Egypt is the world’s oldest travel destination, with a fascinating history dating back to the dawn of civilization. This African nation’s awe-inspiring temples and pyramids have captivated visitors for thousands of years.
Although most visitors come to Egypt to see the ancient monuments, the country’s natural attractions also entice visitors. Visitors can find a refreshing freshwater spring oasis on a trek through the Sahara.
The Giza Plateau is probably one of the most well-known places on the planet. Giza is located on a desert plateau to the west of Cairo, Egypt’s capital. It is its city, but it has grown so much in recent years that it feels like another district of Cairo’s ever-expanding Cairo.
Giza, once just a dusty carriage track, is now one of Egypt’s most touristy areas, with upmarket hotels, big-name restaurants, massive shopping malls, and pulsing nightclubs. But, most notably, Giza is the neighbourhood closest to the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx, which is why most visitors to Cairo spend at least a few days in this area.
Luxor (Southern Egypt):
The New Kingdom arose in Egypt a thousand years after the Great Pyramids were built, and power shifted from the ancient capital of Memphis to Thebes in the south, which is now Luxor. Thebes became the country’s cultural and political centre after being enriched by gold mined in Nubia’s deserts and transported to the city on the Nile.
Luxor, Egypt’s second-largest city, is now known as the “world’s largest open-air museum” and is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Luxor offers a diverse range of sights and activities, from temples to tombs and everything in between. You’ll need a couple of days to do everything justice.
Cairo (Ancient City):
With more than 17 million people, this dusty capital city is one of the world’s most sprawling cities. Cairo is a medieval Islamic city built on the banks of the Nile River, with a perpetually hazy horizon and beige-coloured buildings topped with TV satellites.
Modern Cairo, which was built near the ancient capital city of Memphis, is a popular starting point for Nile cruises and explorations of the Pyramids of Giza, which are just outside the city limits. However, there is plenty to do within the confines of this massive metropolis.
Egypt’s southernmost city, Aswan, is another major city nestled along the Nile River’s banks. However, because of its location and size, it provides a much more relaxing alternative to the larger cities of Luxor and Cairo.
Although its monuments are minor compared to Luxor’s, Aswan is the starting point for trips to the temples of Philae and Kabasha and the Sun Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel in the south. Between Aswan and Luxor, it is also the best starting point for excursions to Kom Ombo and Edfu temples.
Dahshur is a small village south of Cairo that is home to some lesser-known, less-crowded pyramids – unlike the Giza complex of Saqqara; you won’t find the massive lines you’d expect here. It was, in fact, a restricted military zone until 1996.
In Dahshur, the same pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid built two more complete pyramids. Many more pharaohs built their pyramids here over the years, bringing the total number of pyramids to 11, but none of them could compare to the originals.
Sharm el-sheikh, located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, is one of Egypt’s most popular resort towns. Sharm (affectionately known) is a popular package holiday destination with its airport and warm, deep blue water and great golden beaches.
But there’s so much more to this old fishing village than sunbathing. Sharm el-sheikh is known as the “City of Peace” because of the numerous international peace talks that have taken place here. It is also one of the world’s top scuba diving sites. Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel or dive the spectacular reefs surrounding Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park, which are home to a diverse array of marine life.
Siwa Oasis, located near Egypt’s western border, was culturally isolated from the rest of Egypt until the late 19th century. Surrounded by the Egyptian Sand Sea, the Siwan people evolved their own distinct culture and dialect, Siwi, a Berber dialect.
Even centuries ago, the small town was not unknown to the outside world. The oasis became a pilgrimage site after the famed Temple of the Oracle of Amun, built in the 6th or 7th century B.C. Alexander the Great was the most famous visitor to seek the oracle’s counsel.
Saqqara is the name of an Egyptian village, but it also refers to an ancient necropolis with a smattering of large and smaller satellite pyramids spread across a dusty desert plateau. Saqqara, which was buried beneath the sand until the 19th century and overlooks the Nile Valley, is currently undergoing extensive restoration.
The largest archaeological site in Egypt, Saqqara, was named for Sokar, the Memphite god of the dead, and functioned as a cemetery for the ancient city of Memphis for thousands of years. As a result, it is home to hundreds of fascinating pharaohs and Egyptian royal tombs and burial sites.
Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city and a most important seaport, is situated on the Mediterranean’s edge. Established in 331 BC, Alexander the Great was once regarded as the world’s crossroads. Several Egyptian pharaohs ruled the country from Alexandria, including Cleopatra, until Rome conquered the country in 30 BC. The city gained a reputation as a centre for arts and literature during Roman rule. The Roman Theatre is a relic of Alexandria’s Roman occupation, with stunning mosaic flooring and marble seating.
Hurghada is a resort town on the Red Sea’s edge, easily accessible from Cairo via a bumpy six-hour bus ride. It is now one of Egypt’s most popular tourist destinations, offering a more popular alternative to Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab. But it’s understandable because Hurghada has a lot to offer with its many beaches and warm waters.