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Focus: Where the world makes the pound go round

5 - Egyptian pound

Where the world makes the pound go round © Copyright

Just as the Turkish lira offers the British tourist value for money without having collapsed in value, the Egyptian pound remains stable, however still rates as one of the most popular and best value mid-haul destinations. According to the Post Office's Holiday Cost Barometer published a few weeks ago, Egypt performed well, coming sixth out of 15 destinations when the costs of eight different items were taken into account. They found that a coffee in a bar or café should cost around £1.40, while you need not pay more than £1.80 for a bottle of Heineken. £57 is the average cost of 3-course meal for two, however this does include wine and for a spotless, en suite double room in a mid-range hotel you will be looking to spend in the neighbourhood of £20 per night. Any visit to Egypt must start with Cairo. Although not right in the centre of town, the star attractions of this bustling Middle-Eastern metropolis are the Giza pyramids, located six miles from the city. The only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the main structure itself comprises two and a half million blocks and is a testament to early pyramid builders. Back to the city proper and there are plenty of attractions to keep oneself occupied, most obviously the Egyptian Museum which houses a vast collection outlining the country's past. The hubbub of the Khan El-Khalili souk is something not to be missed, as is the sound and light show telling the story of the pyramids. For that modern twist, why not dine at 590ft in the rotating restaurant of the 'Gezirah', or Cairo Tower.

Of course Egypt is far from being a one-city country. Alexandria, the second city, is a hub of culture and history and veritable magnet for knowledge seekers. It also has beautiful sand beaches which has earned the place the nickname 'Pearl of the Mediterranean'. Among its most important highlights are the Al-Montazah Palace, which includes the residence of the former royal family, Antoniadis Gardens, comprising plants, statues and a palace and a 'museum' under the sea where you can see a part of the old city which was devastated by earthquakes and tidal erosions. Aswan, considered the country's premium winter resort, offers beautiful beaches and islands as well as architecture both ancient and modern; the Unfinished Obelisk bears witness to Egyptian construction techniques of yesteryear, while the new Aswan Dam is a feat of 20th century engineering. Luxor, which sits upstream on the Nile from Cairo, has been billed as the world's greatest open-air museum and, among others, is home to the temple ruins, which are found inside the modern city complex and the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. One way to enjoy many of the country's landmarks would be to take a cruise along the Nile and Luxor is a popular starting point or terminus. There are many types of cruises from a few hours long to over a week, stopping at each location for various lengths of time and prices will vary from month to month. To give you an idea though, a nine night cruise booked with Kuoni, stopping in Cairo, Aswan and Luxor each for 3 nights based on two sharing in 4* hotels with bed and breakfast would set you back £960. However shorter cruises, lower range hotels and trips outside of the summer holidays (the one above is based on leaving 1st August) will be cheaper and children, as a rule, pay a different rate. For those looking for a more classic beach holiday then Sharm El Sheikh is the most accessible resort on the Red Sea and for more information on the area and to book holidays through one of our partners, click here. For more information on the country as a whole, visit the Egyptian Tourist Authority website.

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