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Places to visit in Egypt

Places to visit in Egypt

Egypt, the oldest travel destination in the world with a rich history dating back to the earliest civilizations, boasts of captivating temples and pyramids that have enthralled travelers for millennia. While its ancient monuments remain a major attraction, the country also offers scenic natural wonders such as the Red Sea coast, renowned for its coral reefs and beach resorts, and oasis in the Sahara Desert.


Hurghada is a well-known tourist destination located on the shores of the Red Sea. It can be reached by a six-hour bus ride from Cairo and is a popular alternative to Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab. The town, once a small fishing village, has transformed into a resort with numerous high-end hotels and a focus on relaxation.

The Red Sea in this area is famous for its incredible scuba diving, with stunning coral reefs just offshore. Other popular watersports such as snorkeling, windsurfing, and jet-skiing are also widely available. For those who prefer to view the marine life from above the water, there are many options for glass-bottom boat trips.

Hurghada is a favorite among Eastern Europeans and Russians, with hundreds of thousands visiting each year. Many tourists also choose to combine their visit to Hurghada with other popular destinations along the Nile Valley, such as the nearby city of Luxor.


Alexandria, located on the Mediterranean coast, is Egypt's second largest city and a major seaport. It was established in 331 BC by Alexander the Great and was once considered a hub of the world, with several of Egypt's pharaohs ruling from there, including Cleopatra, until the country fell under Roman rule in 30 BC. During Roman rule, Alexandria became known for its arts and literature, and its Roman Theater, featuring beautiful mosaic flooring and marble seating, is a remnant of this time.

Today, Alexandria is a bustling seaside city with a population of 5 million, though it is in need of some maintenance. Despite its current state, the city still holds much cultural significance and historic appeal.

Many famous historic sites in Alexandria, including a library that housed over 500,000 books, were destroyed in the 14th century by earthquakes. A new library, built in 2002, now stands near the original location of the Library of Alexandria. The Alexandria National Museum displays over 1,800 artifacts, chronicling the city's history from the Greco-Roman period to the Coptic and Islamic eras.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a towering structure in ancient Alexandria. Unfortunately, it was destroyed along with much of the city in an earthquake. However, scuba divers can still see remnants of the lighthouse by viewing the massive stones and statues on the ocean floor.



Saqqara is an Egyptian village and necropolis, notable for its numerous pyramids and tombs, which are located across a desert plateau. Although buried beneath the sand for centuries, Saqqara has been undergoing a major restoration effort since the 19th century. Named after Sokar, the god of the dead, Saqqara served as the cemetery for Memphis and is the largest archaeological site in Egypt. It houses a vast number of fascinating tombs and burial sites for pharaohs and other Egyptian royalty.

The Step Pyramid of Djoser is the main attraction of Saqqara, being the oldest pyramid on Earth. Visitors can climb the pyramid via a wooden ramp and enjoy stunning views of the Nile Valley. There are also several doors that can be explored, and one never knows what mysteries they may uncover. Additionally, the Pyramid of Teti, which features fascinating Pyramid Texts, and the Mastaba of Ti with its remarkable reliefs are must-visit sites for history enthusiasts.

4. Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is a highly sought-after resort town located at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. It's known for its warm, crystal clear waters and golden beaches, making it a popular destination for package holidays and a hub for international peace talks. But there's more to Sharm than just sunbathing. It's considered one of the best scuba diving locations in the world, with diverse and vibrant marine life found in its reefs, such as those around Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park. Adventure seekers will not be disappointed either, as Sharm's location provides easy access to the desert where one can explore Bedouin camps and hike up Mount Sinai, a historically significant site famous for its breathtaking sunrise views.

5. Dahshur

Dahshur is a small village located south of Cairo that houses several lesser-known pyramids that are not as crowded as the famous pyramids of Giza and Saqqara. This area was once a restricted military zone and only became accessible to visitors in 1996. Dahshur was part of the ancient necropolis of Memphis and was where Pharaoh Sneferu built two of the most iconic pyramids, the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, both constructed during his reign between 2613-2589 BC. The Red Pyramid is the oldest true pyramid in Egypt because it lacks steps or inclines.

Additionally, visitors can see the Black Pyramid of Amenemhat III from the base of the Bent Pyramid, but it cannot be entered as it is in the form of a dark rock mound, rather than an actual pyramid. There are a total of 11 pyramids in Dahshur, but none of them can match the grandeur of the original ones built by Pharaoh Sneferu.

6. Aswan

Aswan is Egypt's southernmost city located along the banks of the Nile River and is known for its relaxed atmosphere in comparison to the bustling cities of Luxor or Cairo. It serves as the starting point for excursions to nearby historical sites such as the temples of Philae and Kabasha, the Sun Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, and the temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu.

