First visit to Egypt? Head straight to bustling capital Cairo to see King Tutankhamen's golden mask and the iconic Pyramids of Giza. Take a trip down the peaceful River Nile to tour the temples of Luxor. Over in the Western Desert you'll find a trail of beautiful lush oases amid desolate sand. If you're a keen diver, head east to the Red Sea.
The Nile Valley threads its way through the centre of Egypt where most of today's population lives. It then heads south through Luxor and Aswan to confusingly named Upper Egypt. Towards its northern end you'll find capital Cairo, whose roots and landmarks date back to Roman times and the tenth-12th-century Fatimid Dynasty. But you'll soon see that today's city is getting bigger and busier all the time and that a more affluent, contemporary lifestyle is developing quickly. Escape the city's bustle to the vast, almost barren Western Desert, dotted with remote oases. In Egypt's northeast corner, the Sinai Peninsula is Egypt's major tourist magnet. Hit the Red Sea resorts for beach holidays and watersports in an area of both Bedouin and Christian roots.
Make Cairo your base for a day trip out to the iconic Pyramids of Giza. In the city itself you'll find the tenth-century porticoed Al-Azhar Mosque, an Islamic Cairo landmark. Head to the Mediterranean coast to see the planetarium and art galleries inside Alexandria's new Bibliotheca, a tribute to the third-century BC Library of Alexandria. You'll find the tomb-laden Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Flock to Luxor Temple for the colossal statues of Ramses II.
Sail down the River Nile on a wooden felucca sailing boat to catch a glimpse of Egypt's picturesque river banks. In the Western Desert you'll find Bedouin settlements as well as leafy oases for a peaceful rest. Head to the Red Sea for diving or snorkelling or explore the fossil coral reefs at Ras Mohammed National Park. You'll need to get up early in Sinai to enjoy the panoramic views from the top of Mount Sinai, before the sun gets too intense.