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Egypt

The land of the Pharaohs
For centuries, Egypt has captured every travellers’ imagination, with its pyramids, legendary pharaohs, and myths of the mummies' curse. But there’s even more to this diverse nation than you expect.

Here, you can party all night in Cairo, and run your fingers over hieroglyphs carved onto ancient temple walls. You can explore an unearthly White Desert, go scuba diving in the Red Sea, or climb into the heart of the Great Pyramid itself.No matter where you go in Egypt, what you choose to do, which Egypt trip packages you pick, a treasure trove of discovery and delight awaits you in this timeless holiday destination.

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For centuries, Egypt has captured every travellers’ imagination, with its pyramids, legendary pharaohs, and myths of the mummies' curse. But there’s even more to this diverse nation than you expect.

Here, you can party all night in Cairo, and run your fingers over hieroglyphs carved onto ancient temple walls. You can explore an unearthly White Desert, go scuba diving in the Red Sea, or climb into the heart of the Great Pyramid itself.No matter where you go in Egypt, what you choose to do, which Egypt trip packages you pick, a treasure trove of discovery and delight awaits you in this timeless holiday destination.

Location

This transcontinental country stretches from the north-eastern end of Africa up to the south- western end of the Middle East and is bordered by Jordan, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Its convenient location makes last minute holidays to Egypt possible, whether its a weekend getaway, romantic retreat or family vacation. Non-stop flights from India to Egypt take you to Cairo in about 7 hours, and flights from Europe are usually less than 6 hours.

When to go

Egypt is a favoured holiday destination year-round. During the summer months (between May and August), temperatures can heat up, especially in the south of the country; travellers should pack their sunscreen and sun hats! However, this means that there will be fewer travellers around. During the winter months, temperatures are cooler (easily conquered with a warm jacket). But this is peak season in Egypt, attracting more travellers than other parts of the year. The in-between months (March-May, and September) often make for the best time to visit Egypt, especially those who want to sunbathe at the Red Sea and go swimming.

Where to go

There is no shortage of must-see sights, from ancient royal temples to beautiful golden treasures, and a variety of natural wonders spanning the palm-freckled banks of the River Nile to the bright coral gardens of the Red Sea. Cairo is usually the entry city for most group travel packages. From here, you can reach Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan and other cities by domestic flights, trains and buses.
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At a glance

Weather

Egypt’s weather varies by region, but in general, it is warm and Temperatures spike in the summer, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the inviting cool breeze, and cool waters in coastal areas. Winters see the days milder but the nights can get quite chilly.

Language

Arabic
While the official language in Egypt is Arabic, many Egyptians also understand and speak English thanks to its international visitors.

Currency

Egyptian Pound (EGP)
The currency used in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound. At the time of posting, the conversion of Egypt’s currency to INR is 1 EGP = 4.11 INR. It is always best to check the conversion rates once again before you travel.

Expert travel advice

Travel tips and insider advice that have made the most difference to us, sourced from our
community of like-minded travellers and global experts.

See the Pharaohs’ treasures at the Egyptian Museum   

Recommended by The Crowded Planet

“... it’s completely FULL of priceless Egyptian antiquities...the lower floor contains statues, carvings and more ‘monumental’ kind of stuff, whereas utensils, the royal mummies and the famous treasure of Tutankhamon are located on the upper floor.”

the reputed Crowded Planet, by Margherita Ragg and Nick Burns features articles and photo stories on nature and adventure travel from around the world.

Dive into the underwater world of the Blue Hole in Dahab   

Recommended by Goats On The Road

Quote: “A giant hole, like a volcano cauldron, that descends to 110 meters below the sea. The walls of the Blue Hole are crusted with beautiful corals but it is the wall outside that leads to the open ocean which is the most beautiful… the beauty of the coral, the massive size and dramatic shape of the cliff, and the amazing array of fish is too hard to put into words."

