One of the lovely things about Egypt is the long Eid holidays. We recently had 3 days of Eid which we combined with a weekend for a very nice long weekend. (Well, technically we had to take one day off as Eid shifted days from the predicted Tues-Thurs and became Mon-Weds).
El Gouna is a 4-5.5 hour drive from Cairo depending on traffic and your driving speeds. The roads are in good condition and are wide and fairly smooth, so speeds are definitely pretty high. We took a new-to-us road for part of the trip and it was so much better than our normal route! I was nervous starting out as googlemaps did NOT have it marked as a road, except if you went on satellite view and zoomed in you could see a line through the mountains. But it turns out it was a large, legitimate toll road that is simply fairly new and so googlemaps has been slow to update. Signs were good for the turn off and it avoids all the crazy truck construction traffic just south of Ain Sokhna. For more info on the route, go to the bottom of my previous post on Gouna.
In Gouna we stayed at the Movenpick. We’ve stayed at 2 other locations of theirs in Egypt (Aswan and Ain Sokhna), so knew what to expect. They had a great family room that had the master bedroom, bathroom, and balcony on the main level and then stairs upstairs to a loft with 2 twin beds. Nice having a somewhat separate kid sleeping area. It’s right on the Red Sea, so we had some beautiful views. Gouna also has a ton of lagoons that come in from the Sea, so we had some of those in the resort area as well as a pool.
One nice thing about Gouna is it has a Downtown and a Marina area with restaurants and shops. We went Downtown for lunch 2 days and met up with friends who were in town at a different hotel. Turkish food the first day and Thai the second time. Yum!! Our kids and their kids get along well and so we had a kid table and an adult table and everyone stayed entertained until food arrived (which did take a while). DD was super impressed that she out ate the older (ages 6 and 7) boys at lunch at the Turkish restaurant. She put away that chicken fast!
One day we went down to the Abu Tig Marina and did the beach connected with MOODS Restaurant. There is a small charge for adults (100le) and an additional charge (50le) for towels for the kids if needed. They had a lot of lounge chairs right up near the water. The sea is so calm and shallow there and you can go out really far. This makes it super safe with little kids. Even DS2 could walk out really far and only be up to his knees or chest!
We spent a long morning there and then had lunch at the restaurant. Food was yummy, but there were tons of tiny fly things swarming. The solution was burning coffee beans, but then you had smoke to deal with. Lose-Lose situation.
Another day we hired a private glass bottom boat to do a trip out to a coral reef for some viewing and snorkling. The kids loved the boat ride and thought the glass bottom was amazing. DD climbed right out on the glass when the captain said it was ok. DS took a bit longer to decide it was safe to do, but then loved it also. She kept shouting, “Look! It’s Dory!”
DH and I enjoyed some snorkling, including swimming under the boat so the kids could see us through the glass. They tried swimming, but were too nervous to do it for long. They did enjoy sitting on the boat’s steps and feeding bread to the fish. They kept going, “One touched me! It tickled me!” Our captain was great with kids and kept them safe and entertained while we swam.
At the hotel, we enjoyed mixing up beach, lagoon, and pool. They also had a little playground and a bigger playground. The bigger one was right outside our room, so very convenient for some quick play sessions. One of the kids’ favorite things was the chocolate bar they set up in the afternoon! Yum!! Free chocolate!
It was a great end to summer, as school orientation happened the day after we returned.
One thing to know about Gouna is there is not a lot of snorkling right from shore. You can see a few fish, but to really see good coral and sealife you need to take a boat. Other Red Sea towns are better for active snorklers. Since our kids aren’t really into snorkling yet, we found the calm shallow water to work well for us.
We did El Gouna a year ago as well, read about that experience here.