Anita Hendrieka

20 Unique and Diverse Things to do in Egypt 2024

Last Updated on November 6, 2023

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Egypt is an incredible and diverse country – there are so many fun unique things to do in Egypt, almost too many! You could be there for an entire lifetime and not be able to see everything.

Visitors can experience countless historic landmarks, buildings and artefacts, not to mention adventure activities both popular and unique.

Unique things to do in Cairo, Gaza Pyramid with 3 horses in front of it

Yes, Egypt truly is a great holiday destination for travellers who want to learn and experience many fun activities in Egypt and dive into the culture. So, are you wondering what to see in Egypt yet?

Top Tip: Before you head out you need to make sure you get a Egypt visa on arrival so that you can enter the country in the first place.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. My #1 recommendation is SafetyWing !

Table of Contents

Here are 20 Unique and Diverse Things to Do in Egypt!

Crazy things to do in Cairo, a hot air balloon above some lush green farms

1. Hot Air Ballooning in Luxor

It may seem like one of the more unusual things to do in Egypt, but when visiting Luxor, make sure you experience this beautiful city by air!

You will get to see the lush nature that this country has on offer along with historical sites and beautiful mountains too.

Take care when picking a company, though, and ensure that it’s one with a reputable and great track record.

You can’t bargain on safety, and it goes without saying that one of the things not to do in Egypt is have a hot air balloon accident!

If you take the 9-day tour with Travel Talk Tours you will get the chance to experience a hot air balloon over Luxor.  It’s an incredible experience and not to be missed.

This was one of my favourite activities to do in Egypt while I was there, because you get to see the beautiful sides of Egypt you just don’t get to see from the ground.

An aerial adventure like this is also one of the best things to do in Luxor with kids!

Unusual things to do in Cairo, a felucca in the sunset on the river Nile.

2. Sail Down the Nile on a Felucca

You cannot experience Egypt without seeing the Nile.

I spent 2 nights on a felucca on the Nile with my newfound friends I made on my tour and it was one of the best things to do in Egypt EVER.

I usually feel a little sick on boats but this was calm and very pleasant so there was no need for me to take any sea sickness pills!

Drifting down the Nile is possibly the most relaxing natural attraction in Egypt, and the best way to take in the beauty of the Nile. It was great to get back to nature and just enjoy the surroundings.

Sailing in a felucca is one of the more adventurous things to do in Egypt for those not used to being on the water.

If a felucca is not your style, then there are plenty of cruise ships that travel along the Nile for a more luxury experience and a proper toilet!

Don’t forget to take a jersey with you because in the evening it can get quite cold. Here’s a great packing list so you don’t forget anything.

Unusual things to do in Egypt, close up of the inscriptions on Luxor Temple.

3. Visit Luxor Temple

If you made a list of most beautiful city in Egypt, Luxor would be either at or near the top, and Luxor Temple is a big reason for that.

Luxor temple was built by Amenhotep III around 1392 BC but Tutankhamun and Rameses ll also added to the Temple during their ruling.

It’s a large site with a rich history and many stories to be told. This temple is one of the top places to see in Egypt and cannot be missed on your trip to Luxor.

Due to its popularity, this is one of the best things to do in Egypt in March when there are fewer crowds and the temperature is more agreeable to non-locals.

Unique places in Egypt, Luxor Temple at night, light up with a girl in the middle doing the 'walk like an Egyptian' pose.

4. See Luxor Temple at Night

You may be thinking why should I visit the temple for a second time at night? The answer is because it is so beautiful and is a completely different experience than during the day.

It’s a lot quieter but also with the spotlights lighting up the temple it really looks incredible. The Avenue of the Sphinx looks seriously impressive!

This is definitely one of the best things to do in Egypt at night.

🛌🏼 Click to check out the best accommodation in Luxor here

Fun activities in Egypt, Sakkara with 3 girls gazing at the pyramid

5. Visit Sakkara

Sakkara is an ancient burial ground located about 30 minutes out of modern Cairo. Djoser’s step pyramid is the oldest stone complex known in history.

16 different kings built pyramids here but these days most of them are in disrepair. However, you can go inside a pyramid at no extra cost, and it is in an excellent state.

You can see the ancient carvings inside the tomb clearly so this is a great place if you have always dreamed of adventures in Cairo where you get to go inside a pyramid!

Crazy things to do in Egypt, Gaza Pyramid from the ground looking up

6. Gaze at the Great Pyramids of Giza

Think of tourist attractions in Egypt, and you’ll think of pyramids. You just can’t help it! There’s a reason these astonishing structures are the main tourist attraction of Egypt.

So you know deep down that you can’t visit Egypt and not see the great pyramids in Giza! Named as one of the wonders of the world, the pyramids are vast and remarkable.

You may go inside the Great Pyramid for an extra cost but it is not as in a good condition as the pyramid in Sakkara, so bear that in mind.

You could spend a good hour just gazing at the pyramids as they look so unreal, and your eyes will easily soak up the sights.

There is a great viewpoint on the other side of the pyramids, a little bit up a small hill. Here you can get the picture-perfect shot you wished for.

🛌🏼 Click to check out the best accommodation Cairo here

Stuff to do in Egypt, the famous Sphinx on a cloudy day

7. Get the All-Time Kissing Photo of the Sphinx

Undeniably one of the most iconic places to visit in Egypt is the Great Sphinx.

You may have seen many Instagram photos of travellers kissing this mythical creature. That’s because getting your own personal kiss-pic with it is THE thing to do in Egypt.

It’s a top tourist attraction in Egypt for lovers of history and internationally recognisable monuments alike!

It is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt so it deserves to be seen by you on your adventures in Egypt.

It was very busy with everyone trying to get their kissing shot (one of the top things to do in Egypt), but it’s well worth seeing.

You can get a good photo of the Great Sphinx with the Giza Pyramids in the background.

📸 PRO TIP: My go-to camera for all my travels is the Sony A7iii – I highly recommend it!

Adventurous things to do in Egypt, full spread of food prepared by the Nubian's

8. Have Dinner with the Nubians

Sometimes what is special in Egypt can be as simple as an evening meal.

The Nubians are an ethnic tribe which is indigenous to Sudan and Egypt. There is a village located on the East Bank of Aswan where you can have a traditional dinner in a traditional Nubian home.

If you’re wondering what to do in Egypt and you prefer a more intimate vibe, then this is one of the most down-to-Earth Egypt experiences you can have.

For those thinking about things to buy in Egypt, there are also market stalls where you can buy handicrafts and spices too.

It’s so colourful and worthwhile seeing, and the Nubian dinner is absolutely delicious! Most cool things to do in Egypt are not nearly as tasty as this!

Things to see in Egypt, a campfire on the side of the Nile river

9. Dance with the Egyptians around a Campfire

Let me tell you one thing, Egyptians know how to dance! If you’re looking for crazy things to do in Egypt, make sure to spend at least one evening getting your groove on by the fire.

Enjoy a bit of the culture and entertainment in Egypt by dancing around the campfire while listening to drums and loving those hips.

If you’re on an energetic family outing and want some unique experiences in Egypt, this is one of the best things to do with kids in Egypt!

Be warned: Egyptians know how to move their hips so be prepared to be shown up by some of the locals!

Things to do in Egypt in March, entrance to abu simbel with the 4 massive sculptures of ancient Egyptians

10. Visit Abu Simbel (Early!)

Abu Simbel is one of the most unique places in Egypt. It’s about a 3 to 4-hour drive from Aswan but it’s totally worth it.

If you do make it here, make sure you get here early to avoid the busloads of tourists.  If you go with Travel Talk Tours this is one of the optional activities which they offer.

There are two colossal rock temples that have been carved from the rocks.

They used to be positioned where the dam lies now but they had to move them up the cliff so they could preserve them.

Thinking about where to go in Egypt to see great feats of architectural achievement? Make visiting Abu Simbel one of your must-do Egypt activities!

Unique Egypt, part of the Philae Temple

11. See Philae Temple

Philae Temple is located on an island and has a bizarre, incestuous story to go along with it.

I won’t write about it here as it would probably be a whole other blog post so if you want to read more about it then read this.

It was one of the quietest temples that we visited in Egypt but it’s a must-see regardless.

It was nice to visit a temple that was not so crowded because you could observe the carvings and drawing and really appreciate the work that goes into these ancient temples.

👡 PACKING TIP: Looking for the best shoes for travelling? I highly recommend getting a pair of Chaco’s – They are my favourite!

12. Eat Endless Amounts of Falafel Sandwiches

Falafel is everywhere and for good reason: it’s delicious! So while you’re thinking of stuff to do in Egypt, why not stuff your face with falafel?

If you have tried falafel in the past and didn’t like it, you must try it here because it tasted totally different from what I know.

Since this is where they originate, Egyptians sure know how to make falafel, 100% better than anyone else and from anywhere else!

Eating vast amounts of falafel is one of the tastiest things to do in Egypt with family – don’t forget the hummus, baba ganoush and salad too!

There are plenty of delicious Egyptian foods you must try but falafel and baba ganoush are the main two in my opinion!

Cool things in Egypt, the entrance to Edfu temple

13. Edfu Temple

If you’re sightseeing in Egypt then you need to visit Edfu Temple, one of the top tourist attractions in Egypt.

Edfu Temple is one of the best preserved as it was built later than most other temples. It is located in a place called Edfu which is halfway between Luxor and Aswan.

If you are travelling between the two cities, then make sure you take a stop here. It’s one of the most interesting things to do in Egypt.

Word of warning, though, the touts are a lot more full-on here than they are in other places.

The best thing to do if you do not want to purchase anything is to just ignore them or keep saying no thank you.

14. Take In the Beauty of the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings was by far the top 3 things to do in Egypt. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed here but it does give you a great reason to get away from the screen and take in the history.

They open 3 tombs at a time to give the other ones a break, so what temples you see is whichever is open at the time. I simply cannot describe the temples inside because they left me speechless.

Just imagine bright coloured hieroglyphics from floor to ceiling and then at the end of the colourful tunnel is a massive tomb.

It’s seriously incredible – one of the most fun things to do in Egypt and definitely one of the most cool things in Egypt!

Tourist attractions in Egypt, Tutankhamen’s golden sandals with gold and black

15. See Tutankhamen’s Mummy

In the Valley of the Kings you can purchase another ticket to have a special look into Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Tutankhamen was not a long ruler of Egypt but the reason he is such a popular figure in Egyptian history is because his tomb was the only one found with all his treasure still inside.

He started ruling when he was only 9 years old and only ruled for 10 years until he passed away at the young age of 19.

You can see his mummy in the tomb but all his treasure you can see in the Egyptian Museum (another of the things to see in Egypt on this list).

His tomb is tiny compared to the others but I thought it was worth it just to meet him in real life! This was one of my favourite places to go in Egypt – highly recommend it!

Activities to do in Egypt, the entrance of Hatshepsut temple which is amongst a massive cliff of rocks

16. Hatshepsut Temple

Hatshepsut was the second confirmed female pharaoh in Egyptian history. Her temple is definitely not like the others being a 3-tiered building.

Beware this place gets super busy so I would get here early just like all the other temples in Egypt. It is located only a 10-minute drive from the Valley of the Kings.

At the end of the reign of Thutmose lll, it’s believed that there was an effort to remove records of her ever-ruling Egypt.

Various parts of the temple were destroyed and some parts were buried along with cartouches and images of her face were chiselled off in some parts.

Non touristy things to do in Cairo, the famous hanging church in Cairo

17. Visit the Hanging Church

One of the more unusual things to do in Cairo is to visit the Hanging Church. This church is unique in that the ceiling of the church was made in the shape of Noah’s Ark.

It’s called the Hanging Church because it was built on top of the Roman Fortress. The architecture is beautiful and if you are really interested in the religious sites then this has got to be your first stop.

If you’re visiting Egypt in the winter, you want to see how Egyptian churches celebrate the festive season, this is one of the great things to do in Egypt in December!

📦 PACKING TIP: Don’t leave home without a solar powered battery pack so you can keep your devices connected at all times.

Interesting things to do in Egypt, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As

18. Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As

To visit the Mosque, women must be covering their heads and be appropriately dressed.

This Mosque was the first ever to be built in Egypt and in Africa so it has a certain historical value unlike the other mosques in Cairo.

This is one of the most fun activities in Cairo for those who wish to learn more about Egyptian Islamic culture.

Places in Egypt, ancient Egyptian man and woman

19. Spend the Day at the Egyptian Museum

You could spend your entire life at the Egyptian Museum, it’s unbelievable.

You can purchase an extra ticket to see the king’s mummies, which I highly recommend as it’s one of the most unique things to do in Cairo!

As said previously, you can see all of Tutankhamen’s treasure that was found in his tomb along with a vast number of statues and carvings. This is the most impressive museum I have ever visited.

You can also see animal mummies too – one of the best things to do with kids in Cairo!

Understandably, this is not exactly one of the most non touristy things to do in Cairo, so be prepared for it to be busy!

Fun activities in Cairo, the beautiful bazaar of Cairo

20. Visit the Crazy Khan el Khalili Bazaar

If you thought Cairo traffic was crazy, then wait until you experience the market! It’s full of people, stalls, food and much more. Just keep your game face on and prepare to haggle hard.

This is one of the most adventurous things to do in Cairo, and one of the more crazy things to do in Cairo by far as well!

Frequently Asked Questions

The answer is all of these unique things to do in Egypt! But if your time is limited, then make sure you at least get to see the pyramids, the sphinx and the Egyptian Museum.

I spent 9 days in Egypt and I managed to get a pretty good sense of the place. I recommend spending at least 5-7 days in Egypt in order to experience most of what the country has to offer.

Fortunately there are no rules for what to wear in Egypt, though as a guest it doesn’t hurt to make a good impression! Light, loose-fitting clothes made for hot weather are a good idea, but maybe don’t go overboard on showing skin!

So there you have it! 20 unique and diverse things to do in Egypt. There is so much to see in Egypt so realistically this list could be 50 times longer.

I opted to do a tour with Travel Talk Tours in Egypt so I could learn more about the history and culture with a guide, and I had the best time.

You can read about my epic 9-day Egyptian tour with Travel Talk Tours .

I would highly recommend doing one of these unique Egypt tours as the guide was extremely knowledgeable and I got to meet some fantastic friends during the 9 days I was in Egypt.

Other articles you might love:

  • Why now is the best time to visit Egypt
  • My epic 9-day tour with Travel Talk tours

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*My tour with Travel Talk was sponsored but as always, all opinions are my own. I would never recommend something unless I truly believe in the service and quality of the tour or product and absolutely love it!

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The Comments

Traveling well for less.

Egypt has been on my bucket list for years. Loved traveling vicariously through your photos. Thanks for the heads up about Travel Talk, will check them out.

Anita Hendrieka

Thank you ? Travel Talk are amazing!

Authentic Food Quest

Egypt is a very nice place! Thanks for this post i already imagined how i can enjoy it with family and friends.

Thanks for reading!

Very cool post. I love Egypt. I never saw Luxor Temple at night but after reading this it is one my list for next time.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Perfect roundup of things to do, especially for a destination that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. I had heard that tourism has been way down, but the sites seems pretty busy from your photos, which is good to see. I would still love to visit and get caught up in the Egyptian history, especially the Egyptian Museum with all of the relics and artifacts.

Yeah, it’s great to see tourists travelling back to Egypt again! It’s too beautiful to miss out on.

Tamara Elliott

This is a great list- I think most people think about seeing the pyramids, a nile river cruise, hot air balloon ride etc. when they go to Egypt, but as this post shows there are plenty of other unique things to do!

Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed reading 🙂

MakeTime2SeeTheWorld (@VickiLouise86)

I’d love to visit Egypt! There is so much to do there! Top of list would be a cruise down the Nile on a felucca and visiting Luxor Temple and the pyramids of Giza! And I couldn’t miss out on the Sphinx!

The list goes on and on!

Seeing stuff at night seems like a great idea. I mostly only ever see pictures of people visiting in the day. Egypt is a place I would love to see. I hope soon.

It’s a great way to see a popular attraction but in a different form! It’s a lot quieter at night too so more pleasant and the lights on the temple look so dramatic and amazing.

Chrysoula Manika

Egypt for me is a bucket list destination. I would love to tod the Nile cruise, Go to Abu Simbel and to the hot air balloning, I will keep your post as a guide as I am planning a trip there this year

That’s great! Looking forward to hearing about your experiences later in the year then!

How I yearn to go to Egypt! Twice we had planned, both times we had to cancel at the last moment. 🙁 I will surely do all these things mentioned if ever I get there.

Oh no! Hopefully, one day you will get to visit without cancellation.


Very amazing post. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt. Seeing Luxor at night sounds like an incredible experience.

Thank you. Yes, it was incredible!

Buddy The Traveling Monkey

I’ve been interested in all things Egypt since I was a little girl. I would love to finally visit and see all of the impressive structures. I didn’t realize you couldn’t take photos inside the Valley of the Kings. But like you said, sometimes that’s better so you can really soak in the experience. Thanks for all of the great suggestions!

Yeah me too! It was a dream come true 🙂

Carmen's Luxury Trvl (@carmensluxtrvl)

Wow, what an incredible list of things to do in Egypt… a country I’ve been fascinated with for so long. Sailing down the Nile River would be a dream of mine. So that’s definitely going to the top of my list! Thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂

Thanks for reading Carmen 🙂

The Tales of a Traveler

Egypt has always fascinated me but somehow my husband is not very keen on visiting the place 🙁 I need to find someone and plan a trip to Egypt. I want to take a pic in front of pyramids , take a Nile cruise and try the falafels 🙂

Jetsetter Jenn

Having dinner with the Nubians sounds incredible! I’m a chef so foodie experiences are so important to me on my travels. I’m sure Egypt is an unforgettable place, thanks for all of these awesome suggestions. Happy travels 🙂

Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren

Egypt looks like such a fascinating country. I’d love to visit the temples and pyramids. And of course, eat all the falafel possible! Thanks for such an awesome list and happy travels 🙂

Now I miss Egypt badly! It’s been over 10 years since I was there and you made me live all the great (and some crazy) moments again.

Egypt is a fascinating destination and everyone I know who has visited has only had great things to say. Your pictures are stunning!

Ryan Biddulph

I’d have to sail down the Nile Anita. One of my dreams from when I was a kid. I also made some Egyptian buddies from my pier guard days so they’d hook me up with tours around the country – especially Alexandria – if they were home when I do my visit. Absolutely awesome shots here.

Thanks Ryan! I look forward to hearing about your adventures through Egypt in the future 🙂

Ski Egypt - Snow Park in Egypt

This is a beautifully crafted travel blog. Egypt is a wonderful place with rich historical, archaeological and pale ontological sites to feel and experience. It is a great place to plan your next trip. I wish to see Egypt rise again to its previous glory as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. There are a lot of fun activities as well in Egypt.

Middle East Hotel

Nice post you had shared here.!!

Donna Burke

Thanks for sharing this blog. I am planning to visit Egypt, so this blog will help to visit these amazing places.

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Anita Hendrieka

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The Best Things to do in Egypt: 25 Amazing Sights & Attractions

Have you ever wondered why Egypt attracts flocks of tourists, historians, and adventure-seekers? Well, buckle up and dive into this expert’s guide to the best things to do in Egypt – the sights and attractions you shouldn’t miss. 

If you’re planning (or even just dreaming of) a trip to Egypt – I have some sage advice for you… book it. 

We’ve all heard tell of this fabled land – one filled with pyramids, ancient tombs and stone-built temples, carved lengthways by the sinuous Nile. Well – it’s all true – Egypt really does live up to its reputation. 

Those of you following along here will know that I’ve recently spent a couple of brilliant weeks travelling around Egypt with a guide and – I don’t say this lightly – it was one of my favourite trips ever. 

Enough about me though, this guide is all about helping you plan a stellar Egypt trip and walking you through all the places you shouldn’t miss.

Let’s dive into the best attractions in Egypt – hold on to your hats! 

Looking for a place to stay? The Steigenberger Pyramids Cairo hotel offers jaw-dropping scenery of the nearby Pyramids of Giza. 

PS: Take a sneak peek at my full Egypt itinerary in this video!

Top 5 Things to Do in Egypt

Visit the pyramids of giza.

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

Undeniably at the top of any list of Egypt’s tourist attractions, Cairo’s mighty Pyramids of Giza are a symbol of the country’s ancient architectural prowess. 

As if the three aren’t stunning enough, The Great Pyramid is the last remaining Ancient Wonder of the World – placing it front and centre as the best place to visit Egypt. 

I have to say – I almost burst with excitement seeing them up close and personal. 

PS: If I only give you one tip, it’s to pay extra to go inside the Great Pyramid. Here – I’ll even give you a sneak peek of what to expect. 

@thediscoveriesof Ever wondered what it looks like inside? 🤔 see the whole egypt itinerary 👉🏾 @thediscoveriesof #egypt #egypttravelguide #egyptrip #greatpyramid #cairotravel #travelbucketlist ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) – Kate Bush

But what’s the deal with the Pyramids of Giza? 

Built sometime between 2550 BC and 2490 BC with nothing but chisels, iron hammers, levers and, of course, lots of manpower, The Pyramids of Giza as they’re collectively known, stood as burial temples full of gold and other riches. 

Individually, the three pyramids – of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure – built in that order, are even more stunning up close.

Top Tip: Book a half-day guided tour to learn all about the pyramids too 

Explore The Valley of the Kings (And The Valley of the Queens)

Tutankhamen Valley of the Kings

The world’s best-known necropolis (wait, is that even a thing?) The Valley of the Kings (and the less well-known Valley of the Queens) boast a series of royal tombs. 

Not just any royal tombs either, but rather ones containing the creme de la creme of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties (the New Kingdom). 

They’re aesthetically decorated with ornate murals and sculptures and, when they were built, would have been filled with treasures for the deceased to use in the afterlife. Now that’s one way to lay to rest.

For thousands of years, kings, queens, and other nobles of the earmarked these valleys as tomb sites. They hoped to prevent robbers and raiders alike from plunging their afterlife treasures.

There’s so much to see in each area that I’ve written individual guides to visiting The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens – but if you need a quick takeaway, don’t miss the tombs of Tutankhamun and Queen Neferteri. 

Top Tip: If you book a tour of the valleys , be sure to book the extra tickets to visit Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings and Queen Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens . 

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Luxor

Hot Air Ballooning Luxor

Luxor is a modern Egyptian city nestled within the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. There’s so much to discover in the region, which is dotted with historic temples, monuments, and royal burial valley – and, IMHO, t aking a hot air balloon ride is hands down the best way to see this intriguing metropolis. 

Experience one of the most stunning sunrises in the world, boasting an eyeful of Valley of the Kings and the Queens. 

That would be worth the experience alone – but then there’s the added bonus of views of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon and the stunning rolling dunes of the Egyptian desert thrown in for good measure. 

Top Tip: Ensure you book a hot air balloon at sunrise for the best views.  Read Next: Hot Air Ballooning Over the Valley of the Kings

Float Down the Nile on a Cruise

Nile Felucca in Aswan

Perhaps the most visited tourist attraction in Egypt (after the Giza Pyramids), the 6,650 km-long Nile River is the lifeline of the nation. 

How better to explore it than onboard a Nile Cruise? 

Very few cruises ply the whole route of the Egyptian Nile, but the section between Aswan and Luxor is the most popular stretch for cruises. This is largely thanks to an abundance of sights from Philae Temple to the Temple of Kom Ombo to stop off along the way. 

Different types of boat ply the route – from basic (but peaceful) feluccas to all-out luxury cruises. 

Top Tip: Not sure which type of cruise to book? I’ve written all about them in this Nile Cruise guide

Marvel at Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel - Entrance

Built by Ramses II in honour of himself and his favourite wife, Queen Nefertari, the temples of Abu Simbel are also a dedication to the sun gods, Amon-Ra, Ptah, and Ra-Horakhty.

Frankly speaking, the Pharaoh built the temples to intimidate his enemies and ordain himself as a god — what a brag! 

Still, you can’t quibble with the final result – two glorious temples, the main one and a smaller one dedicated to Ramses’ wife Nefertari, glinting in the sun overlooking the vast waters of Lake Nasser. 

Top Tip: Abu Simbel is best visited on a day trip from Aswan and you can choose to do it by car or by air. 

Brilliant Things to See & Do in Egypt

Delve into history at karnak temple.

Karnak Temple Luxor

Despite Egypt being full of temples, the wonders of each one never cease to amaze me. But Karnak Temple stands head and shoulders above the rest. 

Built over the course of 1,000 years, according to legend, this religious complex is where the sun god Amun-Ra lived with his wife Mut, and son, Khonsu.

You should set aside at least a couple of hours (preferably a half-day) to explore, but if you really shouldn’t miss the stunning Hypostyle Hall. 

Wander Around Coptic Cairo

Hanging Church Coptic Quarter - Cairo, Egypt

As I mentioned earlier in this guide, Egypt is more than pyramids and deserts. The nation also has a profound Christian history dating as far back as the 1st century A.D – nowhere is this more visible than in Cairo’s Coptic Quarter – a maze of centuries-old churches and historical sights – as well as the understated Coptic Museum. 

In the Interfaith Complex, you’ll find the white-stone Roman-built fortress of Babylon. Synagogues and other places of worship predating the founding of modern-day Cairo are there as well. 

This stronghold of Christianity offers an exceptional Egypt sightseeing experience, making it one of the best things to do in Cairo — no pyramids involved.

Top Tip: The Coptic Quarter can be a bit of a maze – get the full lowdown on this tour of Old Cairo. 

Visit the Egyptian Museum (Or the Grand Egyptian Museum When it Opens)

Egyptian Museum Cairo, Egypt

The Egyptian Museum — not confused with the newly built Grand Egyptian Museum — is home to a collection of ancient artefacts and antiquities. If you want to see the country’s history in one place, this is where to go in Egypt. 

The Neoclassical French-designed building sits centrally in the heart of Tahrir Square, making a perfect stopover on a Cairo walking tour .

Top Tip: The Egyptian Museum will be replaced with the Grand Egyptian Museum when it opens later this year. The new museum promises to be one of the biggest in the world and will definitely be one not to miss. 

Explore Islamic Cairo

Khan El Khalili - Cairo, Egypt

Among the several conquests of Egypt, the Islamic caliphate expanded its civilisation into the country in the 7th century, introducing the Muslim religion that now reigns. 

As a symbol of conquest, the caliphate built a new capital in an area now known as Islamic Cairo. 

Roam around the ancient city, full of dome-topped mosques, madrassas, and mediaeval fortifications like the Salah al-Din Citadel. 

A full-day private tour includes visiting famous places in Egypt like the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, and the Mosque of Muhammed Ali Pasha.

Top Tip: Want to see the best of Cairo in a short time? Read my two-day Cairo itinerary. 

Go Diving in the Red Sea

Still, think Egypt has nothing but pyramids? Let’s explore the salty Red Sea, and I’m not just referring to seawater. 

Named after its noticeable colour variations, this saline inlet is one of the most heavily travelled channels globally, often carrying maritime cargo between Asia and Europe.

Apart from its significance in global supply chains, the gulf is also home to over 1,200 species of fish and 250 species of gorgeous coral. So take a Red Sea cruise and discover magnificent scuba diving and snorkelling spots – it has some of the best dive sites in the world. 

See the Ancient Structures in Saqqara

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

Saqqara — also spelt as “Sakkara” — is hands down one of the richest architectural sites in Egypt. 

Prominent for being an ancient burial ground for nobles and a destination for many cultic pilgrims.

However, the highlight of Saqqara is the Step Pyramid of Djoser — this 4,700-year-old stone structure is the oldest in Egypt and, indeed, the world. 

Explore the fascinating interior on a full-day tour , and wander the bewildering series of tunnels and burial chambers of many royals, including Pharaoh Djoser.

Discover the Ancient Egyptian City of Memphis

Another noteworthy ancient capital and one of the most underrated of Egypt’s attractions, Memphis boasts an array of mastabas, pyramids, and temples. 

This millenia-old city has long lost its grandeur, but there’s an incredible story in its remains. 

The most intriguing sight in Memphis is the limestone Alabaster Sphinx. 

Embark on a day tour to Memphis , and stand in awe of one of the world’s biggest and oldest monolithic statues.

Marvel at the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor

Mortuary Temple Hatshepsut Luxor

At this point, you’ve realised that Egypt isn’t shy of temples and tombs, but each is unique, carrying complexities that serve as a doorway to ancient civilisations. 

To put it quite bluntly, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor is exceptional.

Unlike many temples in Egypt, this one pays homage to Pharaoh Hatshepsut, one of the few historically recorded female Pharaohs — can someone say “Girl Power?” 

Don’t go expecting a tomb – Hatshepsut wasn’t buried here. Instead, she lies in The Valley of the Kings, nearly 4 km away.

See the Beautiful Philae Temple in Aswan

unique places to visit in egypt

Known as the “Pearl of Egypt”, Philae Temple illustrates the unimaginable beauty of the Aswan region. I hate to play favourites (OK – I kind of love it) but Philae really is one of the most beautiful temples you’ll find in Egypt. 

The tiny island has lush vegetation surrounding stone-carved structures with ancient hieroglyphs. The most striking is the giant carving of Isis, the goddess of the moon.

