Introducing Egypt

View Gallery

Egypt is the world's premier tourist destination for historical sightseeing. From the mysterious and awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza, to the Nile's West Bank, to the 3,000-year-old temples of Abu Simbel and the beguilingly beautiful Coptic Cairo, those with an interest in ancient civilisation will find themselves in seventh heaven while on holiday in Egypt.

However, tourists who take a less highbrow approach to holiday-making will not be disappointed by the Land of the Pharaohs, either. Egypt abounds with fun activities - such as diving and snorkelling coral reefs, cruising along the Nile, and camel treks into the Sahara - and often, as is the case with the magnificent Sinai Peninsula, tourists can combine these adventures with experiences of real cultural significance.

Egypt also has a world-class array of holiday resorts. From the bohemian charm of Dahab, to the glitzy elegance of El Gouna (known as the 'Venice of the Red Sea') and the creaturely kicks offered by Sharm el-Sheikh, those looking for a top-quality holiday resort in Egypt will find themselves spoilt for choice.

With an astounding amount of things to see and do, great weather, a healthy and delicious national diet, and wonderful souk (open-air market) shopping opportunities, it is plain to see why Egypt is one of the world's favourite holiday destinations.

Places to visit in Egypt

From space, Egypt looks like a mass of yellow cut through by a thin strip of green, running from the southern border with Sudan until it reaches the Mediterranean via the Nile Delta. The yellow is of course desert, and the strip of green is the Nile Valley, home to over 90 percent of Egypt’s population of almost 80 million.

It was along this valley that a mighty kingdom flourished for over 3,000 years. Preserved by the country’s hot, dry climate and often buried by the sands, many of Ancient Egypt’s tombs, temples and Pyramids have survived, and are a major draw to the country.

When it comes to the reality of the archaeological sites, the temples at Karnak for example, and the tomb complexes at the Valley of the Kings, nothing prepares you for their beauty, scale, magnificence and amazing state of preservation. The colossal statues are overwhelming, the delicate grace of the tomb paintings breathtaking, the pyramids far more impressive than you could have imagined, and the huge temple complexes positively Herculean.

Of course it is the capital, Cairo, which is the focus of the country. It has been the pre-eminent city since the early Muslim era, and the legacy of that time is the city's district of Islamic architecture, unrivalled anywhere in the world. Cairo is also the home to some spectacular museums, not least of which is the Egyptian Museum, where you can see Tutankhamun's gold mask among many other splendours.

To the west is the largest region of the country – yet also the least populated – the Western Desert, dotted with oases. East lie the Sinai and Eastern Desert, where you find the popular tourist resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh. The climate, beaches and extraordinary marine life along the coast attract thousands of visitors.

Essential information