GMT +2 hours
Ancient monuments, bustling souks, captivating river cruises and spectacular diving opportunities.
Bustling ancient cities, bucket-list monuments, fascinating Nile cruises and beaches that are perfect for deep-sea diving – holidays to Egypt offer the finest in exploration, recreation and relaxation. Witness the majestic Pyramids of Giza; explore the banks of one of the world’s most famous rivers; wander through the Valleys of the Kings and or simply kick back in a peaceful beach resort. And, as Egypt is reachable in less than six hours – it’s a great choice for both long and short stays.
Best time to visit
• Egypt is generally hot and dry except during the winter months.
• The best times to visit are from February to April and October to November when the weather is warm.
• Summer is very hot, with average temperatures reaching up to 41°C in the south and 35°C in the north.
Renowned for its spectacular architecture including two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and an ancient history of civilisation, Egypt offers so much more than its reputation precedes.
Known as the ‘City of a Thousand Minarets’, the bustling capital city of Cairo buzzes with thriving markets and souks such as the Khan el-Khalili Market, selling local handicrafts, coloured fabrics and flavoursome local cuisine. Take the time to walk amongst the multitudinous stalls vending an array of colourful spices that fill the air with mesmerising and intriguing aromas before heading to the Nile’s West Bank, where The Great Pyramid of Giza awaits, alongside the colossal Sphinx.
Popularly known as ‘the world’s greatest open air museum’, Luxor is the perfect hub to delve into the history of ancient Egypt. Luxor is divided by the Nile into the East Bank and West Bank. The East Bank is where you’ll find the temples of Luxor and Karnak, as well as the modern part of the city, and the vast majority of hotels. The West Bank is the location of Thebes, the old capital of Egypt. The Theban Necropolis is home to the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
From Luxor and Cairo, a plethora of escorted Nile Cruises await, offering a unique and enthralling perspective of the East and West Banks of the Nile with expert guidance from an Egyptologist. Enjoy the comfort and luxury of a fully equipped cruise as you sail into popular destinations such as Luxor: home of the Valley of the Kings and the Temples of Karnak and Luxor. A cruise along this majestic river will take you on a journey through Egypt’s most treasured sights, each playing a pivotal role in the country’s rich development.
Aswan is relatively compact so it is easy to explore on foot, but taxis are available to take you to the Philae Temple, Unfinished Obelisk and High Dam. A public ferry transports tourists between the two banks, while feluccas sail around the river islands. Meander through the busy Sharia as-Souq and barter for handicrafts. Enter the Nubian Museum to view the vast collection of artefacts rescued before they were submerged by the waters of Lake Nasser. Visit the Philae Temple (also relocated to save it from destruction), situated on a small island on the Nile and dedicated to the goddess. Another popular site is the Unfinished Obelisk, carved directly into the rock into a granite quarry.
Vibrant Sharm el-Sheikh (affectionately known as ‘Sharm’) is situated in a prime location on the Red Sea Riviera, at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, with a glorious backdrop of desert and Mount Sinai. With 21 miles of coastline, this is Egypt’s premier beach getaway for those seeking the popular combination of sun-drenched days and livelier nights. Naama Bay is the focal point, home to many buzzing restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. The majority of hotels can be found in, or up to 20 minutes north of Naama Bay.
Located on the western side of the Red Sea Riviera and hemmed by soft golden sands, the town of Hurghada has blossomed from a quaint fishing town to a bustling seaside resort, catering to almost 100,000 tourists annually. By day, the Marina Boulevard is where the local tradesmen vend a variety of local goods, as well as a selection of ubiquitous Pharaonic statuettes. However, by night the town comes to life as restaurants and bars bustle with visitors wanting to savour a taste of authentic local cuisine and entertainment.
Ten miles to the north of Hurghada lies the picturesque fishing village of El Gouna – a popular location for watersports including windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing and parasailing. The two main beaches of this resort are Zeeeytuna and Mangroovy, which offer many of these exhilarating activities. Walk towards the centre of town and wander through the many winding alleys that lead to charming houses bedecked with traditional Egyptian characteristics.
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From the cradle of civilisation to one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Egypt has always held an important role in our consciousness.
Despite the traffic or the modern hotel setting, I can watch the sun set over the mighty Nile and can almost be transported back in time - a truly humbling experience.