As a travel advisor with Virtuoso and an independent affiliate of SmartFlyer, it’s important for David Bragg to be well-versed on the destinations his clients are most interested in, so when he’s not busy booking trips for others, he’s exploring the world on his own. The pandemic put an end to his international travel for more than a year, so when it came time to plan a trip in the spring of 2021, he chose a destination that had been on his bucket list for a long time: Egypt.

“We all grow up learning about ancient Egypt, but seeing the Pyramids, Sphinx and temples in person is truly extraordinary,” David says. “It’s so impressive that these structures are still standing after thousands of years. There’s nothing like seeing them up close and personal.”

To plan his visit in May 2021, David worked closely with an on-site tour operator in Cairo. There are a lot of logistical challenges to overcome when traveling in Egypt, so David’s local contacts helped him handle issues in real time and ensured a seamless visit, from start to finish. Fortunately, there weren’t too many pandemic-related challenges to overcome. The country is currently open to anyone who has received a negative PCR test within 96 hours of travel, and quarantine is not required.

An expert in luxury travel, David experienced Egypt in style, with stays at the Four Seasons and excursions that included a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, but surprisingly, Egypt is a relatively affordable destination.

“Egypt has incredible value as a destination,” says David. “Your budget will go much further here than in similar destinations, so take your time and do it right. And if budget is not a constraint, take it further and have a private sunrise breakfast at the Pyramids before other guests are allowed in!”

Whether Egypt has been a dream destination for years or is just now piquing your interest, you’re in luck. David shared his insights and expertise on the absolute best that the nation has to offer.

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Where to Stay

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

I always think it’s nice to get over jet lag in a nice hotel, so after landing in Cairo, I recommend the Four Seasons at Nile Plaza. The Nile View rooms have private terraces that are perfect for relaxing with a cup of coffee, and from the Royal Suite terrace, you can get a glimpse of the Great Pyramids in the distance. fourseasons.com/caironp

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Sahl Hasheesh

If you prefer a quieter stay with equally amazing Red Sea views, I found The Oberoi Beach Resort, Sahl Hasheesh to feel very intimate and peaceful. The suites are laid out in small clusters, so it feels like staying in a private home. I love a day on a boat, and I was blown away by the snorkeling experiences from here.    oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-sahl-hasheesh/

Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh

If you like a combination of relaxation and activity, the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh is a beautiful, sprawling resort on the Sinai Peninsula. From here, you can spend your days on an ATV desert safari, exploring the Colored Canyon or hiking Mount Moses at sunrise before coming home to enjoy all the amenities offered on property. fourseasons.com/sharmelsheikh

Where to Dine

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Sahl Hasheesh

One of my favorite meals in Egypt was my first night at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Sahl Hasheesh. The food on property is spectacular, and the team prides itself on creating interesting and intimate dining experiences across the resort. The chef tailored a personalized menu of both Indian and Egyptian cuisine for our group to have a private dinner on the terrace.

oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-sahl-hasheesh/

Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh

My final night in Egypt was at the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh, and the resort set up a Bedouin-style dinner under the stars. The food was absolutely delicious and was served on a sandy terrace overlooking the water. We not only ate well, but [we] also enjoyed fire and belly dancing as entertainment. It was an amazing way to end a special trip. fourseasons.com/sharmelsheikh

What to Do

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Everyone must see the major attractions, like the Pyramids, but I was blown away by a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Luxor. Floating above the city, I got to see how the verdant area directly next to the Nile quickly turns to desert. I also loved getting a glimpse of the Temple of Hatshepsut (one of my favorites) from the sky and then walking up to it an hour later.

The Oberoi Zahra, Luxury Nile Cruiser

A Nile River cruise is a really incredible way to see the sights between Luxor and Aswan. The Oberoi Zahra is a great way to travel, but if you’re looking for something more intimate, sailing on a traditional dahabiya is a unique experience.

Red Sea

I think it’s nice to end any Egypt itinerary at the Red Sea. In Sharm El Sheikh, you can relax at the Four Seasons, get on a boat for some snorkeling or hike to Mount Moses for sunrise followed by breakfast at Saint Catherine’s Monastery.

Travel Advice

Use a travel advisor to make sure everything goes off without a hitch! Also, make sure you take enough time to experience everything the country has to offer. I always think balance is important when planning a trip, so varying heavy tourist days with relaxation makes travel much more enjoyable (and, obviously, using a travel advisor will help alleviate some stress so you can relax more).