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Egypt - Frequently Asked Questions

Table of contents

  1. When is the best time to go?
  2. Do you need a visa?
  3. How can I get there?
  4. What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
  5. What is there to see and do?
  6. What is the internet access like?
  7. When is Ramadan?
  8. Is it safe to drink the tap water?

When is the best time to go?

You can travel to Egypt at any time of the year, with temperatures rarely dropping below the high teens in the winter and often reaching around 40 degrees C in the summer. Due to the high temperatures in the summer, the best times of year to travel are typically spring (February to April) and autumn (September to November), when the weather is warm, sunny and dry without being overly hot or getting too cold in the evenings. If you want to visit the south of the country (Luxor/Aswan/Abu Simbel) for sightseeing, you may find winter is the best time to go to avoid the searing heat.

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Do you need a visa?

All visitors need a visa to enter Egypt and British citizens can buy one at their port of entry. These visas are valid for one month and allow you to travel all over the country. If you arrive in Sharm el Sheikh it is possible to obtain a free 15-day visa stamp that allows you to visit Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba. If you want to travel anywhere else in the country, you need to pay for a full visa.

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How can I get there?

There are many direct flights to Egypt from London, Manchester and Birmingham. Airlines such as easyJet, Monarch and EgyptAir fly directly to the Red Sea resorts, while many international carriers, including British Airways and EgyptAir, fly directly from London to Cairo. It takes a little over five hours to fly from London to Cairo, while the journey to Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada is between five-and-a-half and six hours long.

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What is the local currency and what currency should I take?

The Egyptian pound is the local currency, although many businesses in Egypt also accept Euros, dollars and sterling. It is easy to exchange foreign currency at the local banks and you will often get a better rate by doing so than by organising to collect your Egyptian pounds before you depart for your holiday. Credit and debit cards are generally accepted in the big cities and by larger restaurants, shops and hotels. You can also use your cards in the cash machines there.

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What is there to see and do?

There are two distinct sides to Egypt - its ancient sites and its modern Red Sea resorts. There are many of the former, with Cairo being home to impressive structures such as the Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Egyptian Museum, while in Luxor you can wander around the staggering Karnak Temple complex or explore the Valley of the Kings. This area just outside Luxor is where many of the most impressive tombs of the pharaohs were uncovered - including that of Tutankhamen. Further south, you should see the temples of Abu Simbel, which are astounding structures dating from the period of Ramses II. These were actually moved in the 1960s to save them from the flood waters that filled what is now Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam. In the Red Sea resorts you can see a very different side to Egypt - namely its stunning natural attractions. Gorgeous sandy beaches and colourful coral reefs are the order of the day in places like Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Dahab. Scuba diving

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What is the internet access like?

Egypt's internet access has improved considerably in recent years and you'll find free Wi-Fi is available at most major hotels and even in cafes and restaurants, particularly in the Red Sea resorts. In the big cities - like Cairo and Luxor - there are a growing number of Wi-Fi hotspots where you can get online.

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When is Ramadan?

The date of Ramadan changes each year and is determined by the moon's cycle. Special committees decide the precise dates of Ramadan each year and they may vary by a day or two according to local moon sightings. Ramadan lasts for approximately 29 to 30 days each year.

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Is it safe to drink the tap water?

Egypt's tap water is not considered to be safe to drink, so it is advisable to stick to bottled water for the duration of your holiday.

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