Egypt has been one of the most popular destinations for travellers for many years, especially those from European Countries. There are many reasons why holidays to Egypt are so popular with tourists. The country benefits from having year round sunshine and a very warm and dry climate. The most popular times for visitors are throughout the cooler months from late October through to May. People do visit in the summertime also but due to the high heat most tend to come in the winter months. The places or attractions we normally see at the top of most peoples to do list are Luxor where trips to The Valley of the Kings and The Valley of the Queens are available. Giza is another common haunt for tourists as a visit to Egypt would not be complete without a trip to see The Great Sphinx or The World Famous Great Pyramids of Giza. The Sinai Peninsula has come to be one of the most visited places in the world for scuba divers, due to the marine life found there and the natural reefs.
[Image by Walwyn]
Guide to Cairo
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and is by far the most popular city in the country. The city has been the heart of the Egyptian economy for many years with most industries either based there or have their products transported through the city before any onward journeys. With this in mind it is not surprising that Cairo has a thriving street market economy, and unlike many so called traditional markets this one really is as if time has stood still and not just a quirky gimmick to gain more tourists. One of the best illustrations of this is in Khan el-Khalili, which is an outdoor market place, or Souk as it is known in the local dialect. This market was originally constructed in the fourteenth century and has been operating in one way or another since then so could be one of the oldest market places in the world. The market is a great place to do some shopping or just to have wander around and take in the sights and sounds of a traditional Arabic Market place. The market is frequented by locals as much as it is tourists. The small shops or stalls have a variety of products on offer like Chandeliers, Silk Slippers, spices and jewelry. Nestled in amongst the shops and stalls are many Arabic Coffee houses selling Coffee and Shisha’s for the weary shoppers. As with any traditional styled market there are an abundance of arts and crafts for offer, so if you are looking for a new belt, wallet or a pair of sandals you will have a large choice of styles and designs. If you are a little apprehensive of going it alone in Cairo’s bustling streets, you find there are a number of quality travel and tour agencies, which cater for tours in Cairo. They will also be able to help when it comes to dreaded haggling with the market traders.
Shopping Around the Country
Although Cairo is the capital city of Egypt, not all travellers transit through. This because the country is so big with vast swathes of empty desert in between major built up areas so many tourists will fly direct to their destination such as Sharm El Sheik which I son the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula or Alexandria on the Northern shore in the Mediterranean Sea. Sharm El Sheik has flourished in recent years, with scuba divers coming from across the globe, to see the unique marine life around the coast. It is an ever popular destination for European holiday makers looking for two weeks of sun, food and shopping. It has a modern vibrant feel to the town and caters for western travellers so finding somewhere to eat good food and have a few drinks is easy. The arts and crafts on offer are mainly of Bedouin origin and are reasonably priced even for the inexperienced barterer. Up in Alexandria you find a thriving shopping district offering everything from Gold Jewellery to the latest I-pad. There are many small off the beaten track markets, and for the antique hunter with a keen eye there are bargains to be had for Oriental Furnishings, Beautiful wooden tables inlaid with carvings and many quirky items like maps, pottery and soft furnishings. For those who are not really looking to bag a bargain there are other small markets that offer all sorts of food items like grapes, dates and spices.
Ariana Louis is a teacher by profession, who worked out 5 years of savings to begin her globetrotting adventure. She has travelled more than half-way across the world and has written this article as a rough guide to would be shoppers in Egypt to what is available. Ariana has visited Egypt and the Middle East on numerous occasions and has an interest in Antiques and crafts of Middle East origin. She also likes to showcase her favourite destinations in the articles and blogs that she writes.