Photovcom / age fotostock
Egypt in pictures + The Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria
In brief +
FCO travel update: the FCO advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and against all but essential travel to parts of South Sinai. There are no travel restrictions in place anywhere else in Egypt. The Governor of Luxor banned all further hot air balloon flights until the authorities have conducted an investigation after the hot air baloon crash involving Bristish nationals on 26 February in Luxor.
There are few countries where ancient civilisation is as alive as it is in Egypt. The plane is your time machine. Arrive in Cairo's airport and take the short trip to the Giza Plateau where you will be dwarfed by the miraculously preserved Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Become a 21st century Cleopatra and bathe in the Oasis of Siwa before travelling up to Luxor, the site of ancient Thebes, to gaze awestruck at the Valley of the Kings. Being Africa's most populated city and Egypt's hub, the speed of Cairo is immense. If you are prepared to immerse yourself in the bustling souk markets you are sure to leave with a bargain. Or looking for something more along the lines of rest and recuperation? Egypt is ideal if you seek little more than the warmth of the sun falling on your shoulders as you lay on the beach in Sharm el-Sheikh or sit smoking Shisha and sipping mint tea. If you want to make the most of the sites, it is a good idea to plan ahead as the potential scope of your trip is unbounded. Travel between towns is relatively hassle free as long if you do your research, giving you the freedom to plan a trip that is as cultural, or as chilled out as you wish.
Cruising in Egypt: How to choose the right cruise
- You should choose a 5* boat that belongs to or is run by a tour operator.
- Avoid the closed period of the Esna lock ,which is from the 1-15 December. - Avoid the heat from 15 May until 30 June.
- Avoid the high season during the school holiday period from February to April , a crowded period during which you have to wait to get through the Esna lock, which can take some time and which will make you feel like you are on a holiday conveyor belt.
- Avoid the Ramadan period as this slows down boat activity, particularly the shops.
- Choose January or November, for the climate and the prices (particularly good-value in January).
- Make sure that all monuments/landmarks (Temple of Karnak - £24, Temple of Philae - £24, Temple of Luxor, Abu Simbel - from £55 by bus and £125 by plane, Valley of the Kings, Queens and of the Craftsmen - around £4 by temple) are included in the overall price of the cruise. Remember that the special offers, apart from the Lights and Sounds of Karnak, Philae and Abu Simbel, are package deals of around £78 that include various excursions.
Consider taking a cruise on Lake Nasser, which is only possible on six different boats. This means that you'll be able to discover the temples along the shores (like the majestic Abu Simbel) in absolute tranquillity, far from the souvenir peddlers and crowds of tourists.
However, forget any boat excursions on the Nile in summer if you cannot bear strong heat.
90% of Egyptians are Muslim. Women should cover their shoulders and wear decent-length shorts.
Cairo and the PyramidsA.Lorgnier ©
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