Egypt is a country that is both steeped in history and covered in exotic attractions, and there is nowhere better to witness the best of both these worlds than on board a ship as you cruise down the Nile. This beautiful body of water is one of the most famous rivers in the world and it has an absolutely amazing array of sights to see while you relax in complete luxury on top of it. Cruises on the Nile include some absolutely essential excursions and they will provide you with moments you’ll never forget.
Perfect as the next step in a seasoned cruiser's collection, or an introduction to spending a holiday atop of the waves. Whatever your speed, you'll find plenty to keep you interested, both on and off board. You'll be travelling through unforgettable sites like the Pyramids, the Sphinx and the burial ground of Tutankhamun, so remember to bring your camera. All cruises feature a number of port-of-calls that will live long in the memory. From the lavish no-expense-spared liners to comparably cheaper ones, whichever you prefer, a holiday on the Nile in 2017 is bound to impress.
Blessed with one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Nile has a number of attractions which are unrivalled in sheer impressiveness. The Valley of the King is home to a number of pharaohs and the tributes to them are fit for any amount of kings. With huge public monuments and a mass of hidden underground mausoleums, this site, located on the Nile's west bank of Luxor, is an elaborate site unlike any other. As resting places for pharaohs such as Seti I, Ramses II and even Tutankhamun, the grandeur of the surroundings more than match its royal inhabitants.
A trip to Egypt isn't complete until you tick off both the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx. A defining symbol of Egypt and one of the last standing wonders of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built over a 20 year period during the reign of King Khufu between 2598-2566 BCE. It held the record of the world's tallest man-made structure for over 3000 years until the Eiffel Tower was constructed, but just because it's lost that particular record doesn't mean it's lost any of its charm. Learn about it's unique history and don't forget to snap a selfie or two. Equally as popular is the Sphinx, built as a guard to the tombs behind it, this historical site is 241 feet long and 66 feet high. Despite years of erosion and damage, the huge statue is still in a phenomenal condition for something that has stood so long. No matter when you visit the Nile, a trip is only really complete when you've crossed these off your list.
Wine and Dine
Egyptian cuisine combines many of the best African traditions with that of Middle Eastern and even Mediterranean cooking. This potent mix results in colourful dishes that are both healthy and flavoursome. A traditional meal would start with a thick soup made from beans and a fresh selection of vegetables, while the main course would traditionally be a full plate of delicious roasted meats accompanied by some seasoned couscous. And for dessert? Figs are immensely popular and usually combined with other items like honey, nuts, dates and yoghurt. Specific dishes to seek out and try are babaganoush, a pureed aubergine dip, mahshi, vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs and of course some traditional shawarma. If you're ever missing home comforts at any point then there are a number of international options at your disposal from Chinese to Italian.
Families who have a taste for exploration will be right at home with a Nile holiday. The amount of daytrips on offer are varied enough to please even the fussiest of little ones. Journey through the Sinai desert by both Jeep and camel to discover a landscape unlike any other in Europe; just remember to pack some sun-cream. If exploration of the deep blue sea is more your style than there are a number of family-friendly spots perfect for snorkelling too, make sure you don’t miss them. There are also two waterparks in the surrounding area which prove a perfect day out for all.
Action and Adventure
In order to get your fix of historical sights as well as a dose of adventure, a camel-back tour might be the best way to do both at the same time. Touring around on these amazing animals isn't as easy as it first looks and will take a bit of getting used to, but when you reach a level of comfort astride them, there’s no better feeling. A number of spots on the Nile also provide a mass of water-sports, while snorkelling is also a huge draw for many guests. The aquatic life in the Nile is nothing short of spectacular and seeing it from below the water is another thing entirely.
Life's a Beach
There are a number of beaches dotted around the Nile and each of them bring their own unique qualities. Nubian Beach is located right by the Nile and it's famous for being situated very close to a group of Nubian villages. At the beach you can watch the Nubian fisherman pulling in their catch before leaving to sell their haul to local restaurants. Meaning that when you have had your fill of sun and sand, you can enjoy some super fresh seafood. There is also Lake Nasser nearby and it is a popular area for tourists as it's a hotspot for sport fishing. The main attraction in that respect are the Nile perch. This group of freshwater fish are a big draw for visitors and the lake can be reached by a ferry from the Nile.
Shopping in Egypt is a big part of their culture and nowhere do you get a better taste for it than in the many markets that adorn the sides of the Nile. A lot of markets stay open late into the evening and give you a chance to fine-tune your haggling skills on a number of wares from leather goods to alabaster vases. Many markets also have some accompanying food stalls to complete your evening. The waterfront along the Nile comes alive in the evening and there a whole host of vendors ready and waiting to provide you with everything you need for a great night. With kebabs, chai and chests full of interesting trinkets, a night by the Nile is a delight for everyone. A draw for visitors are the sound and light shows often held at the country's many historical sites. Whether it's a spot-lit Sphinx or the Temple of Karnak unfolding to music, you won’t have seen any archaeological marvels quite like this.
Egypt has many activities for couples, whatever their tastes. Those with plenty of energy and an appetite for excitement will find a number of places where you can dance long into the evening. It's a perfect spot for night-owls after a day soaking up the sun. Those seeking a healthy dose of fun will find it at the Ministry of Sound Beach Club and partners that are after something a little trendier will find it in the chic beach resort of Hurghada. When you're after some romance to end the day with, there are a number of private beach resorts which are perfect for candlelit dinners and intimate gatherings.
The old saying goes 'Egypt is the gift of the Nile' and its excellent attractions certainly back up the statement. The culture and positive atmosphere of the area has remained constant, offering a top holiday spot. The river casts a shadow through the whole country and with its number of eateries, markets and beach resorts; it's easy to see why.