You’re on holiday in Egypt’s popular resort of Hurghada and it’s another hot and sunny day. But you feel the need to explore, see some of this unique country and meet the locals. Here are my top four things to do for a day out in and around Hurghada.
Sitting at the heart of the Nile, Luxor is just a four hour road transfer away from Hurghada and transports you to another world entirely, with its temples and tombs. For me, Karnak Temple is a must-see and leaves you completely bewildered about how they managed to build something on this scale, 4,000 years before the invention of cranes!
The West Bank in Luxor is home to a multitude of fascinating sights, including the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, where you can walk into the colourful tombs of many pharaohs of Egypt; one being the famous King Tutankhamen. Legend has it that the tomb has been cursed since it was opened back in the 1920s; dare you enter? I gave it a miss… There’s so much to see in Luxor that it’d be worth spending one night here to spread it out and take it all in.
Top tip – If on a day trip, take plenty of snacks and water, especially for the return journey.
It’s hard to describe how fantastic the colourful underwater world is in the Red Sea. The feeling of swimming with so many different types of colourful fish in the crystal clear sea is addictive, and I guarantee that if you try it once, you’ll try again. In my time snorkelling in the Red Sea, I’ve come within touching distance of a six foot Napoleon Wrasse, a turtle and dolphins playing in their own environment out at sea. The best thing, though, is that because the sea is so salty, even if you’re a complete novice, you float! So keeping above the water is easy.
Top Tip –To find reefs where you can swim straight out from the beach and snorkel, you’ll need to be at a hotel in Makadi Bay or Sahl Hasheesh. Otherwise, you can take one of the many boat trips out from your hotel.
Haggling is the name of the game in Egypt, and if you’re not used to this, then it can be a little confusing. So always go by the rule that you start at 50% of the price that they give you and then work up from there. The golden rule is that you never pay the first price given and the shopkeepers wouldn’t expect you to either.
You can find anything and everything you need in the shopping areas of Hurghada, like Sheraton Street, but there’s also a shopping mall similar to what you’d see in the UK called the Senzo Mall. Here, you’ll find a huge supermarket and small stores, along with some well-known fast food outlets and a cinema.
Top Tip – If haggling isn’t for you, then look out for a store named Cleopatra, where everything is priced and no haggling is allowed.
Cairo is Egypt’s capital city and a fascinating, bustling mix of the old and the new. You can choose to go to Cairo from Hurghada by either plane or bus, but a flight would give you much more time in Cairo and only takes one hour. Plus, you usually get a great view of the pyramids from the air before landing. Talking of the pyramids, the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; you can actually go inside the Great Pyramid (not recommended if you’re claustrophobic), which is truly amazing.
The Egyptian Museum is one of the best things to see in Cairo and is definitely not to be missed. Then once you’ve seen its many highlights, why not break away from the usual tourist hotspots and visit the real downtown Cairo? Take in the markets and bag a bargain, smoke some shisha with the locals in the cafés and check out the Islamic centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Top Tip – Get the earliest flight possible (usually around 6am) and head straight for the pyramids, especially in the summer as it’s very open and very hot.