Egypt is one of the few places which not only lives up to your dreams but exceeds them. Egypt is a land of ancient pharaohs brought to life by the Pyramids and other magnificent pharaohnic structures – and where the intoxicating culture and vibrant energy of modern-day Cairo touches your soul. To give your holiday planning a start, here are 10 great reasons to visit Egypt.
Steeped in history but very much a destination of the present, Egypt is still a land of mystery for many people.
Egypt is one of the few places which not only lives up to your dreams but exceeds them. Egypt is a land of ancient pharaohs brought to life by the Pyramids and other magnificent pharaohnic structures – and where the intoxicating culture and vibrant energy of modern-day Cairo touches your soul. It is also a place where you can kick back and laze on soft sand beaches or get adventurous among desert dunes and mountains or below the waves in crystal clear coral waters.
To give your holiday planning a start, here are 10 great reasons to visit Egypt.
Beaches: Queen of Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera is Sharm el Sheikh, the resort which began it all more than a quarter of a century ago. More recent Sinai Peninsula additions include designer resort Taba Heights, while Western Red Sea favourite Hurghada has been joined by the likes of El Gouna, Safaga and Makadi Bay. Watch out for the developing Mediterranean resorts, among them El Alamein and Porto Marina.
Nightlife: Hit the major Red Sea resorts at night and the streets buzz with life, from thronging cafes with hubble-bubble pipes to lively rooftop bars, while inside, clubs churn out the latest beats. Cairo’s historic Khan el Khalili bazaar district comes alive after dark with the atmospheric calls of traders trying to entice passers-by to stop.
Food and drink: Mint tea and strong Kahwa coffee, so thick you can almost stand the spoon up in it, are staple drinks; stuffed vine leaves, kebabs and humus are among local food specialities.
Adventure: The desert offers all sorts of action for adrenalin junkies, from wadi-bashing in 4×4 vehicles or quad bikes to sunset camel rides followed by dinner under the stars in a Bedouin camp. Head under the Red Sea to explore wrecks and see exquisite corals, tropical fish – and even a whale shark, if you are lucky.
Sport: Golf is an unlikely sport which has taken off in the country. You can tee off in and around Cairo, including under the shadow of the Pyramids, putt alongside the sparkling Red Sea and play seemingly within a chip shot of the pharaohs’ tombs. Windsurfing is popular on the Red Sea because of the constant breeze.
Cities: Experience the hustle and bustle of Cairo and you are seeing the real Egypt, laid bare. Haggle for bargain shoes and cotton goods in the markets of Cleopatra’s capital, Alexandria, and soak up the colourful sights, sounds and smells of Luxor’s markets before watching the evening sound and light show.
The Nile: The heart of the country, it runs from the south of the country through Luxor and on 500 miles to Cairo to flow into the Mediterranean by Alexandria. Take a Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan past astonishing edifices, and enjoy an excursion on a traditional sailing felucca. History: Egypt’s glorious monuments were already 2,500 years old when they were first seen by Greek historian Herodotus.
Shopping: There are shopping centre in resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada, but the real joy of shopping is to barter with a local stallholder in one of the many markets. Never pay more than half to two-thirds the original asking price, and enjoy the sellers’ theatrics.
Sightseeing: You can’t rent a car and drive around Egypt, but coach tours go to all the top sights. Favourites include Cairo’s Pyramids, Egyptian Museum and Muslim Quarter, the Valley of Kings and temples of Karnak and Luxor in Luxor, and St Catherine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai, a day trip from Sharm.