- The Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving monuments from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
- The Blue Hole in South Sinai is one of the best places for deep sea diving
- When in Aswan, you must eat on a floating restaurant
Egypt brings out the Indian Jones in everyone but this country has a lot more to offer than just its history. Read on to find out more about the top ten places to visit in Egypt.
When you think of Egypt, archaeology,
So, whether you’re looking for adventure, a relaxing vacation or a new cultural experience, Egypt has plenty to offer. Here are the top 10 places that must be included in your itinerary.
Best Time to Visit Egypt
|Best Time to Visit||Busiest Season||Summer (May-August)||Winter (October-February)|
|Between September and April||Easter, Christmas, and New Years||Temperature: Minimum 17 °C and maximum 36 °C||Temperature: Minimum 18 °C and maximum 26 °C|
10 Places to Visit in Egypt
1. The Pyramids of Giza
No trip to Egypt is complete without seeing the magnificent Pyramids of Giza. These are the only surviving monuments from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The pyramids were originally built as tombs for Egyptian Pharaohs and are guarded by a gigantic sculpture of a Sphinx. The Sphinx can be described as a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a human. Archaeologists are still trying to understand how these structures were built.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city boasts of a blend of ancient architecture with modern conveniences. The markets take the form of labyrinths with narrow lanes flanked by stalls and small workshops. The Khan-el-Khalili is one of the most well-known markets or souks where shoppers can find everything from spices and perfumes to textiles and ceramics. Apart from shopping, Cairo has a lot of history worth exploring as well. The medieval gate of Bab Zuweila, the Sultan Hassan Mosque and the Al-Azhar Mosque are must visits.
Aswan is a tranquil town set along the meandering curves of the Nile River. This is the ideal place to enjoy a relaxing vacation. From Aswan, tourists can take a ferry across the Nile to the Elephantine Island and walk through the lanes of the Nubian villages. A camel ride to the St Simeon’s monastery in the desert is another must do. Unlike restaurants in other cities, the restaurants in Aswan float on the Nile and travel upstream and downstream with the currents.
4. Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel is known mostly for the temple dedicated to Ramses II. This temple is unlike any other for many reasons. Firstly, it’s megalithic proportions. The temple features giant statues that stand guard outside and has interiors decorated with intricate paintings reflecting the life and time when this temple was built. Another reason this temple is famous is because the temple does not stand at the location where it was initially constructed. In the 1960s the temple was cut into large blocks and moved to its current location to save it from being submerged in water.
5. The White Desert
Egypt’s white desert is unlike any other desert in the world. With its surreal white chalky mountains, the desert looks like land covered in snow instead of sand. Other distinguishing factors are its boulders and icicle-like formations that are usually not seen in deserts. This is a great place to set up camp for a night under the stars.
6. The Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis is one of the most famous places in Egypt’s western desert. The oasis is surrounded by a number of freshwater springs and date palm plantations. The town has a tranquil air about it that sets it apart from modern cities. It is centred around the ruins of a citadel built with mud bricks. If you’re looking for souvenirs to take back home, the baskets, pots, embroidered fabrics and silver ornaments of Siwa are something you should take a look at.
As the name suggests, Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great. It was the home of Cleopatra and probably has the most interesting history a city can boast of. Though parts of this ancient city are believed to have disappeared under the Mediterranean Sea, there is still plenty to explore. Some of the must-visits include the Mahmoud Said Museum, Bibliotheca Alexandria, Catacombs of Kom Ash Shuqqafa and Pompey’s Pillar. The city also has a number of cafes and souks that offer a taste of old-world European glamour.
8. St Catherine’s Monastery
St Catherine’s monastery is one of the world’s oldest monasteries. Set at the foot of Mount Sinai, this monastery houses an expansive collection of religious art, iconography and manuscripts. Mount Sinai is where Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments from God. This is also the site of the burning bush mentioned in the Old Testament. When visiting the monastery, try timing your visit to allow you enough time to hike up to Mount Sinai and see a sunrise or sunset. The climb can also be done as a camel ride.
The town of Luxor in north Egypt is a must visit for its history. The city of Luxor stands in place of the ancient Thebes- the base of power for the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom. The east bank and west bank of the city are poles apart. On the east, souks offer spices, teas, ceramics and other souvenirs. On the west lie temples and tombs that create the world’s largest open-air museum. Must visit places in Luxur include the Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut.
10. South Sinai
While Luxor is known for its history, south Sinai is known for its beaches. The red sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world and this coastline has some of the best dive sites. One of the most famous amongst these is the Blue Hole. This submarine is about 130m deep and is a great place to see coral and reef fish. The Ras Mohamed National Park is located nearby. This park may be visited by car or by boat and is famous for its natural corals and underwater life.