Egypt Holidays – Year-round sunshine, ancient history and awe-inspiring scenery
The birthplace of one of the world’s first great civilisations, Egypt is truly iconic. The country’s landmarks need no introduction, whether it be the huge, lazily meandering Nile, mind-boggling Pyramids, or endless desert sands. This is the most popular and easily accessible of the Arab world’s tourist destinations for Europeans, with something for all tastes; from all inclusive luxury to cost-effective budget options.
Cairo is a chaotic maelstrom of narrow dusty streets, squat mosques, sprawling bazaars and hot, shisha-filled air, all revolving around a medieval Old Town. Travel further up the Nile and you’ll find Luxor, awash with historical monuments and lined with ancient burial chambers. Aswan in the south is a more African city, with palm fringed islands and beautiful river boats sailing along the shores.
The west of the country sees beginning of the seemingly infinite desert, an awe-inspiring place of endless sand dunes and intense heat, broken only by the occasional oasis or squat mediaeval fortress.
While for western style nightlife, all-inclusive luxury hotels and some of the best scuba diving on the planet, Sharm el Sheikh on the Red Sea coast is one of the most popular destinations in the country. And the laid-back coastal town of Dahab is a backpacker’s paradise, with a hippy commune atmosphere and stunning sea views.
For sunbathing and sightseeing around the famous historical sites, October-April is the best time to visit for Europeans. This period sees plenty of sunshine but comfortable temperatures of between 20-30C. May-September can see incredibly hot weather with highs of 40C and above, which is too intense for most. Those looking to scuba dive will actually find this the best period to visit however, with the warmest sea temperatures, the best water visibility and the most fish and sea life.
Those intending to visit Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghurda or Cairo in March April should be aware that these months can get very windy, with the Khamsin Wind blowing dust and sand in from the desert. Cairo can also be quite busy in the summer months, with Arab visitors flocking here for the cooler temperatures compared to those found in their own countries. Wherever you decide to go in Egypt booking early can make the holiday more affordable especially if you only pay a small deposit up front.
With its northern African location and much of the country lying with the Sahara desert region, it is perhaps no surprise that Egypt is one of the sunniest destinations on earth. You can take a holiday here at any time of year and be guaranteed an average of 8 hours sunshine a day. Weather in Egypt essentially comes in two types; hot and really hot. The best time to visit the country for Europeans is the ‘winter’ period of October-April. Average temperature range between 23-25C. The summer months of May-September can get swelteringly hot, especially in the desert regions, with averages of 39-41C and highs well into the late 40’s and early 50’s.
The only exception to the rule is the country’s Mediterranean coast, which will see cloudy days and short periods of rain in the winter season.
To get the best deal on holidays to Egypt, it is wise to book as early as possible – especially if you want to visit during the most popular October-April period. The best priced rooms will sell out fast, particularly in popular tourist resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh during November and April. Christmas/New Year and Easter are also very popular, with higher accommodation prices. Travelling outside the UK half term school holiday periods will save you money. If you can handle the heat, the summer months of May-September see generally lower prices and the chance to pick up some great last minute deals.
Booking an all inclusive holiday to Egypt is a good way of keeping an eye on your holiday spending, with all meals and drinks paid for upfront. Sharm el Sheikh is the country’s best-known all inclusive destination, with a huge range of deals on offer.
There are 19 airports in Egypt located all over the country. Some of these are small, regional hubs that handle solely domestic traffic however. Egypt has 8 large, main airports, including international airports in Cairo (CAI), Sharm el Sheikh (SSH), Alexandria (ALY), Luxor (LXR) and Hurghurda (HRG). The majority of Egypt’s airports are located in the east of the country. The largest and busiest of these airports is Cairo.
You can get a flight to Egypt from virtually anywhere in the UK, including all the main London Airports, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh, and smaller regional airports such as Exeter and Newcastle. The flight takes around 5 hours depending where you are departing from.
There are taxi services operating from all of Egypt’s airports. These operate on a fixed price basis and are much cheaper comparatively than taxis in the UK. Before you get in the taxi, you should ensure you agree on a price, agree that the fare is for the vehicle, not per person, and agree on a currency to pay in.
There may be bus services from some airports into the nearest main town for a much cheaper fee than a taxi. Sharm el Sheikh is a good example of this. You should ask at the information desk inside the airport for advice on whether there is a bus service and where to catch it from.
