Reasons to Visit
The Ancient Egyptians have attracted more interest and attention than almost any other ancient civilisation. Their feats of engineering, and the details of their lives we can glean from tomb and temple walls make them seem very alive; similarly their obsession with death also fascinates us.
From the temples of Upper Egypt, to the numerous fantastic pyramids near Cairo, Egypt is probably best known for its ancient ruins. Even once away from the ever-popular Nile Valley, there are oasis tombs, and remnants of Roman Alexandria to uncover.
The shores of the Red Sea are rightly famous the world over. The water is a stunning clear blue and the coral reefs are simply amazing. Year-round, the sun shines, and there are excursions into the mountainous interior to tempt you away from the sand and lapping waves.
Gliding serenely past lush green fields, farmed by ox-drawn ploughshares, admiring the sleek form of a egret is one of the great pleasures of a visit to Egypt. The fact that this glimpse of unchanged rural life also links together some of the greatest historical monuments in Egypt makes a Nile cruise a must!
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is one of the world's great treasure troves, crammed with artefacts from the country's illustrious past. Other, much smaller museums are more than worthy of your time: Luxor museum is especially noteworthy.
As you twist and turn deeper into the Khan El Khalili, passing under Mamluke arches and admiring Ottoman 'mashrabiya' window screens, you're drawn into a traditional world where charismatic vendors try to persuade you to purchase handicrafts and goods manufactured in a tiny workshop behind the shop front.
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North Africa & the Middle East
Our country specialists have travelled the length and breadth of Egypt - here are a few of their favourite things to do
For 4,000 years Egypt has been drawing visitors to marvel at the temples and funerary monuments of its ancient culture, lining the banks of the Nile, crammed into the narrow strip of fertile land amidst the desert that forms the bulk of the country.
From the iconic pyramids of Giza to the temples of Abu Simbel, there is a spectacular array of Pharaonic sights that form the core of Egypt’s appeal.
There is more to Egypt than just the ancient Egyptians, and Cairo is the perfect example of this, where layer upon layer of medieval history competes for space with Fatimid citadels, Mamluke souqs and Ottoman mosques, overlaid by a vibrant modern city.
Outside the green margins of the Nile, the Red Sea’s stunning coral reefs are fringed by sandy beaches blessed with year-round sun. In the desert remarkable rock formations, jagged mountains and seas of sand shelter and hide lonely oases and remote monasteries.
At El Alamein, ranks of war graves pay testament to heroism and a history much younger than that of the Ancient Egyptians.
Whilst many of Egypt's historic attractions are still in situ, a wonderful array of artefacts can also be found in her museums: Alexandria and Luxor both have excellent little museums, and the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is one of the most famous in the world.
Alexandria is a modern city where the pace of life is quite gentle, and a Mediterranean air of relaxation pervades.
For over 700 years Cairo has been the largest city in Africa, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace. Scratch beneath the surface and it reveals wondrous secrets, beautiful mosques, imposing citadels and unexpected garden oases.
The Mediterranean Coast's main attraction is about 100 kilometres out of Alexandria, where El Alamein marks the furthest extent of the Axis advance across North Africa.
More than any other monument, the Pyramids of Giza symbolise the mystic appeal that Egypt has exerted over travellers for so many millennia. Sentinel to the pyramids, the Sphinx sits in enigmatic splendour.
The oasis of Siwa has remained untouched by the outside world until recently, and remains a unique outpost of Berber culture.
The most famous of the rescued temples of Lake Nasser are those at Abu Simbel, although they are the least Nubian in influence. They were built by Ramses the Great on the edge of his empire.
Aswan is easily the prettiest town in Egypt, and our recommendation for the perfect place to unwind at the end of your trip. Although not as rich in sights as Luxor, it does still have the picture-perfect Temple of Philae, and the monumental Aswan High Dam.
Luxor, the hub of Ancient Egyptian monuments and a busy town, has developed to cater to the thousands of tourists who pass through. On the east bank of the river, the town itself is modern but has grown up around the two temples of Luxor and Karnak.
4 3/4 hours (Cairo)
GMT +2 to GMT +3
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:Tours in EgyptWhen to GoItinerary IdeasEgypt CruisesPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout EgyptCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:IranJordanLebanonLibyaMoroccoOmanSyriaTunisia
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