Hurghada: A Great Place for Kids
Hurghada’s lovely beaches (much better than Ain Sokhna’s), beautiful marine life, as well as other attractions such as the submarine and the Makadi Aqua Park, make it a favorite destination for a family holiday. As it’s a little farther away than Ain Sokhna from Cairo, it’s considerably cheaper to stay there as well. We have been there many times and I can tell you from my experience that both adults and children will very much enjoy their time in Hurghada.
When to Visit Hurghada
The climate in Hurghada is warm throughout the year. The temperature never drops below 20 degrees Celsius, making it suitable for swimming any time of the year. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit as the temperature is warm but comfortable. However, summer remains popular even though the temperature can spike to the high thirties.
What to Pack for Hurghada
To make the most out of your trip to Hurghada with your family, make sure that you include swim shoes, snorkeling gear and an underwater camera.
How to get to Hurghada
I personally prefer driving, especially if you are coming from Cairo, as the roads are now much better and safer, now they’ve opened the new connection that bypasses the beautiful but slow and dangerous coastal two-way road to Zaafarana. The new connection can be taken from just before the arrival toll station at the end of Cairo- Ain ElSokhna road, and drops you 5km after Zaafarana. You’ll be able to enjoy beautiful views of the mountains and the coast.Health tip: The trip from Cairo to Hurghada can easily take 4 to 5 hours. Stop every hour to take a 5-10 minute rest, and to stretch. Make sure you drink enough water as you can easily get dehydrated without noticing it, especially if you’ve gone heavy on the caffeine.
Hurghada has an international airport, and you can fly in from inside or outside Egypt. The airport is close to the city as well as the resorts that are located outside and to the south of Hurghada city. Most of the hotels and resorts offer a free shuttle to their guests, so make sure to let them know if you are arriving by plane.
You will find many buses connecting Hurghada to the major cities in Egypt including Alexandria, Luxor and Cairo. In my opinion, it does not matter which company you choose as long as it’s an air-conditioned bus.Tip: Make sure that the bus does not stop in the middle, or has minimal stops. Direct buses will reach the destination much faster, and for such a long bus ride already, every 10 minutes extra count. Especially if you have kids.
Fun Activities for Families in Hurghada
Sindbad Submarine Hurghada
The Sindbad Submarine is one activity that you shouldn’t miss. The experience of being fully submerged in the deep sea, and viewing the underwater marine life will always be exciting to the kids. Click here to read my full review of Sindbad Submarine.
Beaches in Hurghada are not fine white sand Caribbean-style beaches. Be prepared for coarse desert grit and rough rocks in most if not all beaches. Luckily, some resorts clean their beaches of rocks, which is the least that you should expect from the place you are staying at. We stayed at the Coral Beach Resort, which is located in Sahl Hasheesh, and it has one of the best beaches in Hurghada. There is an artificial bay, and a huge swimming and (almost) rock-free area.
Though the best snorkeling sites in Hurghada can be only reached by boat, Coral Beach Resort has one of the better snorkeling sites just off its coast. It’s located at the far-right end of the beach (beyond the aquamarine center).Tip: Make sure you bring appropriate footwear or swim shoes to navigate the rocky beaches with ease. Even if the beaches are not rocky, the hot sand will burn your feet if they are bare, so cover them up!
You will definitely enjoy your time there at one of the largest and cleanest beaches in Hurghada, with an excellent snorkeling site, and well laid out deck chairs, as well as some huts and many activities on the beach. We enjoyed our time there, and would chose it again in our next visit to Hurghada.
However, we would also consider Jaz Aquaviva, even if it has no beach at all, just for the luxury and relaxation! The top-rated hotel has a wide array of pools, and a swim-up room that you can access directly from the pool! In addition to luxury, you also get to enjoy the most popular aqua park in Hurghada (Makadi Water World) for free!
Glass-boats, Fishing and Snorkeling Trips
There are countless trips that can be arranged on all types of boats. Depending on the size of your group, you may be able to book a smaller boat exclusively, or you may join a bigger group in a larger boat. I was a little reluctant to take my family on a glass boat—especially after our wonderful experience with the submarine, I didn’t expect to see anything more substantial in a glass boat. I am so glad that I was wrong!
Our trip lasted three hours and included coral reefs, snorkeling, and fishing!
The boat passed on top of several coral reef sites that were all colorful and alive with diverse beautiful fish. The coral sites were relatively shallow and clear to view from the boat’s glass bottom.
The snorkeling site was even more amazing. We were literally swimming among schools of fish, and we were so close to the corals we could touch them! The corals were mesmerizing, with orange, yellow, purple, blue and green colors. The kids had the time of their life, and the adults were enjoying themselves too. We did some fishing and caught a couple of beautiful ones.
Makadi Water World, Hurghada
There is no better way to enjoy the hot summer sun than in a waterpark! And Makadi Water World is one of the best water parks out there. It is very well organized, and the slides are grouped in zones according to their difficulty level. This makes it very easy to stay in one zone and ride all the slides there without having to go back and forth across the waterpark.
There is a designated area for toddlers, another for young children, and one for adults and kids above 120 cm. Click here to view my full review of Makadi Water World. So if you have not been there yet, put it in your plan for your next visit!
There are several nearby islands that are famous for their sandy beaches and nearby snorkeling sites. The sandy beaches are nice to visit after spending some time on Hurghada’s coarse grit, and the snorkeling sites cannot get better. The most famous islands are:
- Giftun Islands: This is the most popular island near Hurghada
- Mahmya Island: Part of Giftun Islands, but it’s better maintained and better serviced. It also includes sunbeds and umbrellas that provide shaded areas.
- Omo Gamaar: Mainly a diving site with diverse coral and fish life.
The dolphin show is located in Makadi bay close to Makadi Water Park. The show allows people to swim with the dolphins, but it is mediocre compared to dolphin shows in other parts of the world. Adding to that the miserable lives of the dolphins in captivity, it takes away any remaining fun. I would skip it unless you have never seen dolphins before and don’t mind seeing them in captivity.
Hurghada Grand Aquarium
A good reason to visit the Hurghada Grand Aquarium is to get to know the types of fish and marine life that you have encountered in your snorkeling trips. If your kids have not visited a proper aquarium, they will enjoy Hurghada Grand Aquarium immensely. Expect around 30 minutes of fun but do not raise your expectations too high or you will be disappointed, especially considering how pricey the tickets are.
Depending on the age of your kids, desert excursions may or may not be something you want to do. Expect the ride to be tough and very dusty. Beach bikes may be worn out, so this is something to check too. Excursions usually visit local villages and offer traditional tea, and food. Traditional entertainment shows are also common. If your kids are old enough, chances are that you would enjoy the desert and experiencing the local culture.
Shopping Malls and Bazars in Hurghada
Whether you are looking for souvenirs to take home, exquisite linens or some exotic spices; it’s best to skip the shops at your hotel as they are likely to charge you more than anywhere else. Instead, try Senso Mall, where you can shop for local items in a modern air-conditioned atmosphere. The tourist passage near Hard Rock Café hosts numerous local shops where you can enjoy the open air with some street entertainment such as camel riding; Sheraton Road provides a similar experience.
For a really local atmosphere visit Al Dahar in the old center of Hurghada, which is certainly cheaper than other touristy areas, and offers many places to eat and shop. Remember to haggle before you buy!
Hurghada is packed with fun family and kid friendly activities that will guarantee that you and your children will be kept busy and entertained. The key to having fun in Hurghada is to plan ahead, because many of the attractions and activities need to be booked in advance. I have been to Hurghada many times, and every time it has turned out to be such a lovely family trip! Highly recommended!