The Best Places to Visit in Egypt For an Unforgettable Trip
With a fascinating history that reaches back to the dawn of civilization, Egypt is considered the oldest travel destination on earth. The country is well-known for its awe-inspiring temples and pyramids, which have captured the imagination of travelers for thousands of years.
Egypt is also home to some of the world’s most incredible wonders. Such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, the White Sand Park, and so on. Every year, the ancient sites are packed with visitors from dawn to dusk.
But did you know that most tourists in Egypt don’t know about the best places to explore and miss a lot of the top tourist attractions? Yes, you heard me right ! This still holds true for countless tourists.
So, if you are planning a trip to Egypt but confused about where to go and the best places to visit to make the most of your trip, Don’t worry ! We got you, mate !
In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know in order to decide which of Egypt’s best travel destinations is worthy of your bucket list.
Without further ado, let’s get the show on the road!
The Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza, one of Cairo’s must-see attractions, is the most immediately recognizable monument associated with ancient Egypt. The Great Sphinx is also one of the world’s greatest monuments, being 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) long. The sculpture of a recumbent lion with the head of an Egyptian pharaoh was carved out of limestone on the Giza plateau during the reign of King Khafre (2558–2532 BCE). Nonetheless, some scholars believe it was built by Khafre’s brother, Djedefre (2566–2558 BCE), to commemorate their father, Khufu.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is such a magnificent work that it’s surprising no one took credit for it. Scholars are split on who carved the Sphinx and when it was exactly built, but all agree it is an outstanding piece of work that was, for centuries, the largest sculpture in the world and Egypt’s most iconic monument, as well as possibly the best-known example of sphinx art
The Valley of Kings
The Valley of the Kings is one of Egypt’s most breathtaking attractions. This small area near Luxor on the west bank of the Nile River includes an incredible number of beautifully carved tombs of Egypt’s ancient kings.
The Valley of the Kings (previously known as the Place of Truth) has 63 magnificent New Kingdom royal tombs (1550–1069 BC). During that time, the valley became a royal burial site for pharaohs such as Ramses II, Seti I, and Tutankhamun, as well as queens, high priests, and other 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties’ elites.
On this note, it’s worth mentioning that the Valley of the Kings is divided into two parts East and West. The East Valley is the most well-known one to which countless tourists come each year and includes the greatest number of tombs. The West Valley is considerably larger and less explored than the East Valley. It only contains two royal tombs: those of Amenhotep III and Ay.
The Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza, lying on the suburbs of Greater Cairo, are one of mankind’s most amazing architectural achievements. Built between 2580 and 2510 BC, these three magnificent pyramids are Egypt’s iconic symbol and the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.
The Giza Pyramids are one of the world’s most well-known sights. These tombs, which lay on the outskirts of Cairo’s sprawl and have wowed visitors over the years, are still as magnificent as they have ever been and an unquestionable highlight of any Egypt trip.
The Giza pyramids have survived the test of time, standing for about 4,500 years. There are three main pyramids, the most well-known of which is the Great Pyramid, which is associated with Khufu (Cheops), the Fourth Dynasty king buried there. Khafre (Chephren), Khufu’s son, is buried at the neighboring Pyramid of Khafre. The third structure, the Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus), is the smallest of the Giza Pyramids and was built by Khafre’s successor to the throne, Menkaure . Giza’s Pyramids, guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, are usually at the top of most visitors’ lists of tourist sites to see in Egypt, and are often the first sight they visit after arriving.
The Step Pyramid of Djoser
Out of all of Egypt’s amazing and awe-inspiring ancient landmarks, the Step Pyramid of Djoser stands alone as the world’s first enormous stone monument. Like all of Egypt’s pyramids and monuments, the legendary Step Pyramid of Saqqara was built by skilled Egyptian architects and workmen rather than slaves. Initially envisioned as a simple mastaba tomb, Imhotep’s Step Pyramid evolved to become the tallest monument of its day and a major tourist attraction, attracting visitors from all across Egypt.
