The best of Egypt: Hurghada excursions and tours

After some detailed research resulting in having to book ultra-expensive flights to Egypt, we decided to take up an offer from a tourist agency and visit the country by staying in an all-inclusive beach resort in Hurghada. It was not so bad after all – the whole trip was quite affordable and we still managed to do some of the day trips independently. Here is how you can do this, too. Our favorite excursions and tours from Hurgada, without further ado.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Giftun Island – Orange Bay and snorkeling

While Giftun island trips are the most common Hurghada day trips, you’ll find plenty of options for boats, catamarans, and ships with different stops on the Giftun and Little Giftun islands. Giftun Island is part of a national marine park of the same name and its emerald waters and colorful vibes are well worth a visit if you’re staying in the area.

We decided to skip the tour offered by the tour agency and the hotel (therefore skipping a whole link in the system) and got our tour much cheaper from Get Your Guide. We got an easy boat ride with tasty lunch, a decent time for snorkeling at two different spots, and chill time in Orange Bay (with an extra photo session which was not included in the price but was plenty of fun).

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Here’s the link to the tour we took: Magawish and Giftun Islands Full-Day Snorkeling Trip

Diving in the Red Sea

If you want to dive and are willing to explore the warm and full of colorful fish Red Sea waters, there are also plenty of tours you can take. We chose this one as it is targeted at newbie divers or divers without any experience, and it still gives you enough time underwater to explore the beautiful life down there. There will be a guide holding your hand underwater so that you feel safe all the time. There is an option to pay extra to take advantage of a deeper dive if you’re an experienced diver.

Here’s the link to the diving tour: Half-Day Red Sea Dive from Hurghada or El Gouna

Hurghada city tour

Now there are options to explore the city of Hurghada on a tour, with a private driver, and the good old do-it-yourself style. We chose the latter as we wanted more freedom. We walked around different districts of Hurghada and passed souks, the fish market, and the harbor with boats still in-progress construction. We saw the biggest mosque in the town and browsed the old town and El Dahar with the many shops and its bazaar. There was no way not to haggle over two cotton jumbo pants and not to buy half a kilo of freshly roaster sunflower seeds for later…

If you decide to go on a tour to get to know Hurghada, you’ll pass by everything above and probably more places, and there will be guided shopping stops.

Here is the 3-hour Hurghada city tour: Hurghada: 3-Hour City Tour with Shopping Stops

Hurghada city tour - boats in the harbor, Egypt

Desert safari and stargazing

We’re happy to have discovered this tour because it was an amazing way to spend the night. We got picked up in the late afternoon and after a ride by 4×4 jeeps, we reached a Bedouin camp in the Eastern desert. After some dune hiking to watch the sunset and shopping for natural Bedouin remedies at the camp, we stopped to adjust the telescope and wait for the full moon to rise. Our star-gazing was led by a knowledgeable guide who made sure we could observe planets and stars and explained everything thoroughly. Our dinner was candle-lit and very romantic. The camel riding option was off due to covid and we couldn’t be happier that the camels won’t suffer.

Here’s the link to this both adventurous and magical experience: Hurghada: Desert Star-Watching Adventure by Jeep

Luxor

For our day trip to Luxor from Hurghada, we chose the tour operator option as it was one of the most affordable and led by a professional guide in Bulgarian. Make sure you visit Luxor with a knowledgeable Egyptologist guide to help you experience some of the most famous monuments in Egypt better. You will visit the Temple of Karnak, relax over lunch at a local restaurant, then board a typical Felucca boat to cross the Nile to the City of the Dead. You will see the impressive Colossi of Memnon, the last remnants of the Temple of Amenophis III. The architecture of the Valley of the Kings is jaw-dropping, and the visit to the temple of Hatshepsut is just as majestic as its female ruler of Ancient Egypt.

Here is the link to the tour, including pick-up and drop-off from Hurghada hotels, transport, all the monuments with a guide, lunch: From Hurghada: Day Trip to Valley of the Kings in Luxor

Karnak temple, Luxor, Egypt

Cairo and Giza

Our program included traveling to Cairo and spending a night there before we took off back home. Many people who stay in Hurghada on their Egypt vacation visit Cairo on a day trip by bus or flight. It is a lot of traveling (especially with a bus) but you won’t feel tired when you see the magic of Cairo and Giza.

