Egypt has a sort of mystical, mythical pull to it that puts it on many people’s bucket lists. That’s why I wanted to assemble a crew of fellow travel bloggers to share their views on the best places to go in Egypt.
Despite some trepidation due to a sometimes volatile political landscape in the country, I managed to visit this land of the ancient gods and absolutely fell in love with it.
With limited time, I explored the bustling capital of Cairo, swam in Dahab’s famous Blue Hole and lazed the days away on the beaches of Nuweiba.
But beyond those three amazing destinations, this enchanting country has so much more to explore. I hope this list of the best places to go in Egypt helps you plan your ultimate trip to this wonderful land. I can’t wait to go back to Egypt.
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One of the best places to go in Egypt is the colossal Abu Simbel Temple. The temples were built in the 13th century as a monument to Pharaoh Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari.
Visiting Abu Simbel in southern Egypt is an absolute must-do. There are four towering statues of Ramesses II at different ages outside his temple. Below him are his enemies – the Nubians, Libyans, and Hittites. The other temple features six large (but not as large as Ramesses II) statues of Nefertari. She is buried in the Valley of the Queens but this shows Ramsesses’ devotion to his queen as it was quite unusual for a queen to have her own temple.
Not only are the temples massive and impressive to walk through – it’s an incredible feat of engineering too! In the 1960s the Aswan High Dam was being built and researchers realized that the temples would be flooded. In 1968, the complex was taken apart, brick by brick, and moved to land above where Lake Nassar would be formed. If you look closely at the temples you can see the lines of the blocks.
Contributed by Pamela, The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Accommodation suggestion: Eskaleh Eco Lodge
Located in the northern part of the country, just beside the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria is a marvelous city known for historic architecture and spectacular scenic views and is known as one of the best places to go in Egypt.
Although Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt, you won’t find it as heavily crowded by tourists as other major cities like Luxor, Aswan, or Giza. So, Alexandria can be an ideal destination for people looking for a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
While the rest of the country is filled with high-rise buildings and industry, Alexandria offers an amazing view of the Mediterranean Sea. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the salt in your face and enjoy a sunny day.
If you are a bookworm, visit the Bibliotheque of Alexandria, a big library with the largest reading room and open bookshelves. Even if you are not a bookworm, you will love the architecture of the building which has 3 museums and 2 exhibitions.
The most visited place in Alexandria is the Citadel of Qaitbay. It’s a 15th-century fort located beside the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a thrilling experience inside the citadel. The interiors are amazing and visitors can enjoy the magnificent views of the skyline of Alexandria and the sea.
You must try falafel during your visit to Alexandria. Mohamed Ahmed is a great restaurant that offers delectable Falafels.
There is no shortage of accommodation options at every price point in this city. You can stay at Steigenberger Cecil Alexandria that offers an elegant setting with all modern facilities. If you are looking for budget accommodation, stay at Acropole Hotel located just 5 minutes walk away from the Bibliotheque of Alexandria.
Contributed by Trijit Mallick from Budget Travel Buff
The densely populated city of Cairo is the heaving, beating metropolis heart of Egypt. On arrival, the city may at first feel overwhelming with noisy street vendors and heavy traffic as far as the eye can see but despite the craziness Cairo has its own charms and is undoubtedly one of the best places to go in Egypt.
The Khan el-Khalili bazaar is a wonderful way to experience the market-culture in Egypt. The historic souk dates back to the 14th century and is full of treasures such as traditional lamps, antiques and spices.
Coptic Cairo is another must visit in this city of wonders, where the Christian history of the country’s capital city can be explored. The Hanging Church, one of Egypt’s oldest churches can be found in this area, estimated to date back to the 3rd century. The area is surrounded by the walls of the 6th century Babylon Fortress.
Cairo is also home to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and although this older museum is now overtaken by the incredible Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, there are rumours that this old dame of the city will be getting a much-needed facelift to compete with the newer player on the scene.
Staying in the area of Gezira in Cairo is a great choice as you’ll be close to many of the main tourist sites you’ll want to explore. Try the Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezirah for a lovely stay.
Contributed by Emma Jane Explores
The sleepy seaside resort town of Dahab feels like a massive departure from the hustle of Egypt’s larger cities like Cairo and this change of pace makes it one of the best places to go in Egypt.