Without exaggeration, the 4,700-year-old step pyramid, built in the 27th century BC for third-dynasty pharaoh Djoser, represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of monumental stone architecture in Egypt and across the world. It represents a turning point in the history of ancient Egyptian funeral monuments, revolutionizing stone building and royal burials. Aside from its beauty and enormous size, it is not only the first pyramid ever created by the ancient Egyptians, but also the earliest known ancient Egyptian stone construction.
The Step Pyramid served as a model for all later great Egyptian pyramid builders. It was designed to hold Pharaoh Djoser’s burial chamber along with several tunnels and galleries. As part of the enormous Seqqara necropolis, this magnificent pyramid is surrounded by colonnaded corridors, massive halls, and courts and is located approximately 30 kilometers south of Cairo
The Temple of Edfu
Edfu Temple (also known as The Temple of Horus) is one of Egypt’s most outstanding tourist attractions. The Temple of Edfu is regarded as the crown jewel of Aswan’s marvelous city, where stories from the past are revived in the most spectacular way throughout this heavenly, majestic structure .
The Temple of Edfu is situated on the banks of the Nile, between Luxor and Aswan. It was dedicated to Horus, one of Egypt’s most significant historical gods, and was constructed between 237 and 57 BC .
The Edfu Temple reflects the true spirit of ancient Egyptian civilization as viewed through the perspective of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Its very well-preserved reliefs and exquisitely detailed sculptures and hieroglyphs have supplied historians with significant information about Egypt’s Hellenistic period .
There are several factors that identify the Edfu Temple as an amazing work of art that combines ancient Egyptian and Greek architectural techniques to create a wonderful work of perfection that gives a remarkable archaeological wonder. One of these features is its 37-meter-tall pylon, which is carved with battle scenes showing King Ptolemy VIII destroying his enemies in front of the deity Horus
The Coptic Cairo
Coptic Cairo, a famous district in Cairo, is among the most important Christian sites in Egypt. Cairo’s oldest section, once known as the Roman stronghold of Babylon, is the historic hub of the Coptic Christian community, with five original churches, Egypt’s earliest mosque, and the oldest synagogue, all representing three main world religions.
This southern Cairo district is the city’s oldest, with winding lanes and antique churches that are a few centuries older than the spectacular mosques of Islamic Cairo. According to mythology, St. Mark the Apostle was the one who brought Christianity to Egypt, and it was here that Africa’s first Christian church, the Coptic Church of Egypt, developed.
To discover more about Coptic Cairo’s rich history, explore neighborhood sites such as the Coptic Museum (which houses the world’s biggest collection of Coptic Christian art and antiquities) and the 9th-century Hanging Church, which is situated within an ancient Babylonian fortress. There are also notable Jewish and Islamic sites here, including the Mosque of Amr Ibn al-Aas, Africa’s oldest mosque, and the Ben Ezra Synagogue, where the pharaoh’s daughter is said to have discovered Moses floating in his basket.
Abu Simbel Temples
The twin temples of Abu Simbel, located on the bank of Lake Nasser, are one of Egypt’s most striking landmarks. They were meant to convey the power of Egypt’s rulers to anybody who laid eyes upon them. The story of Abu Simbel gets much more fascinating when you know that the entire complex was dismantled and moved to higher ground after the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
As a prominent touristic attraction in the country, Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex in southern Egypt that was originally carved into a solid rock cliff. According to studies, the complex took twenty years to build, and the temples were devoted to the gods Ra-Horakty, Ptah, and the deified Ramesses II (The Great Temple), the goddess Hathor, and Queen Nefertari, Ramesses’ beloved wife (the Small Temple).
Nefertari’s apparent prominence is something that attracts attention in the smal temple. Queens are commonly modeled on a considerably lower scale than pharaohs. At Abu Simbel, however, Nefertari was the same size as the Great Ramesses. Another noteworthy aspect of the Small Temple is that it is the second instance in ancient Egyptian history of a pharaoh dedicating a temple to his wife (Pharaoh Akhenaton was the first to dedicate a temple to his queen Nefertiti)
The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum holds one of the world’s most extensive collections of ancient artifacts, including dazzling jewelry, fascinating mummies, and magnificent monuments. A remarkable variety of exhibitions are displayed in the faded pink mansion in downtown Cairo, which was first opened in 1902.