Upon arrival in Cairo, you will visit the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square, and discover one of the most comprehensive collections of Ancient Egyptian relics in the world. Treasures there tell the story of a highly-developed culture. You will be transferred to Giza after lunch to see the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx in the Giza Plateau. It’s absolutely magical to marvel at this last surviving monument of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, built more than 4.500 years ago as everlasting graves for the pharaohs Cheops, Chephren, and Mykerinos. The mysterious Sphinx statue of a Pharaoh’s head with a lion’s body is welcoming many curious observers.

Make sure you decline the camel riding offers politely if you want to be ethical and responsible. Giza neighborhood is one of the poorest in Cairo and you will also see some not-so-awe-inspiring stuff. We had the chance to support a little boy who sold souvenirs and we can only hope that he will continue with his education.

Here is the link to the Cairo and Giza tour from Hurghada: From Hurghada: Cairo and Giza Full-Day Highlights Tour

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt

As we stayed in Cairo for the night, we managed to meet with a friend (who I know from my yoga teacher training in Nepal, isn’t it beautiful) in the central part of the city. We used Uber to get around. We had a great time drinking tea together, chatting, and walking the colorful streets of a souk. It was so nice to discuss our impressions of Egypt with real Egyptians!

We stayed in this hotel closer to Giza area (the aquapark wasn’t open): Movenpick Hotel Cairo

An evening out in Cairo, Egypt

Practical info and tips

A local SIM card will make your time in Egypt easier to organize. The Internet in the resorts is unreliable, to say the least, and it often works only in the lobby area where you compete with tens or hundreds of other people for the same bandwidth. That’s why we recommend buying a local sim from the airport or from one of the many malls in the area. Some of the tourist sim card providers in Egypt are Vodafone, Orange, and Etisalat. We bought cards from the latter at the airport but they were not enabled so we had to go to the local mall to fix them.

It’s time to share where we stayed at – Jasmine Palace Resort 5*. If you are to organize your trip on your own, you can get very good prices on Booking.com. It was one of the better-recommended hotels and we liked the southern location (we got picked up last when going to most of the tours), the easy connectivity to Hurghada and the nearby mall by taxi, and the huge beach with nice sand. The annoying housekeeping always “finishing up your room” just in time you get there to get a tip, the not-so-diverse food, especially for vegetarians and vegans, and the price tags in the resort shops were some of the things we didn’t like about the resort. Keep in mind those things have turned kind of the norm in all-inclusive resorts in Egypt.

The currency in Egypt is called Egyptian pound (EGP). In touristy areas, they would gladly accept euros, and dollars, along with other currencies. We noticed the rate for dollars was the best so we wish we had brought more dollars and fewer euros to spend in Egypt.

Dancing on the beach, Jasmine Palace Resort, Hurghada, Egypt

Our Egypt budget note

Sim card 12 USD

Luxor tour 95 EUR pp
Stargazing tour 25 EUR pp
Snorkeling tour 22 EUR pp + 40 USD photo video
Big pack of hibiscus tea 6 USD
Coffee 3 USD
Bedouin remedies 10 USD
Taxi from hotel to the mall 8 USD
Twix 3 USD
Bottle of wine Obelisk 30 USD

Taxi hotel to Hurghada 150 EGP
Taxi from inside Hurghada to Marina 40 EGP
Sunflower seeds 10 EGP

2 cotton jumbo pants 17 USD
Taxi Hurghada – Jasmine hotel 10 USD
4 essential oil perfumes 60 USD
4 mini-wallets from a kid in Giza 1 USD

2 Uber rides Cairo 11 USD
Drinks out in Cairo 10 USD
5-7 Magnets 100 EGP
Drinks in the hotel in Cairo 80 EGP
Airport cafe drinks 11 USD

Tips 15 USD

So those were our favorite excursions and day tours from Hurghada! We found staying in Hurghada and doing tours in the area and to Luxor and Cairo was the perfect mix of chilled-out water and beach Red Sea experiences and diving into the vast history of Egypt – one of the most ancient civilizations in the world!

Excursions and tours from Hurghada Egypt

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