Top fun things to do for families visiting Egypt
Egypt is famous for its numerous historical places and monuments that attract tourists from all over the world, but is it fun and safe for families, especially families with younger children? What are the best places in Egypt for Families on The Red Sea Coast?
To find the best place in Egypt for families in the Red Sea area, we looked into some of the attractions and activities that can be appealing for parents but also for the young ones. You can find some of the best choices in this series of articles.
In a nutshell, there are many attractions in Egypt that can be really fun besides the historical places. You only need to know how and when to enjoy these attractions. Some of the best place in Egypt for families in my experience is: Hurghada, El Gouna, and Safaga. Let’s dive deeper into this.
Traveling with family and children
Backpacking is definitely a different experience from a trip with family and children. You need to expect to have additional costs to have a proper hotel or residence that is suitable for kids. You need to consider relatively safer transportation options.
The overall adventure tastes different from the one you can have when backpacking or traveling solo. The type of places and attractions that can be considered when you have your kids with you especially the younger ones need to be carefully considered. Let’s explore some the possible options.
The most obvious ones: Historical attractions
Egypt is full of countless historical places and attractions. It is a country with some the world’s oldest heritage locations. The mos famous is the Giza Pyramids near Cairo and the Sphinx. Other historical sites and attractions include:
Abu Simbel Temple, Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings , St. Catherine’s Monastery , Abydos Temple , Saqqara , Philae Temple in Aswan , Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor , Habu Temple in Luxor , Egyptian Museum I will not focus on these attractions in this article, but I will make more detailed articles on how and when to visit and enjoy these historical locations.
Red Sea coastal resorts:
The red sea coast in Egypt extends to around 1,500 km on the east side of Egypt. Along this coast some cities and resorts are famous for sunny golden beaches. Hotels and resorts in these cities attract thousands of tourists every year. The most famous are Hurghada, Elgouna, and Safaga.
The largest of the Red Sea coastal cities. It has some of the best hotels and a sizable number of foreign residents, especially Russians with some of them staying there on permanent basis or for long periods of time. It is famous for its beaches, recreational activities offered by hotels and resorts, and water sports.
Attractions, Hotels, and Things to do:Many resorts and attractions are available year round. The summer is mostly hot reaching forties (Celsius) and the winter is mostly warm with some cold now and then. I would prefer going in the winter or by end of fall but you can goo almost anytime in the year. It is difficult to list all available attractions and hotels, but I will list the ones I recommend
Makadi Water World:
This is one of Egypt’s biggest water parks. It has 50 slides and chutes of all kinds. Lunch is included. Young Children have their own pirate ship with slides and water fountains. Many hotels across Hurghada have pickup/ drop off spots to go to Makadi Water World.
Several options are available including: Paradise Class Semi Submarine, Sinbad Submarine Under The Red Sea. Boat trips, snorkeling, or scuba diving trips are also available.
Mini Egypt Park:
Theme park with 55 Egyptian landmarks in one place. A private guide explains the stories behind each of the creations, from the Pyramids to the High Dam. Your tour includes door-to-door shared minibus transfers. Pickup and drop off available from Hurghada hotels.
Hurghada Grand Aquarium:
Aquarium’s with 1,200 species in 24 galleries that show Red Sea ecosystems. You can walk underwater tunnels and see stingrays, sharks, turtles, and other fish species. Feeding show schedules and touch tanks. There is a mini-zoo where you can see a collection of snakes, birds, monkeys, and other animals. A cafe is also available at the location.
Sand City Hurghada:
An open air Museum Mythological Art and Wonderland Art both with 3D art figures and sculptures. There are workshop for children of all ages where they can learn how to make sand sculptures.
Serenity Fun City:
A great amusement park including Aqua Park with a variety of water slides and pools for all age ranges, Luna park with various games and amusement park, kids club, children’s playgrounds, video games room and 6D cinema..
This Resort offers a main buffet restaurant and 5 a la carte restaurants – Italian, Asian, Oriental, Sea food menu, food court and 4 large bars either in the lobby or at the swimming pools with an aqua park view.
Trips to Luxor:
You can book a trip to Luxor while staying in Hurghada. The trip is about 3 to 4 hours one way. I recommend going with a tour guide or a driver. You can visit the historical sites in Luxor and go back by end of day or stay in a hotel for one night in Luxor.
If you want to have a taste of how locals shop, bargain, and live this is a good place to be.
One of the largest malls on Red Sea. Good variety of retail outlets, food and groceries, and restaurants.
