Currency: Egyptian Pound
Time Zone: EET/GMT+2
Tipping: There is a large tipping culture in Egypt, from bathroom attendants to waiters, most Egyptian workers in the tourist trade earn fairly low monthly wages and so tipping is appreciated.
You cannot fail to be impressed by a country that's so ancient it bore the first great civilisation, the Pharoah's. Egypt tours will take you on a fascinating journey through a land that time once forgot where you'll see awe-inspiring monuments made out of sand and an ancient history that will no doubt leave you spell-bound.
Anyone who joins a tour of Egypt is essentially visiting one gigantic open-air museum filled to the rafters with Egyptian antiquities and monuments that will probably leave a permanent smile on the faces of budding historians and archaeologists. Your holiday to Egypt must of course include visits to the mighty Pyramids of Giza where you can gaze in awe at these magnificent sights from the outside or join a tour that will take you inside one of the Egyptian Pyramids. Do note though that the walkways inside can be very narrow and compact so perhaps would not suit anyone who suffers from claustrophobia. Back out into the sunshine, venture a few metres away from the Pyramids and you'll discover the mighty Sphinx, have your picture taken and try to ignore local Egyptians who will attempt to sell you their wares or persuade you to part with your loved one for a handful of camels – just name your price they will say!
Cairo is definitely a city worth visiting as part of your holiday in Egypt but the chaos that exudes from its pores may leave you in a whirl. Stick with it though and you will find before you a delightful city just waiting to be explored. The Museum of Antiquities is the perfect place to visit should you wish to escape from the midday sun. Pay a little extra and enter the rooms containing Egyptian Mummies, the only place in the museum that has air-conditioning! This museum is special as it has display after display of artefacts that were discovered when excavating various ancient Egyptian sites, including the famous golden mask of King Tutankhamun. In the evening, when temperatures cool, locals and tourists alike descend upon Cairo's streets for the city's main attraction, the Khan el-Khalili souk.
No holiday to Egypt would be complete without visiting Luxor the home of the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank and where they discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Luxor's East Bank is where you'll find the temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor. You shouldn't leave Luxor without seeing the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu, the Tombs of the Nobles belonging to various priests and Egyptian officials of times gone by and the Ramesseum Temple dedicated to Ramesses II. If you have time (and energy), you should walk from the Valley of the Queens across the desert to the Valley of the Kings. Hire a bike and tour around Ancient Thebes or join a local Felucca (boat) ride upon The Nile and watch the sunset over the river.
Other must-sees whilst touring Egypt include; the ancient passageways of traditional mud-brick villages in the Dakhla Oasis. Joining a pilgrimage tour of St Katherine's Monastery and having your photo taken beside 'the burning bush'. Marvel at magnificent Mount Sinai or visiting Aswan, one of the most beautiful stretches along The Nile. Rest your weary legs in the tempting coffee houses of Alexandria where you can sip traditional mint tea, smoke a sheesha (water pipe) and watch the world go by!
Tours of Egypt typically include; return flights, transportation whilst in the resort, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can really get a taste of what life is like in this fabulous ancient country.
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Egypt, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
It is always wise to check with your GP before travelling to Egypt to check whether you need to have any vaccinations or other medical preventative measures.
Visitors arriving from countries with yellow fever must have had the vaccination prior to arriving.
Egyptian medical facilities outside of Cairo and other large cities and resorts can be basic. And in case of emergency, you are advised to seek medical help in these major cities. Always make sure you have adequate travel insurance and access to funds which will cover the cost of treatment and repatriation. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Dial 123 to ask for an ambulance, you should contact your insurance company, as soon as possible, if you are transferred to a medical facility for treatment.
Since 2011, there has been some political unrest in Egypt. Tourists and visitors have been advised to stay away from any protests that may occur (largely in Cairo) and always consort advise from the authorities, your hotel or tour operator if you are concerned.
Women should take extra care when travelling alone, especially in taxi's or microbuses. Stay vigilant and keep your passport and valuables in hotel safes where possible.
If you are a victim of crime it must be reported to the police whilst you are still in Egypt, prosecution cannot be sought at a later date.
Local Laws and Customs
As Egypt is a predominantly Islamic country it is important to respect all traditions and customs, especially during Ramadan or when visiting religious areas. Women should dress modestly and cover upper arms and legs. Men should cover their chests.
You cannot drink alcohol in the street, it could lead to being arrested. Possession, trafficking or even the use of drugs is a serious offence and can lead to a long prison sentence. The narcotic plant Khat is also illegal in Egypt.
When taking photos, do not photograph public officials without their consent and do not take pictures of the Suez Canal.
Although same sex relationships aren't illegal under Egyptian Law, any public displays of affection are.
British citizens travelling to Egypt will normally require a visa. However, British Nationals visiting popular resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Taba and Nuweiba, for up to 15 days, receive a free stamp on arrival. Visas can be purchased from the Egyptian Consulate outside Egypt or on arrival by paying in Sterling, Euros or US dollars. Some tour operators offer this service but may charge an administration fee. If unsure, check on booking.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum of six months from when you enter Egypt. You cannot use Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) to enter Egypt, however they can be used when exiting.
Any other nationality looking to visit Egypt must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out more information about the visiting Egypt you can see the tourist board website at egypt.travel
Although Egypt may be a small part of Africa, there's certainly plenty to keep everyone entertained during their break here. These are just a few of the essential places you should feature in your touring itinerary:
Possibly one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Pyramids are located in Cairo and are a must-see for all visitors. The mighty Pyramids of Giza stand on the western bank of The Nile and were hand carved from limestone. Located just metres away from these great Pyramids stand the Sphinx, a large statue of a lions body and a human head believed to be modelled on the Pharoah Chephren.
Valley of the Kings
Forged forever in Egypt's history, the Valley of the Kings is a fascinating reminder of Egyptian Rulers from times gone by. It is here that that Howard Carter and George Herbert discovered the remains of the boy king Tutankhamun in his infamous burial mask. The Valley of the Kings has 64 tombs, however these are not all open for public viewing, however those that are open, contain fascinating carvings and hieroglyphics lining the walls.
Often characterised as the 'world's greatest open air museum', Luxor is the site of an ancient Egyptian city called Thebe. Ruins of temple complexes, monuments and tombs still remain today. A popular attraction is the Hypostyle Hall, where the columns are carved intricately with ancient hieroglyphics.
A popular market town and tourist destination that is located on the east bank of the River Nile, Aswan is a great destination to spend time exploring. The Aswan Dam sits across the River Nile and is commonly known as the High Dam. Its purpose was to prevent the River Nile from flooding as it did on a yearly basis. When in Aswan, visit the Temple of Philaw which was relocated when the Dam caused the island it stood on to flood.