Travel duo Nick & Dariece have travelled full-time since 2012. They have been featured by Lonely Planet, Forbes, National Geographic traveler, Canadian Traveler, WiseBred, The Independent, The Vancouver Sun and many more.

Visit the iconic Pyramids   

Recommended by The Intrepid Guide

"The Great Pyramid of Giza is an incredible example of human engineering and construction. Its sheer size and scale rivals any structure built within the last few hundred years. As one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it is the only monument on the list that is still standing today...I loved it so much that I went twice during the same trip!”

Ranked one of the best amongst UK travel blogs, The Intrepid Guide by Michelle helps travellers better connect with destinations and the people in them by providing detailed destination guides.

Take in Ancient Egypt’s magnificence at Abu Simbel   

Recommended by Lee Abbamonte

“Abu Simbel is simply put, one of the coolest places to visit in the world.The first view of the temples of Abu Simbel are unforgettable and give you that feeling that happens far too seldom. That feeling of utter awe and disbelief of what you’re seeing. You feel miniscule in that moment and nothing could be a cooler feeling.”

Travel expert Lee Abbamonte has visited every country in the world plus both the North and South Poles. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Conde Nast Traveler, New York Magazine, Huffington Post, amongst others.

Feel like you’ve visited another world at the White Desert   

Recommended by Business Insider India

”One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen is Egypt's White Desert, a desolate lunar landscape few travelers visit...The seemingly luminescent white rocks really do look like the surface of the moon.”

Business Insider shares the latest news on tech…finance, politics, strategy, life and entertainment.

Incredible places to visit in Egypt

Hurghada

If you’re in the mood for some sun, sand and swimming while in Egypt, head to Hurghada. From snorkelling in the Red Sea to quad biking safaris and water slides in parks, there are plenty of exciting things to do in this beach resort town for kids and adults.

Reef diving in the caves of Careless Reef

This is a must-do on any Egypt holiday package for scuba-diving enthusiasts and explorers alike. Its colorful coral forest is home to a variety of fish including diver-friendly moray eels, barracuda and tuna.

The Giftun Islands

The islands, part of a marine reserve, offer scuba divers and snorkelers a chance to swim with lots of colourful marine life, including shoals of barracuda, a kaleidoscope of fish, and friendly dolphins as well. Those who prefer to stay on shore can claim a warm spot on the beach, and enjoy the sunshine. 

Glass bottom boat ride in the Red Sea

If you prefer not to swim or dive, a glass bottom boat ride is the next best option. Sit comfortably on your seat and look out at the myriad specifies of fish and bright coral reef spread out in front of view. It’s the best way to view the underwater world in this part of the world while staying dry.

Monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul

Located halfway between Hurghada and Cairo, these two monasteries are among the oldest in Egypt and date back to 400 AD, and considered the holiest sites of the Coptic Church. The Church of St Anthony contains the saint’s tomb. 320 meters above the monastery is the cave where he lived as a hermit. If you’re inclined, you can write a wish to St. Anthony and then deposit it in a little tin on the altar. St Paul's houses a collection of manuscripts, alters and wall paintings.

El Dahar square

The El Dahar square also called as the Midan el Dahar in Hurghada is one of the oldest areas of the city. The vegetable market (El Dahar market), the bazaar or souk, and the church are all a short distance from the square. 

Alexandria

At times known as 'the Mediterranean Queen', Alexandria, founded by Alexander The Great, is a popular destination and home to some of the most striking Greek-Romanian ruins you can find in Egypt. There is plenty of history, culture and cuisine to look forward to here.

The Bibliotheca

The Bibliotheca is a state-of-the-art national library as well as a thriving cultural centre. Within its modern facade, the library has walls made of granite from Aswan and has carvings from over 120 human language script! This is a must to-do on any Egypt trip, even if you’re not a culture or history nerd.

Montazah Palace

Built on a plateau facing the beachfront, this royal palace is reflective of Florentine and Turkish architectural styles belonging to the early 1900s. The palace is off limits, but you can take a refreshing stroll across its gardens landscaped with exotic plants, trees and palms and also enjoy views of the sea.

