Egypt – an ancient land filled with wonder. People have been drawn to this fascinating country since time began and its diverse and rich history is evident at every turn, from the rugged desert landscape to the ancient fortresses, monasteries and mosques dotted throughout the country. The most famous Egypt tourist attractions are of course the iconic Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, both accepted to be amongst the key wonders of the world and they remain some of the most popular places to visit in Egypt. Conveniently situated near Cairo, they are one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.
Cairo itself has a huge amount to offer any visitor. This busy and bustling metropolis combines modern developments with a deep sense of history and much of the city looks like it has barely changed since ancient times. There are countless mosques, souks and bazaars to occupy your time, and haggling in the markets is an experience not to be missed. The world famous Egyptian Museum is universally recognised as one of the top museums in the world and offers a unique insight into Egyptology. It contains over 100,000 pieces of Egyptian artefacts, including the funeral mask of the Pharaoh King Tutankhamen. It is how a museum should be – dusty and often mislabelled but that is half the fun! Due to the size and scale of the museum collection, visits are greatly enhanced by a professional Egyptology guide.
Egypt places to visit are diverse and plentiful and the spectacular Abu Simbel temple complex of Ramses II is at the top of the list for many. Located south of Aswan and close to the border with Sudan, this colossal temple was carved into sheer rock and the size and scale, not to mention the workmanship, is incredible to behold. Four huge statues guard the main temple entrance and the intricately decorated walls show historical battles and victories throughout. Equally impressive is the fact that it had to be moved in order to escape the riding waters of Lake Nasser.
The Nile Valley is another of Egypt’s main tourist attractions and for good reason. Float down the Nile River on a traditional felucca and take in the incredible scenery as you stop off and explore the ancient sites of Luxor. The West Bank is home to the Valley of the Kings, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. This ancient site is the burial place of many of the great Pharaoh Kings and tombs include those of Ramses the Great and King Tutankhamen. Hatshepsut’s Temple is particularly impressive though there is so much to see here one could take days to explore it fully. The Valley of the Queens is also filled with ancient wonders, their tombs generally more colourful than those in the Valley of the Kings. The East Bank of Luxor is home to the enormous Karnak temple, the size and scale of which is still staggering today, and this is also one of the key places to visit in Egypt. A hot air balloon ride above Luxor and the surrounding area is a simply unforgettable experience.
In addition to the wealth of historical and archaeological sites on offer, Egypt has much to offer the sun seeker as well. The red sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are well known tourist attractions in Egypt but the charming town of Dahab also deserves a special mention. These resorts offer fantastic beaches and an array of watersports, including some of the finest scuba diving and snorkelling in the entire world. The beautiful coral reefs are teeming with fish and dive enthusiasts travel from across the globe to experience some of the specific dive spots like the Blue Hole, Ras Mohammed Marine Park and Wreck SS Thistlestorm. Dahab is especially famous for windsurfing and has a lovely relaxed beach cafe culture to recharge those batteries. It’s also a great base for desert safaris – canyon through the rocks, ride camels and horses across the dunes or sleep under the stars in a Bedouin camp.
There are so many things to do in Egypt that it is hard to cover them all in this piece. The thriving cities of Alexandria and Aswan are also popular places to visit, and there are many more historical and archaeological sites to delight any visitor. With a pleasant year round climate (although central Egypt can become really quite hot in the summer) and frequent flights from many airports, there has never been a better time to visit and explore this unique and ancient land.