El Gouna – The Great Escape

The gorgeous view above is in Egypt. In my proverbial backyard, I can discover and enjoy the most amazing places without having to travel oceans away. This is the beauty of Egypt. And I found all of this in the beautiful El Gouna.

Just an hour’s drive from Hurghada Airport, I was enthralled by the islands, lagoons and beach resorts that lie on the Red Sea and felt like I never wanted to leave.

For a first-time visitor, I was impressed by El Gouna’s (named so for its lagoons) pristine beaches and looming mountains. I especially admired the pretty Nubian-like architecture staying true to its Egyptian identity. Early in the morning when the lagoons were as still as the air, I would marvel at the reflections in the water.

There are several beach resorts managed by international hotels in El Gouna. I happened to like the Sheraton’s layout and design. Every room is in an apartment-like building overlooking the lagoons of El Gouna.

The view from our room made it a peaceful stay, and also a convenient walk to the beach (2 seconds!) Because we were a family group, the hotel situated us in front of ‘Relaxation Beach,’ far away from the beach with young families with children. This can also be requested when booking. Much appreciated.

Because of the lagoons, the water is calm and shallow, ideal for children and those who aren’t strong swimmers.

And because of the water, there are many water-sports activities. The hotel also offers a cruise around El Gouna in a small boat. Since El Gouna is small, this didn’t take long. I got to look at the different hotels around the lagoons and the residential homes.

Because El Gouna isn’t just a tourist destination. It’s also a self-contained town that foreigners and Egyptians call home, more than 20,000 of them to be precise. Private homes in El Gouna are the epitome of luxury and wealth.

But for visiting tourists, El Gouna’s water sports are a significant attraction; especially the popular kite-surfing!

But it doesn’t have to be all play. Many visitors spend their time relaxing on the beach and swimming in the calm lagoons.

Because of the lagoons, there are quite a few bridges to cross in El Gouna. On my photo-walks, I would find individuals jogging or power-walking. It all felt very health-conscious here. But not when it came to the open buffet in the mornings!

I loved how rustic the bridges looked all around the lagoons.

This bridge is situated on another resort next to the Sheraton. Bridges link some beach resorts together, and it was fun to explore other resorts to have an idea for the next time we wanted to visit. This resort offered wind-sailing, with the bridge leading up to a very expensive looking yacht.

I was even lucky to spot some wildlife in El Gouna, including this bird. It seemed very comfortable to walk beside humans while it picked at things to eat. The landscape also offered beautiful flowers and plants to admire.

In the distance, I could see neighboring private residential homes, with mountains looming in the background. I could not get enough of the views of the mountains.

My favorite time of day was just before sunrise. The water would be at its calmest, making it optimal for admiring reflections.

A visit to the marina is a must. In keeping with the traditional Nubian-like theme, all the buildings look the same, giving it a consistent, pleasant feel. There are restaurants and cafes to visit during the evenings and a few shops. A bus took us from our hotel to the marina, but tok-toks are also available. The prime attraction here is the yachts. There are hundreds of yachts and small boats parked here, and it was fun looking at the names of some of them.

The lagoons break out into the Red Sea, where serious water sporting activity is enjoyed.

Because of how large the Sheraton resort is, if the hotel room is located at a distance from the dining hall and reception, it could take at least ten minutes to walk to and from (additional minutes for getting lost on the first couple of nights too). But since it felt like a health-conscious vacation, and there was the gorgeous landscape to admire, we didn’t mind that much.

It was such a refreshing change to be on a quiet beach. Most of the beaches I have visited have always included loud music, loud conversations, and screaming children. Here I could read a good book on peace and fall asleep to the sounds of the water.

El Gouna is the perfect weekend getaway from the noise and pollution of Cairo and only a short flight from its international airport. At the end of my trip, I felt so proud of the fact that I didn’t have to travel to another country to have my breath taken away…beauty like this could be found on Egyptian soil.

Red Sea,
El Gouna,
Egypt.

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