Catacombs of Kom ash-Suqqafa

The catacombs were accidentally discovered in 1900 when a donkey fell into a pit. What archaeologists found was a maze of underground tunnels and the largest known Roman burial ground in the country. Within you’ll find antiques, statues and elegantly decorated tombs reflecting a combination of Greek, Romanian and Egyptian cultural influences.

Cleopatra’s Palace

Cleopatra’s Palace is another of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World. Cleopatra is world famous as the powerful Egyptian queen famed for her beauty, intellect and alleged trysts with Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony. Her palace was built on Antirhodos Island, but after a  series of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, slipped into the sea. Giant pillars made from Egyptian red granite, pottery, columns with intricate carvings, and so much more remaining of the most treasured archaeological finds in the world is now underwater. Today you can actually dive down to see Cleopatra's Palace. This is an experience often not featured on Egypt group trips, so make sure you include it on yours

Alexandrian National Museum

This museum houses a range of intriguing  Egyptian antiques, including underwater finds as well as ‘tanagras’, Greek terracotta figurines. Spread across three floors, each is a narrative of Alexandria’s historic past.

Cairo

This lively capital city is a destination on its own, and most group trips to Egypt start here. Here, you can visit two wonders of the Ancient World that have drawn visitors for millennia: the iconic Great Pyramids and the enigmatic Sphinx.  Stroll through modern localities and ancient, narrow lanes, learn Egyptian history at museums and bargain with locals at the famous Khan el-khalili market. This capital boasts a rich variety of attractions indeed.

The Great Pyramids

The pyramids at Giza are the only survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of The World. Made more than 4000 years ago, these were meant to be tombs for 3 generations of pharaohs. The largest one has been made with 200,000 blocks! Brave travellers (with no serious fear of heights) can climb into the Great Pyramid itself via a narrow passage, and emerge into the burial chamber of the pharaoh!

The Sphinx

The enigmatic Sphinx, which has the body of a lion and the head of a king, is surrounded in mystery, including the unanswered questions: who built it and why, as well as how it lost its nose. The most widely held assumption is that it was built to symbolically guard over the Giza plateau. (Read about the myth of the sphinx in Delphi.

The Egyptian Museum

Mummies, sarcophagi, pottery, statues of kings, queens and gods, jewellery and of course King Tutankhamen's golden, gilded treasures - it’s all in the Egyptian Museum. This famous institute houses more than 100,000 artefacts. It’s said that if you were to spend just one minute on each item, it would take over 9 months to complete the tour! Make sure you visit The Royal Mummy Room, and go see King Tutankhamen’s mask; the deep blue symbolizes rebirth, the gold, eternal life. Don’t miss this—it’s beautiful.

Khan el-Khalili Bazaar

This is as much a place for buying as it is for bargaining. One of Cairo’s most famous souks, merchants at this bazaar sell everything ranging from spices to clothing, perfumes and jewellery to exotic mementos and collectables. Somewhere in the midst of the bazaar’s laybrinthe lanes, you’ll find El Fishawy Cafe, or café of mirrors, one of Cairo’s oldest cafes, frequented by local artists and writers. Have a cup of strong coffee served in little glass tumblers.

The White Desert

Located 5-7 hours from Cairo is a desert like none you’ve seen before. This desert is an otherwordly chalk-white landscape dotted with limestone formations that the wind and time have shaped into fascinating shapes: domes and minarets, giant mushrooms, rabbits and turtles. Late evenings and early mornings are the best time to go out on your jeep or camelback ride to avoid the heat. And do try to camp here overnight. The light from the sunrise tints the white desert with pale yellow and gold, making it even more beautiful.

Aswan

Aswan is located in the south of Egypt, and as such, the city displays the influences of Nubian culture. Nestled on the Nile, Aswan has played an integral role in trade, growth and development, and in ancient times, was the gateway to Africa. It’s the perfect base to explore smaller towns and ancient sites further down south, and it’s also a town that boasts a relaxed pace of life, inviting you to take in the warmth of the sunshine and the river breeze at your leisure.

