Sitting on Egypt’s Red Sea, Hurghada’s a popular coastal resort for diving and beach holidays.
But is it safe to travel to Hurghada? What’s it like for families or solo travellers?
I recently visited Hurghada, and here’s my thoughts on its safety based on my personal experience.
Is Hurghada safe?
Yes, I would deem Hurghada to be safe.
Lots of tourists visit each year and the locals are friendly and helpful.
There’s a high presence of tourist police – which to be honest, seemed a bit over the top, but it should help to assure any anxious travellers.
The dress code is slightly more liberal than in Cairo, although I’d still recommend being conservative anywhere but the beach, dive boats and a hotel resort.
Diving here is generally safe too, as long as you go with a reputable provider. We dived for a week with Diving Star and they were probably the best diving school I’ve ever used!
Don’t just take my word for it when it comes to Hurghada safety – this article details the results of a poll, where Egypt was shown to be safer than the U.S. and the U.K.
And, while there were a couple of situations that made me feel uncomfortable in Cairo, I agree that I’ve always generally felt safe in Egypt as a whole.
Is diving in Hurghada safe?
Yes, diving in Hurghada is very safe, as long as you go with the right people!
We used Diving Star, who had amassed many excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.
As soon as we booked, it was easy to see why – we were contacted on WhatsApp about our needs and any questions were answered quickly.
The school was professional, using modern equipment and the instructors were all highly trained.
We spent our week diving with Mahmoud and dived up to 30 metres (advanced dives). While we both have our advanced certification, we felt in very good hands with him!
I have absolutely no complaints about Diving Star and would wholeheartedly recommend them.
Shark attacks in Hurghada
There is the very occasional shark attack in Hurghada. One happened in June 2023 and two (connected attacks) occured in 2022; going back, one’s been recorded every few years.
These attacks are rare, and they typically impact people who are snorkelling or swimming rather than scuba diving.
When we were out on the reef, we didn’t see any sharks, and Mahmoud told us that it’s very rare that he sees one – and he’s only seen a Tiger Shark (the breed of shark who is mainly responsible for attacks in the Red Sea) once – despite diving in this area nearly every day for 30 years!
Shark attacks in general are rare, with only around 50 recorded in 2022 in the world, five resulting in death.
So, while these attacks can happen, the fact that they are so newsworthy when they do is because they are extremely rare.
Risk of terror attacks in Hurghada
Terror attacks in Hurghada have happened, but I don’t think it’s any more risky in these terms than large Western European cities.
There was one terror attack in 2017, when seven people were stabbed, three of whom died.
This followed an attack in 2016, when two people were stabbed (fortunatley they both survived).
These took place when ISIS was at its peak; and since then, Egypt has ramped up security measures in coastal resorts.
Plus, while these terror attacks are tragic, they could, and do happen anywhere (for example, there was an attack in London in 2019).
So, I’d say that Hurghada’s as safe as most other places in the world when it comes to risk of terror.
Female travel in Hurghada
I didn’t visit Hurghada as a solo female, but I think I would have been comfortable to do so.
Generally, I found everybody to be respectful and the city was always the right level of busy.
I covered up outside of the resort, beach and dive boat, and spoke the few words of Arabic I knew.
What to wear in Hurghada
As Egypt is a majority Muslim country, women should cover up while exploring the streets of Hurghada.
I’d recommend long, loose trousers and a t-shirt that covers the shoulders and doesn’t show cleavage.
Some tourists do walk around Hurghada in shorts and skimpy tops, but I think that, no matter what your beliefs – when you’re in a conservative country it’s important to dress according to their customs.
Plus, it helps you to not stand out so obviously as a tourist.
Headscarves aren’t needed unless you’re going into a mosque – many Egyptian women choose not to wear a hijab.
Men can typically dress in shorts and a t-shirt – although, if you want to not look like a tourist, I’d also recommend trousers!
At the beach, at your resorts, or on a diving boat – basically anywhere you could be swimming – shorts and a t-shirt are fine.
Tourist focus in Hurghada
Tourism is Hurghada’s lifeblood, and due to this, the community and police take great lengths to ensure the city is safe.
You’ll notice this with a high presence of tourist police and friendly locals who’ll go out of their way to help you.
The odd scam can happen in Hurghada, but most locals are very helpful.
Hurghada vs. Sharm El Sheikh safety
I think both Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh are safe.
But, as Sharm El Sheikh is in the Sinai Peninsula, there is a slightly higher risk of incidents here.
But I still would implore people not to write Sharm El Sheikh off as an “unsafe” place – incidents are still very, very rare.
But, when considering the two of them, Hurghada has the safer track record.
Can I drink tap water in Hurghada?
No, you shouldn’t drink tap water in Hurghada. Instead, either drink bottled or filtered water, or use a special water bottle like Water to Go.
Can I eat street food in Hurghada?
Yes, street food in Hurghada is generally incredibly tasty and delicious! I’d definitely recommend it.
Hurghada safety FAQs
Is Hurghada safe to walk around?
Absolutely, Hurghada is one of the safest places in Egypt and is very welcoming. However, like any destination, it’s wise to stick to well-lit areas at night, avoid isolated spots, and always stay aware of your surroundings.
Is Hurghada safer than Sharm El Sheik?
Both Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh have safety measures in place, especially in tourist-centric zones. In recent years, both destinations have ramped up their security. Statistically, Hurghada is probably considered to be safer than Sharm, but it’s negligible.
Is it safe to go to Hurghada Airport?
Yes, Hurghada Airport has improved security protocols in recent times. The heightened security includes thorough checks and dedicated personnel ensuring the safety of both travellers and staff.
Is Hurghada safe for girls?
Many female travellers visit Hurghada every year and have a wonderful experience. While it’s generally safe, it’s advisable for solo female travellers to dress modestly, avoid late-night outings alone, and be cautious when interacting with overly insistent individuals.
Can you kiss in Hurghada?
While Egypt is more liberal than some of its neighbours, it’s respectful to avoid public displays of affection, such as kissing, especially in local-centric areas. Tourist resorts and hotels might be more lenient, but always be mindful of local customs and sensitivities.
Are you ready to visit Hurghada?
Hurghada’s a wonderful beach and diving destination – and yes, it’s safe! Whether you’re on a package holiday in one of the resorts or are staying in a guesthouse in the old town, you’ll adore this slice of Egyptian coastline.