The pyramids are perhaps the most famous of these. The three pyramids at Giza are the largest and best preserved of the eighty to be found across the country. They are guarded by the sphinx, a large human-headed lion, carved from a mound of natural rock.
Then there are the temples such as the complex of Abu Simbel, a monument to Ramses II and his queen Nefertari.
Many of these key sights are found in the Nile Valley, along the banks of the River Nile – the world’s longest river and a waterway of immense significance in Egypt. As a result, cruising the Nile is one of the most popular activities undertaken by visitors to Egypt.
Not all of Egypt’s attractions date as far back as these ancient ruins however. Modern Egypt also has much to offer in the form of vibrant cities, a diverse cuisine, feats of modern architecture and contemporary art museums.
Then there are also its natural wonders. Desert landscapes such as the Sahara and Sinai beg to be explored, along with oasis towns such as Siwa. Then there is the rocky terrain of its mountain ranges, and also its coastlines.
Beach bums can head to resort towns such as Marsa Matruh on the Mediterranean coast or, on the Red Sea to Sharm El Sheikh and Marsa Alam, where scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities – thanks to the underwater riches nearby.
Places to Visit in Egypt
- Nile Valley
- Siwa Oasis
Unique Things to See and Do in Egypt
- Head into the desert by jeep or by camel
- Explore the underwater world of the Red Sea
- Visit the pyramids of Giza
- Eat shawarma amid the urban chaos of Cairo
- Cruise the Nile
Is it Safe to Travel to Egypt?
A number of violent incidents in recent years have seen Egypt’s tourism industry devastated, with the country losing its place as one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations.
Governments in a number of countries have warned travellers of the high threat of terrorism, with North Sinai, South Sinai, areas along the border with Libya and the region west of the Nile Valley and Delta Regions highlighted as areas of particular concern.
However, travel advisories highlight the main tourist areas along the Nile river such as Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of Kings as exceptions, along with the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. They also stress that most visits to Egypt are “trouble-free”.
Despite the safety concerns, the country remains on the bucket list of millions, with many claiming now is the best time to go, with fewer crowds and rock bottom prices.
In fact, recent government figures show tourist arrivals are bouncing back after plummeting in the aftermath of the Arab Spring in 2011, although they still remain a ways off their 2010 levels. That recovery is expected to continue, according to many tourism operators.
Getting Around Egypt
Tourists can tap into Egypt’s public transport system to get around its major sights, with a decent rail network running between the Nile Valley and Delta Zone.
Buses are also available, as are shared taxi services, if you plan to tackle the destination by road.
For a faster way to get from A to B, domestic air services are available – operated by Egyptair.
And of course, there are the iconic travel experiences commonly identified with the destination. These include a cruise along the Nile which can be done in a felucca – a traditional wooden sailing boat. These smaller vessels tend to follow longer itineraries stopping at smaller sites and islands unreachable by bigger boats. Meanwhile, larger cruise boats offer more space and luxury, many with en suite facilities and plunge pools.
Did you know…?
Hieroglyphs were developed about 3,000 BC and may have started as early wall paintings. While English has 26 letters, there are more than 700 different Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Did you ALSO know…?
Egypt has the largest Arabic population in the world
Best Time of Year to Travel to Egypt
The best time to visit Egypt depends on your itinerary. Heading for the beaches and sights of the Mediterranean coast? Then the summer is the most popular time to visit.
However, these months of June to August are considered the low season elsewhere in the country as soaring temperatures make visits to Upper Egypt quite a challenge, with visits to the Western Desert not recommended.
The winter, which falls between the months of October and February, is generally sunny and warm across the country, although the occasional rains are more common on the Mediterranean Coast where it can also get quite chilly.
Spring can herald occasional dust storms which have been known to disrupt flights while autumn offers warm sea temperatures and fewer crowds upon the Mediterranean.
Ready to plan your visit to Egypt? Check out these popular guides and trips.