Sinai has been booming in recent years, and Israeli tourists are flocking to it in droves, which has gotten stronger since the start of direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh. If you have already been to Sinai many times and are looking for a slightly different experience on the shores of the Red Sea, or if you want to enjoy the amazing beaches and diving sites without hearing Hebrew everywhere, we have a suggestion for you – go to Hurghada. The resort city located on the west bank of the Red Sea in Egypt, at the southern entrance to the Gulf of Suez, is an interesting alternative to Sharm and the Sinai beaches. Thanks to its location, it allows you to reach some of the most fascinating sites in Egypt. Hurghada can be reached by a three-hour boat ride from Sharm, and soon direct flights will be operated from Nabvi to the city.
In the sixties, Hurghada was a small, sleepy fishing village that attracted diving enthusiasts from all over the world. In the 1980s, the area’s franchisees discovered the tourist potential inherent in it and built dozens of hotels and resorts that turned Hurghada into a bustling and cheap resort town that attracted crowds of tourists from Europe who enjoyed the sunny beaches. A number of terrorist attacks that occurred in the city starting in the 1990s kept tourists away from it. In recent years, it seems that security has returned to the region and Hurghada, just like the Sinai beaches, is starting to come back into the picture.
Similar to Sinai, Hurghada offers dreamy beaches, spectacular coral reefs, plenty of water sports activities, attractions for the whole family and pampering resorts. Although Hurghada does not offer the unspoiled charm of Dahab or Nueva, and its coastline is covered with a dense row of hotels, but if you desire a pampering vacation, excellent diving sites near the beach, attractions for the whole family and perhaps also trips to the pyramids of Giza or Luxor – Hurghada can be a choice excellent
So what do you do in Hurghada?
Belly-back on the beach
The beautiful golden beaches and clear waters are the main attraction of Hurghada, and the warm and sunny weather that prevails throughout the year makes it a popular destination for winter vacations as well. Some of the beaches in Hurghada are more peaceful, and others are beaches with developed infrastructure, restaurants and a variety of water sports activities. Among the public beaches, it is especially recommended to visit Mahmya Beach, a beautiful beach with protected coral reefs that offers, apart from diving and snorkeling, also restaurants, entertainment centers and a spa. Smokery Beach is particularly suitable for vacationers who love action and water sports, as is Beach No. 9. If you prefer a more calm and peaceful beach, Old Vic Beach will be an excellent choice. In addition, many hotels enjoy beautiful private beaches, including Sunrise Garden Beach Resort, Hurghada Long Beach, Marriot beach and Siva Grand beach.
The Giftun Islands off the coast of Hurghada are a popular day trip destination, and it’s easy to see why. These are beautiful islands with white sand surrounded by colorful coral reefs that allow plenty of opportunities for snorkeling. The clear water and the colorful fish that swim in it guarantee an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Even if you are not interested in underwater adventures, the beautiful beaches with the clear water will provide you with plenty of peace.
Hurghada, as mentioned, is a paradise for divers. One of the best areas for diving in the Hurghada area is the Straits of Gubal, a narrow strip of water squeezed between the coast of the Red Sea and the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Here is, among other things, The Thistlegorm, a wrecked cargo ship from World War II that was discovered by diver Jacques Cousteau and became one of the leading dive sites in the world. To view a rich underwater world, it is recommended to join a diving trip to Abu Nuhas, where there are some remains of shipwrecks, among which are corals and an abundance of colorful fish. Another favorite area for divers is Ghouta Abu Ramada, also known as the aquarium, thanks to an impressive coral garden and a dizzying variety of marine animals.
Although the sea is the main star of the area, it should not be forgotten that this is a desert area with huge sand dunes, wadis interspersed with mat trees and reddish mountains – all of which invite a variety of exciting desert activities, such as trips in all-terrain vehicles, ATVs or camels. The camel trips are especially suitable for families with children, when you can go on short tours along the beach or go deeper into the desert. Many companies offer an authentic dinner in a desert tent and even if you have had a similar experience in the Negev, it is still a fun and delicious experience.