Take a walk around this monumental storybook and pay close attention to the tales it tells. Marvel at intricate  wall carvings depicting a captivating mythic narrative of Isis bringing her husband Osiris back to life and giving birth to their son Horus. Look closely and you’ll also see carvings depicting the mummification of Osiris. 

Spend Time Exploring Aswan

Aswan Sunset

Don’t be surprised if Aswan becomes your favourite city in Egypt – you certainly won’t be the first person it’s happened to. 

This busy market city holds some of the most unique and historically rich places to see in Egypt. Spoiler alert — Philae Temple is just the beginning. 

Begin your trip at the Tombs of the Nobles, sitting majestically atop high cliffs overlooking the west bank with spectacular scenes of Aswan. 

Then make your way to the prehistoric Nubian Museum, and stroll through the impressive cultural hub full of antique exhibitions and artefact collections from various ages. 

Stop by the riveting Unfinished Obelisk before taking a boat trip to the colourful Nubian Village for a much-needed escape from the bustling city.

Top Tip : Want to know more? Read my guide to the best things to do in Aswan. 

Pop into the Temples at Edfu

Comfortably sitting along the west bank and tucked between the cities of Esna and Aswan, find a serene getaway in the ancient settlement of Edfu. 

With a population of fewer than 70,000 people, this preserved site houses the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus. If you’re looking for a less crowded place to go to in Egypt, Edfu should be at the top of your list. 

See the Double Temple at Kom Ombo

For more unusual sights of Egypt’s landmarks, the uniquely constructed double temple of Kom Ombo is one for the books. 

The ancient Greek-Roman temple is best-known for its mysterious mummified crocodiles – not content with just one or two – there are 40 of them!

Get (Not Too) Lost in the White Desert

You can’t go to Egypt and not go on a desert tour . But this one is like none other, boasting oddly-shaped dunes and the jaw-dropping Bahariya Oasis. 

Uncover the oddities of the Black and White Desert and marvel at the picturesque and sprawling views of sandy landscapes that stretch across the horizons.

The Tomb of Nefertari

Nefertari's Tomb

As I mentioned, Queen Nefertari was Ramses II’s first and most beloved wife. Her tomb — also known as the Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt — houses some of Egypt’s most ornate and well-preserved paintings.

Radiating with vivid colours and descriptive hieroglyphs, the murals in this tomb surpass the others in The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens by far — now that’s what I call a queen’s burial. Of all the best places to visit in Egypt, Nefertari’s tomb transports you to the peak of this great civilisation.

Unique Things to See & Do in Egypt: Hidden Gems That are Off the Beaten Track

Check out the city of the dead.

If you’re up for a spooky adventure — the City of the Dead is one of the world’s largest cemeteries. Boasting a sea of seemingly infinite white conical-shaped domes, this city, also called Cairo Necropolis, is where the dead genuinely live among the living.

What do I mean? Due to the high population congestion in Cairo, many low-income earners (about 500,000) built their homes here, filling the gaps between the 7th-century mausoleums.  

Tip : If you have a touch of necrophobia, perhaps it’s best to skip this attraction.

See the Nilometer

If you still don’t believe that modern mathematics has to do with the advancement of ancient Egyptian civilisations, here’s a place that will dispel your doubt. 

The Nilometer is an old instrument that farmers used to measure the waters of the Nile.

The Nile River’s behaviour could mean life or death for ancient Egyptians. Thus to know whether they should prepare for flood or famine, the citizens built this device to predict the most likely outcome.

Stand Beneath the Towering Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon

Ancient Egyptians strongly believed in the afterlife, so they would build temples and towering figures to protect their tombs from all kinds of evil. Colossi Of Memnon is one such temple.

Built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, two towering seated statues of the king sit side by side, guarding his Mortuary Temple against unwanted raiders. These statues survived 3,400 years of changing climates, invasions, and even earthquakes.

See the Rainbow-Hued Coloured Canyon

One thing I bet you thought you’d never see in the arid Egyptian desert is a sprawling oasis of kaleidoscopic hills. Spanning over 800 metres long and 30 metres deep, these rainbow mountains are just 338 km away from Cairo.

With many not aware of this breathtaking geographical marvel, the Coloured Canyon boasts the perfect escape from typically crowded Egypt tourist attractions, giving you a serene visit and tonnes of stunning views. 

Delve into the Labyrinth of the Shali Fortress

Closing off this expansive list of places to visit in Egypt, the sensational Shali Fortress boasts a labyrinth of crowded buildings that were initially four storeys high and sheltered hundreds of people.

Get lost in this maze of mud buildings, built using kershef (a mixture of rock, salt, and clay), and witness the best-kept secret of Egypt’s Siwa Oasis.

Things to Do in Egypt: Practical Tips for Your Trip

Citadel Cairo, Egypt

How Long to Visit Egypt?

If you’re looking to explore all these attractions, you’ll need at least a week or two to get through just half of these listed excursions. 

Want more detail on how much time to spend at each location? Start with my 10 days in Egypt itinerary . 

Best Time to Visit Egypt

Egypt’s arid climate is dry, with hot summers and cool winters with rainfall along the coastal areas. 

However, the best time to visit Egypt is between October and April. During this time, temperatures are cooler, but you’re still guaranteed a lot of sun.

May to July is peak season, so flight tickets skyrocket. 

Top Tip: If you’re in the planning stage – check out my super-detailed guide on how much an Egypt trip costs to find out when to catch the best deals.

Where Should I Stay in Egypt?

With so many tourists visiting Egypt every year, the country has a sophisticated network of hotels and accommodation, from budget-friendly to mid-range and luxury. Also, check out this guide on where to stay in Cairo for more lodging options.

Steigenberger Pyramids Cairo Hotel (Mid-Range)

Boasting stunning scenes of the Pyramids of Giza and the Nile’s west bank, the  Steigenberger Pyramids Cairo hotel offers an ideal stay for a seasoned 2 Days in Cairo itinerary.  

Four Seasons Cairo At The First Residence (Luxury)

The Four Seasons Cairo At The First Residence offers exclusive Nile River sights and sweeping views of the greater Cairo skyline for a more luxurious stay. If you book the right room, you may also get glimpses of the Giza Pyramids as a stunning backdrop.

Recommended Tours in Egypt

  • From Hurghada: Luxor Valley of the Kings Full-Day Trip
  • Giza Pyramids and Sphinx: Half-Day Private Tour
  • Cairo: Dinner Cruise on the Nile River with Entertainment

Things to Do in Egypt: Map

Places to Visit in Egypt: Read Next

  • The Ultimate 10-Day Egypt Itinerary 
  • What You Need to Know Before Travelling to Egypt 
  • How (and what) to Pack for an Egypt Trip 
  • Unmissable Things to do in Cairo 
  • The Places You Have to See in Luxor 
  • Your Go-To Guide for Visiting Aswan

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The Best Things to do in Egypt 25 Amazing Sights & Attractions

I’m Julianna Barnaby - a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. I started The Discoveries Of to help you to discover the best of new destinations from around the world.

Discovering new places is a thrill - whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, I write to help you explore more and explore differently.

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10 Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt

We all know what Egypt is famous for right? The Giza Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, Karnak Temple, Hatchepsut’s temple, Nile Cruises…the list goes on. All these places and activities are usually swarming with tourists, guides and of course… the good old Egyptian local hassler who wants to take you to his cousin’s papyrus shop. What if we told you there are sites that are just as amazing, but hardly anyone visits them? Places you can have all to yourself, where you can get an authentic experience of Egypt’s unrivalled past? Sound too good to be true? Well, we can assure you it isn’t. Read on for our guide to just a few of the most unique and unusual things to see in Egypt.

The Valley of the Kings

Yes, we know this is a staple of any trip to Egypt. Everyone visits this place. It’s on every tour and every traveller to Egypt’s bucket list. However, you will find that there is more to the Valley of the Kings than just the standard tombs your guide will often take you to. The standard tombs being Ramses I, Ramses III and Ramses IX. The Valley of the Kings is literally honeycombed with the tombs of the pharaohs and most guides choose to take their tourists to these three tombs. Don’t get us wrong they are spectacular, but if you want something more authentic you might want to break away from your group and visit some other tombs.

Tomb of Thutmose III: Want to feel like Indiana Jones? This tomb is located in a cliff face, right at one of the valley’s extremities and reachable via an almost vertical ladder in the cliff face. Thutmose III was Egypt’s ‘warrior pharaoh’ also known as the ‘Napoleon of Egypt’. He died in battle midway through his tombs construction and the tomb was hastily finished. The frescoes on the wall, all scenes from the book of the dead are all still in line drawings. If you look closely at the plaster on the walls of this tomb, you can actually still see the fingerprints of the ancient craftsman. To think, this is all that is left of someone is mind blowing. This tomb is unique in the Valley of the Kings as it contains a sarcophagus that is shaped like a cartouche, the Egyptian sacred ropes used to encircle and protect the name of the king. The burial chamber itself has also been carved in this shape.

Tomb of Siptah: This one is one of the most unique and unusual things to see in Egypt, just for the experience of it. The pharaoh Siptah was disabled, which is quite unique as far as Egyptian kings go. The pharaohs were seen as god’s representative on Earth, so it is interesting that Siptah became pharaoh at all. It is also interesting to visit his tomb for the same reason. What makes this tomb unusual is its lack of visitors. The tomb is quite deep underground and while not very colourful, the profound silence within the tomb is an experience in itself. People have spoken of how  they can hear the beating of their own heart and even the blood rushing through their veins it is so quiet.

Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt - Valley of the Kings

Tomb of Tutankhamen: Ok so we know Tutankhamen is probably Egypt’s most famous pharaoh due to the basically undisturbed discovery of his tomb in 1912 by Howard Carter. However, you would be surprised at how few people visit his tomb on the recommendation of their guides not to do so. The key reason they give is that it’s small and there is an additional fee payable on top of the entrance to the Valley of the Kings which includes three tombs. The tomb itself is a big part of history, both ancient and modern and we would highly recommend a visit. It is very colourful and the burial chamber shows the most prominent scenes from the Book of the Dead on its walls.

Tomb of Seti I: This is the piece de resistance of the valley and like the Tomb of Tutankhamen is not included on the standard entrance ticket. The tomb of Seti I, father of Ramses the Great is the longest and most spectacular of all of Egypt’s royal tombs. The tomb is 137 metres long and every wall of every room is covered with elaborate scenes from the Book of the Dead. The tomb has only recently been reopened for viewing and its relative obscurity and cost to enter keep most travellers from visiting. Be warned there is a hefty fee to visit this amazing tomb – but never fear if you would like to visit, the tomb of Seti I is included as standard on our ‘Invaders, Traders & Pyramid Builders’ – Archaeology trip to Egypt.

Bent Pyramid - Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt

The site of Dahshour is located just outside Cairo within a stone’s throw from the Old Kingdom necropolis of Saqqara. We are just perplexed as to why this amazing place gets so little attention from tourists and travellers. Many people think that the Great Pyramid is Egypt’s first true pyramid, but this isn’t true. The first true pyramid was built by the father of Khufu (builder of the Great Pyramid). King Snefru built what is known today as the Red Pyramid, which sits in the desert at Dahshour virtually abandoned. You can buy a ticket to enter the pyramid and clamber down its deserted corridor to the burial chamber completely free from other travellers.

Another one of Egypt’s unique and unusual sites is the so-called ‘Bent Pyramid’ also built by King Snefru. The incline of the pyramid changes halfway up, possibly due to the instability of either the foundation or due to the initial incline being too steep. We love the Bent Pyramid because it puts to rest the notion that the pyramids were built by extra-terrestrials, who we are sure wouldn’t have come thousands of light years just to leave behind this mistake pyramid.

Both Snefru’s pyramids now lie deserted in the desert. This gives the few visitors who do venture here a unique and authentic experience of exploring pyramids away from the crowds, touts and relentless camel drivers of Giza. The encroachment of modern Cairo, especially the suburb of Giza, a relatively crappy area if you ask a local, often also leads to disappointment among travellers visiting the last remaining wonder of the world. Travellers often picture themselves visiting the pyramids in the vast expanse of the desert, although this is far from the experience you get at Giza, this is the experience that awaits those who venture to the sands of Dahshour.

Egypt is a desert. We all know this right? Well with the desert often comes beautiful desert oases and Siwa is Egypt’s most remote and also the most stunning. Siwa is home to a veritable myriad of our unique and unusual things to see in Egypt. Siwa is an ancient place, and it was said by Plutarch, in his ‘Life of Alexander’, that Alexander the Great journeyed to Siwa to visit the ‘Temple of the Oracle’ where a soothsayer proclaimed him the true son of Zeus. Today, the ‘Temple of the Oracle’ still stands, and you can walk in the footsteps of Alexander and stand in the room in which he was proclaimed son or Zeus and legitimate ruler of the known world.

Another one of Siwa’s epic attractions is the mudbrick Shaili Fortress which stands in the middle of the town. You can ascend to the top via its small streets which contain shops and stalls and then once you reach the top enjoy a spectacular view of the oasis and the surrounding desert. For extra wow factor watch the sunset from the top of the fortress.

Siwa is home to a people called ‘Berbers’, who are in fact native to the entire Maghreb (West North African area). Their culture is totally different to that of modern Egyptians and it is a reason in itself just to go and meet these amazing people who are still live as they have for thousands of years.

Temple of the Oracle - Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt

Another one of Siwa’s attractions is the ‘Mountain of the Dead’. This ominous sounding place is home to rock cut burials of the Greek and Roman periods of Egypt and although not as spectacular as the burials of the Valley of the Kings it is still interesting to see how the upper class of this time were buried.

Tanis - Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt

The archaeological site of the city of Tanis is located in the rarely visited Nile Delta area to the north of Cairo. Tanis makes this list as one of the most unique and unusual things to see in Egypt, because it is a city and not a tomb which is all that usually survives in the archaeological record in Egypt. In ancient Egypt, tombs or ‘houses of eternity’ were built to last forever, whereas the ancient Egyptians saw houses and cities as temporary fixtures. Tanis was the capital of Egypt in the 21st Dynasty and is located on the ‘Tanite’ branch of the Nile leading into the Mediterranean. The capital was moved from the capital established by Ramses the Great ‘Pi-Ramsses’ after the Pelusiac branch of the Nile silted up and the harbor in the city became unusable.

Among the ruins of Tanis today are a number of temples, including the chief temple to Amun and an important necropolis of the third intermediate period. A period of chaos and instability after the fall of the New Kingdom, the golden age of ancient Egypt.

This necropolis presents us with the only intact royal burial ever discovered in Egypt. The tomb of Tutankhamen was in fact disturbed in antiquity. The tombs of Psusennes I, Amenemope and Shoshenq I survived the ravages of tomb robbers and were discovered in 1939 and 1940. The tombs contained a large amount of gold, jewellery and of course the death masks of these pharaohs.

A man-made or ‘sacred lake’ lined with limestone blocks has also been found at the Temple of Mut. The lake is fifteen metres in length, is located twelve metres underground and is in good condition. Satellite archaeological survey has revealed the existence of mudbrick houses, walls, streets and large residences located around thirty metres below the surface which assures us that Tanis still has much, much more to offer.

This site of Abydos, located in middle Egypt is one of the country’s most ancient places. Steeped in myth and legend it was the cult centre for the god Osiris. One of Egypt’s most famous stories was that Osiris along with his wife Isis ruled Egypt’s as the first king and queen. Osiris’s brother, Seth the god of chaos and the desert was jealous and plotted to steal the throne from his brother. He tricked Osiris into a magic box and then threw it in the Nile, where Osiris drowned. For good measure, Seth fished the box out of the Nile and then dismembered his body, scattering the pieces around Egypt. Abydos is where his head apparently landed. His wife Isis, who was the goddess of magic brought Osiris back to life long enough to conceive a child, Horus. She hid Horus from Seth until he was old enough to take on his uncle. Seth was banished to the desert; Horus became king and Osiris who couldn’t be resurrected became god of the dead.

At Abydos you can see the strange and enigmatic ‘Osirion’ which was built below ground level and is currently partially beneath the water table. Archaeologists do not know the purpose of this temple, however it is likely that it functioned as a cenotaph or ceremonial tomb for Osiris who was supposedly the first king of Egypt. The theory is that the temple was built below ground level to be closer to the realm of the god of the dead.

unique places to visit in egypt

The most spectacular site at Abydos is the temple of Seti I. The temple is unique in that it differs from a usual ancient Egyptian temple plan and follows and ‘L shape’ rather than a straight design. The temple contains monumental pillars and displays a list of the kings of Egypt in chronological order. This list has played a vital role in assisting archaeologists in dating the reigns of certain kings. Interestingly certain kings such as Akhenaten and Hatchepsut who were considered troublemakers and heretics and not worthy of remembrance were left off the list.

unique places to visit in egypt

The site of Al Minya represents a unique and unusual part of Egyptian history. At the height of Egypt’s golden age, the pharaoh Amenhotep IV, changed his name to Akhenaten and changed Egypt’s religion from pantheistic to monotheistic and only worshipping the god, Aten. He moved Egypt’s capital from its traditional seat at Thebes (modern day Luxor) out into a site in the middle of the desert which he called, Akhetaten or ‘Horizon of the Aten’.

The site wasn’t inhabited for very long and on Akhenaten’s death was moved back to Thebes by Tutankhamen. Today, you can walk the deserted streets of Akhetaten’s lost city in the desert.

Nearby, you will find the rock-cut tombs of Akhetaten’s royalty and officials. Unlike the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, the tombs of Akhetaten are covered with pictures of the royal family worshipping the Aten. Only the king and his family were allowed to worship the Aten and everyone else had to worship the king. Interestingly, the tombs at Akheaten follow a straight design, as they were mean to allow the sun’s rays to shine directly on the sarcophagus.

Previous tombs in the Valley of the Kings had, up until this point, been constructed as a labyrinth of underground passageways. After the abandonment of Akhetaten, tomb construction returned to the Valley of the Kings, but continued in a straight design.

Serabit Khadim

Serabit Khadim was a mining site located deep within the Sinai Peninsula. It was established as a turquoise mine in the middle kingdom and was visited by almost every subsequent pharaoh. In the New Kingdom, the mines were worked by prisoners of war mainly from Canaan (modern-day Israel and parts of Jordan) and if you look closely you can still see some of the graffiti left by prisoners.

Pharaohs would erect a ‘stela’ to commemorate their visit to the Sinai area celebrating their mining expeditions in Sinai. In the 12 th dynasty a temple to the goddess Hathor was also erected to pay homage to the goddess of turquoise. The temple was subsequently enlarged in the New Kingdom by both Hatchepsut and Thumose III and a shrine added to the god of the Eastern Desert Sopd. A garrison was also erected here as the Bedouin who are native to this area had started raiding and attacking the mining camps. The temple is the largest and most important in Sinai. This temple can still be visited today, along with some of the stela erected by various pharaohs.

Serabit Khadim is one of Egypt’s most unique and unusual things to see and is quite hard to get to. The Sinai area in general, except for the tourist resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab, is far less touristy than the rest of the country. The only way to get to Serabit Khadim is to trust a local taxi, who may or may not be willing to take you there or to go with a tour operator.

Medinet Habu: Known locally as the ‘Habu Temple’, Medinet Habu was built as the mortuary temple of Ramses III. It is quite different to other mortuary temples because it is built in the style of a fort or military fortification. Ramses III spent most of his reign at war, fighting off a group of roving marauders called the ‘Sea Peoples’ who were almost solely responsible for the collapse of most civilisations at this period in history. Thanks to the efforts of Ramses III Egypt survived, although just barely and was never quite the same again. The pharaoh must have spent so much of his life at war, that he meant to continue the fight in the afterlife. In addition to the architecture of the temple, the walls are covered with scenes from his battles with the Sea Peoples including the names of the groups represented. This one temple provides historians with much of the evidence for who these mysterious people were and where they came from. The origin and motives of the Sea Peoples is still one of history’s great mysteries.

The Ramesseum: Located close to Medinet Habu, the Ramesseum is the epic mortuary temple of Ramses the Great. The temple partially collapsed in antiquity and today its fallen statues present us with a scene that is one of the most iconic of Egypt’s most ancient past. It beggars’ belief (to us anyway) why no one ever seems to be here! The temple has fascinated scholars and artists since it was discovered during Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798. The engineers who surveyed the temple at this time referred to it as ‘the tomb of Ozymandias’ and it was here the poet Percy Bysse Shelly was inspired to pen his famous Ozymandias sonnet by the shattered statue of Ramses that lies on its side in the courtyard.

Deir el Medina: This site is the village of the workers and artisans who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. As we know, it is unusual for vestiges of daily life in Egypt to survive because the Egyptians believed these places were temporary, only the afterlife was permanent. Today you can stroll through the streets and passed the houses and workshops of those who toiled on the pharaohs ‘houses of eternity’ and gain a snapshot of what it must have been like to be an ordinary person in ancient Egypt.

Tomb of Nefertari - Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt

Nobles Tombs: Located in a cliff face near Deir el Medina are the tombs of the Nobles who served the pharaohs of the New Kingdom. In the New Kingdom, Egyptian religion had been democratised meaning the afterlife, which had previously only been available to the king, was now available to everyone. These tombs represent Egypt’s upper class and although religion had been democratised, they show scenes from their daily lives serving the pharaoh rather than scenes from the Book of the Dead.

Tombs of the Workers: Located in another cliff face in the west bank are the tombs of the workers who toiled away on the kings’ tombs. Unable to strictly afford tombs of their own, workers would often trade skills with each other. For example, one worker would hollow out a space for a tomb of a colleague or friend who was an artist, in exchange for that friend painting his tomb. Although much, much smaller than the tombs of the nobles, the tombs of the workers are some of the most colourful in Egypt. They also display scenes from the daily lives of the common man and show the occupants ploughing the ‘field of reeds’ in the afterlife – which was the equivalent of the common man’s heaven.

Faiyum Oasis

The Faiyum oasis is a basin in the desert just southwest of Cairo and is one of the oldest inhabited places in Egypt. A visit to the Faiyum oasis is one that is varied, with many different attractions. The town of Tunis located in the Faiyum is said to be one of Egypt’s most beautiful and a stroll through the streets is a great way to spend your time, other than looking at archaeological ruins.

Meidum Pyramid - Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt

The Faiyum is also the closest town to Wadi el-Hitan or as it is more widely known, the ‘Valley of the Whales’. Wadi el-Hitan contains fossilized species of sub-whale, which demonstrate the whales evolutional journey as a ocean based mammal. Some of the remains are so well preserved that the food in the stomach of the whales can even be seen. The site also contains fossils of turtles, crocodiles, sawfish and rays giving us a complete overview of this prehistoric ecosystem. For this reason, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Faiyum is also know for its spectacular natural beauty. Wadi el-Rayan is worth a visit with its amazing waterfall and makes a good picnic spot for both locals and travellers alike.

One of the Faiyum’s most amazing attractions is the pyramid of Meidum. Originally dated to the reign of Snefru, the builder of the Bent and Red Pyramids, the pyramid was eventually escribed to King Huni, Snefru’s father. The pyramid is now partially collapsed. Like the Bent Pyramid the gradient was far too steep causing the outer casing of the pyramid to slip into piles of rubble with a rather eerie looking tower protruding.

By far one of the most stunningly beautiful temples in Egypt, the Temple of Hathor at Dendera is located approximately 80km north of Luxor. Owing to its out of the way location, this stunning temple is often missed by regular travellers to Egypt. The main temple was built during the Ptolemaic (Greek period) and unlike other temples in Egypt, the paint is still preserved. The temple contains one of the earliest representations of the zodiac and also contains the so-called ‘Dendera light’ a depiction of what appears to be a light bulb, plugged in with a snake inside. A depiction which has fascinated and drawn much conjecture from academics for many years.

The temple was added to in Roman times and shows depictions of emperors such as Trajan in traditional pharaonic regalia making offerings to the gods of Egypt. The temple also shows Cleopatra and her son by Julius Caesar making offerings to the gods. The lower part of the temple contains a crypt in which vessels and divine iconography were stored.

Owing to its remarkable state of preservation, travellers can actually access the mezzanine level of the temple and were allowed up onto the roof until 2003 when this part of the temple was closed to visitors.

unique places to visit in egypt

Can I visit these Unique and Unusual things to see in Egypt?

In getting to the unique and unusual site of Egypt, while well worth it, caution is to be advised. While all of these sites are worth the trip, some of them will require special government permission to visit or at the very least to navigate the multitude of check points in middle Egypt. Notable examples of this are Abydos and Al Minya. Special government permission is usually required to visit the site of Serabit Khadim in Sinai – by going on a tour you won’t need to navigate the mess of red tape and sometimes shady dealings (which are unfortunately part of Egypt’s culture) that often take place in on a journey to these amazing places.

unique places to visit in egypt

For more information or to book one of our amazing tours to Egypt drop us a line at [email protected] or call +61 (2) 7229 1926.

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Must-See Ancient Sights

Guide to the Pyramids of Giza

Visiting the Nile Delta

Luxor Guide

Valley of the Kings

Visiting Alexandria

Traditional Food to Try

What to Drink in Egypt

Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

One Week in Egypt

Things to Do in Egypt

25 Top Things to Do in Egypt

unique places to visit in egypt

For centuries, tourists have flocked to Egypt to admire its ancient pyramids and temples, as well as its natural wonders. The River Nile is the longest in the world, and the Red Sea coast is a playground for resort-style relaxation and adventurous water sports. At the heart of Egypt’s cultural identity is Cairo, a cosmopolitan capital where historic churches, mosques, and museums rub shoulders with luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants. Discover all this and more with our helpful guide to Egypt’s top attractions.

Dive for Ancient Ruins Around Alexandria

Brad Rickerby / Getty Images

While many of Egypt's ancient ruins can be seen standing tall above ground or hidden in tombs throughout the landscape, there are also a sizable amount of ruins still hiding below the surface of the sea near Alexandria. Discoveries are constantly being made, such as the city of Thonis-Heracleion which was rediscovered by divers in the early 2000s.

Although the water is not known for its clarity, divers will still see some incredible sights, such as the Ruins of Cleopatra's palace and the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Look for a PADI-certified dive shop to arrange a tour.

Dine on the Nile

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If you don't have the time for a multi-day journey down the Nile, you can still enjoy the water by booking a dinner cruise from Cairo. Cruises last about two hours, where you'll be able to enjoy views of the city at sunset and live music, belly-dancing, and Tanoura, a dazzling traditional style that employs the use of a dynamic skirt to dazzle audiences. The food is typically buffet style, but you'll have a lot of different cruise operators to choose from so it's best to do a little digging and read reviews.

Ride Quads in the Desert

Iana Chyrva / Getty Images

The desert is an incredible landscape to explore, but you'll find yourself quite overheated doing so just on two feet. Instead, opt for a tour by quad. These 4x4 vehicles are fun to drive and you can appreciate the sights as they whizz by you. Quad or ATV tours from Cairo can take you past the pyramids and the sphinx, and often include extras like trips to Memphis or Sahara City, as well as camel rides and sand-boarding experiences.

Venture Through the Valley of the Queens

Nomad Outing / Getty Images

While the pharaohs are memorialized in the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens is the designated burial site for the wives of pharaohs, as well as several of the few female pharaohs that served throughout history. Located near Luxor, the site has over 90 tombs, the most impressive of which is the Tomb of Nefertari, Ramesses II's favorite wife, which is very large and decorated with incredible paintings. Although it is not as famous as the Valley of the Kings, many royal princes and princesses were also buried in this location.

Chill Out in Dahab

A trip to Egypt doesn't have to just be about history and ancient ruins, it can also be about laying out on the beach. A resort town like Dahab offers plenty of opportunities to relax and reset with many laid-back and family-friendly resorts where you can dip your toes into the Gulf of Aqaba, located at the top of the Red Sea. When you crave adventure, you can look to the nearby mountains for hiking or check out the incredible dive sites for scuba and snorkeling, such as the famous Blue Hole, which is accessible from the shoreline.

Learn About Cairo’s Multicultural History

At one time or another, Cairo has been occupied by Romans, Byzantines, Coptic Christians, Islamic caliphs, Mamluks, Ottomans, and British colonialists. Its architecture reflects its multicultural heritage, as you’ll discover on a walking tour of medieval citadel or with a visit to landmark religious sites such as the Hanging Church or Al-Azhar Mosque . For an overview of the country’s ancient history, head to the Egyptian Museum.

Experience Contemporary Cairo in Zamalek

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Head to Cairo's trendy Zamalek neighborhood (located on Gezira Island in the middle of the River Nile) to discover contemporary art galleries, five-star hotels, and world-class restaurants. El Sawy Culture Wheel is a hub for concerts, plays, and lectures; while the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art and the Cairo Opera House are located nearby. Floating venue Le Pacha 1901 boasts no fewer than nine gourmet riverfront restaurants.

Shop for Souvenirs at Khan El-Khalili Bazaar

Little has changed at Khan El-Khalili Bazaar since its foundation in the 14th century. In Cairo's most authentic souk, narrow cobbled streets open into alcoves packed with fragrant spices and handcrafted silver jewelry. Come to stock up on souvenirs, remembering that haggling is expected. Afterward, unwind with a cup of mint tea or Arabic coffee at the famous marketplace café Fishawi’s. The bazaar is located in Islamic Cairo.

