El Gouna: an artificial resort created by architects in the Egyptian desert

El Gouna – the Venice of Egypt

El Gouna, Elgouna, Egyptian Venice, tour

El Gouna is a unique resort built on man-made islands. The city was built from the ground up by the world’s best architects. El Gouna is located on more than 20 small islands connected by bridges. Due to this the resort became known as the “Venice of Egypt”. In addition to its unusual location El Gouna attracts kite surfers from all over the world – for him there are almost ideal conditions.

From Hurghada to El Gouna

We sailed to El Gouna from Sindbad hotel that we already knew. I will tell you below how to get to El Gouna by land.

At 9 am we sailed from the shore and walked a long way north to El Gouna. The hotels in Hurghada were replaced by hotels.

On the other side stretched the Red Sea, with flocks of sleeping yachts and a lighthouse on a coral shoal.

Nearby is the central mosque of El Mina.

In Sim Cito 3, when building neighborhoods on the hills, the mountains were just cut off just like here))

And now we had already swum to my hotel Shedwan.

How to get to El Gouna on your own.

As you’ve probably guessed by now to get to El Gouna from Hurghada we took an excursion. You can book an excursion to El Gouna and other places here. However, it is not difficult to get to El Gouna on your own. The easiest option is to take a cab in Hurghada. If you are flying through Hurghada Airport, the cab option is the best. You can book the trip at low prices on this website. You will be met at the airport and taken to El Gouna to your hotel doorstep.

Flight tickets to Hurghada at the best prices can be purchased here.

There are regular buses from Hurghada to El Gouna. The bus to El Gouna departs from Dahar district. A food market can serve as a guide. You can get to the bus stop by crossing the square from the market. The cost of such a trip one way is about $3.

You can buy a tour to El Gouna:

Fishing off the coast of El Gouna

Our boat trip to El Gouna included a fishing stop, among other things. Closer to half past 11:00 we anchored up. Eastern fishing does not involve fishing rods, just a fishing line wound on a board. Also, fishing in the Red Sea is allowed from a depth of 8-10 meters, apparently, so as not to damage the ecosystem of the coral world. No worms in the desert of course not found, so as a bait is cut squid. Thus hook and sinker are lowered into the sea by uncoiling fishing line, until the bottom is reached, and then you need to lift the hook above the bottom at 0,5-1 meter. Farther to clasp the line on three fingers, between the middle and forefinger and wait while yanking, or until you do not seem to yank. At this time, the fish must be immediately hooked, otherwise it will go away.

Secretly, the locals told us that we were unlucky with the weather and catch fish with such a sea is almost impossible. Determine the sea should be the number of lambs on the waves. The more mullet, the greater the difference between underwater and surface currents, and therefore the less chance for a successful outcome of fishing. In general, no one caught a single fish. No one but me)))

After fishing we had lunch, and those who wished also took a swim in the sea, swam with masks, admired the corals. I had enough experience from the previous snorkeling, and after the diving I had no doubt that this time I would not swallow salty water))

At the beginning of the 2nd hour we reached the coast of El Gouna.

A seagull was nesting on some wreckage right in the middle of the sea – living proof that there are no storms in the Red Sea.

El Gouna, a resort in Egypt

El Gouna is a private property, practically a state within a state. Al-Guna belongs to a very influential in Egyptian Greek family of Saviris, who came to Egypt with almost Alexander the Great. Moreover, they kept the Christian faith and were able to make a billion dollar fortune in construction. And all this in a country where 90% of the people are Muslim.

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In the second half of the last century, the head of the family sent the middle son of 3 sons to study in Europe. He told me that he didn’t give a damn about the construction-engineering business, he wanted to have a city which would be as beautiful as Venice. In the end, he did not find a common language with his father, so he founded the city on his savings, and later, of course, they reconciled. That is how El Gouna – the Venice of Egypt – appeared. I do not claim the accuracy of the guide’s words)) The house of Sami Sawiris – the owner of El Gouna in the photo below.

El Gouna consists of more than 20 islands with hotels and villas.

There are also golf courses.

You cannot buy anything immovable here, you can only rent it for a few years/decades.

El Gouna is officially recognized as the most attractive and environmentally friendly town on the Red Sea coast, and is considered one of the most eco-friendly resorts in the world.

The locals have an omen that if in El Gouna, while sailing on a boat under the bridge, if you manage to touch the ceiling of the arch, your wish will certainly come true. Mine is still somewhere in the process))) Employment from the series of extreme, I must say, in our boat, someone got an elbow in the face, and I fell to rip his arm as a memory))

The chief architect of El Gouna, Sawiris hired a man who designed Disneyland.

