Located along Egypt’s Red Sea coast between Cairo and Luxor, Hurghada is a delightful beach resort popular with both international tourists and Egyptian holidaymakers from Cairo, the Delta, and Upper Egpyt. Along with Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada is one of the most popular Red Sea coastal resorts in Egypt and is renowned for its vast stretches of sandy beach and exciting scuba diving opportunities.
Hurghada also boasts a huge range of luxury resort hotels to choose from, a bustling nightlife, and exceedingly good weather year-round, making it an ideal beach destination.
Average temperatures in Hurghada in summer are around 26°C to 29°C and can reach around 33°C in the hottest months, and the water temperature is moderate throughout the year, adding to the appeal of participating in water activities in the resort.
Read on for a complete Hurghada Egypt travel guide, including advice for Hurghada safety and whether it is necessary to obtain an Egypt tourist visa to visit the resort.
What is Hurghada Famous for?
Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century and named after a local plant that has naturally grown in Egypt since ancient times. It started out life as a small fishing village but in the 1980s both Egyptian and foreign investors began developing the town into a coastal resort and tourist destination. Today, Hurghada stretches around 36 kilometers along the Red Sea coast and boasts over 170 hotels, with more still being developed.
The city of Hurghada is divided into 5 districts:
- El Ahia and El Helal in the north
- El Dahar, the old town
- El Kawsar, the modern quarter
- El Mamsha, the longest street in Hurghada
- Sekalla, the city center
The most popular districts for tourists are El Dahar, where visitors can explore the town’s traditional bazaar, Sekella, and El Mamsha, where some of the newest and biggest resort hotels are located.
The biggest tourist attraction in Hurghada is undoubtedly the long stretches of beach along the coastline, as well as the diverse marine life and natural coral reefs found in the waters of the Red Sea. For this reason, scuba diving is a popular activity in the resort. There are several offshore islands to explore close to the Hurghada coast, including:
- Abu Minqar Island
- Abu Ramada Island
- Dishet El-Dhaba
- Gifton Island
- Umm Gammae
- Sheduan Island
There are also several shipwrecks off the coast of Hurghada which are popular with tourists passionate about diving. Many of the hotels and resorts in Hurghada provide water sports facilities for scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as activities including windsurfing, kitesurfing, and yachting.
Do I Need a Visa for Hurghada?
As there are only a few nationalities who are visa-exempt for Egypt, the majority of foreign travelers who wish to visit Hurghada for a holiday are required to obtain a visa to travel to the resort. Citizens of a number of countries are now able to apply for an eVisa to go to Egypt for Hurghada through a simple online application, which eliminates the need to apply from an embassy or consulate or queue at the border for a visa on arrival.
The online Egyptian visa for Hurghada is available as either a single-entry or multiple-entry visa. The multiple-entry visa allows the holder to visit Egypt any number of times over a period of 180 days.
Both options allow total stays of up to 30 days with each entry to the country. However, the single-entry eVisa only permits the holder one unique visit within 3 months.
Applicants for a Hurghada visa online are able to complete the online form in just a few minutes by providing basic personal and passport information. After paying the eVisa fee and submitting the application, the approved online visa is sent to the applicant via email.
Although it is possible to obtain a Hurghada visa on arrival, the application process can involve waiting in long lines at border entry checkpoints. Those who apply for the visa online are able to print a copy of the approved eVisa to present alongside their passport on arrival in Egypt, to gain expedited entry to the Hurghada resort.
Visa Requirements for Hurghada (Egypt)
International travelers must meet the requirements for an Egypt visa for Hurghada to obtain one.
The applicant’s nationality must be eligible for the Egyptian eVisa. For example, British, Canadian, Russian, and US citizens, among many others are able to apply.
The following items are required to successfully complete the online application form:
- A passport issued by an eligible country with a minimum of 6 months’ validity
- A current email address
- A method of payment (credit or debit card) to cover the Egypt visa fee
The same passport must be used both for the eVisa application and for traveling to Egypt. If the passport registered in the online form is lost, stolen, damaged, or is otherwise rendered invalid, the traveler is required to reapply with their new passport.Obtain Visa to Hurghada
Visa On Arrival at Hurghada Airport
Although it is possible to obtain a Hurghada visa on arrival at the airport, the application process can involve waiting in long lines at border entry checkpoints.
Those who apply for the visa online are able to print a copy of the approved eVisa to present alongside their passport on arrival in Egypt, to gain expedited entry to the Hurghada resort and avoid spending a lot of time waiting at border control.
Getting from Hurghada to Cairo
Foreign travelers who wish to visit Hurghada have several options for how to arrive. Many travelers choose to first fly to Cairo International Airport and then take a direct flight to Hurghada, which only takes around an hour. There are also cheaper indirect flights which can take up to 3 hours to arrive in Hurghada. There is also the option to take a flight to Luxor and then take a taxi to Hurghada, which takes around 4 hours.
However, Hurghada also has its own International Airport, the second busiest airport in Egypt after Cairo International. Hurghada International Airport has frequent direct flights to the main airports in Europe and the Middle East, and it takes between 4-5 hours to reach Hurghada from most major European cities.
Hurghada International Airport is located inland, 5 kilometers southwest of El Dahar, the old town of Hurghada. Getting to Hurghada from the airport is easy, as regular buses run between the airport and Hurghada city center and the resort area, as well as to several other towns in the area such as Al Quseir, El Gouna, and Sharm El Naga.
Are Holidays in Hurghada Safe?
Several foreign travel advisories, including that of the UK, do not advise against travel to Hurghada. In general, Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, which include Hurghada and Sharm El Sheik, are considered safe for tourists to travel to. As Egypt relies on tourism for a large percentage of its economic income, the government takes safety in the most popular resorts very seriously.
Although tourists are advised against all but essential travel to some parts of Egypt, such as the northeastern regions of North and South Sinai, Hurghada is considered safe to visit. The terrorist activities which have affected other parts of Egypt have rarely impacted Hurghada, and in recent years security has been significantly increased in the resort to ensure it maintains its status as a relaxing holiday destination.