Marvel at the Ancient Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza lie on the outskirts of Cairo. The largest of the three pyramid complexes is the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today–an impressive feat, considering that the pyramids were built some 4,500 years ago. In front of the pyramids lies the Sphinx, a cat-like creature carved from a single block of stone. Tickets to view the Great Pyramid cost EGP 100.

Visit the Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara

Those with a passion for pyramids should also make sure to visit the Pyramid of Djoser, located just south of Cairo at Saqqara , the necropolis of ancient Memphis. The pyramid was built in the 27th century BC, using a unique stepped style that pre-dates the smooth-sided pyramids at Giza. It is the oldest stone-cut monument in the world. The best way to visit Saqqara is on a day tour from Cairo .

Walk Amongst Luxor's Ancient Monuments

The modern city of Luxor sits on the east bank of the River Nile, on top of the ancient pharaonic capital of Thebes. Its temples, statues, and monuments give a sense of the city’s past grandeur. The top attraction is Luxor Temple, which was commissioned by Amenhotep III in the late 14th century. Monumental statues of Ramesses II guard the temple gate, and walking in between them is a breathtaking experience.

Explore the Karnak Temple Complex

The Karnak temple complex is located just north of Luxor. Karnak was a place of great religious importance for the pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty, and it became the main place of worship for the ancient Thebans. Today, you can walk amongst an astonishing collection of sanctuaries and temples dedicated to the Theban Triad. The largest is the Temple of Amun-Ra, which costs EGP 120 to enter.

View Ancient Tombs in the Valley of the Kings

Across the river from Luxor lies the Theban necropolis, the Valley of the Kings. There are more than 60 subterranean tombs here, built for the mummies of New Kingdom pharaohs from as early as the 16th century BC. The pharaohs were buried with their worldly treasures amidst spectacular hieroglyphs. You’ll have to pay an extra EGP 100 on top of the standard ticket price to visit the most famous tomb – that of boy-king Tutankhamun. 

Uncover Ancient and Modern History at Philae

The Philae temple complex was built by Nectanebo I and added to by Ptolemaic and Roman rulers up until the 3rd century AD. As such, it provides an architectural account of Egypt’s transition from paganism to Christianity. In modern times, it was moved brick by brick from its original location on Philae Island to nearby Agilkia Island after the former was flooded during the construction of the Aswan Dam. Learn more on a day tour from Aswan .

Admire Incredible Reliefs at the Temple of Horus

The Temple of Horus at Edfu may not be the oldest structure in Egypt, but it is one of the best-preserved. The sandstone structure was built between 237 and 57 BC by the Ptolemaic kings, who dedicated it to the cult of the falcon god Horus. When paganism was banished, the abandoned temple began to fill with desert sand which kept its fabulous reliefs and statues intact.

Discover the Symmetrical Temple of Kom Ombo

Xavierarnau / Getty Images

The Temple of Kom Ombo is unique in that it is divided into two symmetrical halves. One is dedicated to Horus the Elder, the other to the crocodile god Sobek. Each half contains an identical entrance, hypostyle hall, and sanctuary, and many of the temple’s reliefs show traces of their original color. Don’t miss the nearby Crocodile Museum with its collection of mummified crocodiles.

See it All on a Full Nile River Cruise

One of the most atmospheric ways to see the ancient sights between Luxor and Aswan is to sign up for a multi-day River Nile cruise . There are countless different options, from historic steamships like the S.S. Sudan to luxury cruisers like the Oberoi Zahra . The latter has its own on board spa and swimming pool. Budget travelers can explore with a no-frills tour on a traditional felucca.

Stand in Awe Before the Abu Simbel Temples

The two temples at Abu Simbel were built during the 13th century BC as monuments to Ramesses II and his queen, Nefertari. They were also relocated to higher ground to prevent flood damage in the 1960s. The entrance of the Great Temple is guarded by four colossal statues of Ramesses II. Inside, eight more enormous statues represent the pharaoh in his deified form and can be viewed on an Abu Simbel tour .

Experience Berber Culture at Siwa Oasis

Experience the road less traveled at Siwa Oasis, a desert settlement located near the Libyan border. The town is known for its unique Berber culture, abundant date and olive plantations, and the ruined temple of the ancient Oracle of Ammon. The latter was once visited by Alexander the Great. Make sure to check current travel warnings before booking a trip to Siwa, as the Western Desert can be unsafe.

Make the Pilgrimage Up Mount Sinai

Robert Harding / Getty Images 

Located near Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai is a place of pilgrimage for Christians who believe that this is where Moses saw the Burning Bush and later received the Ten Commandments. At the foot of the mountain lies St. Catherine’s Monastery with its museum full of religious icons and relics. There are two routes to the summit: the challenging Steps of Repentance, or the more forgiving Camel Trail.

Soak Up the Atmosphere in Cosmopolitan Alexandria

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC and, as one of the most important cities of its time, was home to a wealth of iconic landmarks. These included the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. After a period of decline, Alex is once again a thriving port with an enviable culinary scene and several excellent cultural venues including the amazing Bibliotheca Alexandrina .

Cross the Suez Canal in Port Said

The coastal city of Port Said marks the northern entry into the historic Suez Canal. Wander along the port’s waterfront boardwalk to view the supertankers preparing to make the journey from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea . To experience a crossing for yourself, hop aboard the free ferries that run from Port Said to Port Fuad. On the way across, you’ll traverse the border between Africa and Asia.

Learn to Scuba Dive in Sharm El-Sheikh

Egypt’s entire Red Sea coast is a treasure trove for scuba divers, and the peninsula resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh is a great place to learn. There are plenty of different dive schools to choose from, allowing you to shop around for the best course price. You’ll also have access to beginner-friendly shore diving sites as well as spectacular reefs in nearby Ras Mohammed National Park.

Dive the Wreck of the S.S. Thistlegorm

Experienced divers can explore the S.S. Thistlegorm , often ranked as one of the best wreck-diving sites in the world. The freighter was drafted into military service during the Second World War and arrived in the Red Sea in 1941. Shortly afterward it was sunk by German bombers with ammunition, armored vehicles, and military motorcycles on board. You can book the dive with a local operator like Eagle Divers .

Stay in a Luxury Hurghada Resort

Hurghada is a popular getaway for divers, watersports enthusiasts, and sun worshippers. It’s also home to several luxurious 5-star resorts including The Oberoi Beach Resort Sahl Hasheesh and Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa . Expect landscaped grounds, sprawling swimming pools, fine-dining restaurants, and of course, excellent spa and water sports amenities. The offshore Giftun Islands are an idyllic day-trip destination.

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Destination Egypt! 10 Unique Places You Must Visit

Egypt's rich history and fascinating Egyptian ruins make it a top destination, in general, and these unique places are topping the list.

Among all the countries in Africa, Egypt is one of the most visited. It is a country with so much history, and much still being discovered! As a result, the country remains an excellent place to plan for and visit to see and enjoy great things .

Egypt is a very peaceful country that visitors will enjoy traveling in. So, for someone looking for a good place to tour Africa and history, this is the right country. It is also known to be home to world wonders that have been there for centuries . This article will look at the top 10 unique places one should visit in Egypt.

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. The high chances are that anyone arriving in Egypt will start by arriving with an international flight into the city of Cairo. The city of Cairo has many things that will make a guest want to spend at least 3 days before exploring other things. It is a city home to unique Egyptian Museums that are a must-visit.

The Egyptian museum is attractive with ancient history insights into the country's journey, culture, lives, and lifestyle. Another destination in the city is the Khan el Kahlili Bazaar with the most amazing unique shopping options in the country.

RELATED:   Here’s Why Travel Gurus Are Visiting Cairo In 2020

9 Pyramids Of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza is arguably the most well-known destination in Egypt . The Pyramids of Giza from the last of the Ancient' World Seven Wonders. It is a landmark that is recognizable in Egypt.

Visiting the Pyramids of Giza is a dream for many visitors. There is so much to discover in this destination, such as the tombs of the popular Egyptian leaders such as Pharaohs Cheops, Mycerinus, Chephren, And the enigma Sphinx.

8 Rock Temples Of Abu Simbel

The Rock Temples of Abu Simbel are found on the Western banks of Lake Nasser. The twin temples of Ramesses II plus the queen Nefertari got carved to take mountain shape and are popular attractions in Egypt. The rocks are attractive and were designed to show the king's power overlooking the Egyptian Mountains.

These are some of the oldest structures from ancient Egypt that still exist and are worthy of any visitor.

7 White Desert National Park

The White Desert National Park is a few miles outside of the city of Cairo. It is referred to as the white desert due to its Giant White rocks formed into the desert, giving it a fantastic landscape scene.

The formation was a result of erosion and powdery mounds with the looks of turkeys, eagles, mushrooms, and camels. In the White Desert National Park, visitors can engage in many activities that make the whole experience magical such as hiking and camping at night.

RELATED:   The Abu Simbel Temples Of Ramesses II Are Some Of Egypt's Most Iconic

6 Alexandria City

Alexandria is a port and historic city that is the second largest. It is along the Mediterranean and forms a cosmopolitan. The city is unique as it offers grand squares and Epoque buildings, making it a charming, old-fashioned city.

The city of Alexandria architecture carries a lot of Egyptian history. It is a peaceful place especially visiting the Regal Montazah Palace gardens. One can also visit the Citadel of Qaitbay, dating back to the 15th century. Visitors can also enjoy a smoke, and sip coffee.

5 Saqqara, Dashur & Memphis

The country of Egypt is full of structures that show the rich ancient history. There are many places to tour and see excellent features, and Saqqara Pyramids is an excellent place to spend the day. Another place is Dashur and Memphis, which are not far away from the city of Cairo.

These are attractive destinations with ancient structures, sculptures, and ancient drawings and writings. One can spend time learning more about the country's history and take amazing pictures.

4 Luxor’ Karnak Temple And The Valley Of The Kings

The Valley of the Kings, Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, and Karnak Temples are some of the most popular destinations on the upper side of Egypt. The region is home to so many destinations for visitors to understand about the ancient administration and lifestyle.

They form the temples of the ancient religion and civilization in Egypt. Some of the other destinations in the museum and the temple of Luxor. Within these temples, there are many temples where leaders of ancient Egypt were buried.

RELATED:  Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Egypt's Mystical Valley Of The kings

Aswan forms the most relaxing vacation destination in Egypt. It is located in the southern part of the country and is one of the oldest attractions. In Ancient Egypt, it was called Swenette as it was home to stone quarries used to build the pyramids. Currently, it has amazing areas along the Nile River. The views of dunes here are breathtaking.

In Aswan, visitors will also discover the Elephantine Islands, which offer a fantastic experience for weekend relaxation. Another attraction here is the Nubian villages.

2 Citadel Of Saladin

Citadel of Saladin is located in the central region of Cairo. It is a UNESCO world heritage site built by the famous Ayyubid ruler Saladin. The goal was to protect Cairo and Fustat against Crusaders.

It is a fortification with several watchtowers lined around it and has several stunning mosques.

1 Red Sea Coast

After exploring all the historical destinations of the country, one can enjoy the diver's paradise on the Red Sea Coast. It is a highlight for many visitors in Egypt. One will also get a chance to enjoy excellent resorts such as the Sharm el Sheik, hotels, nightclubs, casinos, and bask in the sun and sand. It is a popular destination for holidays.

The Red Sea Coast is also home to vast amounts of corals and exotic fish. It is regarded as the best diving and snorkeling destination.

NEXT:   8 Things You'll Learn When Visiting Egypt's Great Pyramids

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  • 20 Things To Do In Egypt In 2024 That No Travel Guide Will Ever Tell You About

23 Mar 2023

If you consider yourself a globetrotter, Egypt is one place that must figure on your bucket list for sure. Not only does it have the most beautiful cities – Cairo, Alexandria, and Giza – but there is a ton of stuff to do, explore, and shop for in this North African country. You can visit a lot of places to see and learn about Egyptian culture, and also engage in a lot of fun and educational things to do in Egypt that aren’t really mentioned in any travel guide. Get a pen and a paper and note them all down while you scroll so that you do not miss out on any of these fascinating experiences that Egypt offers.

Top 20 Things To Do In Egypt

Wondering what to do in Egypt that doesn’t feel mainstream? Here is a list of the best activities you can indulge in on your tour to this unique place:

  • Animal Care, Luxor – Volunteer
  • Hurghada – Go Scuba Diving
  • Giza – Learn To Make Papyrus
  • Egyptian Museums – Take A Guided Tour
  • Islamic Cairo – Shop For Leather, Jewels, And Perfumes
  • Giza – Go Camel Riding At Sunset
  • Royal Jewelry Museum – Marvel At Unique Jewels
  • Corniche, Alexandria – Take A Leisurely Walk
  • Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen – Explore The City Of The Dead
  • Mt. Sinai – Hike To The Top
  • Khan El-Khalili Bazaar – Buy Souvenirs
  • Djoser Pyramid – Explore Earth’s Oldest Stone-cut Monument
  • Karnak Temples – Pay Your Respects To The Pharaohs
  • The Nile – Sail On A Lit River Cruise
  • Abu Simbel Temples – Take A Day Tour
  • Heracleion – Dive To The Lost City Under The Sea
  • Malkata Palace – Discover Secrets Of Amenhotep’s Kingdom
  • Siwa Oasis – Experience Berber Culture
  • Tamr Hena Museum – Witness Egypt’s Creative Side
  • Al-Andalus Garden – Take A Stroll

1. Animal Care, Luxor – Volunteer

Volunteer at Animal Care in Luxor

This one’s for all you animal lovers out there. Famous for its hundreds of tombs, Luxor is also home to ACE, an organization which ensures that the working animals of Egypt are not forgotten. The place gets plenty of visitors who get a chance to watch trained vets take care of overworked horses, donkeys, stray dogs, and cats. What is more, you can easily stay back here for a couple of weeks and volunteer to help, which is for sure one of the most memorable activities to do in Egypt. While they need hands, you get all sorts of animal therapy in one of the world’s oldest cities. This is one of the most satisfying non touristy things to do in Egypt.

Location: Luxor

Must Read: 12 Best Things To Do During Summer In Egypt And Capture The Scenic Views

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2. Hurghada – Go Scuba Diving

Scuba Dive at Hurghada

The Red Sea coast of Egypt is famous for the town of Hurghada, which offers lots of fun things to do in Egypt in December. The stunning landscape here, complete with coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and sandy shores makes for the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. There are lots of activities in Egypt that you can engage in, but this is quite surprising, isn’t it?. We believe your trip would be incomplete without a visit to the Grand Aquarium in Hurghada.

Location: Dahab, Sinai Peninsula Average cost: INR 16,000

Suggested Read: 12 Picturesque Beaches In Egypt For A Travel Experience That You’ll Never Forget

3. Giza – Learn To Make Papyrus

Buy papyrus in Giza

One of the Egyptian civilization’s greatest achievements was the invention of paper. Specifically, they made writing material out of pulp derived from the papyrus tree that still grows along the Nile. At the Papyrus Institute in Giza (which is where the Pyramids are) visitors are enthralled with a demo of the way we believe the first Egyptians made paper. Interestingly, papyrus is one of the most famous things to buy in Egypt, and you can easily get your hands on papyrus souvenirs here to remember your Egypt trip in a very meaningful way.

Location: Giza Average cost: INR 412

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4. Egyptian Museums – Take A Guided Tour

Egyptian Museums

Image Source

Witnessing the ruins of ancient temples, tombs, and pyramids from the ancient civilization is hands down one of the most important things to do in Cairo, Egypt . This museum houses the biggest collection of artifacts recovered from the ruins, like all the cursed gold of Tutankhamun’s tomb and actual mummies and about 165,000 other artifacts. However, one of the ways to make this museum trip better is to hire a guide to show you around. Trust us, there is no better museum in the world for ancient history and spending money on a guide will only add to the memories.

Location: Egyptian Museum, Cairo Average cost: INR 3,100

Suggested Read: A Detailed Guide On Egypt: Gift Of Nile

5. Islamic Cairo – Shop For Leather, Jewels, And Perfumes

Islamic Cairo Perfumes

Behind the walled city lies what used to be the heart of the Islamic empire in Egypt. While there are stunning mosques that will delight the history and art lovers, there is also the world’s oldest shopping center on the streets of Islamic Cairo. You can take a walking tour by yourself of this place, and buy loads of oriental jewelry, leather bags, and even Egyptian itra and aromatic spices, which is surely one of the most enjoyable things to do in Cairo at night . Your bargaining skills will help a lot here, as there is no way to say what item is really worth what.

Location: Central Cairo

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6. Giza – Go Camel Riding At Sunset

Camel Riding in Giza

One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the pyramids inspire awe. That’s why riding into the sunset at Giza makes it to every list of Egypt things to do. The pyramids are on the Giza Plateau, at the edge where the dunes of Sahara begin showing. Hire a camel or horse for one, two, and four hour rides in the sand that engulfs the pyramids from one side. At sunset, visitors can witness the pyramids and golden sands in a light that is seldom seen by tourists or even captured in photos. This is one of the most romantic things to do in Egypt.

Location: Giza Plateau, Giza Average cost: INR 2400

Suggested Read: Guide To Egypt In April: The Confluence Of Ancient History And Modern Luxuries

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7. Royal Jewelry Museum, Alexandria – Marvel At Unique Jewels

Marvel at unique jewels at the Royal Jewelry Museum, Alexandria

The city of Alexandria is a strange realm. There was a time when a number of classic Greek philosophers lived and studied here. Later, the Romans also established an outpost here. While the library of Alexandria is no longer there to study books at, you can still visit the jewelry museum that is the private collection of Fatima Haider. Trust us, visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Egypt .

Location: Zizinia, Alexandria

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8. Corniche, Alexandria – Take A Leisurely Walk

Walk along the Corniche in Alexandria

The coastal city is the perfect vacationing spot. Holidayers can always walk (or even drive) along the famous Corniche, a stunning waterfront promenade that runs from the Eastern Harbour to Montaza Palaca. The 10-miles long promenade offers extraordinary views of the Mediterranean Sea and is the perfect romantic stroll. After dark, the lights along the coast and the smell of the sea water are bound to make your heart flutter, which means walking this beach is one of the mandatory things to do in Egypt at night. This is one of the most intriguing yet free things to do in Egypt.

Location: Alexandria

Suggested Read: Winter In Egypt: A Guide For An Unforgettable Egyptian Experience This Winter

9. Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen – Explore The City Of The Dead

Explore the City of the Dead

One of the largest cemeteries in the world, Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen is hauntingly beautiful. Full of rows and rows of conical white domes, the cemetery is spread over many kilometers. The burial ground was used by Muslims and Christians both. It is located just outside the city of Minya and is the perfect opportunity to capture eerie beauty on your lens during sunrise and sunset. You can also spot a third dynasty pyramid here, which is the only one built on the eastern banks of the river Nile.

Location: El Minya

Suggested Read: 10 Best Honeymoon Places In Egypt For A Romantic Stint By The Pyramids

10. Mt. Sinai – Hike To The Top

Hike to Mt. Sinai

Mt. Sinai is famous as the place where Moses received the ten commandments from God. The hike is relatively easy and offers beautiful views of the South Sinai mountain range. The rugged hills stretched unto the horizon make this hike a stupendous experience. You should either reach the summit during sunrise or sunset to enjoy the views. Camels for hire are also available at the base.

Location: Jabal Mousa, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt Average cost: INR 5000

11. Khan El-Khalili Bazaar – Buy Souvenirs

Khan El-Khalili Bazaar

Image Source Khan El-Khalili Bazaar has maintained its reputation as the Numero Uno seller of the unique tradition and culture of Egypt in the form of eye-catching souvenirs, home decor items, and gift items. Since its inception in the 14th century, this bazaar has been called Cairo’s most authentic souk, and rightly so!

It’s mainly some narrow cobbled streets that open into alcoves that in turn are packed with everything from fragrant spices to handcrafted silver jewelry, buying which is among the best things to do in Cairo . You’ll see travelers in large numbers stocking up on souvenirs and bargaining with shopkeepers. Once you’re done shopping, you can settle down at the famous café Fishawi’s for some mint tea or Arabic coffee.

Location: El-Gamaleya, Islamic Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Egypt Opening hours: 9 AM – 5 PM

12. Djoser Pyramid – Explore Earth’s Oldest Stone-cut Monument

Djoser Pyramid egypt

Image Source If you’re looking for offbeat experiences, then visiting the secluded and undiscovered Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara will definitely be one of the top things to do in Egypt for you and your friends who love all things mysterious. It’s a great place to visit for those who are always fascinated with pyramids and would love to see one minus the crowd and chaos.

Located just south of Cairo at the small town of Saqqara, the Pyramid of Djoser is the oldest stone-cut monument in the world. This unique pyramid was built way back in the 27th century BC using a special stepped style of architecture that pre-dates the smooth-sided pyramids of Giza.

Location: Al Giza Desert, Giza Governorate, Egypt Opening hours: 8 AM – 5 PM

Suggested Read: 7 Best Restaurants In Luxor You Must Visit On Your Egyptian Retreat

13. Karnak Temples – Pay Your Respects To The Pharaohs

Karnak Temples egypt

Image Source The Karnak Temple complex is situated just north of Luxor and is among the most beautiful places in all of Egypt. Karnak was essentially a place of great religious significance for the ancient pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty. It also served as the main place of worship for the ancient Thebans of Egypt.

While most simply see it as a stunning monument, only historians, archaeologists and history geeks understand it’s true eminence, which is why they come in great numbers to see this marvel from different corners of the world. Walking around the whole complex and seeing an astonishing collection of sanctuaries and shrines dedicated to the Theban Triad is among the best things to do in Luxor . Don’t miss the Temple of Amun-Ra, the largest of the lot.

Location: Karnak, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt Opening hours: 6 AM – 5:30 PM Temple of Amun-Ra entry fee: INR 530

14. The Nile – Sail On A Lit River Cruise

The Nile river cruise egypt

Image Source Sailing over the beautiful Nile during dusk or at night is among the most invigorating and relaxing things to do in Egypt. In fact, the best way to see the ancient sights between the cities of Luxor and Aswan is to hop on to a multi-day River Nile cruise that offers a splendid perspective of the famous attractions of these two cities, and shows how these cities sparkle at night!

You can choose from the historic steamship of S.S. Sudan to luxury cruisers of Oberoi Zahra, to the inexpensive and traditional options like the delightful Felucca to sail over the Nile.

Starting price: INR 5,500 per person

Suggested Read: 5 Best Places Near Alexandria For Taking A Trip To The Ancient Egypt!

15. Abu Simbel Temples – Take A Day Tour

Rock Temples of Abu Simbel in egypt

You cannot go home without seeing the famed Abu Simbel temples first. They are some of the most beautiful ancient structures in the world. The two magnificent temples at Abu Simbel have been built during the 13th century BC and were dedicated to Ramesses II and his queen, Nefertari. Later, they were relocated to a higher ground in order to save them from the frequent flood damage in the 1960s.

Four gigantic statues of Ramesses II can be seen guarding the entrance of the Great Temple that are sure to blow your mind! And once you step inside, you’ll be overwhelmed to see yet another set of eight enormous statues that represent the pharaoh in his deified form.

Location: Abu Simbel, Aswan Governorate, Egypt Opening hours: 5 AM – 6 PM Entry fee: INR 884

16. Heracleion – Dive To The Lost City Under The Sea

Heracleion City

Image Courtesy: AJ Fraile A mere legend once, the city of Thonis-Heracleion has now turned into a fascination for travelers. Dominating various rare inscriptions and ancient texts, this city has been lying hidden from the eyes of the world for thousands of years, submerged in the depths of the sea. And finally, after years of searching, it has been discovered lying at the bottom of Abu Qir Bay off the coast of Egypt.

Deep down in those waters are some amazing structures of this submerged city, including 64 ships, 700 anchors, caskets of gold coins, tall statues, and best of all – the remains of a massive temple dedicated to the god Amun-Gereb. Diving to the depths to see those well preserved ruins is among the best things to do in Egypt for thrill-seekers and those who wish to catch a rare glimpse into the Egyptian life 2300 years ago.

Location: Abu Qir Bay, Egypt

Suggested Read: Shopping In Egypt: 13 Places To Shop In The Country

17. Malkata Palace – Discover Secrets Of Amenhotep’s Kingdom

Malkata Palace egypt

Image Source Now in ruins, the Malkata Palace was once a vast palace that took up an entire city space and was home to one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers – Amenhotep III. Though the site now lies in ruins, a careful observation of this place tells a great many stories of the wealth and power of the pharaohs of old.

You will find everything from expansive courtyards, audience-chambers, harems, to even an enormous ceremonial lake at this Malkata site. A few of the walled structures that still stand showcase delicate carving and paintings that are still faintly visible. It’s nothing less than the Taj Mahal of Egypt, except that it’s 50 times bigger and in ruins!

Location: West Bank of the Nile, Thebes, Upper Egypt Opening hours: Open 24X7

18. Siwa Oasis – Experience Berber Culture

Siwa Oasis egypt

Image Source Venture onto the road less traveled at Siwa Oasis, which is essentially a desert settlement situated near the Libyan border. Famous for its unique Berber culture, its massive date and olive plantations, and the bizarre temple of the ancient Oracle of Ammon that now lies in ruins, this town offers a deep insight into the rural culture of the Western Desert of Egypt.

While visiting this amazing hamlet can be one of the most intriguing things to try in Egypt, one must be careful and check with locals before setting off to it since the Western Desert is known to be quite unsafe at times.

Location: Near the Libyan border, Western Desert, Egypt

Suggested Read: 12 Festivals In Egypt That Depict The Traditions Of The Country

19. Tamr Hena Museum – Witness Egypt’s Creative Side

Tamr Hena Museum egypt

Image Source Influenced by Egyptian, Greek, and Roman Empires over the years, Alexandria has a rich culture and history that leaves visitors in awe. And the famed Tamr Hena Museum is a great place to see this very culture and history.

From the early Christian church, to the latest democratic revolutions of the Arab Spring, you’ll find data on plenty of important historic events at this museum depicted in the most interesting forms, which makes visiting it one of the most entertaining things to do in Alexandria, Egypt . Every aspect of this museum is intriguing and creative, be it the scaly Hydra hanging from the ceiling, effigies of caged monkeys and free-roaming snakes, to a small photo studio.

Location: 125 Sidi Gaber – Smouha, Alexandria 125125, Egypt Opening hours: 10 AM – 6 PM

20. Al-Andalus Garden – Take A Stroll

Al-Andalus Garden egypt

Image Source It’s unlike any garden you’ve ever seen, so a visit to this beautiful space is a must for people traveling to Cario. Sitting on the banks of the river Nile, this unique garden is more a peaceful oasis that lies hidden behind high walls and the army of tourists that flock to Egypt every year.

This resplendent botanical garden is one-of-its-kind in the otherwise barren and dry Egypt and is studded with colorful mosaic benches, arches, and fountains that make it an Eden for lovebirds and photographers. The highlight is the Andalusian-style preserved structures, apart from statues of Pharaohs, lions, and the notable Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawky.

Location: El-Andalus, Zamalek, Cairo Governorate, Egypt Opening hours: 9 AM – 2 AM (summers) | 9 AM – 10 PM (winters) Entry fee: INR 183

Further Read: Newly Discovered 4,400-Year Old Tomb In Egypt Is Stealing Giza’s Thunder Big Time

So, finally we think we have taken care of all your concerns regarding the unmissable things to do in Egypt. Haven’t we? Plan your trip to Egypt with TravelTriangle right away to enjoy the best holiday experience! And if you’re aware of any other experience that travelers must have on their trip to Egypt, let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Things To Do In Egypt

What are fun things to do in Alexandria, Egypt?

The fun things that you can do in Alexandria of Egypt include witnessing unique jewelry at the Royal Jewelry Museum, strolling around the Corniche waterfront, visiting the Lighthouse of Alexandria, exploring the site of Pompey’s Pillar, and visiting the Citadel of Qaitbay.

What are the things to do in Egypt in the month of December?

Some of the most fun things to do in Egypt in the month of December include exploring the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara, cruising across the Nile, visiting Cairo, and experiencing the popular eateries in Cairo.

Is it safe to visit Egypt during covid times?

The Egyptian Government has opened its borders for international travelers and issued some mandatory guidelines such as individuals with complete vaccinations are not required to produce a negative RT PCR test during departure, unvaccinated individuals are required to produce a negative RT PCR test done 72 hours prior to departure. Children below the age of 12 years of age are exempted from producing covid tests. Important protocols such as wearing face masks, using hand sanitisers, and social distancing should be followed in a public place.

What is the most famous thing in Egypt?

Egypt is famous for some of the world’s most beautiful monuments, the likes of which include the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Temples of Luxor, Abu Simbel, and Karnak Temples.

How should I dress in Egypt?

You can carry clothes like shorts, skirts, sundresses, tee shirts, tops, long trousers, and even swimwear on your trip to Egypt. But one must make sure to dress conservatively in religious places and cover their heads. Also, whatever you wear should not be too exposing so as to not disrespect the local customs and traditions.

What do the Egyptians drink?

