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Hurghada: Pearl of the Red Sea

Tue, Sep. 4, 2018
CAIRO – 3 September 2018: Hurghada is a small coastal town stretching almost 40 kilometers alongside the Red Sea. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days there recently. The city is famed for its scuba diving activities, but that wasn’t what I was going for to be honest. Diving enthusiasts, however, could relax because the city offers numerous diving centers and schools in a modern district named Sekala.

Weather in Hurghada is scorching hot and humid during the summer months; from June until late September. I always made sure I carried a bottle of water when I walked out in the sun to avoid dehydration. The weather becomes pleasant and cool in the evenings, and becomes even more pleasant from October until winter starts in December.

Winter is fun in Hurghada and most water sport activities keep going in most beach resorts unless safety precautions have to be applied in case of windy conditions which lead to dangerously high waves; this is a rare condition though.

Hurghada attracts tourists from all over the world; Asia, Africa, Russia, Europe and the Americas. Locals and Arabs are also attracted to the exotic, calm beach resorts available in the coastal city of Hurghada.

Snorkeling, diving and parasailing are offered in almost every beach resort in Hurghada. The Red Sea is generally renowned for its beautiful coral reef, colorful fish and sea creatures which are pleasant to get a close look at. I wasn’t interested in that as much as I was interested in laying on the beach all day enjoying my music and food. I will surely come back with my friends or family to Hurghada to explore the beauty of the Red Sea.

The beauty of the Red Sea’s coral reef and the rare, colorful sea creatures that reside in it is the main reason tourists are attracted to spend their vacation there. Another reason for visiting Hurghada is that it allows families to spend a nice family vacation in a calm, slow-paced city.

As a solo traveler, I can easily enjoy a 2-3 day vacation in Hurghada, depending on what I have in mind. As previously mentioned, the city is ideal for relaxation, water sports and beach bums who want to lay on the beach all day enjoying the clear blue sea and the warm, white sand. This is what I adore!

Districts of Hurghada

El Dahar: This is the city’s old town. It is filled with local coffee shops in which I treated myself to a hot cup of tea and hookah for a price that doesn’t exceed LE 10. The district is rather shabby, but the main roads are flooded with shops that offer all kinds of goods.
Local restaurants offer everything from seafood to Koshary (a local meal made from rice, lentils, and macaroni). Clothes shops in the old town offer locally made clothing that tourists find affordable. Unfortunately, I did not find the appropriate size, so I had to pass the chance.

Deep in the area, resides the “Souk” (Market) offering fruits, vegetables, clothes, souvenirs, girl accessories and plenty more. In such a place I recommend negotiating prices with the trader as prices are not fixed. I had a hard time beating the vendor in the price negotiating hassle, but I ended up with some good stuff!

EldaharSouk-youtube
El Dahar Souq - YouTube.com


Sekala: This is the modern district of Hurghada even though it is the most ancient of them all. It is also the shopping/tourist district as numerous small malls are available offering almost everything. Tourists and locals alike tend to enjoy shopping and a nice walk there. I did not spend much time there to be honest, because the place tends to get crowded as the sun sets and the temperature drops.

In Arabic, the word “Sekala” means boat marina. Numerous branded super markets and fast food chains are available in the modernized district. I was rather excited when I spotted Macdonald’s there!

The most popular shopping places in Sekala are Sultan Centre Shop, Evolution Egypt, Akhenaton Egypt Gallery, Downtown bazaar and Senzo mall. I checked out most of them, and the shopping variety was splendid!

Senzo Mall is the most popular and most spacious mall in the district. The place offers everything to families and teenagers. A play area is designed for children inside the mall which tends to get noisy as the families arrive.

Village road is another touristic path located south of Sekala. It is home to top notch 5+ star hotels that offer all kinds of services to tourists. This place is considered upscale and not really for locals.

Tourists can freely and safely walk at night, enjoying the weather and shops that surround the street from both sides. I loved walking there late at night as the city quiets down.

Touristic pathway - aligatorek arwikipedia.com
Touristic Pathway, Hurghada - ar.wikipedia.com

The marina/harbor is close to the area where private yachts and boats hibernate on the water, which makes beautiful scenery ideal for taking pictures.
Sahl Hashish Road is an upscale area also branching South of Village Road. The road is also home for upscale hotels and resorts. I had no energy left to walk up there, but I had a glimpse from afar. Private properties are also located on Sahl Hashish Road. This area is considered for the well off.

North of Sekala, many hotels run a shuttle to the Marina, where many shops, bars and diners are available. Sekala is also home to most bars of Hurghada.

A tourist seeking to eat traditional Egyptian food must visit El-Dahar. It is safe to go in groups or even as a solo backpacker. I do not recommend a foreign woman to go to El-Dahar alone. I felt safe walking there even at night, but being a young, strong local man gives me an advantage.

Personally, I stayed in Marriott Beach Resort Hurghada for three days. The hotel was magnificent; the interior and exterior design, the services, the pool, the lobby and the staff were all amazing.

Most locals in Hurghada view tourists as heavy bags of money, but genuine people are also present everywhere. I did not notice any begging going on anywhere in the city; this is probably because of the efforts exerted by the local police.

Hurghada can be considered as a diverse city, because many locals from Upper Egypt head to Hurghada to find a job and therefore a tourist will meet many locals working there that are not actually the original residents of the city.

My experience in Marriott Beach Resort was pleasant and I surely recommend it. The room was perfect, and hygiene was well taken care of.

marriott2standardroom-mariotofficial
Marriott Standard Room, Hurghada - Marriott Official Website

Mariott1
Marriott Hurghada - Marriott Official Website

Last but not least, I do recommend Hurghada to families, honeymooners and solo travelers. Night life is present in Hurghada everywhere, but it is not the ideal city for night owls who seek a wild night life vacation. Hurghada is a rather slow-paced “chilling” type of city, and that is what I liked most about it.

I was glad to meet and socialize with people from several countries, which deepened my general knowledge and networking skills.

Beauty of Hurghada - Marriott official
Beauty of Hurghada - Marriott Official Website

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