Over 100,000 pieces are packed into its enormous halls, with beautiful stone sculptures and tantalizing discoveries wherever you turn. While its exquisitely adorned furniture, boats, and sarcophagi are interesting to see, the undisputed highlight is the glittering Gold Mask of Tutankhamun, which is famous worldwide. The Mummy Room, which costs an extra 100 Egyptian pounds (about $11) to visit, should be high on your list of museum must-sees.
If you intend to visit this treasure trove of the Pharaonic civilization, keep in mind that the Egyptian Museum’s collection of treasures is being transported to the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza, near the pyramids, which is set to open (after years of delays) in November 2022.
The Abydos Temple
Abydos is a prominent Ancient Egyptian site with a wealth of temples, tombs, and other archaeological remains, notably the well-known Temple of Seti I. Wandering through the vast yet mostly unexcavated complex is awe-inspiring, with huge monuments and immense chapels, rooms, and courts all around.
It is undoubtedly best known for the well-preserved remnants of the Temple of Seti I (also known as the Great Temple of Abydos), which was built in the late 13th century BC by Seti and his son Ramesses II. This is the major tourist appeal of the Abydos region.
Abydos is believed to have been built around 6,000 years ago, and it later became a pilgrimage destination for the worship of the god Osiris (The Temple of Osiris in Abydos is one of Ancient Egypt’s most outstanding artistic masterpieces).
The temple hypostyle halls of Abydos, adorned by papyrus-headed columns, include some of Egypt’s greatest relief-work, with various scenes depicting the pharaohs and gods of Ancient Egypt
The Islamic Cairo
The district that is now known as Islamic Cairo was founded in 969 by the Fatimid Caliphs, who later made it their capital and a royal enclosure. Even though it is no longer the city center, this area of Cairo remains as a living reminder of the city’s history.
There is a lot of history to be found here. A trip to Cairo would be incomplete without a visit to the most historically significant mosques and Islamic landmarks in Islamic Cairo. Visit Al-Azhar Mosque and the beautiful Sultan Hassan Mosque, and don’t forget to climb to the roof of the historic medieval gate of Bab Zuweila for the greatest views of the district.
In the middle of modern Cairo’s urban sprawl is one of the world’s oldest Islamic towns. Islamic Cairo, commonly known as the city of a thousand minarets, is one of Egypt’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This area of Cairo is packed with small twisting alleys, gorgeous Islamic architecture, busy aromatic bazaars, and the screams of its boisterous street merchants, all of which conjure up visions of the Arabian Nights.
The labyrinth retail souq of Khan el-Khalili may be found here, where coppersmiths and craftsmen still maintain their modest workshops and stalls are packed with pottery, textiles, spices, and perfume. A maze of lanes surrounds the market, which holds some of the most stunning intact structures from the past Islamic empires
The Saladin Citadel
The Citadel of Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin) is one of Islamic Cairo’s most recognizable landmarks, as well as one of the most spectacular defensive fortifications from the Middle Ages. Its strategic location on the Muqattam Hills afforded it a powerful defensive posture and provided an unhindered panoramic view of Cairo, as it still does today.
The Cairo Citadel is considerably younger, yet it is still a must-see attraction when visiting Cairo. This citadel was also the seat of government and the ruler for a long time in Egyptian history. Many dynasties ruled Egypt from the Citadel, including the Ayyubids, Mamluks, and even some Ottomans. Until Khedive Ismail became Egypt’s ruler, the seat of government was shifted from the Citadel to Abdeen Palace.
The Saladin Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Cairo’s most remarkable tourist spots, especially for anyone interested in Egypt’s “modern” history—that is, from the 7th century onwards! It is home to three major mosques: the Muhammed Ali Mosque, popularly known as the Alabaster Mosque; the 14th century Al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque; and the Sulayman Pasha Mosque, the citadel’s first Ottoman-style mosque. In addition, there are three museums: the Egyptian Military Museum, the Al-Gawhara Palace Museum, and the Carriage Museum.