El Gouna means “lagoon” in Arabic. The resort is quite young. El Gouna was founded only in 1990.

We travel through the canals of El Gouna on motor boats like this.

We are dropped off at one of the central islands – there is a casino. Of course we don’t go to the casino, but to the aquarium, which is located on the side in the same building, which I told you about separately. Also in El Gouna there is a brewery – the owner is a Christian)))

The guest house “Tortoise House” has a very unusual design.

Hotels in El Gouna

There are about a hundred hotels and inns in El Gouna.

Most of them are designed for wealthy guests, but there are also cheap options. Even in high season in El Gouna you can sometimes find a hotel at a price of $30-50 per day.

We recommend the following hotels and villas.

The best hotels in El Gouna

Cheap hotels in El Gouna

A short video about sailing to El Gouna

In the video you can see the Red Sea, the coast and the landing on the islands of El Gouna. The quality is average.

El Gouna on a map of Egypt

El Gouna resort is located in Egypt on the Red Sea coast 25 kilometers north of Hurghada. As it looks El Gouna on the map of Egypt you can see below.

Kitesurfing and windsurfing in El Gouna

El Gouna is a great place for kite surfers and windsurfers.

In El Gouna, the shoals reach a width of almost 500 meters. It is very convenient for surfers, especially for beginners.

El Gouna is more of a kitesurfing place, there are far fewer fans of windsurfing here. However, you can rent both, there are five kitesurfing centers in the resort.

In El Gouna, the wind blows almost all the time, the weather is very favorable for kitesurfing. There are up to 70% windy days each year in the Egyptian Venice. The best conditions for surfing are in the morning and evening, in the afternoon the wind usually decreases.

Return from El Gouna

We returned to the boat from El Gouna at the beginning of the 4th hour of the afternoon. Here it was, our rusty, time-worn little boat with a very noticeable tilt to port.

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I occupied the only leather mattress on the upper fore deck and spent a good hour sunbathing alone, breathing and enjoying the sea.

I was at the hotel closer to 18 hours.

Where to buy an excursion to El Gouna from Hurghada

  1. From the tour operator. If you came to Egypt with Anex, Pegasus or any other company, the hotel guides will definitely offer you to buy tours. Among others, there will certainly be an excursion to El Gouna. The advantage of this option is that you do not have to bother with it at all, the main disadvantage is the price. It has long been known that the tour operators are usually the highest prices.
  2. On the street. Here everything is simple. Look for travel agencies in the streets of Hurghada and there you buy tours. From the pluses of course the price, you can even be put on the same boat as the tourists who bought the tour at the hotel. On the downside is the quality of Arab service in Egypt.
  3. The best option where you can buy or book an excursion to El Gouna, as it seems to us, is the Internet. It is quite reliable and not expensive. Excursions from Hurghada at the best prices can be found on this site. But the largest selection of excursions can be found here, but the prices for some will be higher.

Our reviews of El Gouna Resort

Maybe because my expectations of a trip to El Gouna were a little high, or maybe just because I had seen the real natural wonders and ancient wonders of the world in the previous few days – El Gouna did not impress me that much. I can only speak for myself because I met people who really enjoyed the place. Some even return to El Gouna several times. For me the hotels in Hurghada are not inferior in terms of architecture. What kind of designs of buildings you do not see sailing along the coast. The surprise of being on one of the islands is also not there. El Gouna is the Egyptian Venice, but it is a walk from China to the real Venice. In this case, most hotels in El Gouna have no beaches of their own. Of course, you can swim in the canals of El Gouna, the water flowing from the Red Sea, but I think it is not the same.

However, El Gouna has its advantages. The contingent of vacationers here is more respectable. There are practically no Russian tourists, mainly rich Europeans. The Arabs don’t have the impudence here, as in the streets of Hurghada. The beaches of El Gouna can be reached quickly by foot or by shuttle bus from the hotel – it is much faster than, for example, from the center of Pattaya. In general, it is quiet and peaceful. If this is the kind of vacation you like, then you can safely go to El Gouna.

El Gouna travel guide


El Gouna, a resort 22 kilometers from Hurghada International Airport, has been called the “Pearl on the Red Sea” and the “Venice of Egypt. The city, founded in 1990, was created in the likeness of Venice, covered with a network of artificially dug canals. All the buildings in the city are on islands and are made in the traditional colors of the desert – white, beige and brown. You can move around the city by minibuses and boats. There are no noisy streets and clingy Arabs, but there are golden beaches with emerald water and a gentle descent into the water, a beautiful golf club, the local port of Abu Tig Marina with luxury yachts and expensive restaurants, a free aquarium and a small historical museum. Not far from El Gouna is a beautiful coral reserve – Mahmey Island.

