Egypt contains arguably some of the greatest and most beguiling tourist trails in the world. From the vast, iconic river Nile you can embark at any given moment and find yourself lost in a world of ancient wonders.
An overwhelmingly and genuinely hospitable nation, Egyptians take great pride in their thriving tourist industry and make every experience for the tourist an unforgettable one.
Deciding to travel through Egypt is like deciding to propel yourself 4000 years back, exploring the eclectic range of ancient sites and walking in the footsteps of pharaonic legends. As hard as it is to choose its main highlights, here are the top 10 things to do in Egypt:-
This charming little city was ancient Egypt’s gateway to Africa.
Situated not far above the tropic of Cancer, Aswan is Egypt’s most southernmost city and is the country’s gateway to Africa.
The immense River Nile is simply stunning here, meandering its way through the golden desert and granite rocks, green islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants all before reaching the majestic Elephantine island and Kitchener’s island.
Aswan also contains one of the largest dams in the world. Just 20km south of the city, Aswan dam provides nearly all of Egypt’s electricity and is a spectacular site, overlooking one of the largest man-made lakes in the world – the picturesque Nasser Lake.
9. Siwa Oasis
Witness the sun beaming down on crystal clear pools, surrounded by thousands of olive and palm trees.
A beautiful panorama looks in from afar on the salt lake of Birket Siwa, a favorite bathing spot in the hot desert just a mere 50km from the Libyan border.
Another popular bathing spot is the world famous Cleopatra bath, a refreshing pool of bubbling crystal-clear water. The surroundings of olive and palm trees with the vast desert behind you makes this one of the most aesthetic and alluring oasis’ on the planet.
8. Abu Simbel Temple
Penetrating into the holy room, sun-rays beam down on Ramses II greatest temple.
Ramses II created his most impressive temple, Abu Simbel between 1274 and 1244 BC and its exterior features 4 colossal carvings of the pharaoh.
Nowadays, due to the precarious riverside location, the temple sits at a reconstructed site where many of the salvaged artefacts are also based inside. The area that the temple frequented for thousands of years previous to now, is now vanished under Lake Nasser.
The preservation of Abu Simbel is an outstanding story and is testament to the plans to build the future through preserving the past.
Less touristy than Giza, Saqqara is the surprise visit in Egypt, with an abundance of famous temples.
Located not far from the tourist ridden pyramids of Giza, Saqqara is an ancient burial ground that features some of the most famous tombs and pyramids in Egypt. One that stands out is the stepped pyramid of Djoser.
Here you can also visit the carpentry school where students learn to make rugs and carpets, the Sphinx of Saqqara and many other ancient statues.
6. Egypt’s Red Sea
Rugged coastlines sit above thriving coral reefs on Egypt’s exciting Red Sea coast.
Whether it’s a deep sea dive in search of larger marine life and a fascinating under-water shipwreck, or simply to snorkel the length of the sharp cliff-side coral teeming with multi-colored fish, Egypt’s Red Sea offers an array of fantastic water activities.
The Sinai region of Egypt contains some of Egypt’s most popular resort areas, including those of Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba where luxury hotel align palm-fringed beaches and provide fantastic adventure trips. one trip I recommend is renting a glass-bottom boat to view the tremendous multitude of vibrant fish.
Egypt’s capital buzzes to a frenetic fog of bustling bazaars, cluttered chaos and the noise of 20 million residents.
Cairo is Africa’s largest city and a chaotic synthesis of new and old where modern high-rises hang incongruously above ancient temples, where futuristic hotels spill out onto century year old bazaars and where east meets west in a fascinating collaboration of cultures.
Islamic Cairo to the east is arguably its most charming district, encompassing a labyrinth of twisting alleyways and a rich source of mesmerizing architecture.
The oldest part of the capital is the Coptic district, home to century year old churches and a predominantly Christian area that is best explored on foot.
The Egyptian Museum, located in the very heart of Cairo in Tahir Square, will open your eyes to a world of ancient history and relics. The museum is enormous so try to plan for two visits if this is of key interest to you. The main attraction here is the Tutankhamun exhibition which, along with many, features his distinctive golden mask.
On your Egypt tours you must pay a fundamental visit to the Al-Azhar Mosque. Founded in AD 970, the Al-Azhar is one Cairo’s earlier mosques and its Sheikh is considered the highest theological authority for Egyptian Muslims.
For shopping, test your haggling skills and head to the bustling Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, a seemingly endless straight of handicrafts and cheap goods.
4. Luxor – Valley of the Kings
Occupying both banks of the Nile, Luxor’s open-air museum is truly mind-blowing.
Nowhere else in the world has such a wealth of antiquities, preserved by the delicacy of mankind, as the city of Luxor.
The center of power for almost 1500 years, Luxor in Arabic means “the palaces” which gives an accurate reflection of its rich group of splendid temples and tombs.
The Luxor museum sits on the east bank, along with Luxor’s majestic compilation of temples, including the famous Karnak temple.
On the west bank is the unmissable Valley of the kings (containing 63 magnificent royal tombs from the New Kingdom period (1550-1069 BC) and Valley of Queens.
Boasting one of the most luxurious beaches in South Sinai, Dahab is a treasure on the Red Sea.
Dahab means ‘gold’ in Arabic and this title perfectly sums up the soft golden sands that line the gorgeous blue ocean here in South Sinai.
Along with just bumming out, relaxing for the majority of your days and absorbing the tranquility and beauty of Dahab, there are some fantastic activities on offer.
Horse-riding is a great option in Dahab in particular with many picturesque trekking routes at your disposal. If you want wheels then quad-biking some of these routes is another popular option.
In the evening a great idea is to treat yourself to a traditional Bedouin dinner. These are best experienced in the deserts between the mountains, giving you an authentic Bedouin experience.
Two of Dahab’s most popular and unmissable activities would have to be yoga (incredibly relaxing and therapeutic on the beach-front) and water-sports! What better way to explore Sinai’s scintillating coast than encountering the vibrant and colorful marine life.
2. Cruise the River Nile
The very core to understanding Egypt’s history, Nile tours will enlighten you with the source of Egyptian life.
Nothing quite compares to river Nile tours when tracing the passage of Egyptian history. Follow the enchanting passage and head back 4000 years as you stop by Egypt’s most significant landmarks.
The usual route is the luxor-Aswan route that takes you down a scenic path and stop by two of Egypt’s most remarkable sites. Traveling by a Felucca sail-boat is the most authentic way to cruise the Nile, however for more comfort and luxury then a cruise ship is recommendable.
1. Pyramids of Giza
Nothing quite sums up the ultimate Egyptian experience like a visit to the Pyramids of Giza.
The pyramids of Giza are undoubtedly the indisputable highlight of your tours to Egypt. Giza is a town that lies conveniently inside Cairo’s boundaries so day trips are easily accessible from the capital.
The three main pyramids were constructed over 3 generations of kings and the site of them makes you question the very structure of these inconceivable tombs. These awe-inspiring pyramids are the last remaining survivor out of the 7 ancient wonders of the world.
Nearby, you will find the Great Sphinx of Giza, the large limestone carving of ‘the terrifying one’ (half lion, half human).
It is recommended to take a camel ride around these majestic sites and compete for the greatest views, especially around sunset.
Have you explored the ancient wonders of the world? What were your greatest experiences in Egypt?