Some of the most common and most favorite beverages of Egyptians include the local beer, wine, Arabic coffee, and mint tea. You can experience these drinks in some of the renowned cafes and restaurants in Egypt.

Is English widely spoken in Egypt?

Yes, you’ll find that English is widely spoken in all the modern and commercialized cities and towns of Egypt like Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. In few regions of the country, European languages are also used because of Egypt’s popularity in tourism in recent years.

What can you do in Egypt?

There is plenty to do in Egypt. You can visit various temples, explore the ancient Egyptian monuments and learn its history at the museums, sail the Nile, try Egyptian cuisine, ride a camel in the desert, and much more.

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20 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Egypt

Written by Jess Lee Updated Oct 16, 2023

Home of the ancient Pharaohs, Egypt is a destination full of dazzling temples and tombs that wow all who visit. It's not all historic treasures and tourist attractions, though. With vast tracts of desert for 4WD adventures, the Red Sea's world-class coral reefs and wrecks for divers, and cruising on the famed Nile River, there are plenty of things to do in Egypt for all types of travelers.

Beach lovers head to the Sinai or the Red Sea Coast to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor.

Cairo is the megalopolis that can't be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow pace of the countryside.

With so much to see and do, Egypt offers visitors a chance to create itineraries that combine culture, adventure, and relaxation all on one trip.

Plan your sightseeing with our list of the top attractions and places to visit in Egypt.

1. Pyramids of Giza

2. luxor's temples & tombs, 3. cruising the nile, 5. abu simbel, 6. diving the red sea, 7. explore historic cairo, 8. south sinai's beach life, 10. egyptian museum, 11. white desert, 12. alexandria, 13. abydos temple, 14. siwa oasis, 15. st. catherine's monastery, 16. red sea beaches, 17. coptic cairo, 18. wadi al-hitan, 19. temple of hathor, 20. monastery of st. anthony.

Pyramids of Giza

The last surviving wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are one of the world's most recognizable landmarks.

Having awed travelers down through the ages, these tombs of the Pharaohs Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), and Menkaure (Mycerinus), guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, are usually top of most visitor's lists of tourist attractions to see in Egypt and often the first sight they head to after landing.

Today, sitting on the desert edge of Cairo's sprawl, these megalithic memorials to dead pharaohs are still as wondrous a sight as they ever were and an undeniable highlight of any Egypt trip.

To beat the crowds , get here around 7:30am and enter through the main Pyramid of Khufu site entrance (rather than the Sphinx entrance). This means you can have finished exploring the interior tunnels and burial chambers of the Pyramid of Khufu by the time the tour buses start pulling in at 8:15am.

Most visitors limit their site visit to the three pyramids and the Sphinx, but there is plenty more to see on the Giza Plateau. If you can, reserve time to explore the funerary complexes of the eastern cemetery (on the east side of the Pyramid of Khufu). The tombs of 6th dynasty high officials Qar and Idu and the tomb of Meresankh III (who was one of Pharaoh Khafre's wives) are all open to the public.

  • Read More: Pyramids of Giza: Attractions, Tips & Tours

Karnak Temple

Famed for the Valley of the Kings , Karnak Temple , and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions.

This is ancient Thebes, the power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.

Luxor's east bank is home to the modern city, with its vibrant souq; the two temples of Karnak and Luxor; and the museum. The west bank's lush farmland and barren cliffs are where the vast majority of Luxor's tourist attractions sit, with so many tomb and temple sights that it has been called the biggest open-air museum in the world.

Spend a few days here exploring the colorful wall art of the tombs and gazing in awe at the colossal columns in the temples, and you'll see why Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.

The Valley of the Kings is one of Egypt's most visited sites but, if you are willing to get up extra early, you can beat the crowds . All of Luxor's archaeological sites open at 6am, but hardly any visitors (and no large tour operators) take advantage of this.

Kick off your sightseeing with a 6am start at the Valley of the Kings, and you'll get to experience the interiors of Luxor's famed New Kingdom tombs with hardly anyone else (except the handful of other wily early risers) there.

Cruising on the Nile at Luxor

Egypt is defined by the Nile. For many visitors, a multi-day cruise upon this famed waterway that saw the rise of the Pharaonic era is a highlight of their Egypt trip.

Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to see the temples that stud the banks of the river on the route between Luxor and Aswan, plus sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by sand dunes, is one of Egypt's most tranquil vistas.

The two famous sights on a Nile Cruise are the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu's Temple of Horus , where all the big cruise boats stop.

If you'd prefer a less crowded and slower experience, though, and don't mind "roughing it" a bit, you can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt's traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats), which also allows you to create your own itinerary.

The vast amount of cruise boat itineraries depart from either Luxor or Aswan, but feluccas can only be chartered for multi-day trips from Aswan.

Feluccas on the Nile at Aswan

Egypt's most tranquil town is Aswan, set upon the winding curves of the Nile. Backed by orange-hued dunes, this is the perfect place to stop and unwind for a few days and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere.

Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Then ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on Aswan's east bank. Afterwards, relax in one of the riverboat restaurants while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past.

Make sure to jump aboard a felucca at sunset to sail around Aswan's islands. This is by far, Aswan's most popular activity and the most relaxing way to take in the local sights.

There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, including Philae Temple on its island, but one of Aswan's most popular things to do is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.

Abu Simbel

Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II's great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings.

Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible engineering feat carried out by UNESCO in the 1960s, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting to save it from disappearing under the rising water of the Aswan Dam.

Today, exploring Abu Simbel is just as much about admiring the triumph of this international effort to save the temple complex as it is about gaping in wonder at Ramses II's awe-inspiring building works, itself.

Most people arrive in Abu Simbel on organized day trips from Aswan, which all have an early morning start to get to the temple complex at 8am or 9am.

After 11am, nearly everyone has cleared out and headed back to Aswan. To wander through Ramses II's colossal monument without the crowds, overnight in Abu Simbel village itself and visit the temples after midday.

Divers enjoying the underwater beauty of the Red Sea

Below the Red Sea's surface is another world as fascinating as the temples and tombs on land.

The coral reefs of the Red Sea are renowned among scuba divers for both the soft corals on display and the vast amount of sea life, ranging from colorful reef fish and nudibranchs to sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays, and even dugongs.

For divers, the most famous town to base yourself in is Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, closest to the reefs of Ras Mohammed National Park, as well as the reefs of the Straits of Tiran.

To dive the sites of the Straits of Gubal head to Hurghada or El Gouna on the Red Sea coast, while advanced divers should check out the resort of Marsa Alam, the nearest base for diving Egypt's "deep south" dive sites.

Thistlegorm wreck dive

As well as fish life and coral, the Red Sea is a major wreck-diving destination. The most famous wreck is the Thistlegorm, a British WWII cargo ship that was on its way to resupply Allied troops when it was bombed by the Germans in 1941.

Today the site is regarded by divers as one of the top five wreck dives in the world due to the vast cargo of cars, motorbikes, and WWII memorabilia that can be seen both scattered on the sea bed around the wreck and inside the ship itself.

Dive boat trips to the wreck are organized from both Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

The Red Sea offers year-round diving but for the calmest sea conditions and best underwater visibility, July and August are the best months . This is high summer in Egypt though with its accompanying sweltering on-land temperatures. If your Egypt trip doesn't solely revolve around diving, it's still best to avoid these months.

Read More: Diving in the Red Sea: Best Dive Sites

Islamic Cairo

The atmospheric, narrow lanes of the capital's Historic Cairo district are crammed full of mosques, madrassas (Islamic schools of learning), and monuments dating from the Fatimid through to the Mameluke eras.

This is where you'll find the labyrinth shopping souq of Khan el-Khalili, where coppersmiths and artisans still have their tiny workshops, and stalls are laden with ceramics, textiles, spice, and perfume.

Surrounding the market is a muddle of roads, home to some of the most beautiful preserved architecture of the old Islamic empires.

There is a wealth of history here to explore. Visit Al-Azhar Mosque and the dazzling Sultan Hassan Mosque , and make sure to climb up to the roof of the ancient medieval gate of Bab Zuweila for the best minaret-speckled panoramas across the district.

Mornings are the best time to visit this district as the narrow lanes are at their quietest. If you're planning to visit the area's mosques though, avoid visiting on Fridays (the Muslim holy day) . If you want to enter mosques as a tourist, dress conservatively (covering arms and legs) and bring along a scarf to throw over your head if you're female.

Keen shoppers should head to Khan el-Khalili in the evening: the shops here are all open until late and the souq is at its most vibrant after dark.

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Cairo & Easy Day Trips

South Sinai

Egypt's South Sinai region, on the Sinai Peninsula, offers a beach for every type of traveler.

Sharm el-Sheikh is a European-style resort town packed full of luxury hotels, international restaurants, and bags of entertainment options. A favorite with Europeans on winter-sun vacations, many of the resorts here cater to families on one- or two-week sun-and-sand breaks.

Dahab is a low-key beach town with a budget-traveler heart, which is just as much about desert excursions and adventures as the sea. It's particularly known for its cheap dive-package deals and for its lagoon beach area where windsurfing and kitesurfing are the top activity.

Up the coast, between the port town of Nuweiba and the border town of Taba are the bamboo hut retreats that offer complete get-away-from-it-all respites from life and back-to-basics beach life.

Pyramid and ruins at Saqqara

Everyone's heard of Giza's Pyramids, but they're not the only pyramids Egypt has up its sleeve. Day-tripping distance from Cairo , Saqqara is a vast necropolis of tombs and pyramids that was utilized during every era of Pharaonic rule.

It's best known for its Old Kingdom Step Pyramid, which shows how the architects of Ancient Egypt advanced their engineering knowledge to finally create a true pyramid shape.

There's much more to see beyond the Step Pyramid, though, with some of the surrounding tombs, such as the Mastaba of Ti, showcasing some of the finest tomb paintings you'll see in the country.

Nearby, the pyramid site of Dahshur is home to the Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid, which should be included on any Saqqara visit.

  • Read More: Exploring Saqqara: A Visitor's Guide

Egyptian Museum

A treasure trove of the Pharaonic world, Cairo's Egyptian Museum is one of the world's great museum collections . The faded pink mansion in downtown Cairo is home to a dazzling amount of exhibits.

The museum's exhibits cover the breadth of the Pharaonic era with highlights including its artifacts from pre-dynastic Egypt, the Old Kingdom galleries displaying the fine statuary from Egypt's period of pyramid builders, and the displays of glittering funerary goods unearthed from the country's most famous tomb finds.

Make sure to reserve enough time at the museum to fully view the galleries devoted to the grave goods of Yuya and Thuya and the royal tombs of Tanis (both upstairs).

Until Giza's much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) opens, the Egyptian Museum is also where you come to see a selection of the riches from Tutankhamen's Valley of the Kings tomb. When the GEM finally does open, these will be moved there (and the entire Tutankhamen collection will be displayed in full for the first time).

Everything else though in the Egyptian Museum's collection will be staying in place.

White Desert

Egypt's kookiest natural wonder is White Desert National Park, out in the Western Desert, just south of Bahariya Oasis. Here, surreally shaped chalk pinnacles and huge boulders loom over the desert plateau, creating a scene that looks like icebergs have found themselves stranded amid a landscape of sand.

This highly scenic environment looks like something out of a science fiction movie and is a favorite destination for 4WD desert trips and overnight camping , which are both easiest organized in Bahariya Oasis.

For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who's had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery.


Alexandria has a history that not many others can match.

Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra, and razzmatazz renegade city of the Mediterranean for much of its life, this seafront city has an appealing days-gone-by atmosphere that can't be beaten.

Although today, there are few historic remnants of its illustrious past left to see, Alexandria's long seafront Corniche road leading to its fort (sitting on the site where its famous ancient lighthouse once sat) remains a favorite summer destination to capture cooling sea breezes for Egyptians and foreign visitors alike.

Underwater archaeological projects here have imbued Alexandria's museums with interesting exhibits. The modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a contemporary interpretation of Alexandria's famed ancient library, and the handful of historic sights in town include an atmospheric catacombs site.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Alexandria

Abydos Temple

The Temple of Osiris in Abydos is one of Ancient Egypt's most fascinating artistic treasures.

The temple, begun by Seti I, sits amid a vast necropolis site where archaeological excavations are ongoing. There a various other temple remnants to see here but for most visitors, the Temple of Osiris is the main reason to visit.

Its hypostyle halls, graced by papyrus-headed columns, contain some of the finest relief-work in Egypt, with various scenes portraying the pharaoh and the gods of Ancient Egypt.

As the temple lies north of Luxor, it isn't on the main Nile cruise ship route, so it receives much fewer visitors than the temple sites in Luxor itself and the Nile-side temples to the south. This means you are often lucky enough to wander through the temple's halls with only a few other visitors on site.

  • Read More: Exploring The Temples of Abydos: A Visitor's Guide

Siwa Oasis

Sitting in isolation, in the western corner of the Western Desert, Siwa is the tranquil tonic to the hustle of Egypt's cities. This gorgeous little oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and numerous hot-water springs, is one of the Western Desert's most picturesque spots.

Siwa town is centered around the ruins of a vast mud-brick citadel, known as the Fortress of Shali, which dominates the view, while various temple remnants, including the Temple of the Oracle where Alexander the Great is said to have come to receive advice, are scattered throughout the wider oasis area.

This is a top spot to wind down and go slow for a few days, as well as being an excellent base from which to plan adventures into the surrounding desert.

St. Catherine's Monastery

One of the oldest monasteries in the world, St. Catherine's stands at the foot of Mount Sinai, amid the desert mountains of the Sinai Peninsula, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments.

This desert monastery is home to an incredible collection of religious iconography, art, and manuscripts (some of which can be seen in the on-site museum), as well as the burning bush.

For most visitors here, a trip to St. Catherine's also involves a hike up Mount Sinai to see sunrise or sunset. Take the camel path for the easy route, or climb the famous Steps of Repentance if you want better views.

Umbrellas on the beach in Hurghada

Egypt's Red Sea coastline offers swaths of sand for travelers who want a time-out from temple viewing.

During winter, the resorts scattered along the shore surrounding Hurghada jump into life as European families arrive on package tourism breaks.

The big bonus of choosing a resort on the Red Sea coast over one on the Sinai Peninsula is that you are within day-tripping distance to Luxor, so this is the best place to visit for beach life if you still want to easily see some of Egypt's most famous monuments.

Hurghada and El Gouna are the two main resort towns, while the smaller, and still being-developed, town of Marsa Alam is much farther south.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Red Sea Region

Fortress of Babylon walls

The Cairo district known as Coptic Cairo is one of the most important Christian sites in the country.

Originally the Fortress of Babylon, dating back to the Achaemenid Empire's conquest of Egypt in 525 BCE, this district is home to Cairo's oldest surviving church, synagogue, and mosque, as well as the excellent Coptic Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of Coptic Christian art and antiquities.

A section of the Fortress of Babylon's walls, which were repaired and expanded under Roman rule, are also still standing and are the entrance into the district.

Make sure to visit the Hanging Church, which holds a fine collection of icons and was built half over the Roman-era water wheel (hence the church's name). Then thread your way down the narrow alley to the Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus which, according to local tradition, was built atop the site where the Holy Family with the infant Jesus lived in refuge after fleeing King Herod.

Nearby, the Ben Ezra Synagogue is famous for being the site where the Geniza documents cache were discovered.

A short walk away is the Mosque of Amr Ibn Al As, built by the Arab Muslim army commander (and later, first governor of Egypt) after conquering Egypt.

Wadi Al-Hitan's fossils

Wadi Al-Hitan is in the Fayoum area, a lush and fertile depression fed by ancient canals and surrounded by desert.

The Fayoum itself, with Lake Quran, the pottery village of Tunis, and Pharaonic ruins scattered across the hinterland, is an interesting place to visit, but the main tourist attraction here, in the nearby desert, is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wadi Al-Hitan.

Amid the orange dunes and jagged rocks of this desert valley, a vast fossil cache of the oldest prehistoric whales (the basilosaurus and dorodontus) were discovered, hugely aiding human understanding of the evolution of whales.

Some of the finds have been kept in situ, with walking tracks radiating out from the visitor's center to skeleton sites sitting amid the sand.

In the visitor center itself, a museum dedicated to the site does an excellent job of explaining Wadi Al-Hitan's importance, and displays many of the site's other finds, including a skeleton of a basilosaurus whale that measures 18 meters long.

Temple of Hathor

The Temple of Hathor at Dendara was built in the late Pharaonic era and extended during the Roman period, though Dendara itself was an important cult center from early on in the period of Ancient Egypt.

A trip here is well worth a day trip from Luxor, as the temple's youth (in comparison to other Pharaonic temples) means that it is one of the most complete surviving temples in Egypt.

The reliefs and decoration here are in an excellently preserved state. In particular, while in the hypostyle hall, which was built by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, note the columns topped by heads of the Egyptian god Hathor, and the wall reliefs of the emperor paying tribute to the Egyptian gods.

Dendara is just outside the city of Qena, 80 kilometers north from Luxor.

Monastery of St. Anthony

Secreted within the jagged northern mountains of the Red Sea coast, the Monastery of St. Anthony has been a working monastery since the 4th century, and today is still home to around 120 monks.

The Church of St. Anthony, within the fortress-like compound, has an interior of secco wall paintings that are considered one of the most important collections of Egyptian Coptic art in the world and date from around the 11th and 12th centuries. The church is also home to the tomb of St. Anthony (the father of monasticism) and is a major pilgrimage destination for Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Monks run tours of the monastery that include visiting the church and some of the monastery's gardens, as well as allowing you to head up and walk on top of the monastery's walls.

St. Anthony's Monastery is very isolated. If you don't have your own transport, the easiest way to get here is to hire a driver from Cairo or Hurghada.

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16 Best Places to Visit in Egypt

Last updated on November 17, 2023 by Fiona Fiorentino and Jamie Gambetta - 6 Comments

With a fascinating history that reaches back to the dawn of civilization, Egypt is considered the oldest travel destination on earth. The African nation’s awe-inspiring temples and pyramids have captured the imagination of travelers for thousands of years.

Although most people come to Egypt to view its ancient monuments, natural attractions beckon travelers too. The Red Sea coast is known for its coral reefs and beach resorts. A trek through the Sahara can lead visitors to refreshing freshwater spring oasis.

Such is the nature of this country, its history and landscape that traveling here is an adventure. That’s whether you do it on a budget or surrounded by luxury comforts. The best places to visit in Egypt provide an exceptional mix of history, culture, and geography.

Map of Places to Visit in Egypt

Map of Places to Visit in Egypt

In this post, we'll cover:


Set between Aswan and Luxor on the West Bank of the Nile, Edfu is but a small river city. Yet among it stands one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt. Pharaonic history bursts to life at the Temple of Horus and seeps through every crevice of its sightly sandstone structure.

One of Egypt’s holiest sanctuaries, the Temple of Horus maintains much of its original structure. Those who designed it wasted no space with reliefs encrypted across the halls, showcasing stories from beyond the ancient world.

Statues representing the falcon god of Egypt, Horus guides you on a journey back to 3,000 BC and deep into the Ptolemaic era. Surrounding the temple are remnants of age-old villages, some of which once encased the temple, hiding it from plain sight.

Much has been both saved and lost in Edfu. Yet within the town’s communities is a diverse culture that has stood the test of time.


The scale of the story of Abydos is hard to grasp. A place of burial and religious significance as far back as 4000 BC, discoveries here have completely transformed the timeline of ancient Egypt. Tombs have been discovered here that existed before the 1st dynasty, including that of the earliest known pharaoh.

So why Abydos? It was here the original gods made themselves known along the desert’s edge and banks of the Nile. Those that stood here 6,000 years ago reveled in the evening light that shone from the heavens and imagined it as a staircase to the afterlife.

Between 3000 and 4000 BC, pilgrims arrived by the thousands alongside ancient leaders to leave tokens hoping to gain favor from those in command. Today, you can discover incredible burial grounds and memorials. The best being the stunning Great Temple of Seti I.

14. Saint Catherine’s Monastery

Saint Catherine’s Monastery

At the base of the jagged and fast-rising Sinai Mountains lays Saint Catherine’s Monastery. It’s one of the world’s oldest operating Christian monasteries. Marking the spot where Moses heard the words of God through a burning bush, telling him that he stood on holy ground.

Now over 1,400 years old, the colors of the beautiful monastery blend in with the spectacular backdrop. Its surrounding fortress walls and the main church are from the original construction, with the basilica design being a staple of the Byzantine era.

As you enter the monastery, you’ll follow centuries of the footsteps of worshipers who’ve wandered down the central nave and admired the brilliant apse mosaic. It’s one of the many samples of iconography here that dates back over a thousand years. These represent the real celebration here of art that seems immortal and with a touch of divinity.


Egypt’s premier seaside town, Dahab, attracts scuba divers the world over. Home to the famed Blue Hole along with Bells, Gabr El Bint, and Umm Sid, among others, it’s a diving destination to be revered.

Set along the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba, the town of Dahab itself is a representation of those who visit most. A tourist town by definition, it’s utterly relaxing, with ample hippy charm and just enough Bedouin culture laid in to create a welcome balance.

Backed by the Sinai Desert, the colors of the Red Sea pop. The deep blues and turquoise mix with aplomb, providing just enough insight into the treasures below that you’ll wake up ready to dive.

Just north of Dahab is the Blue Hole. One of the most celebrated dive sites on earth. Just off the shore, the captivating and equally frightening sea shelf makes itself known. The reef-laden wall drops an incredible 120 meters into the abyss.

12. White Desert

White Desert

Once a seabed, Egypt’s White Desert is today a postcard to the past. It’s a mesmerizing example that life never stays still. Like the seashells on the mountaintops in Yellowstone National Park, the White Desert is rich in sedimentary limestone, showcasing a time when its landscape was polar opposite.

When you first gaze upon the White Desert, you’d be forgiven for not trusting your eyes. In the morning light, the desert’s white chalk spires spin-out from the desert floor. The orange hues of the early day combine with the shades to create a spectacular dance that feels beyond surreal.

Iron pyrites and quartz dazzle within the limestone, often creating more than just stunning spires. Instead, craggy bluffs surge out of the desert floor to create mountains and thus canyons and valleys. Those made almost entirely of quartz crystals, like Crystal Mountain, take the experience in a more supernatural direction.

11. Dahshur


Dahshur is a little village south of Cairo that’s home to some lesser-known, less-crowded pyramids – you won’t find the massive queues that you’d expect at the Giza complex or Saqqara here. In fact, until 1996, it was a restricted military zone.

Like Saqqara, Dahshur was part of the ancient necropolis of Memphis. The same pharaoh behind the building of the Great Pyramid built two more complete pyramids in Dahshur. In the years after, many more pharaohs had their own pyramids built here to form a total of 11, but none of them could compete with the original ones.

Highlights include the unusually-shaped Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu (2613-2589 BC). The Red Pyramid (also known as the North Pyramid), is famously the oldest true pyramid in Egypt because it doesn’t have any steps or bends.

The Black Pyramid of Amenemhat III is another sight that can be enjoyed from the base of the Bent Pyramid. It cannot be visited, and it isn’t actually a pyramid at all; rather, a strange-looking mound of dark rock.

10. Alexandria


The second-largest city and leading seaport in Egypt, Alexandria has a prime location on the edge of the Mediterranean. Founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, the city was once considered the crossroads of the world. Several of Egypt’s pharaohs, including Cleopatra, ruled the country from Alexandria until the nation fell to Rome in 30 BC.

Under Roman rule, the city earned a reputation as a center for arts and literature. The city’s Roman Theater, which features stunning mosaic flooring and marble seating, is a remnant of Alexandria’s Roman occupation.

Today’s Alexandria is a dusty seaside city with an over-inflated population of 5 million, that is badly in need of a lick of paint. It’s a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and glimpses of its past.

Many of Alexandria’s most famous historic sites, including a library that housed more than 500,000 books, were destroyed by devastating earthquakes in the 14th century. Completed in 2002, a new library stands near the site of the original Library of Alexandria.

Exhibits of Alexandria’s long history are on display at the Alexandria National Museum. The museum’s more than 1,800 artifacts are arranged chronologically, from the Greco-Roman period to the Coptic and Islamic eras.

In ancient Alexandria, the most prominent feature was the Lighthouse of Alexandria, a towering structure that was considered one the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The lighthouse crumbled into sea during an earthquake along with much of the ancient metropolis. Scuba divers can still view massive stones and statues lying on the seabed floor.

9. Hurghada


Hurghada is a resort town on the edge of the Red Sea, easily reached via a bumpy six-hour bus ride from Cairo. It offers a more popular alternative to Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab and is now one of Egypt’s most-visited tourist destinations. But that’s understandable, as there’s plenty to love about Hurghada with its many beaches and warm waters.

Once a simple fishing village, this famous resort town has hundreds of high-end hotels along the seafront, yet the focus is still mainly on relaxation. This section of the Red Sea is renowned for its excellent scuba diving opportunities, with gorgeous colorful coral reefs to discover just offshore. Other watersports, like snorkeling, windsurfing, and jet-skiing, are just as popular.

For those who prefer to admire the magical marine life from above the water, there are many places offering glass-bottom boat trips, so you can usually shop around to find the best offer.

Hurghada is extremely popular with Eastern Europeans and especially Russians, hundreds of thousands of whom visit each year. Many tourists choose to combine their holiday here with visits to other prominent locations along the Nile Valley, including the relatively nearby city of Luxor.


Egypt’s southernmost city, Aswan is another major city nestled along the banks of the Nile River. However, due to its location and size, it offers a much more relaxed alternative to big cities Luxor or Cairo.

Although its own monuments are minor compared to Luxor’s, Aswan is the base for excursions to the temples of Philae and Kabasha and to the Sun Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, to the south. It is also the best starting point for excursions to the temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu, between Aswan and Luxor.

Aswan itself has one of the most beguiling settings in Egypt. Granite cliffs overlook the Nile’s First Cataract, the first of a series of shallow white water rapids broken by rocky islets that stretch north to Khartoum. Home to a large community of Nubian people, it was once the gateway to Africa in ancient Egypt. You can learn more about these people at the Nubian Museum, which is filled with treasures and relics that were kept safe from the flood of Nubia.

Aswan is famous for its granite quarries that were used to build Luxor’s many obelisks. Some of these unfinished obelisks can still be seen in the city today, such as the largest known ancient obelisk in the world located in the south of Aswan that was intended to be over 40 meters tall.

7. Siwa Oasis

Siwa Oasis

Located near Egypt’s western border, Siwa Oasis remained culturally isolated from the rest of the country until late in the 19th century. Surrounded by the Egyptian Sand Sea, the Siwan people developed their own unique customs as well as their own language, Siwi, a Berber dialect.

The small community was not unknown to the outside world, however, even centuries ago. The famous Temple of the Oracle of Amun, believed to have been built in the 6th or 7th century B.C., made the oasis a place of pilgrimage. The most famous visitor to seek the oracle’s wisdom was Alexander the Great.

Today, Siwa Oasis is an increasingly popular travel destination. Vacationers come to the city to enjoy the town’s many freshwater springs, to stroll through acres of palm groves and to explore ancient mud-built fortresses and remnants of Siwa’s Greco-Roman past. Bubbling springs are in abundance here. One of the most popular is a stone pool known as Cleopatra’s Bath. A more secluded pool is located on an island in Lake Siwa. Visitors reach Fatnas Spring by navigating a narrow causeway.

Cafés in the small town of around 23,000 people are designed for relaxation as well. Local and visitors alike enjoy sipping tea and smoking from a communal hookah. A trip to the local marketplace gives visitors the opportunity to explore the city’s unique culture and to sample dates and olives grown in the region.

6. Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is one of the most popular resort towns in Egypt, located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula. With its warm, deep blue water and great golden beaches , Sharm (as it’s affectionately called) is a popular package holiday destination with its own airport.

But this old fishing village has so much more to offer than simply sunbathing. Nicknamed the City of Peace after the countless international peace talks that have been hosted here, Sharm el Sheikh is one of the best scuba diving spots in the world. Don’t miss the chance to snorkel or dive the extraordinary reefs around Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park, home to some astonishingly colorful marine life.

Despite being the perfect spot for a fly and flop holiday, those looking for adventure will find it here too. Sharm el Sheikh’s at the southern tip of the peninsula gives easy access into the desert, where you can visit Bedouin camps and climb Mount Sinai, an ancient biblical spot known for its spectacular view of the sunrise.


The name Saqqara refers to an Egyptian village, but more importantly, an age-old necropolis with a scattering of both large and smaller satellite pyramids spread across a dusty desert plateau. Buried beneath the sand overlooking the Nile Valley until the 19th-century, Saqqara has since been undergoing a significant restoration process.

Named after Sokar, the Memphite god of the dead, Saqqara served as a cemetery for the ancient city of Memphis for thousands of years and is the largest archeological site in Egypt. As such, it’s home to hundreds of fascinating tombs and burial sites for pharaohs and other Egyptian royals.

The highlight of Saqqara is the Step Pyramid of Djoser – the oldest pyramid on Earth. You’ll find some of the best views of the Nile from the top of this pyramid, accessible via a wooden ramp when the gate is open. Try one of the many doors and explore any that are unlocked – you never know what kind of mysteries lie behind them. The Pyramid of Teti with its fascinating Pyramid Texts and the Mastaba of Ti with its incredible reliefs are two more must-sees.

4. Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

Set over a glistening Lake Nasser, the Temples of Abu Simbel are a collection of some of the most stunning monuments in Egypt. It’s an ancient engineering marvel that includes the Temple of Hathor and the Great Temples of Ramses II.

It took a stroke of genius to create such an incredible site, yet an even better one to save it. When the construction of the Aswan High Dam was completed in the 1960s the 3,200-year-old site lay in the path of the rising waters of Lake Nasser. The edifices and their temples were dismantled and reassembled brick by brick on a bank high above the reservoir.

Ramses, the larger of the two temples, boasts a quartet of colossal statues that tower over visitors at 21 meters tall. On the 22nd of October and February, the sun shines through the entrance and into the inner sanctuary where a statue of Ramses the II shimmers in the morning light.

The smaller Temple of Hathor honors the queen Nefertari and has six exterior statues each about 10 meters tall. About a 3 hours bus drive from Aswan, a day trip to view the massive temples is a can’t-miss activity.


This dusty capital city is one of the most sprawling cities on Earth, home to more than 17 million people. Built on the banks of the Nile River, Cairo is a medieval Islamic city with an eternally hazy horizon and beige-colored buildings topped with TV satellites.

Built near the ancient capital city of Memphis, modern Cairo is a popular starting point for cruises up the Nile and for explorations of the Pyramids at Giza just outside the city’s limits. But there is so much to do within this enormous city itself.

At the world-renowned Egyptian Museum of Tahrir Square, visitors can get a close-up view of the treasure of Tutankhamun as well as mummies and other artifacts from Egypt’s ancient past.

The city’s most historic mosques are worth a visit as well. Dating back to the 9th century when the Fatimids made the city their capital, the Ibn Tulun Mosque is the oldest in Cairo. The stunning Citadel and Mosque of Mohammed Ali Pasha, also known as the Alabaster Mosque for its gleaming white edifice, was named after the man who is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt.

When you’ve tired of Cairo’s historical sights, get a true taste of Egypt by immersing yourself in everyday life. Embrace the crowds while shopping at one of the city’s chaotic markets like the Khan al-Khalili bazaar, smoke some shisha amongst locals at a local Ahwaz or escape the heat of the inner city entirely with a breezy felucca trip along the Nile on a traditional Egyptian sailing boat.


One thousand years after the construction of the Great Pyramids , the New Kingdom arose in Egypt, and power shifted from the ancient capital of Memphis to Thebes in the south, the site of modern-day Luxor. Enriched by gold mined in the deserts of Nubia and transported to the city on the river Nile, Thebes became the country’s cultural and political hub.

Today, the mid-sized city Luxor is known as the “world’s largest open air museum” and is one of Egypt’s most popular travel destinations. There’s so much to see and do in Luxor – from temples to tombs and everything in between. You’ll need to allow a couple of days to do it all justice.

Most of the Luxor attractions are located either on the East Bank or the West Bank of the Nile. Famous highlights on the East Bank include Karnak Temple – also known as Ipet-isu (‘Most Select of Places’) – an extraordinary temple city that took over 2,000 years to build. Although the entire Karnak complex consists of four main parts, the main structure known as the Temple of Amun is the only one that is open to the general public.

The largest religious building ever built, the temple’s pillared hall is a breathtaking stone forest of 134 columns that stand as high as 21 meters (69 feet). Stroll.

The beautifully illuminated Luxor Temple is a particularly stunning temple to explore at night. On the other side of the Nile, the West Bank boasts the white-washed scenery of the Valley of the Kings, home to many elaborate and colorfully-muraled tombs, pits, and burial chambers. Some of the tombs are included in your ticket entrance, but prepare to pay more to visit King Tut’s tomb – the highlight – the final resting place of King Tutankhamun’s mummy.

1. Giza Necropolis

Giza Necropolis

The Giza Plateau is probably one of the most recognizable destinations on Earth. Located on a desert plateau to the west of the capital of Cairo, Giza is its own city but in recent years it’s grown so much that it feels like another district of ever-expanding Cairo.

While once a humble carriage track, Giza is now one of the most touristy parts of Egypt, home to upmarket hotels, big-name restaurants, giant shopping malls, and pulsing nightclubs. But most famously, Giza is the closest part of the city to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, which is why most people center themselves around this neighborhood for at least a few days during their trip to Cairo.

The three main pyramids of Giza are an ancient necropolis that were built as tombs for three Egyptian pharaohs – Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. A scattering of satellite pyramids in the area were built as a place to bury their wives and royal family members.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is the one you can enter if you’re happy to pay extra. Alternatively, you can take a camel ride out into the desert and get a photo with all of the pyramids in the background before heading to the Sphinx for the stock standard Sphinx-kissing tourist photo.

If you happen to be staying close to Giza overnight, don’t miss the Pyramids Sound and Light Show. It’s exactly what it sounds like, but it’s a great way to appreciate the Great Pyramid a little differently. While you’ll have to pay for a seat at the official light show, if you have dinner on the balcony of the nearby Pizza Hut, you can watch both the sunset and the show for free.

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Reader interactions.

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May 4, 2019 at 12:29 pm

We just came back from Egypt. It has been the best vacation we have had, very interesting history, beautiful sites, amazing culture. Two weeks were not enough to see everything. We are planning our next trip to see the north side of Egypt. It is an amazing place to visit! This is a country with more history than any another country.

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July 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

Where is Marsa Allam, Marsa Matrouh, Newabaa, Saint Katherine and Taba

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July 31, 2015 at 8:34 am

just visited Egypt this summer. What a tremendous culture they had so many centuries ago and well worth seeing. I highly recommend finding a good tour company for this one! Travel can be confusing, there are also some language barriers and safety concerns.

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April 16, 2015 at 10:05 pm

There are so many places to travel to Egypt. This summer we might be able to go to Egypt.

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July 30, 2014 at 7:29 am

Oh man, you can miss El gouna….It is like heaven!

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March 22, 2014 at 1:53 am

they are very beautiful and nice pictures

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Best things to do in Egypt

unique places to visit in egypt

Amanda Canning and Mike MacEacheran

Thursday April 6 2023, 11:00am

The prospect of the pyramids — perhaps with a camel or two passing in front — might be the thing that draws people to Egypt, but there’s so much more there awaiting you. Expect an astonishing number of ancient sights, from the tombs of the pharaohs strung out along the Nile valley to temples found far from the riverbanks. As well as exploring the valley, no trip should miss a journey on the Nile river itself, preferably on a felucca — a wooden sailing boat — at sunset. Water-based adventures continue at the Red Sea, home to coral reefs that make it one of the world’s best snorkelling and diving sites. And then there’s the desert — camping under the stars after a meal cooked on the open fire is an experience you’ll never forget.

Main photo: visitors to Feryal Garden in Aswan get a view of the Nile ( Alamy)

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Seeing the pyramids of Giza is one of the best things to do in Egypt

1. Marvel at the pyramids of Giza

Your first glimpse of Egypt ’s most famous pyramids will likely be from the plane flying into Cairo. From that distance the gargantuan structures, slowly being absorbed into the sprawl of the city, are impressive enough, but you need to get up close to really appreciate them. A half-day guided tour with an Egyptologist is the ideal way to take in the Giza complex. You’ll explore the three pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx that acts as their guard, learning about their construction 4,500 years ago and life in the ancient world . The trip ends with that most classic of desert experiences: a camel ride.

2. Learn to dive in the Red Sea

The Red Sea is one of the world’s greatest dive locations — and the good news is that it’s accessible even to beginners. Sharm el-Sheikh is well set up for novices, with plenty of operators offering Padi courses over several days. Get comfortable with the equipment in the pool; once you’re confident, you’ll be taken out with a divemaster for scuba diving over the reefs, gliding among clownfish and rays. If you already know what you’re doing, there are plenty of outfitters who’ll take you out to the best dive sites , including Ras Mohammed, one of Egypt’s national parks . There are multiple snorkelling opportunities too.

Sailors on a felucca at Aswan - sailing on the Nile is one of the best things to do in Egypt

3. Sail along the Nile

There can’t be many more romantic or timeless experiences than watching the sun set over the Nile, with the bankside palm trees casting shadows on the water and the distant mountains turning pink in the fading light. Ramp up the romance a notch by taking to the river on a felucca from Luxor. These wooden sailing boats are a common sight and have been used for millennia. A sunset trip also includes dinner on Banana Island (named for its fruit trees) and a dip in the water, should you wish. The true highlight, though, is the simple pleasure of drinking hibiscus tea on deck as the day slowly fades away.

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The Bent Pyramid at Dahshur - seeing the first pyramids is one of the best things to do in Egypt

4. See the first pyramids

The pyramids at Giza get all the attention, but there are well over 100 pyramids in Egypt. Those at Djoser and the Dahshur complex , south of Cairo, are less crowded than at Giza, and can be visited on one of the city’s easiest day trips , combined with a tour of Memphis, Egypt’s first capital. Highlights are the Step Pyramid, the world’s oldest pyramid (built 2,630BC) and now reopened to visitors after a long restoration; the perfectly shaped Red Pyramid ; and the Bent Pyramid , with a top section that seems to bend in from the base. You can go inside all three.

Camel riding in Sharm el-Sheikh is one of the best things to do in Egypt

5. Go for a camel ride

Families who base themselves in Sharm el-Sheikh have plenty of activities on tap — and not just the watery pursuits offered by the Red Sea. A great day trip is to head inland and have an action-packed time exploring the Sinai desert. There are plenty of itineraries to choose from, but a fun all-round option for children includes a quad-bike safari, camel ride and barbecue dinner in a Bedouin camp, with entertainment provided by belly dancers. End the day by gazing at the constellations through a telescope; free from light pollution, the night sky is ablaze with stars here.

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Rock formations in the White Desert - spending a night in the desert is one of the best things to do in Egypt

6. Sleep in the desert

The wonders of the White Desert, another national park, are most often appreciated on a day excursion but you’ll add a whole other dimension to your experience if you stay the night. After travelling into the desert by cross-country vehicle from Cairo, you’ll spend time exploring the otherworldy landscape of rock formations, palm groves and oasis villages, before enjoying a traditional Arabic dinner cooked on the fire. You can choose to sleep either in a tent pitched on the sand or in the open air under the stars. Either way, you’ll drift off amid utter silence, with the feeling that you’re miles from anywhere.

Exploring the Karnak temple complex, one of the best things to do in Egypt

7. Explore the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes

The east bank of the Nile valley around Luxor is home to some of the most important and impressive historical sites in Egypt, if not the world — the Karnak temple complex and Luxor temple among them. A day’s guided tour can take in both, with a knowledgeable Egyptologist providing insight into the towering statues, columns and stone buildings, translating the hieroglyphics, and generally bringing ancient Egypt to life. The tour ends at the Luxor museum, home to artefacts collected from the tombs and temples. You can also visit in the evening, when the rose-pink sky fades to black, for the spectacle of the hokey if evocative evening Sound and Light Show.

8. Visit the Valley of the Kings

Most famous, perhaps, for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (and its associated curse), this was the burial place for Egypt’s most important pharaohs for over 500 years. Sixty-three of their tombs remain today, on a site to the west of Luxor. A few are open to the public and are best visited on a guided excursion from the city. You can explore the Valley of the Kings a private tour for the best insight into the tombs and their incredibly intact hieroglyphics; knowledgeable Egyptologists will pick you up from your hotel for a half-day visit.

Seeing the tomb of Tutankhamun is one of the best things to do in Egypt

9. Come face to face with Tutankhamun

The pharaoh Tutankhamun (or King Tut) reigned in Egypt over 3,000 years ago and his tomb lay undisturbed in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor until it was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. Some of the incredible haul of objects found with him are displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, including his instantly recognisable golden death mask. Give yourself enough time to see it all — there are another 120,000 artefacts and antiquities waiting to be discovered.

A visit to Mount Sinai and St Catherine's Monastery is one of the best things to do in Egypt

10. Walk in the footsteps of Moses

According to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God on the summit of Mount Sinai on the Sinai peninsula. Known in Arabic as Jabal Musa, the mountain is an important biblical site and climbing it is a suitably religious experience, whatever your beliefs. For maximum atmosphere, go up at night under a star-filled sky, stopping to drink coffee from Bedouin stalls; you’ll be at the top for sunrise — watching the peaks of the surrounding mountains turn red in the morning light is a truly epic moment. On the way back down, stop at Unesco-listed St Catherine’s Monastery; built around AD330, it’s the oldest functioning monastery in the world.

11. Learn to cook Egyptian food

Once you’ve had your first few meals in Egypt, you’ll wonder why so little of the cuisine has spread across the globe. Dishes are packed full of the freshest, most flavourful vegetables, sourced from the fertile Nile delta; meats are cooked over the fire to give intensity and depth; and the bread is absolutely delicious. Discover some of the country’s favourite dishes and learn to make them back home by taking a cooking class. There are a number available in Cairo but our favourites are run by local families and include a visit to a produce market, with the results enjoyed over a long, leisurely lunch.

12. Tour a learned city

The attractions of the Nile valley south of Cairo are so vast and varied that few people think to travel north and to Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. Those who don’t miss out on the city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great more than 2,000 years ago. It was once the country’s centre of culture and learning, home to an ancient library and the Lighthouse of Pharos, one of the seven wonders of the world. Both are now gone, but there’s a new library to explore, as well as cathedrals, churches and ancient Roman ruins — and the chance to soak up the atmosphere of a coastal city that feels very different to Cairo.

The Queen Mary 2 on the Suez Canal - watching boats on the Suez Canal is one of the best things to do in Egypt

13. Watch boats pass along the Suez Canal

If you were transfixed by the news of the Ever Given cargo ship wedging itself in the Suez Canal for six days in March 2021, causing a backlog of 450 vessels and around $10 billion of damage to global trade, head to the site of the story. The 120-mile long channel connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and divides Africa and Asia, and can be visited on a guided day trip from Cairo. You can bone up on the history and engineering feats behind the canal and see some of the 50 or so enormous boats that pass along it on a normal, blockage-free day.

14. Swim with dolphins in Hurghada

The Red Sea is rightfully popular with divers, but you can still enjoy it without the need of oxygen tanks and Padi certification — both above and below the surface. From the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, it’s possible to head out on a private boat, bouncing across the waves to an area of coral reefs. Here you can snorkel or sunbathe — and, if you’re lucky, get into the sea as pods of dolphins slice through the water around you. You’ll also visit a marine reserve and a shipwreck before bouncing back to shore again.

  • Best things to do in Hurghada

15. Travel to a relocated temple

What to do when the planned building of a dam threatens to drown a pair of 3,000-year-old temples? Build an artificial hill and move them stone by stone to safety. The whole operation to move Abu Simbel started in 1964 and took four years, and you can see the extraordinary results on a day trip from Aswan. The Unesco-listed temples emerge from the cliff face as though they’ve been there forever. The larger of the two, the Great Temple, is colossal, rising 30m high and receding 60m into the rock. It’s a long journey from Aswan, but the stories of the guide help pass the time.

A visit to the Khan el-Khalili bazaar is one of the best things to do in Egypt

16. Learn to bargain in a bazaar

Egyptians have been trading at the Khan el-Khalili bazaar since the 14th century and it remains an atmospheric place to shop — and get lost in. In the heart of Islamic Cairo, the open-air market opens from dawn to dusk. Spend a day wandering its narrow, winding lanes, passing under stone arches and stopping at stalls selling brassware, spices, lanterns, leather and silver. Plenty of artisans still have their workshops here, too. A guided tour will help you make sense of it all.

17. Take a hot-air balloon ride over Luxor

If you thought the ancient Egyptian sites along the Nile valley couldn’t get any more impressive, try viewing them from on high. Soaring in a hot-air balloon as the rising sun casts a golden glow over Luxor, the thick winding river and the ancient temples lining its banks — this may well be the most magical start to a day you’ve ever had. Around 20 balloons take off for flights of up to an hour, creating a wonderful spectacle in the sky. You’ll need to get up well before dawn, but it’s totally worth the early alarm call.

Visting Aswan is one of the best things to do in Egypt

18. Get under the skin of Aswan

Aswan, home of the Nubians and a place with a time-honoured affinity for Sudan, is Egypt’s most intriguingly beautiful city. It was here that Cleopatra invited Julius Caesar on a Nile cruise, before they fell in love on Elephantine Island. The Greeks also built temples to the Gods on its islands, before the Romans finished them off. Outside the unmissable temple of Philae, Hadrian came to build an imposing gate (not a wall), while Napoleon’s words were immortalised in stone to mark his arrival in 1799 when he claimed Aswan and its architectural glories for the French. Come unprepared, and it’s a lot to take in. Besides all the history, its location on the Nile headwaters is utterly exhilarating.

A visit to Bibliotheca Alexandrina is one of the best things to do in Egypt

19. Step into history at Bibliotheca Alexandrina

First came the Great Library of Alexandria, one of the most dazzling sites of the ancient world. Now the Mediterranean city is home to Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a trophy building and commemorative tribute to the lost site with shelf space for eight million books — it’s Waterstones, WHSmith, Blackwell’s and Barnes & Noble on steroids. It’s more than a library, of course: consider museums, art galleries with rotating exhibitions, a planetarium and culture complex. 

20. Have a religious experience in Cairo

Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities have all made their home in Cairo over the millennia and left an impressive mark on the city’s landscape. Take in some of the highlights on a private tour of Coptic and Islamic Cairo, visiting, among other things, the vast medieval citadel, the ornate Hanging Church, the 14th-century Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, and the atmospheric Ben Ezra Synagogue. Between the historic sights you’ll wander storied cobbled streets, check out market stalls and duck in and out of tea houses, all the while accompanied by a friendly local guide.

A visit to Kom Ombo and Edfu is one of the best things to do in Egypt

21. Explore Kom Ombo and Edfu

Giza and the temples and tombs of Luxor take the plaudits, but the ancient houses of lesser-known Kom Ombo and Edfu are equally rewarding. Broken bas-reliefs of crocodiles, damaged colonnades, worn-down flagstones and arches mark out Kom Ombo, which stands abruptly on the Nile’s water edge, while the city of Edfu is similarly ragged farther downriver. It’s home to the Temple of Horus and set in a landscape of bullrushes and water buffalo, beside a lapping shoreline and date palms.

Taking tea like Agatha Christie at the Old Cataract Hotel is one of the best things to do in Egypt

22. Take tea like Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie famously decamped to the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan to write Death on the Nile , penning the Poirot mystery here in 1937. Her desk is still in the building, and the hotel (now owned by Sofitel) has a suite named after her, but you needn’t book in for an overnight stay to feel close to the novelist; an afternoon tea on the terrace will do just as nicely. You’ll get all the usual components of an English high tea (cakes, scones and sandwiches), though the views of felucca sailing boats slowly drifting down the Nile are entirely Egyptian.

Taking a food tour of Cairo is one of the best things to do in Egypt

23. Take a food tour of Cairo

One of the best ways to get straight to the heart of a country and its culture is through its cuisine. That’s certainly the view of the two local women who run Bellies En-Route, with two tempting food walking tours in Cairo — one a more general introduction, the other on the city’s street food. You’ll learn how falafel is made and be introduced to the history and culture of certain Egyptian dishes, including ful medames (mashed fava beans), koshari (a mix of lentils, rice, onions, chickpeas and tomato sauce) and thick Egyptian coffee, all the while tucking into samples and making friends along the way.

24. Discover world-beating antiquities

The world of Egyptology is about to change for good. The Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza’s long-overdue antiquities treasure trove located adjacent to the Pyramids, is due to open late in 2023 to shed new light on ancient artefacts and thousands of finds that have never been seen before. Until then, you’ll still be able to ogle the century-old Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square in nearby Cairo, which the new archaeological temple is replacing.

Siwa oasis - visiting an oasis is one of the best things to do in Egypt

25. Spend time in an oasis

Siwa oasis is everything you imagined an oasis might be — a small village that seems to rise organically out of the desert, its streets lined with date palms and surroundings dotted with pools. It’s a long journey here (eight hours from Cairo) so you’re best off carving out a few days, heading out on excursions in the day and returning to candlelit dinners under a star-speckled sky at night. Your hotel will provide a host of activities to choose from; perhaps going on a 4×4 safari around the huge dunes of the Great Sand Sea, floating in a salt lake, taking a dip in a natural spring or learning how olive oil is made at the local press.

  • Is it safe to travel to Egypt?
  • Best Egypt tours: Cairo, Nile cruises and the pyramids

Inspired to visit Egypt but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from Tui and Expedia , as well as the best  tours of Egypt from our trusted partners .

unique places to visit in egypt

Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Egypt

One of the oldest tourist destinations in the world, Egypt and its collection of world-famous ancient sites and legendary national treasures have been wowing the crowds for centuries.

Beauty is, of course, is subjective but Egypt isn’t short on places that could be considered very beautiful. From world-famous historical sites to hippy-dwelling laid-back beach resorts, here is our list of 20 of the best and most beautiful places to visit in Egypt…

1. Alexandria – a historic and elegant port city

Alexandria in Egypt

Egypt’s second-largest city feels as Mediterranean and cosmopolitan as Marseille or Athens. Known for its époque buildings and grand squares it was once a very fashionable city.

Although it charms have faded a little, it’s still a must-see destination in Egypt.

For peace and quiet head for the regal Montazah Palace Gardens or for your history and architecture fix try Citadel of Qaitbay, an impressive-looking 15th-century fortress. Alternatively, choose one of the many antique coffee houses and sip coffee and puff on a water pipe while looking out over the Mediterranean sea.

2. Cairo – Egypt’s buzzing capital and a must-see destination for tourists

Cairo - top attractions in Egypt

Once you get over the chaos, the culture shock and in-your-face touts, this city is a traveller’s dream and easily one of the most important destinations to travel to in Egypt. History fans will also be in their element here with age-old traditions perfectly preserved in every corner of the city.

Of course, there’s also an endless supply of ancient temples, tombs, churches, monuments and the museums to explore.

Don’t leave without visiting the famous Khan el-Khalili souk or other street markets, especially if you feel the need to stock up on everything from exotic-looking carpets to brass trinkets.

3. The Red Sea Coast – a beautiful diver’s paradise

The Red Sea Coast

A highlight of many a traveller to Egypt, Sharm el Sheik is a holiday resort filled with luxury hotels, casinos, nightclubs and tourists getting their sun, sea and sand fix. Sharm el-Sheikh holidays are very popular although the real beauty of this area is the Red Sea.

The Red Sea has clear azure waters and an incredible amount of exotic fish and coral – which is why is so highly regarded as a diving destination.

In fact, it arguably offers some of the best diving and snorkelling experiences in the world. Get hold of some scuba gear (and an experienced instructor) and take a look for yourself – you won’t regret it.

4. Pyramids at Giza – Egypt’s must-see world-famous tourist attraction

Pyramids in Egypt

Eternally a top-rated attraction in Egypt, no visitor should leave without visiting Great Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza. They are the only remaining seven wonders of the world of the ancient world and over 4600 years old. They’re an imposing sight and the whole complex is still shrouded in mystery.

If time is an issue it is possible to see the main parts of the Pyramid site in around 2 hours but spend a full day in this area if your schedule will allow.

5. Luxor –  the pharaohs’ capital and a must-see destination

Luxor Egypt

Easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Egypt, this is one of the best cities to explore in Egypt – there are only a few places in the world that could be called an open-air museum but the Egyptian city Luxor is definitely one of them.

In fact, the number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world and most Egypt holidays wouldn’t be complete without a visit.

Spend a day or two at both the Valley of the Kings and the Queens which are each home to over 60 carved underground tombs. Make sure you also include a visit to the very impressive Luxor and Karnak temples.

6. The Nile – Egypt’s world-famous spectacular river

The River Nile

The best way to explore one of the world’s most famous rivers is by a cruise lasting for more than a few days. The stunning Nile is filled with interesting flora and fauna and a trip to this Egyptian delight will give you an interesting insight into the rural parts of Egypt.

You’ll also get to stop at plenty of famous temples and other ancient sites of interest. Although if boats are really not your thing head for the banks of Aswan to watch the sunset at one of the most beautiful stretches of the Nile.

7. Dahab – a laid-back resort attracting backpackers and divers

Dahab Egypt

Dahab is a laid-back resort town located on the Southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula. This beautiful town attracts both hippies and travellers who want to stay in a peaceful location in Egypt that isn’t packed with tourists year-round.

We love Dahab because of the incredible natural beauty of the place and it’s easily one of the most beautiful resorts in Egypt.

You will enjoy the golden sandy beaches with incredible ocean views that stretch across the Gulf to Saudi Arabia’s Hijaz Mountains.

There is plenty of beauty under the water as well, with corals and marine fauna, which is why Dahab is considered one of the best locations for scuba diving and snorkelling on the peninsula.

The famous Blue Hole is also located near Dahab — a gaping sinkhole carved into a reef. Its beautiful sparkling-blue water is an amazing sight. You can also venture into the Bedouin desert to the West of Dahab. It is a serene location with plenty of places to explore.

8. Mount Sinai – Egypt’s stunning holy mountain

Mount Sinai Egypt

If you stay in the Cairo area this will be a 1-2 day trip for you. Although I would say Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is definitely worth the journey and has a different feel to the rest of the country.

Mount Sinai is a popular attraction in Egypt this area. It has huge religious significance having been mentioned many times in the book of Exodus, the Bible and the Quran.

In Christianity, it’s the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Hiking this holy mountain is a popular activity and many even choose to hike through the night or stay in a lodge to wake early (2 or 3 am) and watch a sunrise of biblical proportions.

9. Saint Catherine’s Monastery – an incredible sacred site located at the foot of Mount Sinai

Saint Catherine's Monastery

Saint Catherine’s Monastery can be found just below Mount Sinai. It’s a very old and very important tourist site in Egypt and has a UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is, in fact, the oldest working monastery in the world.

St.Catherine’s is an unusual and strangely beautiful building juxtaposed against acres of dry arid landscapes.

Find the water well where Moses met his wife, see the ancestor of the famous burning bush and take a look at the cage of old monks’ skulls. Macabrely you can also see what is said to be the preserved hand of the real Saint Catherine.

10. Siwa Oasis – a beautiful desert gem and one of Egypt’s top attractions

Siwa Oasis - beautiful places to go in Egypt

The Siwa Oasis is often mentioned as one of the most stunning places to visit in Egypt.

Located off the beaten track between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea (in the Libyan Desert) it has its own distinct Siwan culture which differs from the mainstream Arabic culture.

The Siwans speak their own language and this area is known for its hot springs, fine jewellery and tasty dates and olives. Take a trip here and kick back for a while, swim or just try your luck at some sandboarding.

11. White Desert – one of Egypt’s most unique destinations and a must-see place

White Desert Egypt

The fabled White Desert of Egypt is a very interesting area in Egypt that can be found 28 miles north of the town of Farafra. The desert has an otherworldly beauty with bizarre, ghost-white rock formations sprouting from the desert sands.

The strange structures are actually huge chalk formations created as a result of occasional sandstorms in the area. Take a four-wheel drive through the desert or stay overnight for a truly surreal experience.

12. Hurghada – a beautiful and popular beach resort

beautiful places to visit in Egypt

Hurghada is a stunning resort town located on the Northeast coast of Egypt, just below the Gulf of Suez. A better description of Hurghada would be the  Hurghada Riviera as it stretches for 40 miles along the Red Sea Coast and is home to many luxurious resorts.

Originally a fishing town, Hurghada has grown quickly over the past few decades to become something of a tourist hotspot. There are many excellent restaurants, tourist attractions and accommodation options to choose from in the region.

This includes luxurious resorts like Makadi Bay, Sahl Hasheesh and El Gouna which make it the perfect location if you want to be pampered. However, it is the stunning natural beauty of Hurghada that is the highlight of this destination.

There are many pristine beaches to explore with bright white sand and crystal clear water. The coastline is also dotted with coral reefs, which is the reason why Hurghada is one of the most popular locations for diving and snorkelling in Egypt.

If you intend on exploring the reefs, be sure to check out Careless Reef, Giftun Islands, and Omo Gamaar. You can also swim with the dolphins off the coast of the Aden Beach Resort.

Finally, be sure to visit the Eastern Arabian Desert. There are many tours available for activities including quad biking, and visiting historical sites.

13. The Fjord Bay (Taba) – one of Egypt’s top beauty spots

Taba in Egypt

Taba is one of the most spectacular locations to pay a visit to in Egypt. It is a colourful little town positioned at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Despite its small size, it can get busy because it is used as a border crossing into Israel.

There are many attractions to enjoy in-and-around Taba including Red Sea Water World Taba Heights, Castle Zaman, Canyon Motor Sports, and the stunning Salah El-Din Castle.

The landscape is absolutely gorgeous and you will be constantly amazed by how scenic the locations are. Fjord Bay is a short drive from Taba. It is a natural bay that has become a popular spot for swimming, diving, hiking, climbing, boating, and many other outdoor activities.

The bay is surrounded by rolling hills which gently sweep down to the stunning aqua-blue water. It is a picturesque location that you won’t forget.