The city has long been fancied by European tourists – Germans, Poles, Dutch. The local population is represented here only by service personnel, which makes this town safer than Hurghada, located half an hour away.

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Plus (and minus) holiday in El Gouna is the sea: all the corals along the coast were cut down during the construction of the city, so the beaches are just ideal for recreation with small children, but lovers of snorkeling especially will not have anything to eat. For divers, it is possible to dive among shipwrecks, and the corals farther from the coast preserved. The main disadvantage of El Gouna is the high cost of hotels and restaurants compared with other resorts of the Red Sea.

When is the best time to rest in El Gouna?


If you are planning to go to El Gouna to visit the ancient sights, it is best to go there in winter, because this period of the year there is no scorching sun and it is very pleasant to walk around.

But if you plan to swim and sunbathe then it is better to plan such a trip in autumn or spring. In summer the air in El Gouna is too hot, so if you do not particularly well tolerate high temperatures, it is certainly better to choose a different time to travel.

Near El Gouna there is a colorful coral reef and even a few sunken ships, so this place attracts fans of scuba diving. However, you should know that the best time for diving here is the period from April to September.

As strange as it sounds, but summer in the resort of El Gouna is considered a low season, because from June to August the air heats up to plus 30 degrees. Many, of course, too hard to bear such a heat, but if this does not scare you, you can save money on your accommodation. At this time all hotels practically reduce their prices from 15 to 20%, and in principle the same applies to airline tickets.

If you do go to rest in this period, it is better not to go on any excursions, except for walks on yachts or boats, to swim in the open sea. It really is a very pleasant entertainment. Also not a bad option would be… read more

Where to stay in El Gouna?


Most hotels in El Gouna, at least most of them are located where there are canals. They even have special terraces for guests to enter the water and of course swim. Some tourists write in their reviews that the water in the canals is unclean, and that allegedly it somehow stagnates there.

However, this is not true, because thanks to the very competent work of the architects together with the builders, the canals were dug in such a way that water is constantly circulating in them. In general, it is the same water that is in the sea. So you can safely choose a hotel in any part of the resort. The most important thing is that it is essentially located near the water.

Hotels in El Gouna are not cheap, but they do absolutely everything necessary to make tourists feel comfortable. If you for example, resting in a hotel, want to swim on the beach and not in the nearby canal, the hotels offer free shuttle service. They run all day to and from the beach. From anywhere in town, the travel time is no more than 15 minutes, and the roads are very good and run along well-maintained areas.

Unfortunately, there are no areas in El Gouna with cheap hotels, or areas that are built exclusively with expensive hotels. So it is difficult to advise a certain place, where you can stay for a budget tourist. In principle, El Gouna.

Going on vacation with children


For 30 years you can say that the Egyptian city called El Gouna literally grew up on nothing and then it became like a dream come true, a kind of oasis in the desert. Due to the fact that the city is crossed by a multitude of channels, which break its territory into separate islands, El Gouna is often compared to Venice.

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But this is not quite true, because in the appearance of this resort you can recognize the features of Italy and Greece, as well as a little touch of traditional Nubian architecture. This is not surprising, since architects from different countries took part in the project of creating the resort.

Well, the fact that today El Gouna seems to be such a kind of a fairy-tale town can be explained very simply – because Michael Graves also had his hand in the project, and his architectural solutions are often used by Disneyland. The result, in general, is a magnificent place for family recreation – very solid, very cozy and buried in verdure.

In general, we can say that El Gouna on the map of Egypt can be safely marked green, as this resort is officially recognized as the most environmentally friendly place on the Red Sea. And in 2014, it even received a prestigious award from an international environmental organization.

Well, in fact, El Gouna is the kind of place that every parent wants to choose for a vacation with their child. In addition, the vacation here is suitable for everyone who appreciates convenience, safety and peace.

How to get there?


The nearest airport to El Gouna is located respectively in the resort of Hurghada, they are separated by a distance of only 30 kilometers. You can fly there from Moscow and St. Petersburg. But so far such flights are made only with connections and there are no direct flights today.

The best way is to fly with “Turkish Airlines” and change planes in Istanbul. Usually it takes 2 to 3 hours to change planes. You can also fly with “Chech Airlines” with connection in Prague, which is too long – about 22 hours, and the flight will be more expensive.