Aswan boasts a unique setting with granite cliffs overlooking the Nile's First Cataract and is home to a large community of Nubian people. The city was once the gateway to Africa in ancient Egypt and the Nubian Museum offers insight into the rich culture and history of the Nubian people. Aswan is also famous for its granite quarries that were used to build obelisks in Luxor. Visitors can see some of the unfinished obelisks in the city, including the largest known ancient obelisk in the world.

In the 1960s, the construction of the Aswan High Dam brought global attention to the region. The temples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel were relocated to a higher location to avoid being submerged by the rising waters of Lake Nasser. A day trip to see the massive temples, located about a 3-hour drive from Aswan, is a must-see activity for visitors.

7. Cairo

Cairo, a sprawling metropolis with a population of over 20 million, is located on the banks of the Nile River. With a hazy horizon and buildings dotted with TV satellites, it is a prime example of a medieval Islamic city.

It serves as a popular starting point for Nile River cruises and for visiting the pyramids at Giza, which are located just outside the city limits. However, there is also a wealth of things to do and see within the city itself.

At the Egyptian Museum of Tahrir Square, visitors can view the famous treasures of Tutankhamun and other ancient artifacts, while the city's historic mosques, such as the 9th-century Ibn Tulun Mosque and the Alabaster Mosque, are must-visit sites.

For a taste of everyday life in Egypt, head to one of Cairo's bustling markets, like the Khan al-Khalili bazaar, or take a traditional felucca sailboat ride along the Nile. Visitors can also enjoy a smoke of shisha at a local cafe and observe the daily activities of locals.


One thousand years after the construction of the Great Pyramids, the New Kingdom emerged in Egypt, and power shifted from the ancient capital of Memphis to Thebes in the south, which is now known as Luxor. Thebes became a major cultural and political center in Egypt, due to the wealth generated from the gold mines in Nubia that was transported to the city along the Nile River.

Luxor is now a mid-sized city, referred to as the "world's largest open-air museum," and it is one of Egypt's most popular tourist destinations. There is so much to see and experience in Luxor, from temples to tombs and beyond, that you will need several days to fully appreciate everything it has to offer.

Most of the sights in Luxor are located on either the East Bank or the West Bank of the Nile River. On the East Bank, you'll find the famous Karnak Temple, also known as Ipet-isu, which took over 2,000 years to build and is considered the largest religious structure ever constructed. The main temple, called the Temple of Amun, is open to the public and boasts 134 columns that are as tall as 21 meters (69 feet). The Luxor Temple is also a breathtaking sight, especially at night when it is illuminated. On the West Bank, you'll find the white-washed scenery of the Valley of the Kings, which is home to many elaborate tombs, pits, and burial chambers, including the famous tomb of King Tutankhamun. Some of these tombs are included in your admission ticket, but you will need to pay extra to visit King Tut's tomb, which is the highlight of the Valley.

9. Siwa Oasis

Siwa Oasis, located near Egypt's western border, remained isolated from the rest of the country for a long time. The area was surrounded by the Egyptian Sand Sea, which resulted in the development of unique customs and a distinct language, Siwi, a Berber dialect, by the Siwan people.

Despite its isolation, the Siwa Oasis was well-known in ancient times due to the famous Temple of the Oracle of Amun. The temple, believed to have been built between the 6th and 7th centuries B.C., made the oasis a popular pilgrimage site. Alexander the Great was one of the most famous figures who sought the oracle's wisdom.

Today, Siwa Oasis has become a popular travel destination, attracting tourists with its freshwater springs, palm groves, and remnants of its Greco-Roman past. Visitors can enjoy the refreshing waters of the many springs, including Cleopatra's Bath, a stone pool, and Fatnas Spring, a secluded pool located on an island in Lake Siwa. In the small town of around 23,000 people, visitors can relax in cafes, sip tea, and smoke from a communal hookah. The local marketplace provides an opportunity to explore the unique culture of the city and sample the delicious dates and olives grown in the region.

10. Giza Necropolis

Giza Plateau is an iconic location that is widely recognized around the world. It is situated on a desert plateau on the western side of the bustling capital city of Cairo and has become a part of the city due to its rapid expansion.

Despite its humble beginnings, Giza is now a bustling tourist destination, with upscale hotels, renowned restaurants, sprawling shopping malls, and thriving nightclubs. The main attraction is its proximity to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, which is why many visitors flock to this area for several days during their trip to Cairo.

The three primary pyramids in Giza were built as tombs for three Egyptian pharaohs, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, while several satellite pyramids were constructed for the burial of their wives and other royal family members. Visitors have the option of entering the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) for an extra fee or taking a camel ride in the desert to view all of the pyramids with the Sphinx in the background.

If you are staying overnight in Giza, don't miss the Pyramids Sound and Light Show, a unique experience that provides a different perspective of the Great Pyramid. While you will have to pay to sit at the official light show, you can watch both the sunset and the show for free if you have dinner on the balcony of the nearby restaurants.

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