There aren’t many other destinations in the world that conjure up such abiding and iconic images as Egypt does. It’s pyramids and their ancient inhabitants and artefacts lure millions of visitors to the country every year, all wanting to take the trip of a life time. However, there is so much more to this country so here’s my guide to enjoying the very best of Egypt for an unforgettable holiday.
Egypt is truly a land of varied beauty and interest. I would argue that nowhere else in the world has sparked the imagination more than this beautiful country. Located in North East Africa, it is bordered by both the Mediterranean and Red Sea. During May, you will find Egypt to be basking in heat with daily average highs of 33C (91F). It is advised that where possible you avoid the heat of the midday sun and of course, stock up on some sunscreen. As a rule, the further south you travel, the hotter the climate becomes which makes Alexandria the perfect place to begin your journey as you’ll benefit from the breeze coming off of the sea.
Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and its largest seaport. It is a beautiful city which has embraced its location on the coast of the Mediterranean perfectly. The city was founded during Roman rule which may be why it has such a distinctly European air to it.
Begin your visit by exploring the Roman sites, such as the only amphitheatre in Egypt, the catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa and the epic ‘Pompey’s Pillar‘. From here, take a trip to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina which is a beautifully built library where you can delve into the art of Egyptology as well as view ancient and rare books and manuscripts, including pages from Homer’s Iliad. Other great historical sights to see include Fort Qaitbey, El-Salamlek Palace and the many intricately designed mosques that are scattered amongst the city. Once you’ve finished exploring, head south by train to Cairo.
Egypt’s capital is the largest city in Africa and lies just a 2 hour train ride from Alexandria which will take you down through the desert lands. This city is iconic as being the gateway to the Ancient world but before you head off to explore the Pyramids at nearby Giza, there is much to enjoy within Cairo itself.
Top sites to visit within the city include the Medieval centre of Coptic Cairo where you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. Here you’ll find the citadel, traditional mosques and the atmospheric Khalili Bazaar which is a bustling hive of stalls and shops, great for bartering. You should also book in a short ride down the Nile to enjoy the spectacle of riding down this iconic river. As a precursor to heading out to Giza, visit the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities. Home to over 120,000 artefacts, you’ll find an impressive exhibition dedicated to King Tutankhamun as well as the mummies of 9 Royal members.
- For more information, visit sca-egypt.org
The last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids at Giza are arguably one of the most iconic images in the world. Situated just 25km from Cairo, the Pyramids are over 4500 years old and are a remarkable testament to the ancient civilization that built them. Here you can explore the three pyramid complexes, including the largest pyramid, Cheops, as well as the Sphinx. Make your way inside one of this looming structures to experience why the Ancient Egyptians have captures the imagination. Be warned it can be a rather hot and claustrophobic once you’re inside so make sure you’re prepared for that because this is one experience you won’t want to miss. This is also the case for taking a camel ride whilst you’re here- it simply has to be done!
Once back in Cairo, head for the airport for a short plane ride east to the luxurious beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. This is an increasingly popular place to enjoy a beach break and there is a wide range of hotels and complexes available to enjoy. To ensure you get the very best of the resorts, I would recommend booking with an experienced company such as Corona Holidays.
Here you can relax and enjoy the beachside lifestyle, sunbathing and making the most of the sea with swimming and surfing available. Sharm El-Sheikh is a fantastic diving location, with scores of fish species and underwater habitats to explore. Most notably is the Ras Mohammed National Park which has acres of coral reef to enjoy.
- For more information on diving here, visit sharmelsheikh.com