Egypt

Cheap holidays to Egypt are great: nothing can quite prepare the first-time visitor for the colourful chaos that is Cairo. Sprawling on the banks of the Nile - and home to at least 15 million people - it's a melange of ancient edifices, modern towers, donkey-drawn carts, busloads of tourists, heat, spices, dust, din, exquisite hustle and bustle.

Cheap holidays to Egypt give you the spare change and the guiltless freedom to shop so. So, keeping your gullibility levels turned to zero, and your hand firmly on your wallet, haggle in one of the world's largest bazaars, the Khan-el Khalili, and wander wide-eyed around the massive medieval Citadel. Visit some of the capital's beautiful mosques, be surprised at how small the Sphinx really is, and gaze up at the Great Pyramids of Giza, as curious travellers have done for time immemorial.

If you feel in an adventurous holiday mood, an overnight train to Aswan will deliver you into another world - one where daybreak over the Nile reveals lush grass, palm trees and men working their animals in the coolness of dawn. From Aswan, take a traditional felucca (small traditional boat) downriver to Luxor, site of such myriad wonders as Karnak Temple, Avenue of the Sphinxes, and the ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Not all of Egypt's attractions are to be found in the Nile Valley. Venture deep into the arid west, and you can encounter the intriguing lifestyles and landscapes of the remote desert oases, parts of which seem to have been ignored by time for centuries. Head east across the Red Sea to the Sinai Peninsula and the picture flips inside out.

Cheap holidays to Egypt reveal a diving and snorkelling territory along this coast that is some of the best in the world, offering a veritable wonderland of sapphire waters, coral reefs, and huge shoals of inquisitive rainbow-coloured fish.

Unmissables

  • Snorkel or scuba to see the technicolour treasures of the Red Sea
  • Marvel at the array of incredible historical sights in Luxor
  • Sail through frozen time on a felucca journey down the Nile
  • Hike up Mt Sinai at night to view the sunrise from the top
  • Gawp at colossal Abu Simbel temple in ancient Nubia