Annual religious, secular and ancient cultural festivals (dates above unless specified) include:
Milad un Nabi
Most cities host parades and processions to mark the birth of the prophet and streets are filled with dancers, acrobats, musicians, fairs and food stalls.
A week before Christmas, homes and businesses are festooned with lights and decorations, and nativity scenes and holiday bazaars appear on the streets.
The coming of spring is marked by 'sniffing the breeze', with picnics in parks or the countryside, and boat trips on the Nile.
Leylet en Nuktah
The rise of the Nile is celebrated every 17 June, with nighttime picnics and festivities usurping the unfortunate ancient tradition of sacrificing beautiful virgins.
Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
After a month of abstentions, Eid is a 3- to 4-day holiday of feasting, street markets and the exchanging of gifts.
Celebrations of the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, are marked by the bloody sacrifice of goats, sheep, cows and camels, commemorating the willingness of Ibrahim to offer his son in submission to Allah.
Please note that visa regulations can change often and at short notice, and that the following information applies to UK passport holders only.
British nationals normally need a visa to enter Egypt, which can be bought on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. If travelling to the resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba for up to 15 days you will be issued with a free entry permission stamp.
Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry. No additional validity is required.
Banknotes are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20 50, 100 and 200 Egyptian pounds (EGP), and coins come in 1 EGP, 25 and 50 piastres (known respectively as 'a quarter pound' and 'half a pound'). Egypt has a perpetual shortage of coins and small notes, so expect to round up the value of small purchases.
The currency has devalued quite rapidly in recent years, and many top-end resorts and hotels insist on payment in US dollars or euros.
At summer 2014 rates, £1 sterling = c. 12 EGP.
ATMs can be found in all cities and resorts, and international withdrawals are straightforward via an English-language interface.
Cash and EFTPOS
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants, resorts and in large malls, but expect to pay cash for other shopping.
Egypt remains fairly cheap by international standards, but admission fees, guided tours and private transport to the major sites can significantly raise the cost of your trip.
Market prices are often hiked for tourists, and a good tip is to learn the Arabic numerals so you can check quoted prices against those on display.
In the cities expect to pay at least European prices for beers and locally produced wine at most hotels and upmarket restaurants. Note that imported alcohol can be significantly more expensive due to high duty