With travel put on hold for much of 2020, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2021 and planning the luxury getaway to end all luxury getaways to make up for lost time. If sun, sea and sand is your bag but you can’t abide a sunshine break that doesn’t come with a good dose of culture and history alongside it, then the Caribbean or the Maldives might not quite not be what you’re looking for – in spite of their undeniable beauty.
But Egypt on the other hand, which is steeped in rich and exciting history and offers a true cultural experience alongside breath-taking beaches and incredible snorkelling and diving, could be the perfect spot to choose for a lavish five-star holiday in the new year.
From its mesmerising pyramids and ancient temples to the fertile banks of the Nile, there’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do here – and the good news is that the nation’s tourism industry is perfectly set up to allow you to do all of it in style. With all the modern luxury amenities you’d want – complete with a touch of more traditional aesthetics to ensure that you are always aware of where you are – here, you can go beyond the guidebooks and truly immerse yourself in the magnificent Egyptian culture without compromising on comfort.
Here’s all you need to know to plan a luxury Egyptian holiday – including where to stay and what to see and do.
What to see
Home of the ancient Pharaohs and Cairo’s famous Pyramids of Giza, Egypt is a dazzling destination that is awash with tombs and temples that will take your breath away. A visit to the pyramids is essential, and many tour companies will offer you a private day trip in a luxury vehicle, complete with your own chauffeur, who will be at your beck and call throughout.
Despite being renowned for its historic treasures though, Egypt has plenty more to offer visitors too. Made up of 95 per cent desert, it offers breath-taking panoramic vistas, so take a luxury tour along the Nile for the chance to take in some of the nation’s most remarkable sights.
Beach lovers can head to Sinai to soak up some rays or enjoy the spectacular scuba diving on offer in Sharm El Sheikh, while archaeology enthusiasts can head to Luxor, where you could easily spend an entire day. The Siwa oasis at the southern town of Aswan is also worth a visit, offering a taste of the slower pace of life in Egypt’s countryside.
There truly is something for everyone in Egypt, and whether you’re a culture vulture, history buff, adventurer – or are simply in search of some rest and relaxation, it won’t disappoint.
The one thing you won’t find, however, is a casino. Being a Muslim country, gambling is prohibited in Egypt – but many casinos elsewhere in the world have taken inspiration from this vibrant nation, creating the exciting Book of Dead slot game, which is based on the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Where to stay
There are a variety of luxury hotels and resorts to stay in across Egypt, so if you’re looking for five-star accommodation then you’ll be spoilt for choice. Combining modern elegance and classical Egyptian interiors, the hotels here don’t do things by halves – so prepare to be waited on hand and foot and have your every need met throughout your stay.
The luxurious Rixos Premium Seagate in Sharm El Sheikh is our top pick, and is located amongst rows of palm trees, right on the seafront of this pretty part of the country. Featuring eight swimming pools and six restaurants, it offers all you need for a relaxing stay.
If you’re eager to head straight for the thick of the action, then base yourself in Cairo. The opulent Sofitel El Gezirah is located right in the city centre and is within walking distance to the Opera House and the Cairo Tower, as well as the Egyptian Museum and Khan El Khalili. With seven restaurants including Egyptian, Moroccan and Asian cuisines, its Window by the Nile bar offers captivating views along the iconic river.
For those looking to stay somewhere a little more off the beaten track, the stunning Royal Tulip Beach Resort in Port Ghalib offers an opulent base from which to explore – but be warned because you won’t want to leave. It’s probably just as well it will make you want to stick around though, because it’s a seven-hour drive from Cairo. A great choice if this is your second or third trip to Egypt or you’re coming specifically for the ocean, because the first time, you’ll no doubt want to see the more iconic sights.
Even so, if you’re a snorkelling or scuba-diving enthusiast, then this resort will tick all the right boxes. Home to a beautiful coral reef that is awash with colourful sea life, you’ll find a natural swimming pool and sandy beach nearby.
Egypt is easily reachable from the UK, with several flights daily from London Heathrow and Gatwick. Flight duration is around four hours and 45 minutes – making it just a short hop before you arrive and are ready to soak up some sunshine. Make sure you have all of your relevant documents prepared before you travel including a visa, if required. To find out if you require a visa for travel to Egypt and to apply for one, visit visa-for-egypt.com for more information.