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This Affordable Country With Ancient Pyramids And Stunning Beaches Is Breaking Tourism Records

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Summer is right around the corner, and if you're still torn between beach and culture and can't decide whether it's the tropical Caribbean or the historically-charged Europe you should be headed for, we have a third equally gorgeous that combines both elements.

Harbor And Boats In Alexandria On The Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, North Africa

Officially the leading destination in Africa, Egypt is stunning industry officials as it enters yet another record-breaking year.

It hosted 15 million tourists in the first quarter of 2024 alone, and it's safe to say it's expecting its most successful summer season yet.

Not only is it home to monumental pyramids and a pristine coastline, but it's dirt cheap, with all-inclusive stays costing under $400 per week:

Why Egypt Is Soaring In Popularity Right Now

Young Woman Smiling As She Takes A Picture In The Valley Of The Kings In Luxor, Egypt, North Africa

So far this year, Egypt has posted a year-on-year growth of 27%, regaining the momentum it had lost during the restrictive years of the health crisis: in other words, it's never been livelier, felt more welcoming, or been as trendy to visit as it is now.

A surprisingly-diverse country located at the crossroads of Africa and Western Asia, it is famous for the sprawling metropolis that is Cairo, its infinite treasure trove of ancient wonders, the meandering Nile River, and the vast arid landscapes that meet the seas.

A Vibrant Capital City Near Ancient Pyramids

Speaking of Cairo, it is the number one city break, and a chaotic urban sprawl famous for its colorful bazaars, incredible mix of ornate, dramatic façades that could belong in Europe, and not-so-well-kept buildings that could use some renovation, and flavorful cuisine.

A short half-hour drive from downtown Cairo and an easy day trip for tourists based in the city, the majestic Pyramids of Giza and their accompanying Great Sphinx and adjacent temples dot the honey-colored sands of a vast Sahara Desert.

The great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha in Cairo Egypt

There are modest hotels in Cairo with pyramid views for as cheap as $52, breakfast included, such as the 3-star White House Pyramid Views, as well as luxurious listings like the Concorde El Salam Hotel & Casino for an acceptable $142 per night.

As for daily expenses, if you're on a shoestring budget, you'll find plenty of inexpensive restaurants with lunchtime menus from only five bucks—no catch, it's just that consumer prices in Egypt are much lower compared to the U.S. or Europe and your dollars stretch further here.

a red cup of hibiscus tea sits overlooking the city of Cairo Egypt

More elaborate, three-course dinners in mid-range restaurants cost between $25-30, and if you manage to dodge all the scammers in the bazaar, it's unlikely you'll spend over $50 per day traveling Egypt, accommodation excluded.

Cairo is also the main entry point for Americans, as it is currently the only city to host nonstop Transatlantic flights, but it's not the only tourism hotspot in Egypt:

Affordable All-Inclusive Stays By The Red Sea

Resort in Egypt

The resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, nestled between the desert of Sinai and the Red Sea, which is anything but red in color, is best known for its sandy beaches and thriving beachfront, lined with Western-style clubs and restaurants.

Though it is not as popular a destination for Americans as it is for middle-income Europeans, Sharm el Sheikh is what we like to call ‘all-inclusive on a budget‘: a one-week stay at the pool, spa-equipped Baron Palms, tout compris, comes at a reasonable rate of $996.

A Young Woman Wearing A Yellow Dress As She Steps Down An Old Stone Stairway In Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, North Africa

There's an even cheaper offer at their Stella Di Mare Beach Hotel & Spa competitor, with 7 days in a Standard or Double Room (subject to availability) costing a shockingly-cheap $628 for one adult; there's cheaper to be found, even, at Ghazala Gardens, with all-inclusive stays starting from $316.

Elsewhere in Hurghada, luxury holiday resorts costing merely a small fraction of what they would in more developed countries, a long stretch of sand bounded by Caribbean-like turquoise waters of the Red Sea, and a charming, shop-lined Old Town await guests.

Resort in Egypt

Similarly to Sharm el Sheikh, there's a plethora of affordable seaside resorts to pick from in Hurghada, which by the way, hosts low-cost flights from Europe, as cheap as $54 one-way from select departure points.

Our top two picks for Hurghada are the all-inclusive, adults-only Sunrise Holidays Resort, costing $676 to book per week this summer, and the Zen Resort Sahl Hasheesh by TBH Hotels, with 7-night stays in a Deluxe Double Room with Sea View priced only $445.

Mediterranean Getaways And Ancient Temple Sites

Qaitbay Citadel In Alexandria, Egypt

On the Mediterranean waterfront, Alexandria is the main port, and an ancient Hellenic city that formerly housed a landmark lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and a legendary library; most of it has been razed to the ground, but the city continues to command respect.

It is dominated by a medieval citadel, Qaitbay, which has stood proudly on the harbor since its construction in the 15th century.

In addition, countless History museums, storied cafes, and sandy beaches unfold along the azure Med.

Woman in Egypt looking at old ruins

One week as a guest in the splendid Hilton Alexandria Corniche Hotel will set you back by $811 this summer, though the more modest Grand Plaza Hotel Smouha is comparatively good, with incredible amenities and a beach nearby, starting from $391 for the same period.

Coastal resorts aside and Cairo aside, no visit to Egypt is complete without a Nile cruise, with stops at traditional Egyptian villages, nature reserves, and Luxor and its Valley of the Kings, where structures over 3,600 years old still stand mostly intact.

Boat in an Egyptian River

Even multi-day Nile River cruises are pretty cheap, with the full sightseeing package by Egypt Escapes averaging $276; all in all, Egypt is a steal of a deal, and it caters to a diverse crowd of visitors with different needs: budget travelers and exclusivity-seeking, big spenders alike.

Read more about Egypt, and start planning your next cultural getaway here.

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