Egypt is a welcoming land of ancient history and monuments located in the heart of the desert. The Nile is this country's lifeblood, and also the best way to travel through this mysterious place. Cruise down the mythical river in your luxury boat to Dendara and Edfu; it is the only way to travel, bar camel. Watch as Egypt’s spectacular glistening sand dunes roll into pristine beaches in an endless expanse of sand, reaching the shimmering Red Sea. Its coast is a stunning series of desert landscapes with rugged natural beauty. Off the coast, the seas teem with life and color. Egypt is home to some of the world’s best dive sites and snorkeling along the coral wall is a very rewarding experience.
A view of Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
Here, time is measured by the millennia, as monuments reveal the nature of civilizations over four thousand years old. Egypt will bring out the adventurer in you with its intriguing sandy tombs, geometric pyramids and imposing Pharaonic temples at every turn. See where Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and look at what was found inside in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Float across Lake Nassar to see Ramses II’s artwork at Abu Simbel, or trek on a donkey through the desert in search of Roman trading posts. Watch the sun rise over the desert landscape from Mt Sinai, or blink into the infinite horizon from the luxury of a hot spring in Siwa Oasis. The natural splendour of the desert beckons.
Cairo is a bustling metropolis, full of towering minarets and medieval mosques. It is home to some of the best medieval Islamic architecture in the world. One such example is the Al-Azhar Mosque, which is one of Cairo’s earliest mosques located in the ancient Fatimid city. The building has been added to over many hundreds of years, and it blends together many different architectural styles and periods. Make sure that you visit the tomb chamber, which has a ethereal mihrab. Then make the compulsory trip to the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt’s top tourist destination. For nearly four thousand years people have gazed on the pyramids in wonder. Many have speculated about how and why they were built, though we now know that they are elaborate tombs for the dead pharaohs and were built by Egyptian farmers, the sense of mystery and awe still remains.
The anicent pyramids in the desert.
For a lively change of pace head to the Birqash Camel Market, located sixty kilometres outside of Cairo, to experience the chaos of hundreds of camels being bought and sold everyday. Friday is the best day to visit to see the busy vendors and their animated haggling. Head back into Cairo for some more conventional retail therapy. The Khan El Khalili is the most famous market in Cairo. In a veritable maze of winding streets you will find incredible jewellery, luxury perfumes and exotic spices as well as souvenirs. In the oldest part of the city is the Old Islamic Cairo, where you can shop for authentic craftsmen goods and art. Wander through this elegant area of the city and stay in one of the palatial Egypt villas that are nestled between imposing mosques.
After all that walking, relax and recuperate in the spa. Cairo has many luxury spas to choose from, one of the best in La Rose Spa, where you will be pampered inside and out by the considerate and attentive staff. Then nothing beats a Nile River dinner cruise, hop aboard the Nile Maxim for one of the best dining experiences on the world’s longest river. Nile Maxim is a flat pharaonic barge like those found in ancient Egypt, and it transports you back into antiquity as you glide past Cairo’s twinkling skyline. Belly dancing and live folklore music will entertain you, as you dine on the finest cuisine in an elegant setting. If you don’t want the night to end yet, then sample Cairo’s infamous nightlife scene. Head to Amici Bar for the best mixology cocktails in Egypt, or go to Aperitivo to see and be seen in your finest outfit.
The impressive Amun Temple of Luxor.
After experiencing everything that Cairo has to offer, head to Luxor. Luxor means “the palaces” and the city exists on what used to be the city of Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt. Luxor is packed full of ancient temples, monuments and burial grounds. Some of the best attractions include the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the Temples of Esna and Hatchetsup, the Colossi of Memnon and the Rammuseum. There is also the Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple on the east bank of the Nile. An avenue of Sphinxes once connected these two spectacular temples. Karnak is the largest religious site in the world, and also home to the famous Karnak Sound and Light Show, as shown in the James Bond movie, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, which illuminates the temple at night with projections and sound effects. Get a sense of the history of this place by first visiting the Luxor Museum, here you will find an incredible selection of artefacts from the Old Kingdom up until the Mamluk period, which were collected from the Theban temples.
The incredible anicent art of Luxor.
Finish off your luxury Egyptian vacation by staying in a beautiful villa on the coast, for example in Dahab. Dahab, which means ‘gold’ in Arabic, is one of the best beach resorts in the Middle East. Long gone are the beach bums who hung out in ramshackle huts by the sea, now Dahab is emerging as a luxury travel destination. Dahab is the perfect base to discover some of Egypt’s best diving and snorkelling sites. Check out the Ras Mohammed National Park for its natural beauty and unique underwater vistas. Originally a sleepy Bedouin outpost, Dahab is also the best place for guided hiking and camel excursions into the desert or up Mt Sinai. You will discover the unexpected diversity of the desert on your luxury vacation to Egypt.
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