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.
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??.
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.
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.