Exotic, enigmatic and with a history dating back five millennia, Egypt invokes a spirit of adventure in all who visit. Contemplating the iconic names associated with the country – Cleopatra, Moses and Alexander the Great, to name a few – goes some way to understanding the massive historical importance of this fascinating country.
But beyond the timeless cultural treasures of Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Alexandria, it also has another kind of appeal – as a vibrant, sun-soaked holiday destination, with a slew of fabulous beaches lapped by the waters of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
What to Do
Many tourists never get beyond Cairo, which is not surprising given its host of attractions. The Pyramids at Giza are always top of everyone’s the list and, as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it’s a pilgrimage worth making. At Luxor, the ancient city of Thebes is home to the magnificent Temple of Karnak and, further down the Nile, Aswan reveals a cache of iconic sites and lush botanical oases.
Those who venture to the country’s ‘second city’, Alexandria, discover the unexpected beauty of an eclectic collision of elegant French colonialism and laidback Mediterranean charm. While for anyone looking for sun, sea, sand and superb diving, the buzzing coastal resort of Hurghada and the Ras Mohamed National Park, near Sharm el-Sheikh, afford the opportunity to encounter the incredible underwater world of the Red Sea.
Much of the cuisine continues the traditional recipes dating back thousands of years, adapted with a host of exotic influences. Vegetarians will be in their element as most of the dishes are based on vegetables or legumes, with plenty of fresh seafood in the coastal areas.
Some of the classic specialities are Baba Ghanoush, a grilled eggplant and cumin based dip; Feseekh, a fermented dried fish (better than it sounds!); the ubiquitous Kofta, spicy meatballs; and, for the sweet tooth, Halawa, a desert made from sesame seeds and Umm Ali, hot, milk-soaked bread served with raisins.
As you’d imagine from its geography, this is a predominantly warm weather country. The best time to visit is in the peak season cooler months, from October to February, when temperatures average a comfortable 14°C (in January) to 25°C. The hottest time is during July and August, when, although the average temperature is around 28°C, getting up into the mid-high 30s is common. This is not the time to be visiting the western deserts of the country, although the Mediterranean coasts are still busy.
How to Get to Egypt
The country has 12 airports but the main ones used by tourists are Cairo and Luxor, if you’re exploring the country’s historical heart, and Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh if you’re planning a beach holiday. The flight is around five hours from the UK, with routes serviced by British Airways, EgyptAir, Thomson, easyJet and Thomas Cook Airlines.
Whichever airport you choose, the best way of getting the rest of the way to your final destination in Egypt is by pre-booking a shared or private airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. A driver will meet you at the airport and take you directly to your resort or city accommodation without the need to navigate public transport.
Travelling to Egypt? Don’t Miss…
Along with the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings (including the Hatshepsut Temple) is an unmissable site. Situated on Luxor’s West Bank, a visit to this fascinating and significant ancient burial place offers a deep insight into the country’s history.
You really haven’t seen Egypt until you’ve travelled along the Nile. A relaxing three-day journey on a traditional Felucca from Aswan to Luxor takes in authentic Nubian villages and the best sunsets you’ll ever experience.
To get to grips with the depth of the country’s historical legacy, the Egyptian Museum, in Cairo, takes you on a journey through time and one of the most significant collections of ancient artefacts in the world.
About Shuttle Direct:
If you’re looking for the most convenient, cost-effective transfers from airports, train stations or cruise ports anywhere in Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct has a service to suit every budget and style of travel. Make a secure, fixed price online booking via our user-friendly system before you leave home and you’ll travel with peace of mind, knowing all your onward arrangements are taken care of.