14. Aswan – a stunning and important city located on the Nile

Aswan city in Egypt

Aswan is a historic city on the southern end of the Nile River. One of the must-see cities in Egypt, it is a gorgeous metropolis set in an idyllic location with a pristine natural environment and scenic views.

In addition to being situated in a picturesque part of Egypt, the city itself is and packed with many amazing ancient buildings that give it a delightful ambience.

Aswan is one of the oldest cities in Egypt and has a rich history dating back many thousands of years. There are many beautiful locations to visit including the Aswan Botanical Gardens, Ruins of Abu, Tombs of the Nobles, and Elephantine Island.

It is the perfect location for learning more about Egypt’s rich culture and vast history.

15. Abu Simbel Temples – home to two huge and incredible rock temples

Abu Simbel Temples

The Abu Simbel Temples are one of the most instantly-recognisable historical sights in Egypt.

They are massive rock temples built by the ancient Egyptians between 1264 BC and 1244 BC. Known as the Temple of Ramesses, beloved by  Amun they are one of six rock templates built-in Nubia during the reign of Ramesses II.

The scale of the Abu Simbel Temples is incredible. They have a timeless beauty that continues to attract millions of visitors each year. The temples are a must-see location for any visitor to Egypt.

16. Nuweiba – an attractive coastal town in Egypt

Nuweiba Egypt

Nuweiba is a coastal town located on the East coast of the Sinai peninsula. An attractive city to holiday or travel to in Egypt, it’s surrounded by the pristine aqua-blue waters of the Gulf of Aqaba and the bright red sands of Sinai.

There are many beautiful sights to see in Nuweiba including the Coloured Canyon — a narrow trail walk surrounded by beautifully coloured rock formations.

You will be amazed by the colour variations in the rocks, which range from dark purple through to bright yellow. Bedouin tour guides will help you through the canyons and explain the significance of the canyon in their culture.

Another one of the must-see experiences near Nuweiba is Ain Khudra — a natural oasis not far from the town. It is often used as a hiking destination and place to meditate.

The beautiful palm trees and tranquil water pool are stunning. There are also many incredible rock natural rock sculptures and carvings surrounding this area.

There are also plenty of locations to go diving off the coast of Nuweiba including Duna Reef and Coral Island. The coral is plentiful and you will enjoy the diverse marine flora.

17. Berenice (Baranis) – an ancient seaport of Egypt

Berenice Egypt

The ancient city of Berenice is another popular location in Egypt for tourists interested in experiencing the most beautiful parts of Egypt. Located in the Red Sea Governorate, Berenice was founded as a trading port in 275BC and quickly became an important economic centre in the region.

One of the most exciting locations to visit near Berenice is the Temple of Semiramis built by Trajan and Tiberius. This large Roman temple is in excellent condition and is one of the most impressive sights in the region.

The outer walls of the temple are adorned with various artworks including depictions of Emperor Tiberius before the god Min and the nearby the deity of the Green Mines (located nearby).

The coast of Berenice has many pristine natural bays and coves to enjoy. You can also explore the stunning island of Zabargad, which was previously mined for a semi-precious gem named olivine.

There are many breathtaking views to enjoy in this area and plenty of marine life. It’s also a great place to go snorkelling or diving or to simply relax on one of the many beaches.

18. Marsa Alam – a gorgeous Red Sea beach resort

Marsa Alam

Marsa Alam is another gorgeous resort town to discover in Egypt. Situated on the Red Sea, it’s renowned for its pristine beaches and numerous coral reefs.

Abu Dabab Bay is one of the most popular locations for visitors to Marsa Alam. It is a U-shaped natural bay with crystal clear water and plenty of wildlife, including turtles, dugongs, and dolphins.

The Wadi el-Gemal National Park is just south of the town. It is a large park with a varied landscape that includes islands, desert, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.

You can spend many days exploring this national park and marvelling at its spectacular beauty.

19. Rosetta – a city where the famous Rosetta Stone was found

Rosetta Egypt

Rosetta (also called Ar Rashid) is a city located on the western bank of the Nile River, 65km Northeast of Alexandria. Founded in the 9th-Century, Rosetta has an interesting history, incredible architecture and vibrant culture.

Rosetta is mostly known for being the birthplace of the Rosetta Stone, which was used to translate ancient Egyptian into Ancient Greek. So because of this – and its beauty of course – it’s a top attraction in Egpyt.

Rosetta is a beautiful metropolis with amazing Islamic architecture and many lovely public spaces. You will enjoy wandering the winding streets and admiring the ancient mansions of Rosetta.

There are many three or four-story homes lining the streets with beautiful rustic brickwork and detailed mouldings.

20. Al Badari – a site home to predynastic cemeteries

Al Badari Egypt

Al Badari, also known as El Badari, is located on the East bank of the Nile River in Upper Egypt. It’s an important location to explore in Egypt which is world-famous because of the ancient cemeteries that were discovered there by the British in the 1920s.

The most popular of the two cemeteries are Mostageddan and Dier, as they contain some incredible ancient Egyptian sculptures and architecture.

They also contain some very old gravesites, with archaeologists finding graves from between 5500BC and 4000BC. They are truly beautiful sites to visit and will give you a real sense of the history of Egypt.

We hope you enjoyed our 20 of the most beautiful places to visit in Egypt, always a good idea to check up-to-date government travel safety advice before you travel.

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Emma Clair Kelly

Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh – writer and photographer

With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook .

Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board ,  Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

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10 thoughts on “Top 16 Cool and Unique Hotels in Amsterdam”

I can’t wait to go to Egypt. Ever since I was young, it has been a place I’ve wanted to go (but still haven’t). The thing that really amazes me is that even though it is mostly sand, the people know how to make appear colorful. And Abu Simbel? That is the place I want to go to most. I’d love to experience a little of what was ancient Egyptian life!

I want to visit every one of these! Thanks for putting this together Becky – beautiful photos too!

I went diving on the other side of the Red Sea in Jordan, and it was fun, but not nearly on the level of Sharm.

I’m hoping things settle down so I could visit – I feel like it could only be better over time. When did you go?

Beautiful Photos! They are breathtaking. I love Egypt, though at the same time Alexandria is a place I hate the most out of everywhere I have traveled, the people there are disgusting. I would never recommend that place for a woman traveler. My wife was covered well, dressing very appropriately and the men would still call out crap, and the gangs of kids/beggars followed us for ever. Way worse experience on the kids than we had anywhere else, including Delhi.

We spent a month travelling through and saw all of the places here, and to balance Alexandria I must say Dahab is one of my favorite places to be, lovely diving and way more relaxed than Sharm.

I’m your key to explore Egypt

The photo of Luxor just asks me to visit it and enjoy the stunning views that it offers.

Nice picture and nice place I hope I can go there sometime it really nice experience its nice to go there than watching it on the pictures.

I love that photo! I’ll be adding the Luxor Temples to my list. wow. -Todd

Sharm El Sheikh could also be added to the list.

Love the wonderful pictures of a wonderful place, Its an amazing place to visit.

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Best things to do in Egypt

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

  • best-things-to-do-in-egypt

written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 24.01.2023


Egypt is the Nile, and the Nile is Egypt, or so the saying goes. But there is much more to this ancient land than that. Egypt has long exercised a potent spell over ordinary people. It has inspired poetry and literature, architecture and more. Here is our guide to the best things to do in Egypt.

1. Visit Abu Simbel

2. explore the valley of the kings, 3. taste local street food, 4. watch mesmerising bellydancing, 5. discover the karnak temple, 6. enjoying jeep or camel safaris is one of the most exciting things to do in egypt, 7. explore islamic cairo, 8. take a feluccas cruise on the nile, 9. drink local fresh juice, 10. explore the catacombs of kom el shoqafa, 11. camp in the white desert, 12. take a hot air balloon ride, 13. visit the famous burial grounds in abydos, 14. relax in aswan, 15. see the sunrise from mount sinai, 16. visit the egyptian museum, 17. take a tour of the pyramids of dahshur, 18. enjoy scuba diving in ras mohammed national park, 19. explore alexandria, 20. visit st catherine’s monastery, 21. see the giza pyraminds and the great sphinx, 22. relax on south sinai beaches, 23. enjoy the springs in siwa oasis, 24. go on a nile cruise, 25. visit royal jewelry museum.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for visiting the world.

Tailor-made travel itineraries for Egypt, created by local experts

The Best of Egypt

8 days  / from 1999 USD

The Best of Egypt

Explore the history and culture of Egypt and its ancient rulers on this trip throughout the country. Start and end in Cairo and make your way down to Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel. Instead of domestic flights, you will hop on luxurious sleeper trains for your journey.

Cairo & a luxurious Dahabieh sailing cruise

13 days  / from 5499 USD

Cairo & a luxurious Dahabieh sailing cruise

Explore Egypt at a leisurely pace on board a dahabieh, a traditional sailing ship. In Cairo, visit the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, and in Giza, the pyramids; cruise to world-renowned sites alongside lesser-known treasures, such as Luxor’s tombs, el Kab and Gebel Silsileh’s Temple of Horemheb.

A Nile Cruise in Egypt

8 days  / from 2200 USD

A Nile Cruise in Egypt

Experience Cairo with the pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian museum before flying to Luxor to board your Nile cruise. Highlights include Karnak temple, Valley of Kings, Hatshepsut temple and an optional visit to Abu Simbel. Spend your last night in fascinating Cairo.

Five Star Egypt

8 days  / from 2900 USD

Five Star Egypt

A tour through the ancient wonders of Giza, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. Start and end your trip in beautiful Cairo, exploring the surroundings before heading down to Aswan: you will spend four nights on a luxurious Nile cruise ship, discovering ancient sites such as Abu Simbel.

An introduction to Egypt

7 days  / from 1999 USD

An introduction to Egypt

Marvel at the pyramids in Giza, explore busy Cairo, sleep on a luxurious sleeper train and explore more temples close to Luxor. This itinerary is fast-paced, with several nights in Cairo at the beginning and end, enabling you to see many fascinating sights in Egypt.

The monumental sun temple of Ramses II is the most spectacular of the Nubian antiquities that were relocated to higher ground on the shores of Lake Nasser . The mostly Nubian village of Abu Simbel south of Aswan, has some restaurants and cafés, as well as a few comfortable hotels. It is a relaxed kind of place, where people play backgammon in cafés or listen to Nubian music at night.

The lake looks beautiful at different times of the day, but it’s especially wonderful to visit the temple at the crack of dawn before the crowds arrive, or late afternoon.

Explore the history and culture of Egypt and its ancient rulers on this tailor-made trip to the best of Egypt throughout the country. Start and end in Cairo and make your way down to Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel.

Small Temple of Nefertari, Abu Simbel, Egypt © Shutterstock

Nefertari Temple in Abu Simbel, Egypt © Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

The descent into the Underworld, the Judgement of Osiris and the rebirth of the pharaoh are vividly depicted on the walls and ceilings of the royal tombs. After being embalmed and mummified, the New Kingdom pharaohs were transported in the solemn cortège Valley of the Kings . This tomb was hidden in a secluded wadi in the Theban hills.

The entrance to the valley is from the visitors' centre. Here, guides will take you through the history behind the Valley of Kings. A noddy train then takes visitors to the entrance of the valley, but it is easy enough to walk.


Hieroglyphs on the wall in King Tut's Tomb © bleung/Shutterstock

Sold from pushcarts or in sit-down diners, Egyptian street food is tasty, cheap and nourishing. In the Middle Ages, Egyptian cuisine enjoyed a high reputation all over the Islamic empire. However, few now travel to Egypt in search of a culinary experience.

Nevertheless, Egyptians love to eat – and to share a meal. Street food in Egypt includes a variety of dishes, ranging from savoury snacks and sandwiches to sweet desserts and beverages. Some popular street food items in Egypt include:

  • Falafel: Deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Falafel is often served in a sandwich with vegetables and sauces.
  • Shawarma: Thin slices of grilled meat, usually chicken or lamb, served in pita bread with vegetables and sauces.
  • Koshary: A popular street food dish made from a combination of rice, lentils, and macaroni, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions.
  • Feteer: A type of savoury pastry made from thin layers of dough, filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables.

Shawarma with chicken on wood table ©  MOUTASEM PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

Shawarma with chicken on wood table © MOUTASEM PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

The centuries-old tradition of raqs sharqi is best seen at clubs frequented by locals. Egyptian belly dancing is noted for its controlled and precise movements. Experiencing this artform will open another window into the country’s colourful culture.

Bellydancing is an ancient art form with roots in various cultures and traditions, and has evolved over time to include a range of styles and techniques. In Egypt, belly dancing is often associated with traditional celebrations and ceremonies, and is also a popular form of entertainment at restaurants and events.


Belly dancer in Egypt © Waleed Shah/Shutterstock

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Dedicated to the ancient Theban Triad of Amun , Mut and Khonsu, this vast complex reached its zenith during the New Kingdom. The Karnak Temple is an ancient temple complex located in Luxor. It is one of the largest and most impressive temple complexes in the world and is a must-see attraction for visitors to Egypt.

It is a vast complex comprising a number of temples, chapels, and other structures — surrounded by massive walls and gates. The Karnak Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visiting it is among the best things to do in Egypt. Especially for anyone interested in ancient history and architecture.

Experience Cairo with the pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian museum on this tailor-made Nile Cruise in Egypt . Highlights include Karnak temple, Valley of Kings, Hatshepsut temple and an optional visit to Abu Simbel. Spend your last night in fascinating Cairo.


Karnak Temple, Egypt © serpetko/Shutterstock

Make tracks into the dunes of the Western Desert or the canyons of Sinai . Overnight trips or major expeditions are easily arranged. Jeep safaris typically involve driving a 4x4 vehicle through the desert, stopping at various points of interest along the way. These safaris can be arranged as full-day or multi-day tours and can include visits to sites such as oases, sand dunes, and ancient ruins.

Camel safaris, on the other hand, involve riding a camel through the desert, often stopping at local villages and other points of interest along the way. Both jeep and camel safaris offer a unique way to experience the western desert and its culture, and can be tailored to suit the interests and preferences of the traveller.


Camel safari in Egypt © Banana Republic images/Shutterstock

Cairo is a city of a thousand minarets, with a rich and fascinating history. Head for Khan el-Khalili bazaar, or the Citadel to explore some of the city's many architectural treasures.

Centuries of Muslim rule have left Cairo with an astonishing legacy of Islamic architecture, and there are plenty of things to do in Egypt for those interested in history and culture.

The Rough Guides to Egypt and related travel guides

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Many mosques built around tombs of important religious figures have become sites of local pilgrimage. The tomb of Sayyida Zeinab is inside a large mosque and is one of the most popular. Up to a million people gather here in the first two weeks of October, when Sayyida is venerated.

Things not to miss: Detail of a wall, Khan el-Khalili souk, Cairo, Egypt.

Detail of a wall, Khan el-Khalili souk © Eric Valenne geostory/Shutterstock

In Egypt, one of the best things to do is to hire a felucca —a traditional sailboat. Take a few hours to watch the sunset or for two-four day cruises with visits to temples along the way. Feluccas offer a unique and peaceful way to explore the Nile River and experience the natural beauty and culture of Egypt.

They usually carry six to eight passengers and two to three crew and the boatmen will also cook local meals (like foul, falafel, hummus and pitta bread) and advise where it is safe to swim.

You will find even more ideas for your African travels in our guide to 7 amazing African journeys .


Felucca boat, Nile river in Aswan, Egypt© Raimonds Romans raymoonds/Shutterstock

Most towns have a sprinkling of juice bars or carts, where you can quench your thirst with whatever’s in season. From freshly pressed oranges and mangoes to strawberries and sugar cane. Egyptians will tell you that “Once you drink water from the Nile, you will always come back to Egypt”. This is a nice sentiment, however, it is best to stick to mineral water or fresh juices.

Freshly squeezed asir (juice) is excellent and very cheap. The most widely available juice is asir laymun (fresh lemon or lime), usually served sweetened unless you say otherwise. Usually there will also be a choice of asir burtuqan (freshly squeezed winter or summer oranges), moz (banana), gazar (carrot) and gawafa (sweet guava).

Fresh orange for sale in Morocco © LHamilton/Shutterstock

Drinking local juice from the fresh oranges is one of the best things to do in Egypt after a busy day © Shutterstock

Beneath the Karmous quarter of Alexandria are the spookiest tombs in Egypt. With a bizarre fusion of pharaonic, Greek and Roman funerary motifs these tombs reflect the city’s ancient diversity.

The tombs constitute the largest Roman-period funerary complex in Egypt. They date from about the 2nd century AD, a time when the old religions began to fade and merge with one another.

The catacombs kom el shoqafa, top tourism sights in Alexandria Egypt ©  Justina Elgaafary/Shutterstock

Catacombs in Kom el-Shoqafa, Eegypt © Justina Elgaafary/Shutterstock

A tract of weird wind-eroded rock formations in Farafra Oasis is often visited on overnight safaris from the neighbouring oasis of Bahariya . Erosion by wind and rain over many thousands of years has sculpted these massive blocks into strange shapes that loom out of the desert landscape like monstrous white ghosts.

For visitors with 4x4 vehicles, the area makes a popular weekend excursion from Cairo. You'll want to spend a couple of nights camping in the desert. If you don’t have your own vehicle, the best way to see this remarkable area is to join an organised tour from Cairo.


White desert, Farafra, Egypt © sunsinger/Shutterstock

Enjoying a magnificent view of the Theban Necropolis on Luxor’s west bank is one of the best things to do in Egypt. Hot air balloon rides are a popular activity for tourists visiting Egypt, particularly in the Luxor region. Luxor is located in the southern part of the country and is known for its ancient ruins, including the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings.

Hot air balloon rides offer a unique and memorable way to see these sites and the surrounding countryside, as well as a chance to experience the peacefulness and beauty of the desert from a different perspective.


Colossi Memnon, Egypt © Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

One of the most ancient cult centres in Egypt, Abydos’ mortuary temple of Seti I contains magnificent bas-reliefs. In fact, they are the finest to have survived from the New Kingdom. Abydos is associated with the legend of Osiris.

From the Middle Kingdom onwards, every pharaoh as well as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims left some token of their presence or a false stele at Abydos. They hoped to gain favour with Osiris in his capacity as Judge of the Court of the Hereafter. The area is thus a mass of funeral stele, burial grounds, former temples and memorials.


Seti Temple in Abydos, Egypt © akimov konstantin/Shutterstock

Aswan has been Egypt’s gateway to Nubia since ancient times, and its islands, bazaars and riverside restaurants can keep you happy in between excursions to sites such as Abu Simbel . Aswan, for many at the end of a Nile trip, is a laid-back, warm place that is good for lingering for a few days.

The souqs are more relaxed and less pushy than in other Egyptian towns, and there is definitely a hint of Africa in the souvenirs for sale. There are plenty of things to do in Egypt's southernmost city, including taking a felucca around the islands, sniffing the scents of the botanical garden and listening to the Nubian children sing is the perfect way to watch the sun go down behind the desert on the other side.

Try our tailor-made tour to five-star Egypt through the ancient wonders of Giza, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. Start and end your trip in beautiful Cairo, exploring the surroundings before heading down to Aswan: you will spend four nights on a luxurious Nile cruise ship, discovering ancient sites such as Abu Simbel.

Where to stay in Aswan:

  • Best for peaceful stays: The Mango Guest House
  • Best for stunning views: Eco Nubia

Find more accommodation options to stay in Aswan


Nile river, Aswan, Egypt © Marcel Bakker/Shutterstock

This awesome peak is revered as the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. There are two principal routes to the top and it takes about two-and-a-half-hours each way. The longer and less steep route, Siket El Bashait, can also be negotiated by camel. The steeper, more direct route, Siket Sayidna Musa, is up the 3,750 “steps of penitence”. This route is comprised of rough stone steps that were likely constructed in the 6th or 7th century.

One of the things to do in Egypt is to climb the Great Pyramid of Giza and take in the view from the top. The view from the top is magnificent, particularly at dawn or sunset. In fact, many visitors book tours that arrive at approximately 1 am at the foot of the mountain in order to climb to the top to watch the sunrise.

Mount Sinai, Egypt © Anton Kozlovsky/Shutterstock

Mount Sinai, Egypt © Anton Kozlovsky/Shutterstock

Home to Tutankhamun’s treasures, monumental statues from the Old Kingdom and the Amarna era, a dozen royal mummies and countless other artefacts. The museum was first commissioned in 1835 by the government, which was desperate to stop the widespread plundering and looting of the country’s many archaeological sites.

There’s much to see at the Egyptian Museum, including wonderful objects from the lesser-known Royal Tombs. These were discovered un-plundered at Tanis in the northern Delta in 1939. No-one should miss anything if time is not a consideration, but visitors in a hurry should turn left through the entrance to see the treasures of the Old Kingdom.


Golden Pharoah Tutankhamun mask, Egypt © Sean M Smith/Shutterstock

Less famous than the Giza trio but no less fascinating – and far less crowded. The Bent Pyramid, the resting place of Snofru, has a distinctive angled top. The peace and quiet beauty of the palm groves around Dahshur have attracted many of Cairo’s professional class, who have built rural retreats here.

The most pleasant time of year to visit the site is mid-winter, when a lake forms within an artificial embankment below the Black Pyramid. The Black Pyramid was built of brick but unused by Amenemhet III one of Egypt’s most colourful kings. The dark colour that gives it its name arises from the fact that it has been systematically stripped of its original white limestone covering.

The view of the pyramid across the lake is one of the most charming in Egypt, worth the 5km drive from Saqqara . Its inscribed capstone is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

If you're looking for more non-obvious destinations for your trip to Africa, read our guide to the 10 spectacular sights off the beaten track in Middle East and North Africa .

Dahshur, Egypt

Dahshur © Shutterstock

Dreaming of seeing the ancient sites of the world? Don't miss our guide to the lost cities of the world .

Egypt’s oldest marine nature park boasts spectacular shark reefs and the wreck of the Dunraven. Ras Mohammed is known for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and rich marine life, and is a popular destination for scuba diving. The park is home to a variety of coral reefs, shipwrecks, and other underwater attractions, making it an ideal destination for diving enthusiasts.

Scuba diving in Ras Mohammed requires a diving license, which can be obtained through a certified diving school. There are a number of dive schools and centres located in the area that offer diving courses and guided dives. Dive sites in the park range in depth and difficulty, so there is something for divers of all levels.

Where to stay near the Ras Mohammed National Park:

  • Best for the variety of activities: Sunrise Montemare Resort
  • Best for families: Naama Bay Hotel

Find more accommodation options to stay near the Ras Mohammed National Park


Scuba divers entering a shipwreck Dunraven © Anna segeren/Shutterstock

There’s plenty to discover in this Mediterranean port city. Alexandria has fabulous seafood, vintage coffee houses, a dazzling new library and the chance to dive into the ruins of Cleopatra’s Palace. A visit to Alexandria, even if only for a couple of days, is the perfect counterbalance to the intensity of Cairo. With its string of beaches and Mediterranean outlook, Alexandria is much more laid-back and a good place to relax.

Today’s Alexandria does feature an interesting crop of museums, and over the past few years the city, which has more than 5.2 million inhabitants and is the Mediterranean’s largest urban centre, has seen considerable cosmetic rejuvenation and has recovered a little of its former prestige.

Where to stay in Alexandria:

  • Best for hospitality: Eastern Al Montazah Hotel
  • Best for classy atmosphere: Steigenberger Cecil Hotel

Find more accommodation options to stay in Alexandria


Library in Alexandria, Egypt © Shutterstock

Secluded beneath Mount Sinai, St Catherine’s contains several holy relics. For example, it harbours the burning bush that appeared to Moses in the Bible. It is considered one of the oldest and most important monasteries in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery was founded in the 6th century and is named after St Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian martyr who was believed to be buried at the site.

The monastery is known for its rich history and cultural significance. Is known as well for its beautiful architecture and stunning location at the foot of Mount Sinai. It is an important centre of pilgrimage for Christians.

Travelling to Egypt is popular not only because of its rich culture and wide range of activities to suit all tastes but also because of its affordability. In our guide to 20 of the cheapest places to travel you will find even more attractive destinations.


St Catherine monastery in Sinai, Egypt © Mildax/Shutterstock

The world’s most famous monuments have inspired scholarly and crackpot speculations for centuries. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a list of the most impressive and iconic structures and natural wonders in the world as determined by ancient Greek and Roman scholars.

The Great Sphinx is a large stone statue located near the pyramids. It is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, and is believed to have been carved around 2500 BC. The Great Sphinx is one of the largest and most well-known statues in the world, and is a symbol of ancient Egyptian culture.

Marvel at the pyramids in Giza , explore busy Cairo, sleep on a luxurious sleeper train and explore more temples close to Luxor on this tailor-made introduction to Egypt .


Seeing the Sphinx Pyramid is one of the essential things to do in Egypt © Raimonds Romans raymoonds/Shutterstock

Sinai chill-out zone, renowned for its diving, beach cafés, and camel and jeep safaris into the rugged interior. With its two coasts, oases, mountains and historic sites, South Sinai is a popular destination. The wide sandy beach of Ras Sedr is a favourite stopping place, where there are several hotels. Many Cairenes have holiday homes here.

Sharm el-Sheikh is a city located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. It is a popular vacation destination known for the most beautiful beaches in Egypt, clear waters, and warm climate. The city is located on the Red Sea and is known for its excellent scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities.

For more information about this Egyptian destination read our guide to exploring Egypt's Sinai Peninsula .

Where to stay in Sharm el-Sheikh:

  • Best for luxury: Stella Di Mare Beach Hotel & Spa
  • Best for comfort: Albatros Laguna Vista Resort

Find more accommodation options to stay in Sharm el-Sheikh

Dahab, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, Mountains and Coast of red sea

Dahab, Sinai peninsula, Egypt © Shutterstock

With its unique culture, hilltop citadel and spring-fed pools, Siwa is rated by many as the best of Egypt’s oases. Lying 780km west of Cairo, the most remote and perhaps the most engaging of Egypt’s oases, Siwa is unusual in Egypt in that it has a distinct culture and its own language, related to the Berber languages of North Africa.

Among the orchards, palm and olive groves, lie numerous bubbling springs, and indeed, the water is so plentiful at Siwa that large salty lakes have formed and drainage is a major problem. Follow the track to the Temple of Jupiter Amun and you will reach Ain Juba, the ancient Cleopatra’s Spring or Fountain of the Sun, whose crystal-clear waters are said to have purifying properties.

Where to stay in Siwa:

  • Best for traditional design: Qasr El salam
  • Best for couples: Sleep In Siwa

Find more accommodation options to stay in Siwa

Siwa Oasis, Egypt

Siwa oasis, Egypt © Shutterstock

A cruise on the Nile is still a good way both to visit the temples and ancient sites and to sample the peaceful life along the river. You’ll see local farmers, fishermen, small villages and beautiful views of the deserts and hills lining the Nile, and if you’re lucky, have clear skies for spectacular sunsets.

Hundreds of ships now cruise along the Nile following more or less the same itinerary but offering a wide choice of accommodation, suitable for every budget. It is advisable to book cruises before you leave for Egypt as it is usually cheaper to buy them as part of a package.

Explore Egypt at a leisurely pace on board a dahabieh, a traditional sailing ship on our tailor-made Cairo & a luxurious Dahabieh sailing cruise . In Cairo, visit the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, and in Giza, the pyramids; cruise to world-renowned sites alongside lesser-known treasures, such as Luxor’s tombs, el Kab and Gebel Silsileh’s Temple of Horemheb.


Nile cruise in Egypt © Shutterstock

The Royal Jewelry Museum is a museum located in Cairo, Egypt. It is also known as the Cairo Jewelry Museum or the Egyptian Museum of Jewelry. The museum is home to a collection of precious and semi-precious stones, gold and silver jewellery, and other decorative objects that were used by the royal families of Egypt over the centuries.

Visitors to the Royal Jewelry Museum can explore the museum's collection and learn about the history and cultural significance of the pieces on display. The museum also offers guided tours and educational programs for those interested in learning more about the history of jewellery in Egypt. Visiting the Royal Jewelry Museum is one of the best things to do in Egypt for anyone interested in history, art, and jewellery.

Where to stay in Cairo:

  • Best for pyramids views: Horus Guest House
  • Best for budget: Comfort Pyramids inn

Find more accommodation options to stay in Cairo

Cairo national museum in Cairo, Egypt © Shutterstock

Egyptian jewellery © Shutterstock

Ready for a trip to Egypt ? For more inspirational travel tips check our Rough Guide books . Also, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in Egypt. For inspiration use the itineraries from our local travel experts . A bit more hands-on, learn about getting there , getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Egypt without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

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Amazing Places to Visit in Egypt

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: November 13, 2023

Who hasn’t dreamed of going to Egypt? An ancient and mystical land, Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations on earth. With a 5000-year history housing two of the world’s seven ancient wonders, Egypt offers the romance and intrigue of a bygone era of travel. What was once overly crowded with tourists, is seeing fewer foreigners these days offering intrepid travelers a chance to visit amazing places in Egypt without the crowds.

