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[Editor's note: Social upheaval that began in summer 2013 prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a warning against travel to Egypt, notably in Cairo and Alexandria. We'll remove this notice when conditions have improved.]

Egypt is the world's oldest tourist destination, boasting a set of spectacular antiquities that have attracted curious Europeans since Grecian and Roman times. The main port of entry is the capital Cairo, a seething city of 20 million people whose top attraction is the outlying Giza Pyramids, the largest such structures in the world.

The other archaeological highlight of Egypt is the Nile Valley, which ...

[Editor's note: Social upheaval that began in summer 2013 prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a warning against travel to Egypt, notably in Cairo and Alexandria. We'll remove this notice when conditions have improved.]

Egypt is the world's oldest tourist destination, boasting a set of spectacular antiquities that have attracted curious Europeans since Grecian and Roman times. The main port of entry is the capital Cairo, a seething city of 20 million people whose top attraction is the outlying Giza Pyramids, the largest such structures in the world.

The other archaeological highlight of Egypt is the Nile Valley, which boasts literally dozens of stunning Pharaonic sites, most famously Karnak Temple at Luxor and the Valley of the Kings and other burial grounds of the West Bank. Further east, the Red Sea is not merely a popular beach destination, but also offers snorkeling and diving along what are arguably the world's finest reefs, while Mt Sinai on the facing Sinai Peninsula is the site of the legendary St Catherine's Monastery, built close to where Moses reputedly received the Ten Commandments.

Egypt's underrated second city Alexandria, situated west of the Nile Delta, combines a lovely Mediterranean location with some worthwhile historical sightseeing and an enjoyable cafe culture at the spiritual juncture of Africa, Arabia and Europe. It is also the base for visits to the vast, palm-filled and historically fascinating oasis of Siwa, set deep in the remote Sahara sands.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Egypt, is a country in North Africa that includes the Sinai Peninsula, a land bridge to Asia.
  • Language: Arabic, English
  • Currency: Egyptian Pound
  • Research: Egypt | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall