Dreaming of a visit to the land of pharaohs and pyramids? Then you’ll want to learn about these 7 must-visit destinations and learn important tips for traveling to Egypt.
Whether you’re first-time traveler to Egypt or returning to see more, continue reading to prepare for a remarkable trip to Egypt!
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about the top Egyptian destinations and best tips for traveling to Egypt including:
Table of Contents
The Land of Pharaohs and Feluccas: A First-Timer’s Guide to Egypt
When you step into Egypt, the land of pharaohs and feluccas, you embrace a realm of history and mystery.
The golden sands seem to whisper ancient secrets, and the majestic Nile tells tales of civilizations gone by. As you traverse the land, the shadows of the ancient deities seem to dance in the sun-drenched landscapes, beckoning you to delve deeper into the enigma of Egypt. Each pyramid and temple is a portal to the world of divine beings and legendary pharaohs.
It’s no wonder Egypt tops most travelers’ bucket list!
Efficiently planning your trip is another story, thought. You’ll need to know what stops to make on your itinerary and essential tips for each.
Before we begin, I’d like to invite you to download my FREE Bucket List Planner Worksheet. It’s a fillable, printable resource you can keep handy whenever you hear about great destinations. It will help you prioritize your dream vacations, and you’ll be more organized when your top destinations are in plain sight. That way, you’ll always have a trip to look forward to!
7 Best Places to Visit in Egypt, Including Travel Tips
Let’s journey through this enchanting land to unveil its wonders and explore hidden treasures. You’ll discover the best places to visit in Egypt, listed in order to maximize your trip and make the most of your time in Egypt.
As important, you’ll want to prepare yourself with key tips for traveling to each destination.
It’s a perfect blend of mystery and mastery for anyone venturing into Egypt.
1. Start in Cairo: The Historic Heart of Egypt
Your adventure should commence in Cairo, the bustling metropolis where the ancient and modern merge in a fascinating dance.
Be sure to include on your itinerary:
- The Pyramids of Giza and the enigmatic Sphinx, which beckon you to explore their mysteries.
- The vibrant Khan El Khalili bazaar, inviting you to experience the city’s pulsating heart.
- The Egyptian Museum, where you’ll find yourself lost in the grand tapestry of ancient civilizations as you meander through the labyrinth of history on offer.
To simplify your Egyptian adventure, consider acquiring an Egyptian visa. The land of pyramids and golden sands is welcoming, but getting the paperwork right is essential.
Once the essentials are sorted, the magic of Cairo is just a step away using these tips for traveling to Egypt.
Top Tips for Visiting Cairo, Egypt
Here are the top tips to help master your visit to Cairo.
- Plan Your Schedule Around the Heat
Cairo experiences scorching temperatures, especially in the summer months. To make the most of your trip and avoid the intense midday heat, plan your outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon. This way, you can explore attractions like the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx more comfortably.
- Hone Your Bargaining Skills for the Market
Bargaining is a common practice at Khan El Khalili. Vendors often set higher initial prices, expecting customers to negotiate.
To get the best deals, be prepared to haggle respectfully. Start by offering a price significantly lower than the vendor’s initial quote, and be willing to compromise.
A friendly and good-natured approach can lead to successful bargaining and enjoyable interactions with the local shopkeepers.
- Research and Prioritize Highlights for Your Visit the Egyptian Museum Ahead
The Egyptian Museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts, including the treasures of Tutankhamun, mummies, and countless historical relics.
To make the most of your visit, plan ahead by researching the museum’s layout and identifying the specific exhibits you’re most interested in seeing. Then, prioritize your must-see items and exhibits to ensure you have enough time to explore them thoroughly.
This approach can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and make your visit more enjoyable and informative.
- Embrace Local Cuisine
Egyptian cuisine is rich and diverse, offering a wide range of delicious dishes. Be sure to sample local specialties like koshari, falafel, and Egyptian kebabs.
Explore the vibrant street food scene, but also try dining at traditional restaurants for a more immersive culinary experience.
- Respect Local Customs
Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country with conservative cultural norms. When visiting mosques or religious sites, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees.
It’s also important to ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially in more traditional areas.
Learning a few basic Arabic phrases and demonstrating respect for local customs will go a long way in enhancing your experience in Cairo.
2. Admire Alexandria: The Mediterranean Jewel
Your exploration would be incomplete without experiencing Alexandria‘s coastal allure. Just under 3 hours from Cairo, this “jewel of the Nile” is aptly named.
Here, the Mediterranean waves whisper the legends of Cleopatra as the Qaitbay Citadel stands guard over the city’s historic shores. Lighthouses cast golden beams over the waters, weaving tales of maritime ventures and ancient seafarers.
In the city of Alexandria, every breeze seems imbued with Hellenistic elegance and Ptolemaic sophistication, wrapping you in a luxurious embrace of diverse cultures. The streets echo with the footsteps of philosophers and poets. This region invites you to lose yourself in the charming blend of history and the mesmerizing azure of the Mediterranean Sea.
Be sure to include a visit to the Montaza Palace and the Royal Jewelry Museum for more on the city’s royal elegance and storied past. These gems will add clarity to the city’s rich mosaic.
Travel Tips for Alexandria
Follow these travel tips for visiting Alexandria.
- Explore the Historical Sites
Alexandria is a city steeped in history, with numerous historical and cultural attractions to explore. Be sure to visit: the Qaitbay Citadel, Pompey’s Pillar, the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria).
These sites offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past and its contributions to ancient and modern civilization.
- Enjoy the Coastal Beauty
Alexandria is known for its stunning Mediterranean coastline. It’s a great opportunity to take some time to relax and enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches. Maamoura Beach and Montaza Beach are popular choices.
Then, stroll along the Corniche, a scenic promenade that runs along the waterfront, where you can savor delicious seafood at the local restaurants.
Finally, consider taking a boat ride or a sunset walk along the coast for a memorable experience.
- Sample Local Cuisine
Alexandria boasts a unique culinary scene that includes a fusion of Egyptian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional dishes like seafood, koshari, and mahshi (stuffed vegetables). Additionally, savor the city’s famous desserts, such as basbousa (coconut and semolina cake) and Umm Ali (a Middle Eastern version of bread pudding and Egypt’s national dish).
Exploring local markets and street food stalls is a great way to experience the city’s culinary diversity.
3. Visit the Siwa Oasis: A Mirage of Ancient Mysteries
Now, head for the Siwa Oasis. This hidden gem of Egypt, where the golden sands of the Sahara desert blend seamlessly with the emerald green of fertile lands, creates a paradise amid eternity.
It’s a bit remote, so this is a good place to unwind and immerse yourself in the local Berber culture and beautiful desert landscapes after a day of travel.
This secluded haven is the cradle of ancient legends and divine oracles, its palm trees whispering the tales of the legendary Alexander the Great seeking prophecies.
Explore the ruins of the Temple of the Oracle, which seem to murmur the divine whispers of the gods. Each stone is imbued with mysteries.
The shimmering lakes surrounded by golden dunes reflects the celestial dance of the stars at night. It creates a symphony of light and shadow, whispering the secrets of the cosmos to those who seek.
Tips for Visiting the Siwa Oasis
Here are three travel tips for exploring this remote and picturesque destination of the Siwa Oasis.
- Plan Ahead and Allow Ample Time
Siwa Oasis is relatively isolated, so reaching it can be a bit of an adventure. Whether you’re traveling by bus, private vehicle, or a guided tour, plan your transportation well in advance.
The journey can take several hours from Cairo, and the desert roads can be rough. Therefore, you’ll want to allow enough time for the journey, factoring in any potential delays.
Once you’re in Siwa, take your time to explore. This oasis offers a serene and tranquil environment, with attractions like the Temple of the Oracle and the Shali Fortress.
Enjoy leisurely walks, relaxation at the local hot springs, and interaction with the friendly local Berber community.
This is one instance where you don’t want to rush through your visit. Allow yourself to savor the unique atmosphere!
- Respect the Local Culture and Traditions
Siwa Oasis is known for its distinct Berber culture. When you visit, be sure you respect the customs and traditions of the local community.
That means you’ll want to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and ask for permission before taking photos of people or their property.
You can engage with the locals to learn about their way of life, try their traditional food, and purchase handmade crafts to support the community.
- Explore the Unique Natural Beauty
Siwa Oasis is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the salt lakes, palm groves, and sand dunes. You might consider taking a guided desert safari to experience the unique beauty of the Great Sand Sea. There, you can enjoy activities like sandboarding and dune bashing.
It goes without saying that watching the sunset or sunrise over the desert is a breathtaking experience and a must-do!
4. Go Beyond the Pyramids: A Symphony of the Desert Night
Continue your desert adventure by spending a few days in a desert camp, which could be in the Western Desert or the Eastern Desert, depending on your preferences. Enjoy activities like stargazing, sand dune exploration, and camel treks.
Amid the sweeping sands and beneath the watchful eyes of the millennia-old monuments, the desert of Egypt comes alive with a different kind of symphony at night. It’s worth planning an overnight stay for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Stars above seem to dance to the celestial tunes of the ancient gods, whispering the secrets of the cosmos, and the cool breeze carries the fragrance of the bygone golden era.
The eerie silence of the desert contrasts beautifully with the rhythmic sounds of the nocturnal creatures. It creates a magical serenade that seems to narrate the untold stories and unsung heroes of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
Don’t be surprised if the flickering campfire brings to mind the faces of the legendary pharaohs and divine beings before your eyes. Each flame tells a story, and every spark holds a piece of the rich and mysterious past.
Tips for Staying in the Desert in Egypt
Exploring the Egyptian desert can be a unique and adventurous experience. Here are three travel tips for visiting the desert in Egypt.
- Prepare Thoroughly
Before embarking on a desert journey, it’s essential that you prepare carefully. You’ll need to research the specific desert area you plan to visit so you understand its climate, terrain, and potential challenges.
Then, make sure you have adequate supplies, including plenty of water, food, first-aid supplies, and navigation tools.
Dress appropriately in lightweight, breathable clothing that provides protection from the sun and sand. Also, inform someone of your plans and expected return time.
The best option would be to consider traveling with a local guide who knows the area well.
- Respect the Environment
Desert ecosystems are fragile, so it’s crucial to minimize your impact on the environment.
Always follow “Leave No Trace” principles by packing out all trash and avoiding any damage to plants, rocks, or historical sites.
Camp in designated areas if available, or choose a campsite on durable surfaces like sand or gravel.
Finally, be mindful of wildlife and avoid disturbing their natural habitats.
- Embrace the Silence and Night Sky
One of the unique aspects of desert travel is the opportunity to experience solitude and the mesmerizing night sky. Take time to enjoy the silence of the desert, which can be both peaceful and meditative.
Remember to turn off all lights to minimize light pollution so everyone can fully appreciate the celestial display.
During the night, the clear desert skies offer excellent stargazing opportunities. Consider bringing binoculars or a telescope to marvel at the stars, planets, and constellations.
5. Visit Luxor: The Valley of Kings
From the desert, head to Luxor. Explore the ancient temples and tombs on both the East and West Banks of the Nile. Luxor is a historical treasure trove, and you’ll want a few days to fully appreciate its attractions. Apart from the Pyramids of Giza, Luxor is the heart of Egyptian tourism.
Here, you’ll discover the illustrious Valley of the Kings and the immense Karnak Temple. The colossal statues and intricately adorned walls will immerse you in a timeless aura as they resonate with the whispers of the ancients.
The majestic monuments are bathed in a golden glow as the sun sets, revealing tales of courage and eternity in the hieroglyphs. Exploring the magnificent tombs and deciphering the hieroglyphics will feel like you’re unraveling the threads of a historical tapestry, with each symbol serving as a key to the divine and the eternal.
As you wander, the enchanting aura of the pharaohs and the deities invites you to dive deeper into the spiritual essence of ancient Egypt, making every moment a cherished memory.
Tips for Visiting Luxor
Follow these tips when you visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.
- Plan an Early Morning Visit
The Valley of the Kings can get quite crowded during the day, and the desert heat can be intense. To make the most of your visit and avoid the crowds, consider going early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler, and the sites are less crowded.
This will also give you a chance to enjoy the tombs with more peace and tranquility.
- Take a Guided Tour
Consider taking a guided tour of the Valley of the Kings. Knowledgeable guides can provide you with valuable insights into the history and significance of the tombs and help you navigate the extensive site. They can also help you prioritize which tombs to visit, as you may not have time to see all of them.
While you’ll be paying for the experience, a good guide’s knowledge and insights are invaluable.
- Respect the Tombs
When exploring the tombs, it’s important to respect the rules and regulations. You’ll want to avoid touching the walls, ceilings, or any ancient artifacts.
Many of these sites are well-preserved, and the oils and dirt from human contact can damage the delicate paintings and carvings.
Also, be sure to follow any photography restrictions that may be in place to protect the ancient artwork.
6. Experience Aswan: The Nubian Beauty
Proceed next to Aswan, where its serene ambiance invites you to explore the enchanting Nubian culture.
The calm waters of the Nile and the golden sands paint a picture of quiet beauty. In this tranquil environment, the Philae Temple stands as a testament to devotion and architectural mastery. The gentle lap of the waters against the shores and the distant murmur of the city create a harmonious symphony of nature and civilization.
As you sail on a felucca around Elephantine Island, you’ll feel the gentle winds carrying tales of gods and goddesses, enveloping you in the charm of Nubian rhythms and colors.
The blend of vivid landscapes and ancient ruins of Aswan breathe life into the stories, making every glance a journey through the vibrant tapestry of Nubian life and tradition.
Tips for Visiting Aswan
Here are some helpful tips when you’re visiting Aswan.
- Explore the Nubian Culture
Aswan is known for its rich Nubian culture. Take the opportunity to visit a Nubian village and interact with the local people. You can learn about their traditions, art, and way of life.
Don’t forget to try Nubian cuisine, which offers unique flavors and dishes. You’ll want to sample Bamiya (okra stew), Ful Medames (fava beans, mashed), and Kushari (a spicy blend of lentils, pasta, rice, chickpeas, tomato sauce), and other dishes.
- Take a Felucca Ride
Aswan is a great place to enjoy a traditional felucca boat ride on the Nile River. This leisurely sail will provide you with a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings. Plus, it’s a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening.
You can choose from short trips to longer journeys, depending on your preference and itinerary.
- Visit Philae Temple and the High Dam
Aswan is home to the beautiful Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, and the impressive Aswan High Dam. Both sites offer historical and architectural significance.
Philae Temple, in particular, is located on an island in the Nile you can reach by a short boat ride. Make sure to explore these attractions to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s history and achievements.
7. Witness the Sun’s Adoration: Abu Simbel
Continue your journey to Abu Simbel, where massive statues guard the sun’s divine abode at the Temple of Ramses II. These temples are a bit remote so they are best visited toward the end of your trip.
A solar alignment phenomena illuminates the stone deities twice a year. The statues gaze into eternity, their faces illuminated by the divine radiance, whispering secrets of the cosmos and the gods. The harmonious fusion of architectural brilliance and holy reverence in Abu Simbel renders the atmosphere surreal, allowing you to enter the light of the pharaohs’ divine communion.
This vivid depiction of celestial beings and the enchanting aura of divinity make Abu Simbel a sanctuary of cosmic wonder and spiritual exploration.
Interestingly, the dates of the solar alignment phenomena align with the start of the harvest and flooding seasons. If you visit in February or October, you’ll bear witness to this celestial dance of light and stone!
But whenever you visit to Abu Simbel, it will be an enchanting experience!
Tips for Visiting Abu Simbal
When you visit Abu Simbal, follow these tips to make the best of your experience.
- Arrive Early to Beat the Heat and Crowds
Abu Simbel, located in the Nubian Desert, can become scorching hot during the day.
To make the most of your visit and avoid the intense heat and crowds, plan to arrive at the temples as early as possible when they open. Even at 10 am, a 2-hour visit can become unbearably hot!
So, check the current schedule before your visit. (At the time of publication, Abu Simbel open at 5:00 am.)
An added bonus is an early morning visits also provides you better photo opportunities with softer lighting.
- Explore Both Temples
Abu Simbel is famous for its two massive temples, the Great Temple of Ramses II and the smaller Temple of Hathor.
While the Great Temple steals the spotlight, the Temple of Hathor is also a remarkable site to explore. It’s dedicated to Queen Nefertari and features fascinating carvings and hieroglyphics.
You’ll want to be sure to visit both temples to appreciate the full historical and artistic significance.
- Learn About the Relocation
Did you know the temples of Abu Simbel were relocated in the 1960s to save them from the rising waters of Lake Nasser due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam?
Take some time to learn about this incredible engineering feat and the UNESCO-led efforts to save these ancient monuments. The visitor center will provide you with information and features exhibits related to this massive relocation project.
Final Thoughts on Tips for Traveling to Egypt
Embarking on a journey through Egypt is like sailing through centuries, each location a chapter from the ancient tales. The land of pharaohs and feluccas offers many experiences, from Cairo’s historical richness to Aswan’s serene beauty.
Now that you have these tips, you’re more prepared to do so.
As you traverse this majestic land, the sands and stones, the rivers and the winds, will sing you the eternal songs of a civilization that shaped the annals of human history, leaving you with memories engraved in the sands of time.
For more about travel to Egypt and beyond, read these articles next:
- Premium Nile Cruise Cost Guide For the Ultimate Journey In Egypt
- 7 Top Tourist Destinations In Egypt, Ranked: Best Places to Visit
- Planning a Trip to Egypt? Dodge These 10 Embarrassing Travel Mistakes
- Best Countries to Visit in Middle East: 6 Most Beautiful Destinations
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