In this article, we are going to look at the best vacation spots in Egypt, a land of ancient history and bustling modern cities, and breathtaking natural beauty. From the stunning Red Sea coast to the iconic pyramids of Giza, Egypt offers a diverse range of activities and experiences that will leave you spellbound.
Read on as we take a closer look at some of the best Egypt vacation spot to help you plan your dream holiday in this enchanting destination. Join us as we uncover the treasures of Egypt and embark on an unforgettable adventure.
Classic Egypt Tours
Luxury Egypt Tours
A Brief Overview of Egypt’s History and Culture
Before we explore the best vacation spots in Egypt, let’s take a quick look at the country’s rich history and culture. Egypt is home to some of the world’s most famous ancient monuments, including the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza. These awe-inspiring structures date back thousands of years and serve as a testament to the incredible engineering skills of the ancient Egyptians.
Egyptian culture is also known for its vibrant music, dance, and cuisine. Traditional Egyptian dishes include koshari, a mix of rice, lentils, and pasta, and ful medames, a dish made from fava beans. Egyptian music is characterized by its use of traditional instruments like the oud, darbuka, and ney, and is often accompanied by lively dance performances. With its blend of ancient and modern influences, Egypt offers a unique cultural experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Top Reasons to Choose Egypt as a Vacation Destination
After learning about Egypt’s rich history and culture, it’s no wonder why this country is a top vacation destination. Here are some top reasons why adventure-seekers should choose Egypt as their next holiday spot:
- Ancient Monuments: Egypt is full of awe-inspiring ancient monuments, such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings. These structures offer a glimpse into the country’s fascinating history and leave visitors in awe of the engineering skills of the ancient Egyptians.
- Red Sea Adventures: The Red Sea is known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, making it the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. Visitors can explore colorful coral reefs, swim with dolphins, and even go diving among sharks.
- Outdoor Activities: From hot air balloon rides over Luxor to camel treks through the Sahara Desert, Egypt offers a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure-seekers. Visitors can also go sandboarding, quad biking, and hiking in the stunning desert landscapes.
- Cultural Immersion: Egypt’s unique blend of ancient and modern influences creates a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. Visitors can explore bustling markets, try traditional cuisine, and watch lively dance performances to fully immerse themselves in Egyptian culture.
With so much to explore and experience, Egypt is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking adventure and cultural immersion. In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into some of the best vacation spots in Egypt to give you a better idea of what all is available for travelers in the Land of the Pharaohs.
Best Times to Visit Egypt
Before we jump into the top vacation spots in Egypt, it’s important to know the best times to visit the country. Egypt has a desert climate, which means that it is hot and dry all year round. However, the best time to visit is during the cooler months between October and April, when temperatures are more comfortable for outdoor activities. During the summer months, temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F) and it can be difficult to enjoy outdoor activities.
The busiest time to visit Egypt is during the winter months between December and February, which means that prices for accommodations and activities may be higher. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and save some money, consider visiting during the shoulder season between March and May or September and November. The weather is still pleasant, and prices may be more affordable.
The Top Attractions in Cairo: The Pyramids and Sphinx
Since most tourists enter Egypt via Cairo, we’ll start the “attractions” part of this guide by looking at the best tourist attractions in and around this bustling Egyptian capital. We are only going to look at the top and most famous Cairo attractions, but if you have time to spare, there is a lot more to see and do in this fascinating Egyptian city. Okay, let’s get started…
The Great Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramids of Giza are perhaps the most iconic and most recognizable landmarks in Egypt. Located on the outskirts of Cairo, these ancient structures were built over 4,500 years ago and served as tombs for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. The largest of the three pyramids, the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Great Pyramid), is the oldest and largest of the three, standing at a height of 147 meters.
History and Significance of the Pyramids
The Pyramids of Giza hold a significant place in Egypt’s history and culture. They were built during the Old Kingdom, a period of great wealth and stability in ancient Egypt. The pyramids were believed to be the final resting place for the pharaohs who were considered to be divine rulers. The Pyramids of Giza are also famous for their alignment with the stars, particularly the constellation Orion, which was believed to be associated with the god Osiris, the god of the afterlife.
Exploring the Pyramids
Visitors to the Pyramids of Giza can explore the complex on foot or by camel. Guides are available to provide in-depth information and insights into the history and significance of these ancient structures. It’s also possible to enter the pyramids themselves and see the burial chambers up close.
However, visitors should be aware that the inside of the pyramids can be hot and cramped, and climbing up the steep passages can be challenging. It’s recommended to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water.
The Sphinx is a mystical statue located in the Giza Plateau in Egypt, just a short distance from the Great Pyramids. It is a massive limestone sculpture of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. The Sphinx is believed to have been built during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre, who was also responsible for constructing the second-largest pyramid in the Giza complex.
History and mythology of the Great Sphinx
The Great Sphinx is believed to have been built as a symbol of the pharaoh’s divine power and is closely associated with the god Horus, who was often depicted with a lion’s body and a human head. The Sphinx is also believed to have served as a guardian to the pyramids and the pharaoh’s burial place.
Visiting the Great Sphinx
Visitors can take a guided tour of the Sphinx and learn about its rich history and mythology. It is also possible to take a camel ride around the Sphinx and explore the surrounding desert landscape. As with the Pyramids, visitors should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water as the area can get quite hot during the day.
NOTE: Under no circumstances should visitors attempt to climb the pyramids and/or the Great Sphinx. Doing so is dangerous and illegal, with offenders facing a possible 4-year prison sentence.
Other Must-See Attractions in Cairo
While the pyramids and the sphinx are the top attractions in not only Cairo, but in the whole of Egypt, there are also other attractions in Cairo which every visitor should try to visit during their stay:
The Grand Egyptian Museum
The Grand Egyptian Museum is the largest museum in the world dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich history of a single civilization. Located in Giza, just a short distance from the pyramids and the Sphinx, the museum features over 100,000 artifacts spanning over 5,000 years of Egyptian history. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries, which include exhibitions on ancient Egyptian art, culture, and religion, as well as displays on mummification and the pharaohs. The museum opened in 2021 and has since become a major tourist attraction in Cairo.
The Egyptian Museum
Located in the heart of the city, the museum boasts an extensive collection of over 120,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts. Visitors can explore the museum’s halls and admire the exquisite art and craftsmanship of ancient Egypt, including mummies, statues, and hieroglyphs.
While many of the museum’s artifacts have been moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, there is still so much to see, and its location opposite Tahrir Square makes it a very convenient attraction to visit while staying in Cairo.
The Bustling Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
The Khan el-Khalili Bazaar is one of the oldest and most famous bazaars in the Middle East, dating back to the 14th century. Located in the heart of Islamic Cairo, the bazaar is a maze of narrow streets and alleys lined with shops selling everything from traditional textiles and carpets to spices, perfumes, and jewelry.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the hustle and bustle of its vibrant atmosphere, bargaining with shopkeepers and sipping on traditional tea while enjoying the sounds of local musicians and street performers.
Other Nearby Attractions
There’s a good reason why Cairo is one of the top vacation spots in Egypt. Apart from the attractions mentioned above, there are also some epic attractions which are only a short drive from Cairo…
The Saqqara Necropolis
The Saqqara Necropolis is an ancient burial ground located near Cairo and is home to some of the oldest pyramids in Egypt. The most famous pyramid in the necropolis is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which was built during the 27th century BC and is considered to be the world’s oldest surviving major stone structure and the first pyramid ever built by the ancient Egyptians.
The Dahshur Necropolis
The Dahshur Necropolis is another ancient burial ground located just south of Cairo, and it is home to some unique and impressive pyramids. The most famous pyramids at Dahshur are the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. The Bent Pyramid, built during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu, is named for its unusual bent shape, caused by a change in the angle of construction mid-way through its construction. The Red Pyramid, also built by Sneferu, is the third largest pyramid in Egypt and is named for the reddish hue of its limestone blocks.
Exploring the Ancient City of Luxor
Located in southern Egypt, the city of Luxor is often referred to as the “world’s greatest open-air museum”. It is home to some of the country’s most impressive ancient temples and monuments, including the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and Luxor Temple.
Luxor Temple is a magnificent ancient temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in Luxor. It was built during the New Kingdom period in ancient Egypt, around 1400 BCE, and was dedicated to the god Amun. The temple was used for various religious ceremonies, including the annual Opet Festival which celebrated the union of Amun with his wife, the goddess Mut, and their son, the god Khonsu.
Visiting Luxor Temple
Upon arrival at the temple, visitors are greeted by the massive Avenue of Sphinxes, a row of 1,200 sphinxes that once connected Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple. The main entrance leads to the Great Court, where visitors can see the massive columns and intricately decorated walls. As is always the case when visiting the best vacation spots in Egypt, having a guide with you will make your Luxor Temple visit more rewarding than ever.
Karnak Temple Complex
Located just north of Luxor, this temple was built over a period of 2,000 years and was dedicated to the god Amun. The complex covers an area of over 100 hectares and contains several temples, chapels, and obelisks, including the Great Temple of Amun, the Temple of Khonsu, and the Temple of Ptah.
The temple complex was a place of pilgrimage for ancient Egyptians, and it was believed that the god Amun resided within the complex. As a result, it was one of the most important religious centers in ancient Egypt and played a significant role in the country’s political and cultural life.
Exploring the Karnak Temple Complex
Visiting the Karnak Temple Complex is a truly immersive experience that will transport you back in time to the ancient world of the pharaohs. The sheer size and complexity of the temple complex can be overwhelming, so it’s best to have a guide with you to help navigate and explain the significance of each site.
The highlights of the complex include the Great Hypostyle Hall, which contains 134 massive columns, the Avenue of Sphinxes, and the Sacred Lake, which was used for ritual purification. The Karnak Sound and Lights show which takes place every evening is also a truly unforgettable experience.
The Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt and was the burial place of many pharaohs and their consorts during the New Kingdom period (1550-1070 BCE). The valley was chosen for its hidden location and was believed to be a safe place to keep the pharaohs’ tombs out of the reach of tomb robbers.
Over 60 tombs have been discovered in the valley, including those of famous pharaohs such as Tutankhamun and Ramses II. Many of the tombs are decorated with intricate paintings and hieroglyphics that depict the pharaoh’s journey into the afterlife and their relationship with the gods. The Valley of the Kings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most important cultural sites in Egypt.
Visiting the tombs
Visiting the tombs in the Valley of the Kings is an awe-inspiring experience that allows you to witness the grandeur and artistry of ancient Egyptian culture. Each tomb is unique and has its own story to tell, so choose a few that interest you the most and hire a guide to help you understand the significance of each tomb.
Some of the most popular tombs to visit include the tomb of Tutankhamun, which was discovered intact in 1922 and contains his mummified remains, and the tomb of Ramses VI, which features stunning wall paintings and intricate architectural details.
Visitors should note that the tombs are delicate and can be affected by humidity and temperature, so flash photography and touching the walls are strictly prohibited.
Other Top Attractions in Luxor
The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is a stunning temple complex located on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. It was built in the 15th century BCE to honor the pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who was one of the most powerful female rulers in ancient Egypt.
The Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues located on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. They were constructed during the 14th century BCE and depict pharaoh Amenhotep III seated on his throne. The statues were originally part of a larger temple complex, but only the two colossi remain standing today.
Top Recommended Day Trip/Excursion
If time and budget permits, a day trip to Abydos via Aswan is also highy recommended. By traveling via Aswan, visitors can also visit the ancient temple of Isis near Aswan as well as the Temple of Seti I at Abydos.
If time permits, also consider visiting nearby Edfu to see the Temple of Horus which is Egypt’s best preserved temple. A ride through Edfu on a traditional horse-drawn carriage is also a wonderful experience.
Relaxing on the Beaches of the Red Sea: Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh
Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh are among the top Egypt vacation spots where visitors can enjoy quality relaxation time and limitless water activities. So, let’s take a closer look these two coastal resorts…
Located on the Red Sea coast, Hurghada is one of the top vacation spots in Egypt among beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea offer excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities, with colorful coral reefs and an abundance of marine life to explore. Visitors can also enjoy other activities like windsurfing, kiteboarding, and parasailing. Hurghada also has quite a lively nightlife scene, with ample bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore.
Top beaches and areas in the city
Makadi Bay is one of the best place in the area for those who are looking for a peaceful and secluded experience where they can escape the crowds and enjoy some tranquility. The beach is known for its soft white sand and clear turquoise waters, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing.
Sahl Hasheesh is an upscale area known for its luxurious resorts and stunning beaches. In addition to relaxing on the beach, visitors can also enjoy activities like golfing, horseback riding, and spa treatments.
El Gouna is a beautiful resort town near Hurghada with a unique architecture that resembles a traditional Egyptian village. It has several beaches that offer various water sports activities, including kitesurfing and paddleboarding.
Sharm El Sheikh
Located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm El Sheikh is another Red Sea resort town known for its stunning beaches and water activities. The town is famous for its coral reefs, which are home to a diverse range of marine life, making it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling. Visitors can also enjoy other activities like windsurfing, parasailing, and jet skiing.
Top beaches and areas in the city
Naama Bay is the most popular area for tourists and is known for its lively atmosphere, with many shops, restaurants, and bars. The beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing, and visitors can also enjoy water activities like snorkeling and diving.
Ras Um Sid is a quieter area known for its beautiful coral reefs and clear waters. Visitors can relax on the beach or explore the underwater world through snorkeling and diving. There are also several restaurants and cafes in the area for a relaxing meal by the sea.
Tiran Island is also a popular vacation spot in Egypt for day trips from Sharm El Sheikh, offering pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and diving, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. The island also has a historic shipwreck that can be explored by experienced divers.
Okay, so now that we have looked at a few of the best vacation spots in Egypt, let’s take a look at a few fun activities that can make your trip to Egypt more unforgettable than ever
Adventurous Activities: Desert Safaris, Hot Air Balloon Rides, and Scuba Diving
Exploring the ancient pyramids and temples in Egypt is a must-do for any traveler, but why not add some excitement to your trip by participating in adventurous activities? Egypt offers a variety of thrilling experiences that will make your vacation unforgettable. Let’s take a closer look…
Desert safaris in Egypt are a popular adventure activity that allows visitors to explore the vast and stunning landscapes of the country’s deserts. Visitors can ride camels or ATVs, hike, and camp under the stars while experiencing the unique culture and traditions of the desert tribes.
Top desert safari destinations include: The Western Desert where visitors can explore the famous sand dunes and oases. The Siwa Oasis, in particular, is a popular attraction, as is the White Desert National Park.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
For a breathtaking and unique view of Egypt’s landscapes, a hot air balloon ride over Luxor is a must-do. Visitors can experience the beauty of the Nile River, the Valley of the Kings, and the ancient temples and ruins from a bird’s eye view. The best time for a hot air balloon ride is just before sunrise, when the colors of the sky and the landscapes are at their most stunning.
Tips for a successful ride:
- Dress in comfortable and weather-appropriate attire
- Bring a camera to capture the stunning views
- Follow all safety instructions provided by the balloon company
- Be prepared for an early morning start, as most rides begin just before sunrise.
Egypt is known for its incredible underwater landscapes and coral reefs, making it a top destination for scuba diving enthusiasts. The Red Sea offers a diverse range of marine life and dive sites, including shipwrecks, caves, and coral gardens.
Popular dive sites:
- Ras Mohammed: Located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, this dive site is known for its diverse marine life and stunning coral formations.
- Tiran Island: This dive site is made up of four different reefs, each with their own unique marine life. Visitors can see colorful fish, rays, and even hammerhead sharks.
- The Thistlegorm wreck: This World War II shipwreck is one of the most popular dive sites in the world. Visitors can explore the remains of the ship and see artifacts such as motorcycles and trucks that were being transported at the time of the sinking.
For those who are looking to take their SCUBA diving to a whole new level, and who are willing to travel further afield, consider traveling to Dahab to experience a dive or two in Egypt’s famous Blue Hole.
Tips for beginners and experienced divers
If you’re planning a dive trip to Egypt, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience.
- Choose the right dive center: It’s essential to choose a reputable dive center with experienced instructors who can guide you through the basics of diving. Look for a center that offers beginner courses and has high safety standards.
- Get certified: Before diving in Egypt, make sure you get certified by a recognized diving agency. This will help you feel confident and prepared for your first dive.
- Start with shallow dives: As a beginner, it’s essential to start with shallow dives that are no more than 18 meters deep. This will help you get used to the underwater environment and build your confidence.
- Plan your dive: Plan your dive in advance and ensure that you understand the dive plan and safety procedures. Never dive alone, and always follow the instructions of your instructor.
- Take your time: Diving is not a race, take your time, and enjoy the underwater world. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply and maintain good buoyancy.
Discovering the Cultural and Historical Significance of Aswan and Abu Simbel
Aswan, located in the south of Egypt, is a city rich in cultural and historical significance. Known for its stunning natural scenery and ancient monuments, Aswan has been an important center of trade and culture for thousands of years. From the majestic temples of Abu Simbel to the bustling markets of the city, there is much to explore and discover in Aswan. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply soaking up the local culture, you will find that Aswan is one of the top vacation spots in Egypt.
Aswan is home to numerous attractions, but many of them are located some distance away. Most pre-packaged tours only feature the top 3 attractions:
The Aswan High Dam
The Aswan High Dam is a large hydroelectric dam located on the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. It was constructed in the 1960s and is one of the largest dams in the world, providing electricity and water to many parts of Egypt.
The Unfinished Obelisk
The Unfinished Obelisk is a massive ancient stone monument located in Aswan, Egypt. It was abandoned during construction due to a crack, and now serves as a popular tourist attraction.
Philae Temple is an ancient temple complex located on an island in the Nile River, near Aswan. It was dedicated to the goddess Isis and was one of the most important religious sites in ancient Egypt. The complex features stunning architecture, intricate carvings, and beautiful surroundings, making it a must-visit destination.
Abu Simbel is another significant historical site located near Aswan, and it’s a must-visit for history lovers. The site consists of two massive rock temples built during the reign of King Ramses II. The temples were relocated in the 1960s to avoid submersion by the rising waters of Lake Nasser, making it an impressive engineering feat.
The Great Temple of Ramses II
The Great Temple of Ramses II is one of the two temples located at Abu Simbel, built during the reign of King Ramses II. It is famous for its intricate carvings, stunning architecture, and cultural significance. The temple is also known for its astronomical significance, with the sun illuminating the inner sanctum twice a year during the winter and summer solstices.
The Temple of Queen Nefertari
The Temple of Queen Nefertari is the smaller of the two temples located at Abu Simbel. It was built in honor of Queen Nefertari, the wife of King Ramses II. The temple features intricate carvings and stunning artwork depicting the queen and various gods and goddesses.
Experiencing the Nile River: Cruises and Felucca Rides
Nile cruises are a popular way to experience the Nile River in Egypt. These cruises typically last 3-5 days and offer a combination of sightseeing, relaxation, and entertainment. Many cruises include stops at historical sites such as Luxor and Aswan, as well as opportunities to witness traditional Egyptian entertainment and cuisine. Let’s take a look at the three different cruise options that visitors have:
Types of Cruises
- Typical Nile River Cruises: These involve large river cruisers that can accommodate large numbers of passengers. The 5-star cruisers will typically have the same sort of amenities that one would find at a good 5-star hotel.
- Dahabiya Cruises: Dahabiya cruises are smaller, more intimate Nile River cruises that offer a luxury experience with personalized service and a focus on cultural immersion. They typically last 5-10 days and offer a unique way to explore Egypt’s history and culture.
- Felucca Rides: A traditional wooden sailing boat that has been used on the Nile for thousands of years, you can take a short ride or opt for a multi-day trip, with opportunities to camp on the riverbank and witness the stunning scenery of the Nile.
Top routes and attractions
- Aswan to Luxor: This popular route takes visitors through some of the most iconic landmarks and ancient ruins of Egypt, including the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Philae, and a whole lot more.
- Cairo to Aswan: This route is perfect for travelers who want to combine a long Nile cruise with visits to Egypt’s capital city, Cairo. Highlights of the journey include the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum, as well many ancient sites, including those which you would visit during an Aswan to Luxor Nile cruise. Cruises between Cairo and Aswan or Luxor typically last for around 12 days.
- Lake Nasser: A cruise on Lake Nasser offers a unique opportunity to explore the lesser-known ancient ruins and temples, such as the Temple of Kalabsha. The stunning natural beauty of the lake and surrounding desert landscape is also a highlight of this route.
A Brief Overview and History Of Nile River Cruises
Nile River cruises have been a popular attraction for tourists in Egypt for decades. The cruises offer visitors a unique way to explore the country’s rich history and culture while sailing along the famous river. The tradition of Nile River cruises dates back to the 19th century when steamboats were first introduced to the river.
Today, visitors can choose from a variety of cruise options, including large river cruisers, luxurious Dahabiya cruises, and traditional Felucca rides. The cruises typically include stops at historical sites such as Luxor and Aswan, as well as opportunities to witness traditional Egyptian entertainment and cuisine.
Tips for a Pleasant Experience
- Choose the right boat: Consider the size, amenities, and itinerary of the boat when choosing your Nile River cruise. It’s also important to read reviews and ask for recommendations from trusted sources.
- Plan for the heat: Egypt can get very hot, especially during the summer months. Make sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and light clothing to stay comfortable during your cruise.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of water during your Nile River cruise to avoid dehydration. Many boats provide bottled water, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own refillable water bottle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Start Planning your Trip Today
Now that you know all about the best places to see and things to do, there is no better time than now to start planning your trip to the Land of the Pharaohs. So, contact us now and let help you to create a flawless customized tour that includes many or all of the very best vacation spots in Egypt.