One of the world's most beautiful and historic countries, Egypt is a stunning place to visit. The northern city of Alexandria feels almost European with its glorious sunshine and warm Mediterranean nights, bustling Cairo is cosmopolitan in the shadows of the Pyramids, the Nile River is a stunning natural beauty and the Red Sea holiday resorts are home to idyllic beaches and natural wonders. A 2017 Egyptian holiday gives something for any tourist, whether you are looking for a romantic trip on one of the most iconic rivers of the world, sight-seeing in one of the earliest civilisations in history, immersing yourself in a strong and charismatic culture, or relaxing on the beach beside crystal-clear waters.
Egypt has an iconic culture dating as far back as any European settlement. This Arabian jewel offers the sites of two of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Pharos Lighthouse at Alexandria looking out across the Mediterranean Sea is no longer standing, but the view over the Med is a great way to see and hear about its history anyway. The Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, a short bus ride outside Cairo, is a colossal and mysterious site surrounded by desert, with Camel treks taking you closer to the structures available, the vista lit up at night is a sight never to be forgotten. Further south, the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, the burial sight of some of Egypt's best-known Pharaohs, is a cultural centre with some of Egypt's best museums.
Cairo, Egypt's largest city covering 200 square miles with a population of almost 10 million people, is a rich and diverse place to visit, with European influences mixing with the traditional Arabian architecture. This is a great city to take a boat trip down the Nile, you can even hire your own private boat at a very reasonable price. If something more active is your pleasure, the Red Sea resorts of the southern Sinai and Hurghada offer some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world.
Wine and Dine
The Egyptian diet is heavily based on the fruits, vegetables and fish sourced from the Nile area, and it is a healthy and tasty way to enjoy yourself. Many of the traditional dishes are well known in Europe, all manner of kebabs and kofta are at your disposal with perfectly baked Egyptian pita. Vegetarian dishes are widespread including the spicy Falafel, often eaten with a plate of beautifully cooked rice. In the tourist resorts, Egyptian fayre sits alongside other world dishes and most foods are easily found here, with some Egyptian variations on more European dishes like Macaroni Bechamel.
For the tea and coffee drinker, the variety of flavours should be an integral part of your Egypt holiday. Egyptian tea, black and sour, is the national drink though many regions sweeten it with sugar cane. Speaking of which, sugar cane juice is also a popular drink in the area.
The Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh has an established reputation for family-friendly holidays. The beaches are dazzling and very popular, with all amenities immediately available. The Mega Park water park is a splash of fun amongst the beautiful surroundings of the sandy beaches and coral seas. Based on Ancient Egyptian culture, the kids will love the Cleopatra and Lost Pyramid slides. Sharm also provides the family with everything a resort on the European mainland would. Soho Square hosts a small and lively bowling alley, a kids arcade with loads for the kids to do amongst the shops and an Egyptian Cultural History cinema. If you want to get out of the sun, why not do a bit of ice-skating at the Soho Square ice rink, the even have a kids’ area for the little ones.
Action and Adventure
From its sun-drenched beaches to its ancient culture, there are endless things to do in Egypt for more adventurous visitors. From a donkey ride into the Valley of the Kings at sunrise, to diving in the coral reefs of the Red Sea, there are many unforgettable experiences on the Egyptian menu. From the chalk mountains of the White Desert, like snow-topped hills in the middle of the desert, to the Siwa Oasis, a natural desert spring, an Egypt Holiday is a natural wonder.
For those who enjoy a rip-roaring getaway, the desert-surrounded beaches in Hurghada offer the chance to go safari-trekking, kite surfing and rock climbing. The increasingly popular desert biking is a great way to motorbike across the sand dunes of the southern deserts. If that isn't enough adrenaline, Bungy Egypt in Port Marina on the Mediterranean coast is one of the highest water touch bungee sites in the world, and its 45-metre drop allows you to touch the surf of the Med.
Life's a Beach
Thanks to its gorgeous beaches, lovely weather and calm seas, it’s easy to see why Egypt holidays are popular among beach lovers. Sunbathing weather can be enjoyed from late Spring until late in the year. From the long sandy stretches of beach on the Mediterranean coast, to the bays of the Rea Sea, beaches are clear, clean and full of natural wonder.
The beach is an integral part of Red Sea tourism and most resorts have great facilities including beach bars, kids’ areas and sporting clubs available. Scuba diving and snorkelling on the Red Sea includes the Blue Hole near Sharm el Sheikh, a 300 feet deep submarine sinkhole and one of the most popular dive sites in the world.
Cairo was ranked as the "world's most 24-hour city" in a 2011, placing it well ahead of other famous big cities such as New York, London or Paris. Cairo's highly nocturnal lifestyle is attributed not only to young people in nightclubs but also to the importance of cafes, which remain very active at night as social gathering places to smoke shisha and even to families with children keeping active at night. Cairo is also one of few cities in the Muslim world to have several casinos and a wide variety of drinks on offer in the hotels, pubs and clubs. A café and bar culture exists in many of the tourist trails in coastal towns. The southern cities of Luxor and Aswan also inhabit this mood, and sampling this atmosphere along the Nile is a stunning way to while away an evening.
Romantics will find a hypnotic setting all along the Nile, from Cairo in the north to Luxor and Aswan in the south. The river sparkles with life as the water which keeps the country green meanders to the Med. The glittering café bars along the river in Luxor are as serene as any waterfront setting. This city is built on the old settlement of Thebes, which existed around 4,000 years ago. If you would rather be on the water, relaxing Nile cruises are a great way to see the natural river, whether by the big cruise ships or the Dahabiyas, a more private way to travel.
The Mediterranean city of Alexandria is as much European as it is Middle Eastern, and its ambience has seen it christened as the Pearl of the Mediterranean. No Egypt holiday would be complete without a relaxing few days in this cosmopolitan and vibrant city, with a mix of cultures giving it something for everyone in the slightly cooler seaside climate.
The site of one of the oldest ancient cultures of the world, Egypt is awash with ancient pyramids and relics. These can be seen in their natural environment all along the Nile, not just at Giza, though Giza does have the most famous and best-preserved examples. The southern Nile city of Luxor includes the Luxor Museum and the Karnak Open Air Museum with its fantastic light show at night. While Luxor is the site of the Karnak Temple and other staggering sites of Ancient Egypt, the Temple of Abu Simbel is an experience never forgotten. 300km south of the Aswan Dam near the Sudan border. The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the 'Nubian Monuments', relocated in their entirety half a century ago as part of the Aswan Dam project and the creation of Lake Nassar.
If you prefer more indoor pursuits, the traditional Soaks, local markets and bazaars are one of the major attractions of Egypt. The Khan El Khalili Market in Cairo dates back 500 years and is one of the most famous tourist markets in the world. The market also serves the locals though, small workshops off the main streets produce jewellery, glass and artisan copperware all at fantastic prices.