Table of Contents

Best Places To Visit In Egypt

Egypt is full of famous monuments, and remarkable landscapes. The fabled Sahara Desert and the legendary Nile River are top attractions to see, not to mention its world-class diving, and incredible beach vacations. Egypt has been the gateway to Africa for millennia. Many people know of the Pyramids of Giza but there are many other iconic places to visit in Egypt that will excite even the most seasoned travelers. Also, check out Fun Facts About Egypt

Off the Beaten Path Places to Visit in Egypt

Egypt has it all. Home to the only remaining Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, countess UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and incredible pyramids it is a dream destination that will leave a lasting impression for years to come. We could start with the top tourist attractions in Cairo in this post, but we thought we’d introduce you to some lesser-known destinations before we get into the famous monuments of Egypt. So what are the best places to visit in Egypt? Let’s find out!

1. White Desert National Park

We arranged a three-day tour to the White Desert from Cairo. If there is one unique thing you should do in Egypt, it is to see the White Desert. Giant white chalky rock formations jut out of the desert landscape creating an incredible scene.

Brought on by erosion, these powdery mounds create the illusion of massive mushrooms, eagles and turkeys, and even one that looks like a camel. Having a true Bedouin experience, we camped out under the stars surrounded by standing stones. You can book an overnight to to the desert from Cairo.

2. Siwa Oasis

Siwa takes you far off the beaten path near the border of Libya. In the middle of the Siwa Oasis is an 13th century walled fortified town built by mud brick and rock salt. It is in ruins today, but a tour through the abandoned buildings is a highlight of any trip to Egypt. It is here that there is plenty of desert adventures from dune buggy rides to sand boarding.

3. Abu Simbel

Located on Lake Nassar Abut Simbel is Ramesses II’s imposing temple. It was built to show the power of Egypt. Originally located on The Nile, Abu Simbel needed to be moved when the Egyptians created the Aswan High Dam project. It would have been engulfed by water never to be seen again until the government came to its rescue.

Abu Simbel was taken apart piece by piece and rebuilt it high on the banks of the lake Nassar. We saw Abul Simbel en route to the Sudan where we crossed the border to Wadi Halfa. It is a truly remarkable place to visit, taking you off the beaten path in Egypt.

Places to Visit in Egypt – Cairo

4. pyramids of giza.

I know I said there are more places to visit in Egypt than the pyramids of Giza, but they must not be missed! Weaving through the back streets of Cairo on our hired camels we felt as if we stepped back in time a thousand years. Markets were in a flurry with customers and we could barely catch a glimpse of the ancient pyramids. But then we turned a corner and gasped at the view in front of us. Read more: 27 Amazing Historical Places In The World

The main pyramids of Giza are the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Great Pyramid), the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure. These structures are among the most iconic and enduring symbols of Ancient Egypt, representing the zenith of pyramid construction during the Old Kingdom.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest and oldest of the three, originally standing at 146.6 meters (481 feet) tall. The Pyramid of Khafre, slightly smaller, includes the Sphinx nearby. The Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the three main pyramids. Together, they form a complex that has fascinated people for millennia and remains a major archaeological and tourist site.

The Great Pyramid of Giza doesn’t seem real as it towers over the barren desert. This is the only remaining structure of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. From the Great Sphinx to

We have visited them two other times and hired a private guide to take us on a tour of the pyramids and the Sphinx. Each visit is just as exciting as the first. You can now book a guided camel and quad tour of the desert and pyramids.

5. Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo is known as the “City of Citadels” with many mosques to visit including the Sultan Hussan Mosque and the Alabaster Mosque aka, The Mosque of Muhammad Ali. It is the most visited mosque in all of Egypt and with good reason.

Get lost in the streets of the Khan el-Khalili bazaar and tour of the Cairo Citadel.

Where to Stay in Cairo

  • We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel Cairo and it was fabulous.
  • If you want something cheaper, we also stayed at the Dahab Hostel and loved it.

6. Egyptian Museum

It took us three visits to finally enter the Egyptian Museum and it didn’t disappoint. Other museums around the world have Egyptian artifacts but this takes it to the next level.

It is worth touring the museum because when visiting the temples of Egypt, there is nothing inside they have all been moved to the safety of the museum where you can see them with your own eyes. See our list of the best ancient ruins in the world

Ancient Egypt Along The Nile

7. valley of the kings.

We all know about King Tut and it is here that you can visit his tomb. In fact, you can visit all of the Kings of the Pharaoh’s tombs. Ramesses, I-V, and everyone in between were entombed in extravagant tombs filled with riches and jewels on the West Bank of the Nile.

You won’t see the treasures in these tombs today, but you will see the paintings and hieroglyphics drawn on the walls of these massive chambers that are as big as a house. The tombs are impressive but the valley itself is even more incredible. I can see why the ancient Egyptians chose this as the resting place of their most important leaders.

The Tomb of Queen Nefertari

The Valley of the Queens is not as impressive as the Valley of the Kings, but The Tomb of Queen Nefertari is a standout. Nefertari, the beloved wife of Ramesses II, was honored with one of the most beautiful tombs, indicative of her esteemed position.

Known for its vibrant colors and intricate detail, the tomb provides an awe-inspiring look at Egyptian artistry and offers a glimpse into the past, displaying what tombs looked like over 3,000 years ago? ?. The preservation efforts and the limited visitor capacity further emphasize its delicate grandeur and the importance of conservation? ?.

8. Egypt Bucket List – The Tomb of Tutankhamun

When visiting Egypt, you will check off many items on your travel bucket list. I know we did! For us, it was sleeping in the desert for the first time, sailing along the fabled Nile River, seeing the Great Pyramids with our own eyes, and visiting King Tut’s tomb. We felt like Indiana Jones!

9. Temple of Hatshepsut

This impressive temple is dedicated to the female King Hatshepsut. She was the leader of the Pharaohs for 27 years. Hatshepsut’s monument rivals even the greatest of kings.

Built between 1490-1460 BC it is one of the most impressive temples in Egypt. It is impossible to imagine that the Nile reached the grounds of this temple complex and that the area surrounding it was lush and green. Today the desert is dry, but the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is no less impressive.

10. Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple is the star attraction of Luxor located on the banks of the Nile it is one of the best-preserved of all the temples in Egypt.

11. Karnak Temple

But the Karnak Temple is also a must-see. The massive site of ancient ruins is awe-inspiring. Walking through the Obelisks and columns will take your breath away. We took a Felucca cruise to see the city from the water. Sailing along the fabled Nile, I wondered exactly what bank Moses was left on. Read more: 10 Amazing Temples of Egypt – That We’ve Seen

12. The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III

The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu is a formidable New Kingdom structure on the West Bank of Luxor. It is celebrated for its grandeur, and extensive and well-preserved wall reliefs, including those depicting the defeat of the Sea Peoples during Ramesses III’s reign? ?.

The temple’s design is orthodox, resembling the Ramesseum, and it includes chapels of various Divine Adoratrices of Amun. The history etched into its walls and the connection to the royal palace via the “Window of Appearances” make it a profound visit for those interested in Egypt’s illustrious past.

13. The Nile River

Nothing is more magical than taking a Nile Cruise. The Nile River is the longest river in the world stretching  6,695km!

We also took a felucca along the Nile. Camels and goats walked along the river banks and the day was silent as we fulfilled yet another one of our dreams. Many one to three-day cruises set sail from Luxor to Aswan and Aswan is a great place to spend a couple of days.

14. Aswan Nile River Cruise

It is from Aswan that tours to Abu Simbel can be booked. Aswan is located on the Nile in the South of Egypt just before the journey over Lake Nassar. It’s a popular town with ships setting sail each day, but be sure to spend a few days exploring.

There is the Nubian Museum, day trips to Abu Simbel, The Temple of Isis, The Aswan Dam, and Elephant Island waiting to be explored.

15. Temple of Kom Ombo

The Temple of Kom Ombo stands out as a must-visit site in Egypt due to its unique double design, dedicated to two sets of deities: Sobek, the crocodile god of fertility and creator of the world, and Horus, the falcon-headed god of the sky.

This architectural marvel offers a rare glimpse into the religious duality of ancient Egyptian worship. Located on the banks of the Nile, it provides stunning views and an immersive experience into the historical world of pharaohs. The temple is also famed for its detailed carvings, including the only known depiction of ancient surgical instruments, making it a treasure trove for history enthusiasts and culture vultures alike. Read more: 10 Amazing Temples of Egypt – That We’ve Seen

16. Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid is a lesser-known pyramid of Egypt, but it was our favorite. We crawled inside the pyramid to see the interior of the complex to see what it was like deep in the chamber. The Red Pyramid is far less visited than the Pyramids of Giza. While you are there, you can also visit the nearby Step Pyramid. Read more: The Red Pyramid of Egypt – Experience it Inside and Out

17. The Bent Pyramid of Egypt

Located in Saqqara near the Step Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid is believed to be the first attempt at building a smooth-sided pyramid.

While it didn’t work, the large pyramid has lasted through the centuries with its curved sides rather than the straight points of the other Pyramids of Egypt.

Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea Coast

We cycled more than 500 km from Cairo to Safaga taking in the beauty of Egypt. It was a wonderful stop to sit by the Red Sea taking in the balmy breeze. Besides being famous for diving, there are plenty of things to do in Safaga with luxury resorts, fine dining, boutique shopping, and museums, it is a wonderful place to visit in Egypt. If you enjoy scuba diving, this is the place to do it, but there is also great snorkeling and even glass bottom boats.

18. Sharm El-Sheikh

Sharm El-Sheikh is Egypt’s most popular resort destination located on the Sinai Peninsula. It is yet another excellent spot for scuba diving, but with its convenient location, it is also a great spot for adventure.

19. Ras Mohammed National Park

Ras Mohammed National Park is an exceptional destination for visitors who seek both terrestrial and marine wonders. The park is celebrated for its crystal-clear waters that are ideal for snorkeling and diving, especially from March to May, when sea conditions are perfect for encountering diverse marine life like dolphins, turtles, and sharks? ?.

Visitors can engage in a variety of activities such as hiking, bird watching, boat trips, and simply relaxing on the picturesque beaches? ?. With its vibrant coral reefs, abundant wildlife, and a plethora of activities, Ras Mohammed National Park provides an unparalleled experience in one of Egypt’s most beautiful natural settings, making it a compelling addition to any travel itinerary? ?.

20. Hurghada

Hurghada is taking over Sharm El-Sheikh as a popular spot for fun in the sun. Besides lounging on the beach, visitors can dive into a plethora of activities such as snorkeling in crystal clear waters, exploring the vibrant underwater life at sites like the Straits of Gubal and Gota Abu Ramada, and taking boat trips to the serene Giftun Islands? ?.

Adventure enthusiasts can also indulge in desert safaris by jeep or quad bike, dine with picturesque views at Hurghada Marina, or immerse in local culture with Bedouin dinner tours. With such a wide array of activities set against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty, Hurghada is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences for every traveler.

21. El Gouna

For a luxury escape in Egypt, El Gouna is a popular holiday destination. It’s a popular spot for diving in the Red Sea, chilling out at the beach, and dolphin spotting. From five-star resorts to fine dining, it’s a wonderful escape after having an adventure in Egypt. Read more El Gouna, Egypt – the Perfect Beach Holiday

21. Saint Catherine’s Monastery

Located at the foot of Mount Sinai, a visit to Saint Catherine’s Monastery is a must-visit when in the Sinai Peninsula. It is the very place where God spoke to Moses as a burning bush. (If you believe in that sort of thing). Dating back to the 500s AD, this is the oldest continuously working Christian monastery in the world.

22. Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai, also known as Jebel Musa, is the biblical mountain in Egypt where it is believed that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. It is a significant site in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions.

Many tourists and pilgrims trek to the summit of Mount Sinai, where they can enjoy stunning sunrise views and visit the small chapel and mosque located there. The hike is considered moderately challenging and is often done overnight to witness the sunrise from the peak.

23. Alexandria

Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria is where East meets West. Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and is one of the top places to visit. Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria housed one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Alexandria Lighthouse. Psst: The Great Pyramids are another ancient wonder. Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Alexandria, Egypt

One of our favorite places to see was the Alexandria Library. The new and modern building is located on the site of the original ancient library which was the largest collection of books in the ancient world.

And these are the best places to visit in Egypt. Egypt is a spectacular destination that everyone should visit once in their lifetime. For its ancient history and historical monuments, this is a trip you will never forget.

  • Discovering Egypt: A Photo Story
  • 10 Reasons Why El Gouna, Egypt is the Perfect Beach Holiday
  • Everything You Need to Know About Alexandria, Egypt

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

You May Also Like

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Pictures of Egypt – Beautiful Places in Ancient Egypt

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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11 thoughts on “Amazing Places to Visit in Egypt”

Awesome post! Its my child dream go to Pyramids of Giza. I watched a lot of movies with this place and its wonderful.

Egypt is one of my dream destinations! Great read and fabulous photos!

I’ve been there three times, and I’d go again tomorrow. There’s absolutely no sense of ‘been there; done that’ about it. Still have to see Alexandria, St Catherine’s Monastery and the Red Sea resorts.

And, although I’ve seen Cairo and the Pyramids, (twice) done a Luxor-Aswan AND an Aswan-Luxor cruise plus a Lake Nasser cruise, I’d still do any of these again.

It’s fascinating to see the juxtaposition between the pyramids and the city in the distance. What an incredible place, with so many layers of complexity.

….Ah, beautiful islands! I think we must be on the same wavelength, wanting to think of warm places this time of year………

I want to visit Egypt SO MUCH! I’m still convincing Kali, but I think I’m close. 😉

Its a shame we will miss you in Egypt by a day or 2. We are arriving on Sat afternoon for 10 days! Hopefully get some amazing photos like you guys.

Revisiting places in my mind is one of the most enjoyable parts of travelling!

Ahhhh these pictures make me want to book a ticket right now!

Wow! Great pictures!

The White Desert looks amazing – I haven’t heard of that before but will add it to the ever growing list of places to visit.


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  • US National Parks

15 Amazing Things to Do in Cairo, Egypt

Julie Last updated: January 25, 2024 Egypt 15 Comments

Cairo Egypt Best Things To Do

Cairo…this sprawling, historic, ancient city is most visitors’ first stop on a trip through Egypt. The Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum top the list for most, but there is a lot more to see and do in this city. To help you plan your visit, here are the best things to do in Cairo.

Not everything on this list is located in Cairo. Several places are located in or near Giza (such as the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara). I am including them in this article, even though they are not technically located in Cairo, because most people visit these places while staying in Cairo.

Table of Contents

Interesting Facts About Cairo

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. Over nine million people call Cairo home, with an additional 10 million living just outside of the city. This entire metropolitan area is the largest in Africa and the Middle East.

It is located on the Nile River, right where the desert transitions into the Nile delta. Giza sits on the west bank of the Nile River, just 5 km southwest of Cairo, so these two cities seem to blend into one another.

Cairo is called “the city of a thousand minarets,” for its predominance of Islamic architecture. Most people who live in Cairo are Muslim, however, about 10% of the population are Christians who belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Cairo has a hot desert climate. Rainfall is rare but most likely to occur during the winter months. During the summer, daytime highs typically reach 35°C (95°F) with high humidity, due to Cairo’s location near the Mediterranean Sea. It is much more pleasant to visit Cairo in the winter, with daytime highs of 20°C (68°F).

Best Things to Do in Cairo

The pyramids of giza.

For many people, the Pyramids of Giza not only top the to-do list in Cairo, but they are also the biggest tourist attraction in Egypt.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the last intact ancient Wonder of the World. This pyramid, along with the others that sit on the Giza Plateau, form one of the most recognizable sights in the world.

Pyramids of Giza

A visit here typically lasts at least three hours. Go inside the Great Pyramid, take selfies with the Great Sphinx, and visit the panoramic viewpoints of the pyramids.

Planning Your Visit

Price List for the Giza Plateau

Giza Plateau Entrance Ticket: 540 EGP per adult, 270 EGP per student (with valid ID) Entrance Ticket to the Great Pyramid: 900 EGP Entrance Ticket to the Pyramid of Khafre: 220 EGP Entrance Ticket to the Pyramid of Menkaure: 220 EGP

Read More About the Pyramids

  • Pyramids of Giza: The Complete Guide for First-Time Visitors
  • Where to Get the Best Views of the Pyramids of Giza

Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum contains the world’s largest collection of Egyptian artifacts. Highlights of a visit include seeing the solid gold mask and the golden sarcophagi of Tutankhamun, the Royal Mummies room, and a mind-blowing number of statues, jewelry, and treasures.

Egyptian Museum

A visit here typically lasts two hours. The Egyptian Museum is located on Tahrir Square in Cairo. To get here, we recommend hiring a driver and guide, but you can also use Uber, taxis, or public transportation. It takes roughly 30 minutes to travel between the Giza Plateau and the Egyptian Museum.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Grand Egyptian Museum is expected to open sometime in mid-2024, although this date changes frequently. Once open, it will replace the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square. The Grand Egyptian Museum is massive…it’s so big that our guide, Laila, joked that you would need a tuk-tuk to see all of it. This museum is also conveniently located next to the Giza Plateau, so it will be very easy to combine these two sites without needing to navigate the streets of Cairo.

Cost: 450 EGP adults, 230 EGP student with valid ID Hours: 9 am to 5 pm

Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo is the historic heart of Cairo. This area contains one of the largest collections of historic architecture in the Islamic world. Numerous mosques, madrassas, fortifications, and tombs date from the Islamic era of Egypt (639 to the early 16th century), making Cairo one of the world’s oldest Islamic cities.

In 1979, Islamic Cairo became a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Islamic Cairo is packed with things to see and do. It’s a fairly large area, located near the city center. You could spend days wandering the labyrinth of streets in Islamic Cairo, but for most visitors, just seeing the highlights is sufficient.

Top things to do in Islamic Cairo include:

  • Salah El-Din Citadel

Al-Muizz li-Din Allah al-Fatima Street

  • Bab Zuweila

Khan el-Khalili

  • Ibn Tulun Mosque
  • Al-Azhar Mosque: one of Cairo’s oldest mosques
  • Museum of Islamic Art

Al-Azhar Park

  • Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan
  • Al-Rifa’i Mosque

If you want to visit everything on this list, it takes a full day. And what a memorable day it will be. Islamic Cairo can feel chaotic and overwhelming, but the sights, the food, and the people make this the most interesting part of Cairo, in my opinion.

Salah El Din Citadel

From its strategic position on the Mokattam hills in central Cairo sits the Citadel of Saladin. For almost 700 years (from the 13th to 19th centuries), this was the seat of government in Egypt. In 1976, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As you move around Cairo, you will see the Citadel from almost everywhere, because of its prominent location on the Mokattam hills.

The main attraction is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. The mosque was completed in 1857, in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali’s oldest son. It is modeled after the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Mosque of Muhammad Ali

This mosque is also called the “Alabaster Mosque.” Alabaster covers the interior of the mosque as well as the courtyard.

The clock tower in the courtyard was given to Egypt by King Louis Philippe of France in 1845. In return, the obelisk that originally stood at the entrance of Luxor Temple now stands in Place de la Concorde in Paris.

While at the Citadel, make sure you visit Gawhara Terrace for one of the best views over the city. From here, you have a great view over historic Cairo, Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, and Al-Rifa’i Mosque. On a clear day, you will be able to see the Pyramids of Giza.

Guwhara Terrace

Cost: 450 EGP adults; 230 EGP student with valid ID Camera Ticket: None, you are permitted to take photos with a camera at no extra charge Shoe Covers: 5 EGP; before entering the Muhammad Ali Mosque, you will need to remove your shoes. You can take them with you (free) or pay 5 EGP to keep your shoes on but wear shoe covers Scarf: Women need to bring a scarf to cover their head Hours: 8 am to 5 pm

This is a very important street with a very long name. Called al-Muizz for short, this is one of the oldest streets in Cairo. It runs north-south through Islamic Cairo and it contains some of the most important monuments of historic Cairo.

Al Muizz Street

This street is roughly 1 km long, running from Bab Zuweila in the south to Bab al-Futuh in the north. It is a busy, congested, noisy street and for some visitors it can feel overwhelming. Along this short stretch of road are an astonishing number of madrassas, mosques, shops, markets, and hammams.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: A madrassa is a Muslim school, college or university that is often part of a mosque. A hammam is a middle eastern type of steam bath for cleansing the body.

Just south of Bab Zuweila and al-Muizz street is the Tent Makers Market. On this 300-meter street, small shops sell colorful textiles and handmade blankets, cushions, bed covers, and tents. Continue the walk south to visit a produce market and numerous small shops in Islamic Cairo.

Tent Market Cairo

Walking al-Muizz was one of our favorite experiences in Cairo. It can be sensory overload, in a good way, in my opinion. Yes, it’s noisy and chaotic, but the people are friendly, the street food is delicious, and to walk down one of the oldest streets in Cairo is an unforgettable experience.

Climb the Minaret at Bab Zuweila

Bab Zuweila is the southern gate on the walls of Fatimid Cairo. It dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries and it is one of the last remaining gates of the Old City of Cairo.

Bab Zuweila

Walk up several flights of stairs for a nice view from the terrace on top of the gate.

Best Things to do in Cairo Islamic Cairo

For a spectacular view of historic Cairo and al-Muizz street, you can climb both of the minarets.

Bab Zuweila Minaret

Overlooking Sultan al-Muayyad Mosque

PRO TRAVEL TIP: A very narrow, spiral staircase winds its way up to the top of the minaret. Without any windows, it is almost total darkness for a short part of the climb, so make sure you bring a flashlight (the flashlight on your phone is sufficient). To step out onto the ledge, you will have to climb up one last narrow metal narrow staircase, step over a gap, and then climb over a waist-high wall. Skip the minaret climb if you suffer from claustrophobia or are not nimble enough to climb over the wall. Young kids should also skip this climb.

Khan el-Khalili is the famous shopping market in Islamic Cairo. It sits just off of al-Muizz street.

Khan el Khalili

I was really looking forward to Khan el-Khalili, but it was a disappointment. This market is filled with touristy souvenirs, and according to our guide Laila, most of what is for sale comes from China. I think it’s worth a quick visit, but al-Muizz street, the tent market, and the side streets off of al-Muizz are much more interesting.

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and Al-Rifa’i Mosque

These two mosques sit side by side and can easily be visited together.

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan is an enormous mosque that sits near the base of the Citadel. It was built between 1356 and 1363 during the Mamluk period.

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan

Next door is Al-Rifa’i Mosque. It was constructed between 1869 and 1912 and commissioned by Lady Khushiar Hanim to expand and replace the existing shrine of the medieval Islamic saint Ahmed al-Rifa’i. Briefly, this mosque was the resting place of Reza Shah of Iran, who died in exile in 1944. His body was returned to Iran after World War II. The burial chamber is now occupied by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who died in Cairo in 1980.

El Rifai Mosque

Al-Azhar is a quiet green space that sits in the center of Cairo. This is a great place to go for a walk and escape the chaos and congestion of the busy city streets.

Coptic Cairo

Coptic Cairo is located in Old Cairo in the southern part of the city. The first settlements here date back to the 6th century BC. Many of the places to visit here originate from Egypt’s Christian past, but you can also visit a synagogue and the first mosque built in Africa.

All of the sites in Coptic Cairo are free to visit with the exception of the Coptic Museum.

The Hanging Church

The Hanging Church, also called Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, is one of the oldest churches in Egypt. It is named for its position above a gatehouse of the Babylon Fortress, the Roman Fortress in Coptic Cairo. This is the most famous church in Coptic Cairo.

Hanging Church

Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus

This is believed to be the place where the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Christ) sheltered at the end of their journey into Egypt. The interior of the church is beautiful, with detailed woodworking and tilework.

Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus

Ben Ezra Synagogue

This synagogue started off as a church. In 882, it was sold and converted into synagogue. It has been rebuilt and remodeled several times in the past 1000 years. It is said that this is where the baby Moses was found.

Mosque of Amr Ibn al-As

This is the first mosque built in Egypt and Africa. It was built in 641 to 642 AD.

Coptic Museum

This museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Coptic art work.

Egypt Travel Guide

Cave Church

The Monastery of Saint Simon , also known as the Cave Church, is located in the Mokattam hills of Cairo. This church can hold up to 20,000 people, making it the largest church in the Middle East.

Cave Church

The main church, the one that holds 20,000 people, is the summer church. There is a smaller church with a ceiling that is used in the winter months when rain is more likely.

The Cave Church is free to visit.

Garbage City

To get to the Cave Church, you will have to drive through Garbage City. Yes, you read that correctly…Garbage City.

Garbage City is named for the large number of garbage collectors who live here. Called the Zabbaleen, these are the descendants of farmers who migrated to Cairo from Upper Egypt in the 1940’s, fleeing poverty and poor harvests. They settled in the Mokattam hills and began sorting trash as a way to make money. Over the years, their population has grown to at least 30,000 people, an entire community that sorts trash for a living. The majority of the Zabbaleen are Coptic Christians.

An extremely narrow, dusty road winds its way through Garbage City to the Cave Church. This is a busy place, as trucks filled with trash arrive from all parts of the city. Rubber, metal, paper, and plastic are all sorted and packaged together, to later be sent to China and other places to be used in the manufacturing of new materials.

Garbage City

It may be a hard, dirty, unhealthy way of life, but everything has value and gets recycled and reused. In fact, I read that over 90% of the trash is recycled, a much higher average than what most western recycling companies produce.

Walk Across the Nile River on the Qasr El Nil Bridge

This is the first bridge to span the Nile River in Cairo. It connects Tahrir Square with Gezira Island.

Qasr el Nil Bridge

Cairo Tower

For the best view over Cairo, visit the Cairo Tower. Located on Gezira Island in Zamelek, you have 360° views over the city. On a clear day, you can see the Pyramids of Giza.

Cairo Tower

You can dine at the Sky Window Café or grab a table at the 360 Revolving Restaurant. The 360 Revolving Restaurant has a minimum purchase of 250 EGP per person.

Important Note: You will be asked to leave any food or snacks in the guardhouse at the base of the tower.

Day Trip to Dahshur, Memphis & Saqqara

A visit to Dahshur, Memphis and Saqqara is one of Egypt’s best history lessons.

Dahshur is an ancient, royal necropolis that is located 30 km south of Giza and 40 km south of Cairo.

Dahshur is where the ancient Egyptians perfected their pyramid-constructing skills. It is here that several of the first pyramids were built and it took a few tries to get things right. Visit the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, the precursors to the Pyramids of Giza.

Bent Pyramid

Bent Pyramid

Memphis was the first capital city of Egypt. A visit here is quick with a tour of the open-air museum.

Saqqara was the necropolis for the city of Memphis. It is here that you can see the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser and the oldest complete stone building complex in the world.


Step Pyramid of Djoser

A day trip to Dahshur, Memphis and Saqqara takes five to six hours, including transportation time from Cairo or Giza. It’s easiest to do this on a tour, but you can do this independently and hire a taxi.

For full details, read our article How to Plan Your Day Trip to Dahshur, Memphis and Saqqara.

Bonus! National Museum of Egyptian Civilization

One of our readers wrote in with this suggestion of a place to visit in Cairo. The NMEC opened in 2017. On the lower level, visitors to the museum walk past 22 mummies, organized in chronological order. The upper level contains information about the Egyptian civilization. This museum is located near Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo and could be combined with these areas. For the best experience, go on the weekend to avoid visiting when school field trips are in session.

Best Things to Do in Cairo: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

How Much Time Do You Need in Cairo?

To visit everything on this list, you need a bare minimum of three days, and these will be three very busy days.

With one day in Cairo, I recommend visiting the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum.

With two days in Cairo, add on the day trip to Dahshur, Memphis and Saqqara and either visit Coptic Cairo or several of the sites in Islamic Cairo (al-Muizz Street, the Citadel, and Khan el-Khalili).

With three full days in Cairo, you can do everything on this list, just get an early start each day and it really helps to have a guide and driver to help make the most of your time.

RELATED:   2 Days in Cairo & Giza: 2 Detailed Itineraries

How to Get Around Cairo

The easiest way to get around Cairo is with a guide and private driver. However, you can get around independently and travel by taxi, bus, or metro. For a great article on how to use the public transportation network in Cairo, click here. 

You can also get around by Uber, which is easier to use and can be cheaper than taxis.

Cairo Metro Sign

Cairo Metro Sign

Do You Need to Hire a Guide for Cairo?

Hiring a guide and driver has many benefits in Cairo: your transportation is taken care of, you get to visit the sites with a knowledgeable guide, and you get to learn a lot about the local culture and customs.

We hired Egypt Tailor Made, not only for our tour of Cairo, but also for the remainder of our time in Egypt.

The Cairo Pass gives you free entry to the sites in Cairo, Giza, Dahshur, Saqqara, and Mit Rahina.   These sites include the Egyptian Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Coptic Museum, Saladin Citadel, all sites on the Giza Plateau, all sites at Saqqara, the Red and Bent Pyramids in Dahshur, and the sites in Historic Cairo.

The Cairo Pass costs $130 USD or 90 euros. It is valid for 5 days.

Points of sale for the Cairo Pass include the Egyptian Museum, the Giza Plateau, and Saladin Citadel.

You will need your passport, two black and white photocopies of your main passport page, and two passport photos. Students will need a valid student identification card. To purchase the Cairo Pass, you will pay with US dollars or euros and these need to be crisp, new bills, in perfect condition.

Is the Cairo Pass Worth It?

