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“The Venice of Egypt?”
Review of El Gouna

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Brighouse, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
22 reviews
93 helpful votes
“The Venice of Egypt?”
Reviewed 28 March 2009

Having never been to Venice, Italy I cannot comment but what I can tell you is I found El Gouna to be a great place to stay for a break in the sun, especially if you like kite-surfing & other wind-related watersports.

I have also visited Sharm El Sheikh and Taba Heights but I think El Gouna would be my choice over Sharm because of the street traders “hassle factor”, whereas Taba Heights was merely three hotels on a beautiful beach when I visited in early 2004 so I don't know how it would compare now. Although I did prefer the more natural beaches of Taba (with direct access over pontoons to the fabulous Red Sea with coral reef and aquatic life below). El Gouna's lagoon beaches (i.e. anywhere not naturally by the sea) are nice but seem to be more like builders sand (think Skegness beach rather than Ipanema)!

El Gouna seems to have been manufactured both literally and in a sense by a large Egyptian company called Orascom who bought the land, then decided to make it the premier tourist resort in Egypt. Instead of the Dubai approach of building man made islands they have created El Gouna's plethora of canals & lagoons by digging out the Egyptian desert along the coast so that a majority of the properties (both commercial & private) are near or on a stretch of beach or lagoon. It works very well (although can feel a bit fake or sanitised) and there are some truly stunning vistas for your perusal all backed by a mix of European and mainly Nubian style low rise architecture.

I mentioned it feels a little sanitised and that's because developers/owners seem to control pretty much everything from security, transport, development, amenities, property management (in fact just about everything you can think of)! I kept expecting the pool speaker near my sun-lounger to start giving me orders a la George Orwell's 1984. Don't get me wrong they do seem to have thought of everything there is a school, a hospital with specialist unit for diving injuries, mosque and church, library, museum, cinema, branch of the American University of Cairo and the entire town even seems to get fumigated for mosquitoes at 1700 hours local time each day but where do all the hard-working and no doubt poorly paid service industry locals live? I think they even seem to have a ban on local shopkeepers following you half way down the road badly quoting British TV show clichés at you (Sharm El Sheikh take note, its fun the first few times but normally I don't want your Lubberly Jubbly bit of tat even at Asda price)!

Even a real estate agent on the marina told me they are trying to make El Gouna as European as possible with nearly every shop, restaurant, bar and water sports venue offering prices in Euro s, LE's and Dollars. Of course with this comes the disadvantage that as they are going for the premium market prices are a little dearer compared with other Egyptian resorts but still reasonable really (I stayed All Inclusive but most restaurant menus seems to offer meals between 60-100 LE's).

All this omnipotence does have advantages though with a lot of restaurants participating in the “Dine Around scheme” whereby if you are staying in an “AI” hotel but fancy getting away from the buffet one night you can get credits towards your meal out from your hotel. Also the transport arrangements are excellent. 20 LE per week per person (approx £2.50) buys you a “travel card” which is valid for unlimited travel on the water taxis, shuttle buses and the rather flamboyantly decorated “Karachi Kabs” which I think are imported from Pakistan but wouldn't look out of place at a Liberace concert! The water taxis run every hour (subject to tides) and the shuttle buses/Karachi Kabs seem regular too, if a little tricky to predict. Tuc Tucs are also a very cheap and exhilarating way to get around.

El Gouna also seems to have an excellent website with great maps, plenty of information and pictures.

My family and I loved our stay here, if you are looking for a nice family beach type holiday I can thoroughly recommend it, although if you want a Benidorm type “Brits on tour” experience I think you should look elsewhere.

4 Thank AmmoBirchy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
47 helpful votes
“Lovley place to relax and enjoy the sunshie and crystal waters.”
Reviewed 22 March 2009

El Gouna is one of the best resorts I have ever stayed in. The Locals were most friendly and the scenery was beautiful. There are many restaurants to dine in and you will always get a table no matter what time you turn up. It’s such a tranquil and relaxing resort. You get no hassle from the restaurants or shops; you can roam around in peace. The beaches are clean and off the beach snorkelling is great. Anyone who wants to relax, eat well, swim and enjoy the sunshine, El Gouna is the place.

3 Thank Lorraney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tamworth, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
9 helpful votes
“another great holiday in el gouna”
Reviewed 21 September 2008

arrived back from el gouna on sat 20 sept this was our 3rd time to egypt and once again we had a great time, weather was lovley around 38 every day about 30 at night. We stayed at the Movenpick hotel on a b&b basis the breakfasts were exellent with a huge choice, the hotel was lovely and the staff could not be more helpful. we eat in downtown or at the marina every night there is a good range of every type of restaurant you can want to suit every price on average we paid about £30 with drinks for tha two of us.

Thank indiogo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newton Abbot, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
12 helpful votes
“A Great Place for Snorkelling”
Reviewed 11 November 2007

Spent a week in El Gouna, what a lovely place....
Snorkelling was great, the Red Sea is so clear and so many colourful fish to see.
Everything you need is right in El Gouna, restaurants, shops, beaches and sunshine!!

4 Thank mouselovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
97 helpful votes
“sunny for ten months of the year”
Reviewed 23 October 2007

cosmopolitan area ,but has a lot of building going on around the region ,not really suitable for children more geared to adults.
Nice marina with pavement cafes and bars ,some designer shops and some tourist shops.Very few discos or night clubs
Down town area called Tama Henna plenty of cafes restuarnts covering most types of food ,internet cafe ,pharmacy,photography shops,local craft shops,and european supermarkets for those self catering in apartments or villas
Some good standard hotels in region,mixed nationalities visiting, none particulary dominant.
Lagoons and beach front dotted throughout the region mainly safe swimming,
Kite surfing popular in windy region behind marina
Good place to acess other regions for trips and historical culture but none locally.
Friendly people ,no hassle , good cost of living and value for the pound.

2 Thank dizzy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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