Egypt is one of the most talked about and historic countries in the world. It captures the imagination of tourists, and it occupies a geographical position which has placed it at the heart of world politics and trade for centuries.
The pharaohs, the pyramids, the sphinx, the Nile, the Suez Canal, and ancient cities such as Alexandria, Cairo and Luxor all exemplify how prominent Egypt has been in historical affairs throughout recorded history. Egypt occupies two continents, putting it at an important geographical confluence between Africa and South West Asia. Its modern influence on the Middle East is very important, and its historical influence on the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece was also profound.
Cairo is Egypt's capital and holds the lofty title of being the biggest city in Africa. Like most Egyptian metropolitan areas, it's located near the Nile Delta. Buildings like the Fatmid Mosques and the Cairo Tower form an intoxicating architectural landscape.
For many visitors the pyramids have an abiding mystical enchantment, and places like Dahshur and Sakkara are always popular, but it's the main pyramids in Giza that draw the largest volume of tourists. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest, and is surrounded by the likes of Khafre's Pyramid and the Sphinx. It is perhaps the Sphinx that represents the most alluring and mysterious site of all these relics, becoming something of a symbol of the Egyptian state.
In Luxor you'll find the great temples of Ancient Egypt, with the Temple of Karnak and Luxor Temple standing amongst the most visited sites on the African continent. Luxor is also home to the Valley of the Kings, which is where you will find the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Alexandria lies on the Mediterranean coast and welcomes millions of visitors each year, with the tourist industry being of great importance to the Egyptian economy.
Sharm El Sheikh sits on the Sinai Peninsula and has become prominent amongst those seeking consistent sunshine on affordable package holidays. Tiran Island and Beaches like Ras Um Sid, Shark's Bay and Terrazina are great for diving expeditions or anyone who loves snorkelling. Places like Na'ama Bay are popular excursions, although many package holidays cater for self-contained all-inclusive resorts.
Resorts like Hurghada are hot on the heels of Sharm El Sheikh, positioned on the Red Sea Coast, directly across the water from the Sinai Peninsula.
Last updated: 2 February 2014