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 places in Egypt without the crowds.
Best Places To Visit In Egypt
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Egypt is filled with famous landmarks 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.
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.
Off the Beaten Path Places to Visit in Egypt
Egypt has it all. So what is there to see and what places should you visit? 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 Ramses II imposing temple. It was built to show the power of Egypt. Originally located on The Nile, Abu Simbel needed to be moved when the Egyptian’s created the Aswan 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.
Along The Nile
4. 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. Ramses, I-V, and everyone in between was 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.
5. 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 1490-1460BC 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.
6. 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.
7. Karnak Temple
But the Karnak Temple is also a must-see. The massive site of ancient ruins are 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?
8. Aswan Nile River Cruise
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.
It is from here 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.
9. Red Pyramid
The Red Pyramid is a lesser known pyramid of Egypt, but it was our favourite. 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.
10. 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 Pryamids of Egypt.
Places to Visit in Egypt – Cairo
11. 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.
12. Pyramids of Giza
I know I said there is 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.
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.
13. 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
Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea
14. El Gouna
For a luxury escape in Egypt, El Gouna is a popular holiday destination. It’s 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.
15. Red Sea Safaga
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.
16. Sharm El Sheik
Sharm El Sheik is Egypt’s most popular resort destinations 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. You can climb Mount Sinai or take a trip to the desert to experience one of the Bedouin camps
17. 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.
Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria is where East meets West. Alexandrea was founded by Alexander the Great and housed one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Alexandria Lighthouse. Psst: The Great Pyramids are another ancient wonder.
One of our favourite places to see was the Alexandria Library. The new and modern building is located on the site of the original ancient library that was the largest collection of books in the ancient world.
19. Egypt Bucket List – King Tut’s Tomb
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 Tuts tomb. We felt like Indiana Jones!
Map of Places to Visit in Egypt
We did it all and what do you do when you’ve accomplished something?