Good place for groceries and everyday items shopping. It is located in new commercial street First Avenue. You can find here relatively better deals for groceries.
Cleopatra Center and Sheraton Road:
In these places you can shop for gifts and souvenirs, retail shops, and spend some time at cafes or restaurants. It is usually busy, but you can get a taste of local life and you can enjoy a large mix of retail shops.
El-Mamsha and Esplanade Mall:
For a nice shopping experience and walk try this place.Other shopping areas worth mentioning: Hurghada City-Centre Shopping Mall and Sherry street.
Best Hotels in Hurghada for families:
The type of hotel you can pick depends largely on your budget. However if you are going on a long distance trip to Egypt, I wouldn’t recommend going cheap. After all if you are not planning to go every year to Egypt, you may want to ensure you and your family can enjoy a memorable vacation.
This does not mean selecting expensive hotels as many options are available where you can find a good balance between cost and good service. My biggest tip: Always go for an ‘All-Inclusive’ package. Here are some hotels that I recommend for families:
Hilton Hurghada Resort:
Onsite dive center, private beach and water sports center. It has 3 pools and two are heated in winter with water slides and tubes. There are also tennis and squash courts.
Games for kids in 2 playgrounds and kids disco in the evening. There are 11 restaurants and bars to enjoy especially if you book the all-inclusive packages (I recommend all-inclusive as it is not easy good food options outside hotels).There are daily entertainment programs at night.
Baron Palace Sahl Hasheesh:
Although a great hotel with lot of amenities, it is more oriented to adults with designated areas for adults only. It is more on the higher luxurious side so expect it to be more expensive. Some kids activities include kids playground, children pool, and babysitting service.
Jungle Aqua Park:
It has the largest water theme park in Hurghada. It has multiple swimming pools. For all-inclusive package I was happy to try all the restaurants all day. I used to have an appetizer in one restaurant and a main course at another one. The food was amazing. It has miniature golf, children’s pool, kids club, and playground.
The only drawback is that pools close by 5.00 pm in the summer when the sun is just starting to cool down. It can be too hot during the day in summer time. I wish they can extend pool time beyond 5.00pm in the summer.
Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa:
This is a luxury hotel with excellent amenities from pool to beach to sea or spa. With all-Inclusive package you can dine in one of seven different restaurants, and enjoy a drink in numerous bars. Each evening entertainment is offered.
Other amenities include: Private cabins on the beach, One Main heated swimming pool during winter, One salt water swimming pool, Two small pools, Sky pool, Sauna, Jacuzzi (extra charge), Snorkeling, Diving, and Parasailing. Sunbeds on the beach are great, but you need to reserve it early in the day.
These are just some reviews from the hotels I experienced. Many others are available in Hurghada: Steigenberger Aldau Beach Hotel, Jaz Makadi Saraya Resort, Sunrise Grand Select Crystal Bay Resort, The Oberoi Beach Resort Sahl Hasheesh, and many others.
Located about 25 km north of Hurghada, Elgouna is a resort developed by ORASCOM development group and has some of the best hotels on the Red Sea side, restaurants, golf course, and other activities and attractions. It is like a small city north of Hurghada city.
Attractions and activities in Elgouna
Elgouna has 18 holes golf course, kite surfing, snorkeling, sliders cable park, diving, fishing, glass bottom boat, water-ski, and windsurfing. Some land sports include: horse back riding, Go-Karts, Tennis, squash, Biking, and beach volleyball.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can book boat trips in the Red Sea with diving or snorkeling options. You can also book a desert safari with quad trips with daytime or sunset options.
Souvenir shops, food, restaurants, and some retail outlets.Here is a list of the best hotels I recommend in Elgouna:
Best Hotels in Elgouna for families
La Maison Bleue El Gouna: This is a perfect destination hotel for adults only if you can book a suite of the few available. Not a destination for families with kids though.
Three Corners Rihana Resort:
all-inclusive hotel. This is a family holiday resort that is located a short walk away from the Downtown area with restaurants, bars, service providers, supermarkets, shopping arcades, and outdoor evening entertainment. It has a sandy lagoon beach on site.
It is a family-friendly resort with connecting rooms for larger families. It has a children’s pool heated in the winter. There are dedicated junior slides, a kids club for children aged (4 to 12 years old), kids playrooms, Aqua Splash and daytime entertainment and evening shows. It can get noisy sometimes, but you can ask to be relocated to a quieter residence area.
Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna:
This hotel has luxurious amenities and children’s outdoor playground, a kids club, a special kids menu, and a great variety of beach sports options, It is also close to Abu Tig Marina if you are planning for going out on a sea trip.
Movenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna:
This hotel has its own exclusive beachfront. It has three children swimming pools.The duplex rooms are perfect for a family setup with the master bedroom on the ground floor and the children’s bedroom on the top floor.
It has an outdoor children playground, and a baby sitting service.Other hotels in Elgouna include: Casa Cook El Gouna, Ancient Sands Golf Resort, Steigenberger Golf Resort El Gouna, Labranda Club Paradisio El Gouna, and many more.
This small port on the Red Sea is located 53 km south of Hurghada. Some of it’s resorts are considered hidden gems on the Red Sea. Take into consideration that it will take longer to get to SAFAGA from Hurghada airport, but it maybe worth it. Some hotels offer sand burial treatments.
Best Hotels in Safaga
TUI MAGIC LIFE Kalawy:
Beautiful beach and multiple pools. Water sports, snorkeling, and paddling are available at no extra cost. Food is great and comes with wide variety. The hotel organizes daily entertainment programs especially in high seasons.
The rooms and hotel is overall clean and comfortable, but it is on the upper side when it comes to pricing. The daily rate is relatively high with good deals popping up from time to time.
Great hotel with rooms and bungalows with sea view but you have to ask for it. Sandy beach (but come areas are stony so bring protective shoes). Dive center, kite surfing, and water sports are available.
Make sure drinking water bottles are included in your all-inclusive package as it can be expensive to buy water bottles. There are animation programs for children.
It is known for arthritis and Psoriasis treatment by sand burial on daily sessions. Arabian seating area under the stars at night. Food is good but not the best in town.
Coral Garden Resort and Dive Centre:
A hotel with bungalow style rooms and one of the n=best diving centers in the area. The diving locations are relatively close by.
If you are looking for a great diving experience with reef areas this is the place to be. Food is good but not the best in Hurghada and Safaga. This is a getaway place and it is not close to shopping centers or water parks.
General tips for going to Hurghada and Elgouna:
When to go?
Summertime can be hot with temperatures topping 45C in some days. Take enough sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure for a long time. Some afternoons or nights can get chilly or windy. You may need to have a light jacket or a wind breaker with you.
Medications and first aid
Bring your medications, and emergency medications such as diarrhea, first aid, and sea sickness tablets. Although many hotels have these items and pharmacies are available in the city, sometimes you may not find the item you need on time or pharmacies may have irregular working hours especially in low seasons.
You may need to go to downtown to find larger pharmacies. The medications you are used to, may be sold under different brands and may not always be available.
Be ready anytime for some stomach infections not because the food is usually bad, but your body may not be used to some of the microbes in a new environment. Be ready with local medication such as the local medicine ‘Antinal’ or a similar remedy.
It is better to consult your doctor though before traveling to Egypt or any other areas that are new to you and to your stomach.
If you use a taxi service, ensure you agree on fare in advance to avoid end of trip hassles and arguments. When shopping, make sure you always negotiate prices and do not pay before comparing prices in multiple places or at least pay what seems to be reasonable. You also need to be patient with sales people and shop owners.
Although they know English and usually some more languages, you may need to confirm what they are talking about in some cases. You need to be patient with ‘persistent’ sellers, and if they become too annoying you can always politely decline saying ‘La, Shokran’ meaning ‘No, Thanks’.
Always remember that many of these people are on poverty line and tourism industry have been down for several years. They are just trying to make a living.
You are expected to tip everywhere you go. Some workers depend on tips as their main income! You can decline or ignore tipping politely, but expect to get better service if you tip. I personally tend to consider tipping as part of the package when visiting Egypt.
It is more or less like added fees or tax that everyone is expecting and it is part of the local culture. It does add few more Dollars to my budget, but I get a better service and attention from those whom I rely on to provide a service. You know when someone is expecting a tip from you, so it is a good idea to keep some change handy all the time.
Currency: Should you use local or your currency?
It is a good idea to keep cash as many shops will not accept credit cards when shopping around. You can exchange at the bank and it is a better idea to use Egyptian pounds when buying in the market unless you want to negotiate exchange rates with shops which I would not recommend.
Another option is to use your debit card at any of the available ATM machines around the city. I usually check formal exchange rates from the Egyptian National Bank here.
This is a place that need to be on your family’s bucket list. Is it one of the Best places for families in Egypt: Definitely YES. You can find a lot of attractions, activities, and getaways at reasonable costs in a relatively safe and enjoyable environment. Start by finding the hotel with the right balance between cost and quality and go for a memorable trip with your family. Check safety advice before you go.