Alternatively, many people like to hire a car for the duration of their holiday, to be picked up at the airport. Reputable international companies such as Europcar provide this service from around £250 a week, depending on the make and model of car.
Superb beaches and amazing diving
Red Sea holidays are based in a varied series of classy beach resorts along the Sinai Peninsular and the Gulf of Suez in Egypt. The justly named Red Sea Riviera features a beautiful rugged coastline, amazing beaches, a wonderful climate and stunning unforgettable desert and mountain landscapes.The beaches are an undoubted highlight of any break here: soft white sand, swaying palms and warm sparkling turquoise water. The Red Sea has an excellent reputation for diving and attracts scuba divers and snorkellers from all over the world. The region has extraordinarily rich coral reefs and dive sites teeming with exotic marine life including turtles, manta rays and dolphins. The diving here attracts beginners and experts alike, with qualified professional instruction, perfect conditions and an inexhaustible variety of sites. There is also tremendous windsurfing, kite surfing and waterskiing in trendy resorts like Dahab. The superb climate and classy hotels make winter holidays on the Red Sea an increasingly popular choice with golf fans. Getaways here could also include horse and camel riding, trekking and adventurous desert safaris.
A great choice for discerning travellers
Holidays on the Red sea are increasingly popular with discerning travellers. The area has fashionable and elegant beach resorts, lively nightspots, trendy Bedouin-influenced hang-outs and quiet spectacularly set romantic wilderness resorts.Local holiday accommodation is sophisticated, with many hotels offering luxury spa and health treatments. Fine varied dining includes world cuisine alongside superb local Middle Eastern and Turkish influenced food with plenty of enticing options for vegetarians. The Red Sea has a surprisingly wide range of nightlife, with cosy trendy cafes, local live music, pubs, Sinai desert parties, and a fashionable clubbing scene. There is excellent shopping in local bazaars and glitzy modern shopping centres. No holiday here should miss out on the incredible array of excursions on offer. Red Sea breaks could include visits to splendid natural parks and the famous ancient sites in Cairo, Luxor, along the Nile and even Jordan and Petra.
A fantastic variety of resorts and atmospheres
Many families holidaying here choose the elegant village-style resort of Makadi Bay or Naama Bay. Red Sea holidays in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada feature amazing reef dives and lively nightlife. El Gouna is a traditionally-styled purpose-built island resort with trendy relaxed bars. Dahab and Nuweiba offer Red Sea breaks with a marked Bedouin desert influence. For a quieter romantic experience, try charming smaller resorts like El Quesir, Soma Bay, Abu Soma or Taba. The up-and-coming southern resort of Marsa Alam offers tranquillity, amazing dive sites and wonderful wilderness landscapes.
Safaris here do not just mean sitting on a bus. You can hire a jeep, travel by camel or ride on a motorbike. Some of the safaris here also include trips by foot and then a climb up Mount Sinai. Don’t miss the chance to take a stunning sunset trip to St Catherine’s Monastery.
Water sports in Egypt are without equal; diving may be the most popular pastime, but snorkelling is also high on the list. Swimming around the coral gardens of Na’ama Bay or taking a trip in a glass bottom boat should not be missed. Sailing, windsurfing and pedalo hire are all fun, exciting ways to spend the day.
Diving in Egypt is one of the most spectacular experiences. The dive areas around Sharm and Na'ama offer excellent boat or shore diving. The huge coral pillar at Tower beach is a major diving attraction. Floating among 1000 different species of fish is one experience that you won’t want to miss. You'll find well-established and reputable PADI dive schools and dive shops in most resorts along the Red Sea Riviera, most notably in Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm el Sheikh.
A spectacularly romantic horse-riding trip through the desert is an attraction that is too good to be missed. Sofitel Equestrian Centre will organise one hour or overnight trips. You can also take camel rides and dinner will be included in the trip.
Try go-kart racing for a thrilling holiday experience. Go-karting is available on a choice of four circuits, offering night time racing and state of the art go-karts. Ghibili Raceway is the place to go and they also provide go-karts for children over seven years old.
Of course, no holiday in the Land of the Pharaohs would be complete without seeing the Pyramids or the Sun Temples of Egypt. Whether you go during the day or take a night time illuminated tour, the Pyramids will take your breath away with their sheer scale and beauty. The views of the Pyramids and surrounding desert are not to be missed on a sightseeing tour here.