Located on the Sinai Peninsula on the banks of the Red Sea, Dahab has become a diving mecca where one of the world’s most incredible and dangerous dive sites lives.
The Blue Hole of Dahab is an astounding marine sinkhole that can be snorkelled in or dived through. The area is absolutely teeming with spectacular marine life and vibrant corals, however be warned – scuba diving here must be done with a registered guide and should only be attempted by experienced divers.
For less-experienced divers, one of the area’s most famous dive sites is the SS Thistlegorm wreck. The ship was a freighter sunk by German bombers during World War II. Now, divers can discover the 80+ year old wreck beneath the surface of the Red Sea.
Dahab is full of accommodation options catering to all tastes as the area attracts luxury resort travellers as well as backpackers.
Contributed by Emma Jane Explores
Departing from Luxor to Aswan, the Nile River Cruise is a wonderful way to visit the many Egyptian heritage sites in Upper Egypt, including Edfu Temple, Kom Ombo, Philae Temple, and High Dam in Aswan; and among all these locations, Edfu has one of the best-preserved ancient Egyptian temples.
Edfu is located about 100 kilometres south of Luxor and is typically the first stop of the Nile cruise journey.
Most visitors who take the Nile River cruise usually head to the temple on a traditional horse carriage. The Edfu temple was constructed between 237 and 57 BC, during the Ptolemaic Kingdom. It was an important archaeological treasure of ancient Egypt as it is very well-preserved, with an almost complete Pylon and numerous wall engravings, depicting stories of what happened in the past.
The Temple of Edfu escaped damages from flooding because it was situated on higher ground, the ruin was buried in the sand for centuries until Napoleon’s French expedition unearth it in 1798, and revealed it to the world in 1860.
The temple is the largest temple in Egypt dedicated to Horus and Hathor of Dendera. Horus is an important Egyptian God of kingship and the sky.
It was believed that Horus gave power and recognition to the ruling Pharaoh, Ptolemy VIII, conquering upper Egypt. Ptolemy XII Auletes, the father of Cleopatra, was engraved on the left of the temple’s Pylon, holding a stick and defeating his enemies.
Contributed by Kenny from Knycx Journeying
Giza is one of the best places to go in Egypt and a destination that should be on top of your bucket list. This unique place has been drawing in visitors for over centuries, as it is home to the most famous attraction of Egypt: the pyramids and the Sphinx.
The small town of Giza is a suburb of Cairo nowadays and one of the more popular places to visit as a day trip from Cairo. You could choose to stay in Giza – the Marriott offers great views of the famous pyramids – but it is not necessary, as you can easily get here by taxi from Cairo.
The big attraction of Giza is the archaeological site with the pyramids and the Sphinx. You’ll visit all of them in one go, as they are all located at the same spot and one ticket is all you need to see both pyramids, the Sphinx and even more attractions at the site.
The three iconic pyramids are located right where the city ends and the desert begins, creating the most photogenic spots in Egypt. You’ll have the chance to see the ancient wonders from up close and if you make sure to buy the more expensive ticket, you even get to visit one of them from inside.
But did you know there are even more attractions in Giza, at the same site as the pyramids and the Sphinx? The smaller pyramids are the more obvious monuments you’ll visit here. Those are the so-called queen’s pyramids and if you’re lucky, one of them is open to visitors and you can even go inside.
There is also a museum right next to one of the pyramids. It is built to accommodate an enormous boat that was found right at that spot, which is one of the best archaeological finds in the area.
Also make sure to visit the Tombs of the Nobles in Giza, as they’ll offer the chance to see some stunning hieroglyphs.
The Grand Egyptian Museum is one of Egypt’s newest attractions. This enormous museum with the most precious Egyptian artefacts is located in Giza and should be on top of your list of things to do in Egypt as well.
Contributed by Maartje and Sebastiaan from The Orange Backpack
It’s not the first thing you think of when you picture Egypt, but surprisingly the country is home to several beach towns. Hurghada is one of the best places to go in Egypt as it is well known for its beach vibes and tropical climate.
Hurghada is located off the northwestern side of the Red Sea and is a unique beach destination. The tropical climate keeps it warm year-round but the landscape is more of a desert-like beach. Because of its location, you can enjoy desert activities like camel rides and quads, as well as beach activities. One of Hurghada’s main attractions is snorkeling or diving in the Red Sea. The nearby desert islands are surrounded by bright, turquoise water.
