Planning a trip to Hurghada or El Gouna any time soon? If yes, then good for you, that’s probably one of the better decisions you’ve made recently. If not, then what are you waiting for? Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation (we have 9 world-class beaches in Egypt) or something with a bit more activity than just bumming on the beach, the Red Sea coast where Hurghada and El Gouna are located will deliver every single time.
The coastal city of Hurghada and the resort town of El Gouna are about 25 km apart, so it’s an easy trip by car or bus between the two. The Hurghada airport provides easy access to both, or you can drive/take a bus from Cairo (about a 4 hour drive by car).
So whether you’re staying in Hurghada or El Gouna, here are 25 fun things to do to get the most out of your trip.
1. World-class diving
Both Hurghada and El Gouna have numerous PADI-certified dive centers to choose from, whether you want to learn to dive for the first time or are an old hat at it. While there are great wreck dives for advanced divers, this area is also ideal for beginner divers because most of the reefs are shallow and easily accessible but still crammed full of marine life.
Local tip: Hurghada's dive centers are usually more affordable than Gouna's.
For more amazing diving destinations in Egypt, head here.
If diving is more effort than you’re willing to invest on your vacation, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the awesome marine life. There are plenty boats that will take you out to the best snorkeling spots.
3. Glass bottom boat
If you have kids with you or just don’t feel like getting in the water, then a glass bottom boat is ideal for a peek at underwater sea life from a boat.
4. Hop on a catamaran
This two-hulled sailboat is great for sunbathing in the middle of the sea and cooling off with a swim after (you just jump off!). The catamarans take a large group of people out at the same time so it always has a fun, party vibe.
5. Rent your own little yacht for the day
Yacht trips are both easy and affordable from both the Hurghada and El Gouna marinas and there are lots of tour agencies that can set them up for you. You can bring your own food (although sometimes it's included), drinks and music and leave the harder work to the captain.
6. Take a trip to the Giftun Islands (Mahmya & Orange Bay)
If you want to spend the day on white sand beaches with crystal clear water, then hop on a boat and head to Giftun Islands. Both Mahmya and Orange Bay are beach restaurants/bars where you can spend the day in the water and relax with a drink or lunch on their pristine beaches after.
Read more at: 7 Red Sea Islands Perfect for a Boat Day Trip
7. Desert safari (ATV & quad off-roading)
If you’re all beached out, then venture into Egypt’s Eastern desert on an ATV or quad for what we locals call desert safaris.
8. Hiking and desert trekking
If you’re in Hurghada or El Gouna for an extended period of time and are an adventure-seeker, then the Red Sea Mountain Trail might be for you. This 170 km, 10 day hike through the mountains of Egypt’s Eastern desert with a Bedouin guide will show you a side to Egypt you probably wouldn’t be able to see otherwise -- rocky gorges, deep desert sand dunes, prehistoric rock art and long-abandoned Roman towns. If 10 days/170 km is too much for you, you can participate in smaller segments or just do a day trek.
If you’re a Cairo local who doesn’t have the opportunity to cycle much, or just someone who loves to hop on a bike, then El Gouna is a great place to do it. Besides actual bike rental shops, El Gouna offers ‘e-bikes’ -- different stations are set up around the time where you can rent out a bike and check it back in at any other station you want. And not just any bikes -- these ones have a little environmentally friendly electric motors if your fitness isn't where you want it to be and you don't feel like huffing and puffing down the streets of Gouna.
10. Good, old-fashioned sunbathing
Almost all the hotels in Hurghada and El Gouna have access to a beach, complete with some form of restaurant or beach bar, where you can work on your tan and wile the hours away.
11. Enjoy a shisha on the beach
Egyptians love their shisha, and once you try it, it’ll be easy to see why. While many restaurants or cafes in Hurghada and El Gouna offer shisha, it’s a whole other experience to smoke away your stress on the beach.
12. Try out a plethora of different restaurants
What’s a vacation without eating well? Both Hurghada, and El Gouna especially, have a great range of restaurants to choose from. Whether you want to try local Egyptian fare, fresh seafood or one of the numerous international restaurants, you won’t be starved for choice. Our personal favorites are Zia Amelia (Italian) and Saigon (Vietnamese) in El Gouna.
13. Go karting
If you’re in the need for speed, then look no further than Gouna’s go karting track.
Craving fresh seafood, and we mean straight-from-the-sea-thanks-to-you fresh, then hop on one of the numerous fishing boats and go in search of dinner. Hurghada was originally a small fishing village, so you know the fish will be good.
You tanned, you swam, you ate, now what? Time to hit the bars of course. Hurghada is home to a bunch of different clubs and bars, and El Gouna is known throughout the country for Bartender, Pier 88 and Aurora.
If you’re one of those people who itch to get your muscles moving, then kitesurfing might be for you. There are several different kite centers that offer courses for beginners, and you can rent out equipment if you’re already a tried and true kitesurfer.
Read more: 7 Best Kitesurfing Spots in Egypt
17. Motor gliding
So you walked around (or boated around) and saw most of El Gouna already? Not so fast -- have you seen it from above? Try out what’s known as ‘aerial sightseeing’ from a motor glider.
If you’re a seasoned golfer or just someone who wants to putt a few balls, then El Gouna offers two different 18 hole golf courses for golfers of all levels. There’s also golf lessons for those looking to learn or freshen their skills.
19. Sliders Cable Park
One of the biggest cable parks in the world, Sliders is open year-round and is a lot of fun for those looking to participate in water sports.
20. Visit the centuries-old monasteries of St. Paul and St. Anthony
About 2 hours from Hurghada is Zaafarana, where you'll find the remote monasteries of St. Anthony and St Paul. Founded in 356 AD, St. Anthony’s Monastery is the oldest inhabited Christian monastery in the world and is home to paintings dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries, as well as 1,700 ancient documents.
St. Paul's Monastery was also established in the 4th century and is built into the Red Sea Mountains. Both monasteries are open to the public to visit.
21. Day trip to Luxor
Want to take a break from the beach and experience Ancient Egypt? Luxor is about a 4.5 hour drive from Hurghada, and lots of tour agencies arrange day trips to and from Luxor from Hurghada. A car or bus will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning and take you to Luxor, where you'll see some of the most astounding remnants of Ancient Egypt like Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings and the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut (varies according to your itinerary).
22. Visit Hurghada’s Grand Aquarium (or Gouna’s smaller one)
Is it one of those rare cloudy days? Don’t waste it in the hotel -- head to Hurghada’s Grand Aquarium to get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the fantastic marine life this area is known for.
23. Go to a water park
Whether you're looking for a kid friendly activity during the day or just love water parks yourself, Hurghada has several water park options. The most popular water parks are Jungle Aqua Park, Sindbad Aqua Park and Makadi Water World. They're all in hotels, but you can buy day tickets if you don't want to stay at the hotels themselves.
24. Horseback riding
Are you a horse aficionado? Enjoy a horse ride in the Egyptian Eastern desert and a ride on the beach as well.
25. Tennis & squash
If you’re looking to work up a sweat, then El Gouna offers both tennis and squash courts year-round. Gouna is even the home of the annual international squash open!