For most people, the answer is no. To make it worth the $130 USD, you need to visit A LOT of sites in Cairo and Giza, OR plan on more than one visit to the Giza Plateau and/or the Egyptian Museum. Plus, the US dollar is very strong in Egypt right now, which means that it might not be worth purchasing the Cairo Pass.

However, with the Cairo Pass, you can visit the Giza Plateau and the Egyptian Museum multiple times. These are the biggest ticket items in Cairo. 

If you purchase the Cairo Pass, you get a 50% discount on the Luxor Pass, which could be worth it for some people. Learn more in our article about the Luxor Pass.

Where to Stay in Cairo

Marriott Mena House. This is where we stayed and it was fantastic. It was 8 pm and dark by the time we arrived at the hotel, but what a thrilling experience to see the Great Pyramid from our balcony. Breakfast is a buffet with endless choices of food (it’s one of the best hotel breakfasts we have had yet). Plus, you can sit outside and stare up at the Great Pyramid over a cup of coffee.

Marriott Mena House Cairo

Pyramids View Inn. This small hotel offers views of the Sphinx and the pyramids. The view from the rooftop terrace is amazing and this is a great place to watch the Sound and Light Show, without joining the crowds.

Great Pyramid Inn. This is yet another hotel that boasts amazing views of the Pyramids of Giza. From the top floor terrace you have an awesome view of the pyramids. Some rooms have views of the pyramids and/or a balcony. Fellow travelers have written in to us, raving about this hotel and its view from the rooftop.

The Nile Ritz-Carlton. If you have dreams of staying in a Ritz-Carlton without spending a small fortune, Cairo is the place to do it. This hotel is located right on Tahrir Square so it is just a short walk to the Egyptian Museum (until the Grand Egyptian Museum opens) and the Cairo Tower.

If you have any questions about these things to do in Cairo, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Egypt

CAIRO: We also have a 2 day Cairo Itinerary , information on how to visit the Pyramids of Giza , and how to day trip to Dahshur, Memphis, and Saqqara.

LUXOR: In our guide Best Things to Do in Luxor , get an overview of places to go on the East Bank and West Bank. We also have a photo tour of the Tomb of Queen Neferatari , a guide to the Valley of the Kings , and how to day trip to Dendera and Abydos.

ASWAN: For a list of the top experiences, read our article Best Things to Do in Aswan. We also have a guide on how to visit Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Esna while driving between Aswan and Luxor.

EGYPT ITINERARY: With 10 days in Egypt , visit Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel.

MORE CITIES AROUND THE WORLD: Visit more cities around the world with our guides to Rome , Paris , New York City , London , Barcelona , and Athens.

Read all of our articles about Egypt in our Egypt Travel Guide.

Cairo Egypt Best Things To Do

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2 Days in Cairo and Giza Itinerary

Comments 15

Avatar for Wayne

Hi We will arrive in cairo on 13 July and stay 3 nights . We pretty much just need a driver for the 3 days that can take us to the sites you mentioned excluding the step pyramids as we have been to egypt a few times . The driver must be OK in English to understand us and all we need is a taxi rate per day Fixed … Any suggestions as we do not need any tours nor guides …plain and simple if you can use those words in egypt

Any suggestions

Avatar for Julie

Hello Wayne. The only drivers that I know of are those associated with the tour company we used, Egypt Tailor Made. If you already have a hotel in Cairo booked, you could reach out with them. In the past, in other countries, we have hired private drivers through our hotel, or at least gotten the information from the hotel so we could set it up on our own. So, you could contact the hotel first and if that doesn’t work out, just see if you can hire a driver without a guide through Egypt Tailor Made. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Dimitris

Thank you Julie for your prompt response! I will try to figure it out before my departure.

Kind regards, Dimitris

Dear earth trekkers,

I need your precious help once more. I understand that it’s been a while since you last visited Egypt, but do you know if there are still some traffic restrictions in travelling from Cairo to Alexandria by car? (I am talking about a rental car in which I will be the driver with the rest of my family as the passengers). I can find only scattered information searching the internet, and I wonder if moving in a guarded convoy is still the mandatory way to travel by car between these cities.

Thank you very much, Best regards, Dimitris

Hello Dimitris. Unfortunately, this is a question I do not know the answer to. But your rental car company should know the answer. Maybe there is a way that you can call the office where you will be picking up the rental car and hopefully they can give you more info. When we traveled from Luxor to Abydos and Luxor to Aswan, we did not travel in a caravan, but we had a guide and driver. That was in December 2019 and I don’t know if things have changed since then. I hope you get this figured out! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for hfshzhr

Hi there. Thank you so much for your Egypt content! I have to admit I spent most of my time planning my own trip in November by using this blog. Im also considering to get an Egyptologist for a portion of my trip because I wont be able to learn much without it. Hopefully my solo trip will work out!

You’re welcome and I hope you have a wonderful time on your upcoming trip. An Egyptologist is a great idea because the history is fascinating. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for James

How did you get in touch with your private guide? Also how much do it cost?

We used Egypt Tailor Made with a guide for Cairo and a guide for Luxor + Aswan. Take a look at our post how much does it cost to visit Egypt and there is also a link to the tour company in this post. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Paula Michael

Hi Julie, I contacted Egypt Taylor made, but they just referred me to their website. It appears you all got a great deal with the driver and guide package. I will be arriving in Egypt September 19th, and would love an equivalent deal for our group of six , but they are just charging individually and multiplying by 6 which is a bit too expensive for us! it ends up costing between $80 or more per person depending on the excursion. Do you know if they would be willing to give as a deal similar to what your family received? Cordially, Paula

It sounds like Egypt has become quite a popular travel destination over the last 9 to 12 months, even more so than during our visit in December 2019, so that could be why their prices have gone up. We don’t have any bargaining power with Egypt Tailor Made to help you get a better deal, unfortunately. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Kay

Hi Julie, Your blog is very informative and has helped me plan my Egypt trip. I had a query regarding the payment methods for entrance fees and local market purchases. I am confused about what currency should I carry, dollars or Egyptian pounds. Is it better to carry dollars and then exchange them in Egypt? Are ATMs easily accessible in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan? Is it easy to exchange dollars? Thanks much in advance 🙂

We used Egyptian pounds to pay for entrance fees, souvenirs, etc. Some hotels have an ATM or you can go to a bank to withdraw Egyptian pounds. You are limited in how much you can withdraw at an ATM at one time, so you will have to go a lot and/or use multiple ATM cards. We have more information about that here . Also consider getting the Cairo Pass and/or Luxor Pass because that could save you money and limit how many Egyptian pounds you will need. We haven’t exchanged currency in Egypt. When we show up, we go right to an ATM and withdraw what we need (we do this for every country that we visit). Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Beverly

Did you ever get burned out seeing all those “ pyramids “ ?

Good question! No, we never got burned out on seeing the pyramids. They always amazed us and I hope to see them again on our next visit to Egypt.

I thought that we would get burned out on seeing the tombs and temples in Luxor and Aswan, but the more that I learned about them, the more I wanted to see. They do kind of blend together after a little bit…but going back through my photos, and doing the research for these posts has taught me a lot. I can’t wait to go back some day and learn some more. 🙂 Cheers, Julie

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8 of the best things to do in Cairo

Sara Sioufi

Jan 13, 2024 • 7 min read

unique places to visit in egypt

Experience the best of Cairo with this guide to the top things to do © rudi_suardi / Getty Images

Many bucket lists include a trip to  Egypt .

Whether it’s history you’re looking for or a relaxing beach holiday, Egypt fits the bill, and  Cairo , the original city that never sleeps, is at the epicenter of it all. It’s a hustling and bustling place with plenty to keep you occupied.

Plan all the things you want to see and do with this guide to Cairo's top experiences, and allow at least five days to enjoy it all properly.

1. Cruise the Nile as the pharaohs did

The Nile has been Egypt’s lifeline since ancient times and the 6600km-long (4100-mile) river connects almost all the cities of Egypt. A cruise on the Nile is an unmissable thing to do, especially if you go in a felucca – a wooden Egyptian sailing boat. Head out around sunset for the ultimate relaxing experience. Some boats offer food, or you can pack your own and have a picnic on the water.

2. Eat like an Egyptian

Egyptians love to eat and this is a nation that appreciates good food. There are some must-try dishes in Cairo. There's fuul medames , a breakfast dish of fava beans stewed with tahini and seasoned with garlic, cumin and lemon. Fuul has been an Egyptian staple as far back as the 4th century where the beans were buried over embers to slow cook.

There’s also kushari , considered to be the national dish. It's usually made up of rice, lentils, macaroni, chickpeas, fried onions and a spicy tomato sauce. In Cairo, Abou Tarek is the place to go for kushari , although Koshary El Tahrir (7 Abbas El Akkad St) is also popular.

As for other restaurants to consider,  Khufu’s  has an incredible view of the Pyramids as well as a variety of unique takes on traditional Egyptian dishes. Abou El Sid  has branches across Cairo, but the Arabian palace-esque decor makes the branch in Zamalek the top pick. The Circasian chicken in walnut sauce is a favourite, and this is the place to try the Egyptian speciality of pigeon. Zööba , which also has branches across Cairo, is good for quick and delicious street food dishes. Sachi , named Best Restaurant in Egypt by “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” is also ranked in “MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants.”

Planning tip: The traffic in Cairo rivals New York and London and is especially hectic around dinner time, so make sure to factor traffic time in if you have a reservation.

A single tour guide walking a camel at sunset by a huge stone pyramid in the desert

3. See the Pyramids... and then more pyramids

It’s an obvious one. You can’t go to Cairo and not see the Pyramids of Giza , the only remaining wonder of the ancient world, and stunning Egyptian icon. But what many people don’t realize is that there are 118 different pyramids in Egypt, not just the big three – Khufu (Cheops), Khafre and Menkaure – in Giza .

There are 11 pyramids in total in Saqqara , including the Step Pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Zoser , which is the oldest pyramid in the world and well worth a visit. Some are open for exploration, including the Pyramid of Teti , a pharaoh of the 6th dynasty whose inscribed basalt sarcophagus still lies inside the tomb. 

Planning tip:  The Pyramids are a popular destination and will be incredibly busy. The best way to enjoy them is to hire a local guide either before arrival or through your hotel who will not only take you around with ease but will also regale you with incredible stories as you walk through history.  SEE Egypt  offers quality tours and guides.

4. Visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation

NMEC is the first museum in the Middle East that focuses solely on the ancient Egyptian civilization, covering all the different historical periods that encompass Egypt's history. It’s also the home of royal mummies, who were transported by royal procession to the museum in 2021.

People walk down alleyways lit with intricate lamps in a busy marketplace

5. Shop in the historic Khan Al Khalili bazaar

Established in the 14th century, the Khan Al Khalili market in Cairo has a rich and fascinating history, making it an important district for both cultural and economic activity.

This historic bazaar has been a hub of trade and commerce for centuries, showcasing the enduring traditions of Egyptian crafts and merchant culture. Stepping into Khan Al Khalili is like taking a journey back in time, where you can immerse yourself in the history of this bustling marketplace and explore its intricate alleyways, lined with stalls offering a wide array of goods, from detailed jewelry to colorful textiles and aromatic spices.

Detour: Hidden away in Khan Al Khalili Bazaar, the historic Naguib Mahfouz restaurant opened in 1989 and is a tribute to the famous Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He was born in Old Cairo in 1911 and set most of his early works and short stories in the city. The restaurant's arabesque surroundings transport you back to the days of Old Cairo. You’ll find classic Egyptian dishes such as lamb or chicken kofta, kushari (a mix of noodles, rice, black lentils, fried onions and tomato sauce) and mezze spreads, but it’s the grill that is a must try.

6. Visit the Citadel

The Cairo Citadel , perched on top of a hill, is Egypt’s most iconic mosque and a medieval fortress built by Saladin. Start at the Ottoman-style Mosque of Muhammad Ali, the iconic centerpiece of the citadel. Known as the Alabaster Mosque, it has walls coated with alabaster and a gleaming white courtyard, which is beautifully illuminated.

Move on to the Palace of Jewels. This 1814 Ottoman-style building was the residence of Sultan Muhammad Ali and now contains the throne of Mohammed Ali. On the second floor, there is a gallery of portraits of Egypt’s rulers from Mohammed Ali onwards.

Planning tip:  The fortress offers an incredible aerial view of Old Cairo stretching all the way to the Great Pyramids of Giza.

Crowds on a pedestrianized street during the late afternoon. There's a large mosque at one end.

7. Walk the streets of Old Cairo

El-Moez St in Old Cairo – deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 – is a 1km-long (0.6-mile) pedestrian street with some of the greatest concentration of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world. Look for a mixture of medieval mosques and buildings alongside modern vendors and shops in the ancient neighbourhood of Gamaleya. The street starts at the northern Bab Al Futuh , one of the last three remaining gates to the original walled city of Cairo, which was built by a Fatimid caliph.

It's free to walk along El-Moez St, but you need a ticket to enter places like the Qalaun Complex and Beit el Suheimy . Buy individual tickets or a combination one that lets you into different spots of interest on El-Moez St, including historical houses, palaces and mausoleums. Most of the mosques are free to enter. Women need to have something to cover their hair and all genders need to take off their shoes at the entrance.

Local tip:  The street is long and it hasn’t been refurbished in some time – expect uneven surfaces and wear sturdy, comfortable shoes. Bring a bottle of water along too. It is worth getting a guide for El-Moez St because of the sheer amount of history, but the caretakers of each monument can also provide a guided tour.

8. See complex textiles created by Cairo's artisans on Khayamia St

In the heart of old Islamic Cairo, just behind Bab Zuweila , across the bustling square lies Khayamia St or “ the Street of the Tentmakers ,” one of the oldest streets in Cairo, which dates to 1200 CE. The word “ khayamiya ” is derived from the Arabic word “ khyma, ” meaning “tent” and the craftspeople of the past here were tentmakers.

Historically, the Egyptian tentmakers sewed complex interiors for urban tents. Today, they use these skills to create textile artworks resembling quilts, sustaining their skilled craft within changing economic and political circumstances. At one time it is said that there were more than a thousand people working in the street but now there are only about 20 shops and 30–40 stitchers. The work was featured in the documentary The Tentmakers of Cairo by Kim Beamish, which offered unprecedented access to this small community of talented craftspeople.

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Top Things to See and Do in Egypt

The Valley of the Whales, near Wadi El-Hitan in the Western Desert, has been carved out by wind erosion

Egypt may have amassed 7,000 years of history and civilisation, but besides its breathtaking ancient attractions, the country also possesses a blend of modern culture, top cuisine and hospitable people. If you’re planning a visit, here are our tips on how to spend your time wisely.

Looking for the full package? Join our 10-day Egyptian adventure to ensure an experience that scratches way beyond the surface of this mesmerising country. Led by our Local Insider, you’ll get to go to places and enjoy immersive activities that take you off the beaten track.

Start with an authentic breakfast

An authentic Egyptian breakfast isn’t be complete without foul medames (cooked fava beans), tameya (patties made of ground fava beans), fried or boiled eggs, fresh fries, cheese with tomato and green pepper and traditional baladi bread. With its exceptional variety and mouthwatering taste, an Egyptian breakfast leaves you feeling full and energetic for most of the day.

unique places to visit in egypt

Ride a camel

The Pyramids of Giza are a must-see for anyone visiting Egypt. Make your visit extra special by enjoying this ancient wonder from atop a camel, one of Egypt’s most emblematic creatures.

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unique places to visit in egypt

Take a walk in Khan el-Khalili

As one of the most traditional bazaars in Cairo , Khan el-Khalili is a unique attraction for both tourists and Egyptians. There, shoppers can buy all the souvenirs they want and have lasting memories of their trip. Even just walking around Khan el-Khalili’s narrow alleys and watching the Egyptian vendors provides an exceptional break that provides a glimpse into Egyptian culture and its traditions.

Khan el-Khalili is home to traditional cafes where you can enjoy a mint tea

Eat kushari

Just like breakfast, Egyptian lunch offers a wide range of varieties of authentic meals. However, one of the most traditional meals to try when visiting Egypt is kushari , which consists of rice, macaroni, lentils and tomato sauce with garlic vinegar poured on top before being sprinkled with chickpeas and fried onions.

Kushari is a pasta, rice and lentil dish enjoyed throughout Egypt

Go sandboarding

To all the adventurous folk out there, sandboarding in Egypt’s sand dunes is not to be missed. At 140m (460ft) high, the Great Sand Sea near Siwa Oasis offers what is widely considered to be the best dune surfing in the world.

Dunes at the Great Sand Sea near Siwa Oasis in Egypt

Cruise the Nile

Egypt’s ancient civilisation, agriculture and way of life would never have been possible without the Nile. Whether visiting Cairo or Aswan, don’t leave Egypt without cruising the Nile.

A cruise on the River Nile near Aswan

Discover Islamic Cairo

Cairo is the city of a thousand minarets, a nickname that reflects the many mosques located across its neighbourhoods. These mosques have been built during different eras and each represents the reign of a different kingdom.

The Ottoman-era Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha is a key religious site in Cairo

Drink Asab El Sokar

Asab Al Sokar, Arabic for sugarcane, is one of the most common juices in Egypt – light and thirst-quenching, making it ideal during the heat of summer. Don’t leave without trying.

Tourists drinking sugarcane juice on Muizz Street

Tour Egypt’s ancient wonders

Luxor and Aswan host the highest amount of Pharaonic sites in Egypt. Nevertheless, there are other temples, statues and Pharaonic sites for tourists to enjoy.

Tourists in front of the Deir al-Bahari Complex and the temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor

Dive into the Red Sea

Locations such as Marsa Alam, Hurghada, Sharm Al Sheikh and Dahab offer many great diving sites where visitors can discover the hidden beauty of the Red Sea and its rich ecosystem.

Scuba diving in Marsa Alam is quite an experience

Visit El Fayoum

El Fayoum, one of the country’s oldest cities, offers activities including surfing the sand dunes, visiting waterfalls at the Wadi El Rayan, camping in Wadi El Hetan (Whales Valley), hiking Modawara Mountain, or visiting the villages of Tunis and Youssef El Sadik.

A man-made waterfall in the Wadi El Rayan at Fayoum Oasis

Hike Mount Sinai

At a height of 2,285m (7,497ft), the sunrise or sunset from the summit of Mount Sinai is a sight to behold. Besides the vistas, hiking Mount Sinai is a great adventure presenting a range of challenges and rewards to the intrepid traveller.

The views from on top of Mount Sinai will take your breath away


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Exploring Egypt Off The Beaten Path: 10 Hidden Gems To See

E gypt is one of the must-visit destinations in the world for its incredible Pyramids of Giza, beautiful streets, and the Luxor temple complex, which visitors can tour . From the Pharaonic periods to the Roman era to the 19th century modern Renaissance and the improvement of the music and arts scene in the 20th century, Egypt's history is one of the most captivating in the world. Vacationers will enjoy coming across exciting stories in almost every corner. Egypt never disappoints regardless of how many times one revisits the African nation. Some of its most beautiful spots lie along its off-the-beaten tourist track. Here are ten of the best hidden gems Egypt has to offer its tourist looking to get off the tourist trail.

Related: These Are The 10 Most Beautiful Small Towns In Egypt

The Museum Of Egyptian National Railways, Cairo

The Museum of Egyptian National Railways is one of the bucket-list-worthy hidden gems to visit in Egypt. Nestled in Ramses Railway Station, this is the place to get an insight into the exciting story of the world's oldest railways and Africa's and the Middle East's first ones to be established. Dating back to 1933, the museum has numerous features, including rail tracks, engine parts, ancient Egyptian trains, and other elements that travelers enjoy exploring.

The Catacombs Of Kom Al-Shoqafa, Alexandria

Sometimes referred to as the Catacombs of Alexandria, the Catacombs of Kom Al-Shoqafa are one of the most unique experiences in Egypt . They are a well-preserved, largest, and most important burial site in the country. It was actually constructed as a tomb for a family and later expanded into a larger burial site. Dating back to the Greco-Roman era, the site was discovered at the start of the 20th century.

One of the most impressive things to admire about Kom Al-Shoqafa is the incredible blend of the ancient Egyptian, Roman, Pharaonic, and Hellenistic. Because many people often overlook this attraction, it's one of the best less-touristy things to do in Egypt for those looking to escape the crowds.

Related: Pompey's Pillar: Learn The Significance Of The Last Roman Monument Still Standing In Egypt's Alexandria

Djara Cave, El-Dakhla Oasis

Tucked away in the middle Western Desert, the Djara Cave is one of the many off-the-beaten-path things to do in Egypt, away from the hordes of tourists. With a ceiling constructed out of limestone stalactites, this place is incredibly spectacular and deserves just as much attention as other popular tourist attractions in the country. It remains one of the world's most important caves and is found between the fabulous Bahariya Oasis and Assiut.

Gerha Red Rolfes, a German explorer, founded the cave in 1873. Vacationers can see plenty of stalagmites and stalactites sediments. There are also drawings of primitive people engaging in hunting and other activities. This is proof that the area around these stunning caves was inhabited at some point.

Shali Fortress, Old Siwa

Traveling from Cairo to Siwa Oasis? Shali Fortress is one of the most beautiful attractions in Egypt. Located right in the heart of Siwa City, this castle is one of the most historical monuments to explore the city and dates back to the 13th century. The fortress was constructed from ‘kershef,' which comprises salt rocks made from a mixture of mud and salt lakes. Travelers can climb up to the top of the fortress to enjoy breathtaking views of the Siwa Oasis.

Colored Canyon, Nuweiba

Located in Nuweiba, one of the prettiest villages in Egypt and a laid-back destination, the Colored Canyon is of the most beautiful natural wonders in the country. It is a network of rocks, some of which stand 40 meters high. While Sinai is famous for its stunning beaches and plenty of water sports, Colored Canyon is an underrated attraction that should be on every tourist's bucket list.

On a hiking adventure to this spot, vacationers will see several colors within the canyon, including purple, magenta, red, and yellow. One should bring lots of drinking water and a camera to capture the breathtaking canyon.

Nilometer, Rhoda Island

Located on Cairo's Rhoda Island, Nilometer is one of the best-hidden gems to explore off Egypt's beaten path and among the places in Cairo that people can explore on foot . Dating back to 861 AD., the Nilometer was used to measure the level of water of the River Nile. It was also used to predict floods or famine.

The Nilometer features a staircase, which was only used by the ancient rulers, priests, and kings used to go down to see what was going on in the Nile River. Cairo’s Nilometer isn’t still in use, but it is 100% worth the visit .

The Cairo Genizah, Cairo

The Cairo Genizah is a collection of about 400,000 pages of ancient documents that offers an insight into the Jewish life in the city. It contains fascinating facts about the Ancient Egyptians that people can learn in Cairo . Stored in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, these old manuscripts are considered to be among Egypt’s most significant historical findings between the 11th and 19th centuries.

The documents contain over a millennium of history, with the oldest manuscripts being early Christian texts. The latest documents are from 1897. The texts are from different parts of the globe, including Central Asia, Saharan Africa, some spots in the Indian Ocean, and transalpine Europe.

Related: Is Cairo Better Than Luxor? Here's The Answer

The Temple Of Amun, Siwa Oasis

Visiting Siwa Oasis? The Temple of Amun is one of the best-hidden gems in Egypt to not miss. Dedicated to the sun god Amun, this is one of the most significant religious sites to explore in the country. One of the site's frequent visitors was Alexander the Great during his reign. While it's not well-preserved like other historic places, vacationers can still marvel at its uniqueness.

Following Alexander's footsteps and enjoying the spectacular views of the Siwa Oasis are among the best things to do in Egypt.

Muzawaka Tombs, Qesm Al Wahat Ad Dakhlah

Located in Dakhla Oasis, the Muzawaka Tombs are among the most beautiful attractions in Egypt, although the site is off-the-beaten-track. The ancient tombs were founded in 1972 and used to be the main attraction of the Muzawaka necropolis. At some point, the tombs were shut down for many years, thanks to the humidity and fresh air that affected the colorful paintings.

Visitors can explore the burial site and have the local guides help them open the tombs and several mummified corpses.

The Tombs Of The Nobles, Aswan

Tourists who have been to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt would love the Tombs of the Nobles. The Tombs are some of the most stunning ancient sites in Egypt and were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt. The atmosphere is peaceful, making the site perfect for vacationers looking for a bit of serenity. These tombs are burial spots of some of the most prominent people in Ancient Egypt, including governors, noblemen, and administrators.

Exploring Egypt Off The Beaten Path: 10 Hidden Gems To See


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    Those with a passion for pyramids should also make sure to visit the Pyramid of Djoser, located just south of Cairo at Saqqara, the necropolis of ancient Memphis. The pyramid was built in the 27th century BC, using a unique stepped style that pre-dates the smooth-sided pyramids at Giza.

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    This article will look at the top 10 unique places one should visit in Egypt. 10 Cairo. Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. The high chances are that anyone arriving in Egypt will start by arriving with an international flight into the city of Cairo. The city of Cairo has many things that will make a guest want to spend at least 3 days before ...

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    4. Aswan. Palm trees and patches of greenery cling to the dusty riverbanks of Aswan, one of Egypt's most tranquil locations, celebrated for the unmatched hospitality of its Nubian community. Sail your way to any of the 20 river islands accessible by felucca, the traditional wooden sailboats that ply the river Nile.

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    Here is a list of the best activities you can indulge in on your tour to this unique place: Animal Care, Luxor - Volunteer. Hurghada - Go Scuba Diving. Giza - Learn To Make Papyrus. Egyptian Museums - Take A Guided Tour. Islamic Cairo - Shop For Leather, Jewels, And Perfumes. Giza - Go Camel Riding At Sunset.

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    2. Luxor's Temples & Tombs. Karnak Temple. Famed for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions. This is ancient Thebes, the power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.

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    3. Cairo. 2. Luxor. 1. Giza Necropolis. Set between Aswan and Luxor on the West Bank of the Nile, Edfu is but a small river city. Yet among it stands one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt. Pharaonic history bursts to life at the Temple of Horus and seeps through every crevice of its sightly sandstone structure.

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    1. Marvel at the pyramids of Giza. Your first glimpse of Egypt 's most famous pyramids will likely be from the plane flying into Cairo. From that distance the gargantuan structures, slowly being ...

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    11. White Desert - one of Egypt's most unique destinations and a must-see place; 12. Hurghada - a beautiful and popular beach resort; 13. The Fjord Bay (Taba) - one of Egypt's top beauty spots; 14. Aswan - a stunning and important city located on the Nile; 15. Abu Simbel Temples - home to two huge and incredible rock temples; 16.

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    7 days / from 1999 USD. An introduction to Egypt. Marvel at the pyramids in Giza, explore busy Cairo, sleep on a luxurious sleeper train and explore more temples close to Luxor. This itinerary is fast-paced, with several nights in Cairo at the beginning and end, enabling you to see many fascinating sights in Egypt.

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    The Luxor Temple is the star attraction of Luxor located on the banks of the Nile it is one of the best-preserved of all the temples in Egypt. 11. Karnak Temple. The great columns at the Karnak Temple in Luxor Thebes Egypt. But the Karnak Temple is also a must-see. The massive site of ancient ruins is awe-inspiring.

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    Lauren A. Greene. The Great Pyramids of Giza. The Sphinx. Karnak Temple. Mention Egypt and these are the boldface names that immediately come to mind. And while these iconic sites are must-see stops on any Egyptian voyage, there are other extraordinary, lesser-known treasures not to be missed. Here are five our experts recommend.

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    These sites include the Egyptian Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Coptic Museum, Saladin Citadel, all sites on the Giza Plateau, all sites at Saqqara, the Red and Bent Pyramids in Dahshur, and the sites in Historic Cairo. The Cairo Pass costs $130 USD or 90 euros. It is valid for 5 days.

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    The pyramids of Giza, the tombs of pharaohs in ancient Egypt, one of the world's eight great architectural wonders, the…. 5. Valley of the Kings. The treasure chamber contained over 5000 items that took Carter, the discoverer, over 10 years to document! 6. Abu Simbel Temple Complex.

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    As for other restaurants to consider, Khufu's has an incredible view of the Pyramids as well as a variety of unique takes on traditional Egyptian dishes. ... The 8 best places to visit in Egypt. Aug 18, 2023 • 8 min read. From climbing the pyramids and stargazing in the desert to diving in the Red Sea, Egypt has travel experiences to spare. ...

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    Take a walk in Khan el-Khalili. As one of the most traditional bazaars in Cairo, Khan el-Khalili is a unique attraction for both tourists and Egyptians. There, shoppers can buy all the souvenirs they want and have lasting memories of their trip. Even just walking around Khan el-Khalili's narrow alleys and watching the Egyptian vendors ...

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    The largest and oldest of the Giza pyramids, this colossal structure stands nearly 500 feet tall. See full details. See ways to experience (637) 2023. 8. Luxor Temple. 4,596. Ancient Ruins. A temple built for the ritual practices exercised at the most important Ancient Egyptian festival, The Festival of Opet.

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    Nilometer, Rhoda Island. Located on Cairo's Rhoda Island, Nilometer is one of the best-hidden gems to explore off Egypt's beaten path and among the places in Cairo that people can explore on foot ...