The desert sky is perfect for stargazing. Although in Hurghada itself you will not be able to observe the stars due to the city lights, but astronomical tours depart from the city to dark desert areas with clear skies, where you can observe the starry sky. The tours are accompanied by telescopes and guidance on the stars they are watching.
Hurghada’s elegant and lively marina is a great place to spend an evening. From the boardwalk you can look out over the Red Sea and the boats swaying on the water, and a walk along it is especially recommended at sunset. When it gets dark, you can sit down to smoke a hookah in one of the many cafes, or enjoy dinner in a row of local and international restaurants.
The Little Egypt Museum
As in many large cities in the world, Hurghada also has its own miniature park with miniature models of buildings and monuments from Egypt. In the park you will find meticulous models of the pyramids in Giza, the Luxor temple, the library in Alexandria, the Abu Simbel temple, the Aswan dam and more. Highly recommended, and not just for children.
In Hurghada they knew how to use the surrounding desert sand to create an open museum consisting of impressive sand sculptures. The museum has 42 giant sculptures and 17 reliefs. The complex is divided into two – one part of historical art with sculptures and sand reliefs of historical sites, mythological figures, military commanders and more. Among other things, here you will see sand sculptures of the pyramids and the Sphinx, of Sparta, of Napoleon, of Poseidon, of Pegasus and more. The second part is a land of fairy tales, with characters of superheroes and animated characters and a special area dedicated to Disney. Sometimes there are workshops for children.
Makadi Water Park
Families who come to Hurghada will enjoy the Makadi water park, one of the largest water parks in Egypt with over fifty water slides, several pools, a tubing course and other wet and refreshing attractions.
If you want to enjoy the underwater world of Hurghada without getting wet, you can do so at the aquarium located in the A-Dhar area. This is also an excellent site where you can identify the different species you met during the snorkeling or diving. The aquarium displays various species that live in the Red Sea, and has 24 different galleries, as well as a rainforest display, a mini zoo, a marine aquarium, a freshwater aquarium and a shark channel. One of the exciting experiences the site offers is diving with sharks.
Cruise in the Sindbad submarine
A good and slightly more exciting option for those who want to experience the underwater wealth of Hurghada without getting wet, is to sail in the Sindbad submarine. This is the only tourist submarine in the Red Sea, and it descends to a depth of 25 meters below the sea level and allows you to see the colorful coral reef and the multitude of fish and creatures living in it through 18 panoramic windows.
Shopping at Bazaar Al Dhar
Bazaar Al Dhar (El Dahar) in the old city is a paradise for shopping lovers. This is an authentic Egyptian bazaar in whose narrow streets there are old buildings, colorful shops and many small stalls that sell everything from everything – clothes, carpets, spices, hookahs, handicrafts and many other things that you will be happy to take home as a souvenir. The market is especially lively from late morning until early evening. After wandering, you can sit in one of the cafes.
Hurghada is an excellent base for day trips to some of the most fascinating destinations in Egypt, even if some are very long. Since we are talking about very long travel days, it is recommended to join organized tours since it is impossible to have them for one day by public transportation. Many companies offer organized tours from Hurghada. One of the recommended tours departs from Hurghada to Luxor, which is about four hours away from Hurghada. In the city, which is located on the east bank of the Nile River, is the largest complex of temples in Egypt and you can see, among others, the Luxor Temple, the Karnak Temple, the Necropolis of Thebes and the Valley of the Kings where the tombs built for the pharaohs of the New Kingdom are located. It is not by chance that Luxor was nicknamed “the largest open-air museum in the world”.
Another recommended day trip is to Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and especially to nearby Giza. You should take into account that due to the long journeys it is a full day trip that continues deep into the night and it is likely that you will spend a significant part of the day sleeping uncomfortably on the bus. On the other hand, it is a great opportunity to see the famous pyramids and the Sphinx.
Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.
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