Temple of Philae

The Philae temple is one of the prettiest in Egypt. It was built to honour the goddess Isis, her consort Osiris and Horus, her son. Early Christians transformed the temple into a church, defacing the ancient carvings - the writing on the wall for Ancient Egyptians so to speak. Despite this, the temple is still entirely charming, thanks to the symmetry of the architecture, the temple’s honey-gold columns, and a profusion of pink bougainvillea and green shrubbery. To reach Philae, you need to take a boat ride over to the island.

Temple of Kom Ombo

This ‘double temple’ has one area dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, and another to the god with the falcon-head, Horus. Each boasts its own dedicated gateways, and areas of worship. Don’t miss out on visiting the Crocodile Museum which is a short walk away! Where else in the world would you get to see a collection of mummified crocodiles.

Elephantine Island

Deriving its name from its overall shape and rotund rocks on its banks, the Elephantine Island earlier functioned as a point for cargo trade. The island houses an ancient fort, as well as a museum. It’s a perfect retreat if you’re looking to get away from the bustle of the city.

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel comprises of two 100 feet tall temples, carved into an already-standing sandstone mountain on the banks of the Nile, making it a must-visit on any Egypt holiday. Built by arguably the most egomaniacal pharaoh in Egyptian history, Ramses II, the temples feature four colossal statues of Ramses himself, each 66 feet high, guarding the entrance to the Great Temple. To put the sheer size in perspective for you - the thousands of travellers who take selfies in front of the statues barely reach the top of the statues’ great toes. It’s a grandiose PR exercise as well as a bold grasp at immortality.

Nubian Museum

Although it does not attract the same footfall as some of the other museums, the exhibits in the enormous halls of this Nubian museum serves as a reminder of an intriguing bygone era. It is also partly open-air; visitors can visit a prehistoric cave, and a complete Nubian house.

Luxor

Luxor used to be a religious capital during the reign of the Pharaohs, and consequently, you can see some of the country’s most famous sites near and around the city. For instance, on the West Bank of Luxor alone  lies the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the memorial temples of Ramses II and III, the Deir el-Medina, Tombs of the Nobles, Deir el-Baharit and other places of historical and cultural significance. This makes it one of the top places to visit in Egypt.

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is where the who’s who of Ancient Egypt have been buried. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to actually go inside a couple of tombs. The hieroglyphic murals that decorate the walls, in bright yellow, rust red and azure blue, still amazingly brilliant and as impressive as when they were first painted, are astoundingly beautiful and expressive. To walk through the tombs really is to be in another time, another place. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Karnak

Karnak is considered the largest temple complex in the world, and houses a mix of temples, pillars, gateways and other buildings, under the direction of numerous Pharaohs who ordered additions, deletions and modifications over 1500 years, resulting in what stands today. One of the most impressive areas in Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Ra, with its 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows, and truly feels larger than life.

Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple rivals Karnak in size and importance. This complex was also constructed over decades by different pharaohs including Amenhotep III, Ramses II,  and Tutankhamun. It is particularly famous for the two colossal seated statues of Ramesses II that guard the entrance, an 80 foot red granite obelisk, as well as the Avenue of the Sphinx.

Colossi of Memnon

Popular among travellers from all over the world, the Colossi of Memnon consists of two towering sandstone statues of the Egyptian king Memnon. These go up to 60 feet in height! The sheer grandiosity of the structures make it a much photographed attraction.

Temple of Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman to rule as pharaoh and is considered by Egyptologists as one of Ancient Egypt’s most successful pharaohs. She built grand temples, increased trade, and focused on increasing the country’s prosperity. The temple itself is striking, rising up against limestone cliffs that frame it.

Top things to do & experience in Egypt

Nobody wants to be a tourist. Here are curated experiences in art, music, food, culture and communities
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