However, you can spend the whole day in beautiful Prague. You can also fly from St. Petersburg with a connection in Istanbul or Prague, but again, a connection in Prague will last about 12 hours, and the cost of such a flight will be more expensive.

You can also fly direct from Moscow or St. Petersburg to Cairo, and there to take advantage of the local airline “EgyptAir”, which operates direct flights, and the flight time is only one hour. A one-way ticket can cost you about 90 euros.

If you do arrive in Hurghada, when you get out of the airport building you will see that there are cab drivers permanently on duty. They usually belong to official companies, and their cars are painted black and orange. The trip to your hotel will cost you about 25 euros, and the time en route.

Food and Drink


If we talk about the restaurants and bars in the resort of El Gouna, it is noteworthy that the food prepared here is many times better than that offered in the various districts of Hurghada. In general, rest at the resort El Gouna can be attributed to a series of elite and the most banal accommodation in some cheap room at a five-star hotel in Sandy Venice will cost you quite a bit.

Mostly European tourists prefer to rest in El Gouna, including many Germans, Poles and Dutch. As a rule, the Russian tourists there are not too many. So most of the staff speaks mostly in English, and the Russian speech does not sound at all.

On the menu of local restaurants you can easily find anything you want. You will have European, Asian, Italian, French and many other cuisines. If you are ready in principle to pay for a menu 30% more expensive than in any other restaurant in Hurghada then you can safely go to El Gouna.

The only significant difference between the food in these two resorts is that in El Gouna you will never get anything not tasty or not fresh to the table. The choice of dishes here is always much wider and much richer, which of course affects the prices.

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In fact, all cafes and restaurants in El Gouna offer their guests European service, a variety of cuisines of the world, a lot of entertainment, belly dancing and of course performances of musicians. But even by Egyptian standards.

What to see in El Gouna?


El Gouna is a wonderful resort that is not like any other in Egypt. Every holidaymaker can find something to his or her liking: secluded beaches and comfortable hotels, safari in the desert sands and a unique underwater world, organized entertainment for all family members and reckless nightlife … Those who like diving can find here underwater curiosities – sea animals and wrecks.

El Gouna is an artificial resort, and in the past it was just the desert sand. In the early nineties, the director of an Egyptian construction firm came up with the idea of erecting a wonderful piece of Venice on the beach. To this end, he bought a large area of desert twenty-two kilometers from Hurghada. Not much time has passed – and here according to the project of Michael Graves grew resort city of El Gouna. Although the coastline has undergone significant changes, the underwater world has not suffered, and today the amazing coral reefs, minnows and sunken ancient ships attract many connoisseurs of exotic underwater beauty.

The city covers an area of more than 36 million square meters. Through the canals tourists with the help of boaters very quickly get to the sandy beach, which stretches for ten kilometers. Today about ten hotels have been built – but the construction is not yet finished.

How to have fun?


One of the great facilities for entertainment in El Gouna is its famous, perhaps, the whole world’s golf club, which belongs to the highest class. It is quite natural that not all tourists know how to play golf, and many do not know the rules of the game.

But of course, everyone knows that golf is an activity for the aristocracy and the rich, because only they can afford to maintain the perfect golf course, which is evenly covered with grass, as well as courts with holes and special clubs. El Gouna is a rare resort, where you can not only watch, but also join the game, because the golf club here is open to all comers.

Then there are about 10 diving centers in the resort of El Gouna, as well as tennis courts, paintball court, stables, tennis school, and piers for yachts and craters. And all this is equipped to the highest class.

Also one of the famous places and at the same time point of interest in the city is the aquarium, which collected representatives of marine fauna living in the waters of the Red Sea.

That is, even those who do not dare to scuba dive near the shore, quite quietly can observe the beautiful sea creatures here in the aquarium. So children and adults, too, will probably be very interesting here.

Then for entertainment you can visit the Historical Museum of El Gouna, which presents copies of all the major attractions.

What can I buy?


You won’t find traditional shops on every corner like in nearby Hurghada in El Gouna. There are stores in the two main tourist spots – Abu Tig Marina, and especially on the island of El Kafr. Here you will find souvenir shops with traditional magnets and plates, trendy boutiques and more democratic stores. Nearby there are restaurants and cafes to relax after shopping. Bargaining in the shops of El Gouna, just as in other Red Sea recreation areas can and should be done. But prices in local stores, which are oriented to the rich European public, are in any case much higher than in other popular and democratic Egyptian resorts.

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