Tourism in Hurghada

Plucked from obscurity and thrust into the limelight during the early days of the Red Sea’s tourism drive, the tiny fishing village of Hurghada has long since morphed into today’s dense band of concrete that marches relentlessly along the coastline for well over 20km. Rampant construction has left the town blighted by half-finished shells of pleasure palaces never realised. The coral reefs closest to the shore – which put Hurghada on the international hot-spot map originally – have been degraded by illegal landfill operations and irresponsible reef use. In recent years Hurghada’s star has largely lost its lustre and many travellers have migrated to the newer, glossier resorts of El-Gouna and Sharm el-Sheikh.

There is hope on the horizon, though. Further offshore there is still superb diving aplenty; local NGOs are now playing a leading role in getting the town to clean up its act; and the new resort area concentrated to the south of town and Sigala's swish new marina are bringing back some of Hurghada’s sheen. If you want to combine a diving holiday with the Nile Valley sites, Hurghada is a convenient destination. Independent travellers, however, will probably prefer to press on to Dahab in Sinai.

Hurghada is split into three main areas. To the north is Ad-Dahar, the most ‘Egyptian’ part of the city, with lively backstreet neighbourhoods and a bustling souq. Separated from Ad-Dahar by a sandy mountain called Gebel al-Afish is the congested Sigala area, with shops and restaurants aplenty. South of Sigala, lining the coastal road, is the resort strip. Here you’ll find an ever-growing row of mostly upmarket resorts.

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