The city was founded in the early 20th century, and until recently it was a small fishing village. But since the 1980s, it has been continually enlarged by Egyptian and foreign investors to become the leading coastal resort on the Red Sea. Holiday resorts and hotels provide aquatic sport facilities for windsurfers, kitesurfers, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers. Hurghada is known for its watersports activities, nightlife and warm weather. Daily temperature hovers round 30 °C (86 °F) most of the year, during July and August temperatures reach over 40 °C (104 °F). Many Europeans head to Hurghada for their regular Holidays, especially during the Winter season and spend their Christmas and New Year holidays in the city. Tourism from Russia dropped drastically after the Metrojet Flight 9268 plane crash in November 2015.

Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometres (22 mi) along the seashore, and it does not reach far into the surrounding desert. The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe. Today Hurghada counts 248,000 inhabitants and is divided into:

  • El Ahia and El Helal, the northern part
  • El Dahar (Downtown) is the old part
  • Sekalla is the city center
  • El Kawsar is the modern part
  • El Memsha (Village road) is pedestrian road stretching over 4 km.

Along the El Mamsha you find many of Hurghada's new hotels, restaurants, and shops. Most of the newest and biggest hotel resorts located in the area between Mamsha to Sahl Hasheesh (Village road). After Sahl Hasheesh you find Makadi Bay with its hotels. Dahar is the oldest part of the town, where the town's traditional bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus stations, Go Bus and Upper Egypt Bus are situated. The busiest area is its "city center" Sakala, which is spread along Sheraton Road. There are some hotels, shops and restaurants along Sheraton Road .

The city is served by the Hurghada International Airport with scheduled passenger traffic connecting to Cairo and directly with several cities in Europe. A new terminal was opened in 2015 to accommodate rising traffic.