The White Desert National Park
The White Desert National Park, located in the west of Egypt, just south of Bahariya Oasis, has some of the most unusual, unique, and breathtaking landscapes in Egypt. At this site that is as impressive as the pharaonic monuments, you’ll see sparkling white chalk rock formations, outcrops of sparkling quartz, and the magically named Crystal Mountain.
Sculpted over millennia by the desert winds and sands of the Sahara, their unique forms and colors are mesmerizing to look at, with the greatest views from atop the two towering Twin Peaks. Because the wonderful formations are so beautifully lit up at sunset and dawn, it is definitely worth spending the night camping in the national park to enjoy them in all their glittering beauty.
The White Desert National Park is Egypt’s best-kept secret. This breathtaking panorama seems like something out of a science-fiction movie and is for sure a favourite destination for 4WD (four-wheel drive) desert trips and overnight camping, both of which are effortlessly organized in Bahariya Oasis. This is also the ideal exotic playground for desert enthusiasts and explorers, while anyone who’s had their share of temples and tombs will appreciate the stunning natural landscape
The Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s underappreciated tourist destinations. It is most likely seen by non-Egyptians as a secret paradise in the heart of the desert. Siwa, located in the western part of the Western Desert, is a quiet antidote to the hustle and bustle of Egypt’s cities. This beautiful small oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and several hot-water springs, is one of the most picturesque sites in the Western Desert.
Siwa town is centered around the ruins of a tremendous mud-brick citadel known as the Fortress of Shali, which continues to dominate the view, while various temple remnants, such as the Temple of the Oracle, where Alexander the Great is said to have arrived for advice, are scattered throughout the larger oasis area.
A sprawling maze of passageways winding between the mud walls of historic buildings may be found in the heart of the modern town. This is the Shali Fortress, which is located in Siwa’s ancient town. A rocky hill just behind the ancient town appears unscalable from most angles thanks to its many vertical parts. Climbing it, on the contrary, is actually pretty simple, and the views from the summit are well worth the effort. The salt plains and lakes can be found to the east of Siwa. These lakes are small pools of very salty water in which you may float like a balloon (this is similar to visiting the Dead Sea).
If you want a journey that is fantastic from start to finish, go no further than Siwa Oasis
The Temple of Hathor (Dendera)
The Dendera Complex, located about 28 miles from Luxor, is Egypt’s best-preserved temple complex. The Dendera Complex is a stunning combination of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architecture that leaves any visitor speechless. As soon as you arrive, you will be greeted by a masterpiece of three magnificent temples: the Birthing Temple, the Temple of Isis, and the Temple of Hathor.
The famous Temple of Hathor, the complex’s most outstanding highlight, dates back to the Ptolemaic Dynasty and is one of Egypt’s best-preserved temples. If you’ve heard of the Dendera light bulb and are looking for a breathtaking experience, the 2,000-year-old temple of Hathor is not to be missed at any cost.
Though the entire temple is wonderful, the ceiling is the genuine work of art. The old temple ceiling, which is decorated with a sophisticated astrological chart of the sky and zodiac signs, today offers a highly detailed study setting or just a charming place to visit and be taken away by its antique richness.
All previous visitors to Dendera believe that the temple of Hathor is one of the top destinations to visit in Egypt
The Bottom Line
Egypt is well-known for its ancient monuments and rich history, but there is much more to this country than meets the eye. This place is well worth your time. Take my word for it: these structures are genuinely breathtaking when you’re standing in front of them. There is no snapshot or image that can do them justice. To be honest, you have to travel there and experience them for yourself to truly grasp what people mean when they claim these are the best places to visit in Egypt.
We hope this post has answered any queries you may have about planning a vacation to Egypt.
If you have any additional questions, please contact us so we can assist you in planning an unforgettable trip from start to finish.
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