One of the most fascinating tourist destinations in North Africa, Egypt is undoubtedly one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. The land of Egypt is packed with wonders, most intriguing of which are the iconic pyramids of Giza which continue to impress visitors apart from the medieval bazaars, mystifying tombs and obscure treasures that can be explored on a sightseeing tour of the cities. The magnificent Temples of Luxor and Karnak, the site of Thebes, the Valley of the Kings, the sound-and-light show at the mighty tombs of Abu Simbel, the ancient and bustling city of Cairo – Egypt has always captivated the imagination of travellers seeking intellectual pursuits.
The country boasts immense natural grandeur with the solitary white sand deserts, the lush oases, and the great River Nile, mighty mountains of the Sinai, gleaming underwater life of the Red Sea and the sparkling blue beaches of the Mediterranean. Egypt is home to some of the best water sport destinations in the world. Read this guide to find out the best in Egypt.
Important Tourist Destinations in Egypt
Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurgadha, Sinai.
Egypt Culture & Lifestyle
The Nile valley has been abode of one of the earliest civilisations in the world is often called the ‘cradle of civilisation’ with a recorded history of over 5000 years. Egyptian identity has evolved over a span of hundred of centuries right from the ancient history through to the modern history. Every invasion and occupation of country resulted in the gradual evolution and modernisation of one of the oldest cultures and society. Egyptian society is generally divided into four main cultural groups namely the Copts, Bedouins, Nubians and Fallahin (the Egyptian peasants). Egypt’s largest cities such as Cairo and Alexandria have become home to considerable amount of country’s populace. Although these cities are vital, other comparatively smaller cities also have significant contribution towards shaping of the nation’s culture.
Religion has been at the heart of Egypt’s cultural and social landscape. The religious principles govern every day lives of the its people and is perhaps the reason for the great bonding that is noticeable in the families and the extended families. It’s the loyalty of its people to Islam that can be considered as the reason for virtually no or very low crime rate in city like Cairo and the choice of vast majority of devout Muslim population not to consume alcohol and drugs.
Egyptian cities exhibit great culinary characteristics be it the local cuisines or international food. Popular tourist cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurgadha are hubs for international chains such as Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut, KFC and Costa Coffee, luxury five star hotels and classic restaurants.
The architectural prowess of Egypt needs no introduction and is evident in the colossal pyramids and monumental tombs that are still adorned with unique art forms. Modern Egypt has Cairo Opera House as the key centre for performing arts right in its capital and the city also boasts to be the ‘Hollywood of the Middle East’ with well renowned Cairo International Film Festival.
Egypt has made great endeavours in such elements of culture as literature, music, festivals or sports which are well known to the world. Being important tourist destinations, Cairo, the most modern city of Egypt as well as Alexandria are a far cry from other cities and buzz with activity. These cities have evolved a flexible and adaptable side with culture showing influences from as far across the borders as the Europe, Asia and the West.
Best Time to Visit Egypt
Egypt experiences hot and dry weather for most part of the year. Winter months are December to February when it becomes quite cold. Parts of the country on the Mediterranean coast experience an average temperature that ranges from a minimum of 20 degrees to a maximum of 31 degrees. The desert areas often have sweltering days and bitterly cold nights.
Although winters from December to February form the best time to visit Egypt and is the time of the year when the country experiences a surge in the number of tourists. The summer months from June to August, though considered as off season draw some tourists to the coastal regions of Alexandria and the South Sinai for great sun, sand and surf experience at the beaches, but no farther down South than Cairo. March to May (spring) and September to November (autumn) are the best months if you want to cover Egypt destinations from North to South.
Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to Egypt operating from UK.
Preferred Airlines to Egypt from UK
Travel Tips for holidays in Egypt
Most social customs and practices have the roots in the religion of the country, Islam and the preaching of the holy book, Quran. People here have an innate characteristic of being courteous, respectful and hospitable. The same is expected out of the visitors.
Dress code is strictly conservative and women should not wear revealing clothes especially while visiting religious places.
Most religious Muslims in Egypt do not consume alcohol, use drugs or eat pork. Visitors consuming alcohol in reasonable amounts and in such a way that is not harmful to the environment around them have not been found to have faced objections.
Almost all Egyptian families are conservative and some still abide by the ancient traditions, values and beliefs.
In public places such as ticket counters etc men and women may have different queues. It is considered immoral of men to speak to unknown women.
In the Egyptian society, especially while dealing with someone who is unaware of the western straightforward manner, it is a usual practice to refuse at first instance any invitation such as for meal.
- Location: North Africa, Middle East
- Time Zone: GMT+ 2 (GMT + 3 from last Friday in April to last Thursday in September)
- Capital: Cairo (El Qahira)
- Largest Cities: Cairo, Alexandria, Abu Simbel, Karnak, Luxor, Giza, Port Said, Suez, Luxor
- Government: Semi Presidential System
- Area: 1,002,000 sq km (386,874 sq miles).
- Population: 81.7 million (as of 2008)
- Currency: Egyptian Pound [US$1 = E£5.55, €1 = E£7.81]
- Calling Code: + 20
- Official Language(s): Arabic.
- Religion: Egypt is primarily a Muslim majority state with 90% of the population following Islam.
- Visa information: Travellers need to check the visa guidelines from their relevant embassy/ consulates or contact their travel agents.
There are a number of options to get the currency exchanged in Egypt. These include banks, foreign exchange bureaus, Amex and Thomas Cook offices and some hotels as well. USD and Euros are readily exchangeable amongst all international currencies.
(Note: The destination guide has been made based on the information available on the internet. Southall Travel holds no liability whatsoever for any kind of contingency arising from the content of this guide)