If you’re not off on excursions, the beach is the place to be.
The coast of Hurghada is lined with affordable resorts, each with their own resort pool and places to lounge on the beach. Hurghada is a great destination to go and relax after exploring the rest of Egypt!
Contributed by Ashley Jansen from Jetset Jansen
Accommodation suggestion: Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa Sahl Hasheesh
As the gateway to some of the most well-known sites in Egypt, Luxor is undoubtedly one of the best places to go in Egypt.
This modern city halfway between Cairo and Aswan is jam-packed with history. Right in the middle of town are Luxor and Karnak Temples. At 60 acres, Karnak is the largest temple in the world! It’s connected to its companion, Luxor, by the ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes.
On the west side of Luxor is the very instagrammable Hatshepsut’s Temple, built into the cliffs overlooking the city. Just on the other side of the mountain is the most famous archaeological site in the world, the Valley of the Kings. Here, over 60 Pharaohs’ tombs have been found, each decorated with carvings and paintings that are 4000 years old. And in King Tut’s tomb, the mummy of the king can be viewed through a glass case.
With a beautiful river walkway, hot air balloon rides, and sailboats, Luxor has plenty to offer for non-history buffs as well
For a beautiful stay right on the banks of the Nile, consider spending your time at the Steigenberger Nile Palace.
Contributed by Maggie McKneely from Pink Caddy Travelogue
If you are looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience in Egypt, then hiking up Mount Sinai for sunrise is the perfect choice.
Located in the Sinai peninsula of Egypt, this famous mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. The only way to reach the summit is to hike 2 hours uphill with a guide, which makes you appreciate the view from the top even more.
When you reach the summit, take some time to rest and soak in the gorgeous 360-degree views. You can also explore a mosque and a Greek Orthodox chapel.
After you’ve completed your journey, don’t miss a tour of St. Catherine’s Monastery, which houses a collection of famous religious art and relics.
The best way to experience Mount Sinai is to stay in either Dahab or Sharm El-Sheikh and take a tour to the mountain.
Dahab Paradise is a great choice for lodging, located along the Gulf of Aqaba and situated ideally between the town of Dahab and the Blue Hole, a popular scuba diving and snorkeling location.
Contributed by Stefanie Henne of Open Road Odysseys
When visiting Egypt, you must join a Nile cruise to see and feel the impact this great river has had over the centuries, but also to enjoy good food and relaxation Agatha Christie style (with less murders!)
There are a variety of options including the popular large cruise boats, but for a more authentic experience book a cruise on a Dahabiya. These are traditional Nile sailing boats now used for cruising offering a more intimate experience with less passengers and a relaxed atmosphere.
Several companies offer a variety of options, but the most popular are 3/4-day cruises from Aswan to Luxor or the reverse.
Each cruise includes an experienced guide who will lead the group on each stop as you visit many fascinating sites such as Kom Ombo Temple, the rock-cut chapels of Horemheb, Seti I, and Ramses II, and the sandstone quarries at Gebel el Silsila.
Some of the sites you can visit are inaccessible to the larger Nile Cruise boats, so choosing a Dahabiya cruise will give you additional insights.
The cruise includes accommodation and all meals, usually served at a communal table on deck, but sometimes the crew will moor on an island in the Nile before setting up a candlelit dinner on the shore!
Contributed by Clotilde from A Princess Travelling With Twins
Temple of Hatshepsut
The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut (which is also known as Djeser-Djeseru) is considered to be one of the greatest Egyptian architectural achievements and therefore is undoubtedly one of the best places to go in Egypt. Located near Luxor, the temple was built during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut (c. 1507–1458 BC) and it marks the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.visit to Egypt.Hatshepsut was one of the first female pharaohs in Ancient Egypt, and she is regarded as one of the most successful ones. She gave the order to construct this temple in order to elevate her public image and immortalize her name. It was designed by Senenmut, Hatshepsut’s closest confidant. The temple has three levels, and it contains many hieroglyphs, a shrine to Amun, and chapels for Anubis and Hathor. It’s a spectacular place that cannot be missed on a
When it comes to finding accommodation close to the Temple of Hatshepsut, Al Hambra Hotel is a good option. This hotel is just a 10-minute drive from the temple, and it’s close to other great tourist attractions as well. Contributed by Laura Meyers of Laure Wanders
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