiquities; and delicately glowing alabaster to fabulously designed carpets and rugs.

The souks and bazaars of Egypt have an excitement and flavour quite unlike anything that you will experience elsewhere.

One of the great delights of Egypt is the shopping! However, there are many pitfalls: from learning how to bargain to knowing where the best places are to buy certain goods.

You will be truly amazed at the range of goods, from souvenirs to treasures, that you can purchase and package to take on the plane flight home with you. Everything from exotic spices to exquisite jewellery; gorgeously textured shawls and scarves to brilliantly coloured papyri; handcrafted brass and copperware to quality reproductions of antiquities; and delicately glowing alabaster to fabulously designed carpets and rugs.

The souks and markets of Egypt have an excitement and flavour that is all their own and quite unlike anything that you will experience elsewhere. The range of wares on display is mind-boggling and the friendliness and hospitality of the shop owners is unrivalled. The sights, smells and sounds will overwhelm your senses at the same time that the exotic atmosphere created by the place and its people will dazzle your imagination.

Holidays in Hurghada - Beaches

The coastline of Hurghada is one glorious, 40 km-long beachfront studded with date palms and divided into several private beaches owned by the hotels alongside them. Many shelve imperceptibly gently into the sea making them ideal for young children and inexperienced swimmers and, for a small fee, you can make use of the beaches of hotels other than the one you are staying in.

Elysees Dream Beach: One of the best is Elysees Dream Beach which is open daily between 9am and 7pm, and which levies a charge of around 30 Egyptian pounds (roughly £3) for entry. There are sun loungers, palm-covered parasols, a bar, food, WiFi and more.

Sakkala: The beach in Sakkala enjoys music, cool drinks and the benefit of a coral reef close to the shore. This was formerly the well-known and popular Papa's Beach Club and is now The Ministry of Sound, a lively place to hang out as dusk descends and a party atmosphere settles on the scene.

El Kawser: A long promenade has been constructed along the coastline about 1 km south of Sakkala in an area called El Kawser, which is lined with shops, bars, cafes and new hotels, ideal for an evening stroll.

The marina close to the Sheraton Hotel, opened in 2008 and offers up-market shops, cafes and restaurants alongside the exclusive yachts moored there, and the best views of the setting sun.

See under Things to Do, an Olympic Holidays day trip to Mahmya Beach on Giftun Island.

Please note - Egypt is an Islamic country where topless sunbathing is not permitted. Any flouting of this would be ill-advised.

Weather and climate information

Max Temp C Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Hurghada 16 17 19 23 27 30 32 31 29 26 21 17
London 6 7 10 13 17 20 22 21 19 14 10 7

Sunshine Hours Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Hurghada 7 8 9 10 11 13 13 12 11 10 8 7
London 1 2 4 5 6 7 6 6 5 3 2 1


 5 Day Forecast - Hurghada Holidays

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