Egypt is one of the most diverse and mysterious destinations anywhere on the planet! It is known as the very cradle of civilization, and there are towns and cities that can trace their roots back to the earliest civilizations dating from around 8000 BC.
Over the course of its rich history Egypt has been occupied by the Persians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, British and the French. So it is a land steeped in the past and echoing with stories.
These are fascinating tales that tell of leaders as different as Alexander the Great and King Tutankhamun. You can retrace familiar Biblical epics recounting the flight of the Holy Family from King Herod or how Moses led the Exodus of the Children of Israel. And you can immerse yourself in thrilling stories of explorers such as Howard Carter and the revenge of the Mummy’s curse.
The source of the Nile remained a mystery until it was discovered by John Hanning Speke in 1858. The mighty Nile River – the longest river in the world – flows north from the Great Lakes region of Central Africa and brings fertility and life to the Sahara Desert. The river flows north past the great Temples of Abu Simbel, the engineering marvel of the Aswan Dam and the iconic archeological remains found at Luxor, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings.
Then the Nile flows on past Cairo, now a thriving modern city with a unique mixture of old and new. It is Home to the best Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic sights in Egypt. Explore the Souks and markets – the most famous is the Khan el-Khalili. And just outside Cairo are the Pyramids - the last remaining Ancient Wonders of the World together with the Sphinx that seems to peer at us through the centuries.
Flowing on past the oasis of Al-Fayoum, the river finally reaches the Mediterranean Coast via the Nile Delta close by the city of Alexandria. Known as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” Alexandria has inspired writers such as EM Forster and Lawrence Durrell. It retains a Mediterranean ambiance with many old European residences and it has a vibrant arts scene.
Egypt is a country that is best enjoyed in an unhurried fashion, either on an organized tour (try Insight Vacations or GM Tours) or independently – just give yourself plenty of time to get around.
Many travelers to Egypt are brought there by their religious beliefs. As well as places that are sacred within the Muslim faith, there are many sites that can be visited with the Bible as your guide book. The Holy Family is believed to have fled into Egypt after the birth of Jesus and there are many Coptic Christian shrines, churches and monasteries throughout Egypt.
Here are just a few places of religious significance in Egypt:
No visitor to Egypt should miss the chance to see the extraordinary archeological ruins spread throughout the Nile Valley and there are many organized tours to help tourists discover the incredible history. Just the UNESCO World Heritage Sites alone include:
Egypt offers many and varied activities for the traveler. As well as exploring the historic sites and amazing architecture, you can also enjoy beachside rest and relaxation, high class spa and wellness retreats, soft adventure of all kinds including desert safaris – and more!
And there is no better way to immerse yourself in the country than on a cruise down the Nile - the "Mother of All Men".
Nile Cruising has captured the imagination of travelers for centuries. Florence Nightingale went on a Nile Cruise and wrote afterwards of her experiences. Travel pioneer Thomas Cook was so captivated by his experiences that in 1869 that he became one of the first Tour Operators offering Nile Cruises to his clients. And Agatha Christie used a Nile Cruise as the backdrop for her famous mystery novel “Death on the Nile”. Nowadays you can take a day cruise or sail on a traditional boat called a felucca. Or a multi-day Nile Cruise offers a particularly leisurely and memorable way to see some of the great sights of the country.
A first class resort on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera is pure escapism. This part of Egypt has sunshine and warm waters and the climate is lovely and dry all year long. Sharm El Sheikh is the best well known resort area. You can soak up the sun, dive amazing corals reefs, and enjoy the sea – plus a wide array of fun, exciting, and even crazy water and extreme sports. There is diving, snorkeling, sailing, wind and kite-surfing as well as sky diving or parachuting from a helicopter.
For land lovers visiting the Red Sea Riviera you can golf in the paradisiacal surroundings of crystal clear lagoons at El-Gouna Golf Course, or experience what it is like to play golf on a peninsula in the amazing Cascades Golf Resort in Soma Bay. The luxury Jolie Ville Golf & Resort in Sharm El Sheikh, owned by the prestigious Maritim Hotels, combines a 18 hole PGA championship course adjoining the resort with a luxurious Health Club and Spa wellness facility. In fact the town of Sharm El Sheikh is home to some of Egypt’s most famous and professional Spas. There are also lots of local bars and nightclubs for you to dance the night away.
Venturing into the desert in Egypt is a “must do”, and from the Red Sea Coast you can easily book trips and safaris into the nearby Sinai desert. The Sinai is arguably the best hiking and trekking destination in the Middle East and definitely the best rock climbing in Egypt. The mountains, canyons and valleys of the Sinai are perfect for environmentally friendly activities such as hiking and trekking. Based around Sharm El Sheikh you can not only experience the astonishing dessert landscapes, you can also take in sights such as majestic Mount Sinai, Nearby is the ancient St Catherine Monastery, built between 548 and 565AD.
Egypt’s Western Desert region is perhaps the place to head for wellness and spirituality. Treat yourself to a stay in the Qasr El-Bawity eco-lodge in the Bahariya Oasis or the
Al Tarfa Desert Sanctuary Luxury Lodge and Spa at Dakhla. The desert scenery is incredibly dramatic and the White Desert, part of the Western Desert, is justifiably the most well-known desert destination in Egypt. The quantity of unearthly and beautiful wind-carved rock formations, shaped in the form of giant mushrooms or pebbles, is unequalled in any desert in the world. There are different modes of transport available to enjoy a desert safari – but could there be anything more romantic than riding a beautiful Arabian horse into the desert landscape?
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