Thoughts of Egypt usually conjure up fantastical images of pyramids with secret tombs and ancient secrets, pharaohs dripping in gold and jewels, and Cleopatra – the epitome of female beauty and power. A trip to this land of ancient opulence and grandiose structures is the perfect option if you’re looking for excitement, beauty, and historical significance. Egypt is nearly 400,000 square miles, so there’s no need to worry there won’t be enough adventure to satisfy even the most bravely curious travelers. In a country so vast, how do you narrow down the best places to visit? Nevermind the usual suspects – the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx – we have some suggestions that will give you a trip straight from your desert-dune dreams.
This city has an enormous collection of Islamic monuments and structures, and hiring a tour guide is the best way to get the most out of these visits. The Alabaster Mosque, which is the biggest in the city, provides ample historical and educational opportunities, and the alabaster rock and minarets on the building will look great on Instagram. And what vacation is complete without a chance to snag some regional goods? Much like the famous bazaars in Marrakech, Cairo’s Khan el Khalili bazaar offers an excellent chance to shop. Merchants offer authentic local products that you can show off to everyone back home (imagine getting to say, “Isn’t this beautiful? I got it in Cairo.”). Don’t forget to haggle, which is half the fun of shopping in places like these.
Sharm El Sheikh
If relaxation is on your docket for this trip, this resort town might be exactly your style. Visit the beach along the Red Sea and unwind away from the busy streets of Cairo. You can take a boat tour or venture out onto the water in a glass-bottomed boat for a close-up view of the sea. But don’t think there’s nothing to do here for adventure-seekers; it’s quite the opposite. The Red Sea has diverse marine life and coral reefs, so divers and eco-tourists will find more than enough to suit them in this seaside village. If land adventure is what you seek, explore the Naama Desert on an ATV or on camelback. Once the sun sets, the attraction doesn’t end. You have the option of a traditional dinner feast cooked over a campfire, and while you eat, you can view the night sky and see the stars in all their glory (without the light pollution you’re probably used to).
If you’re looking for an adventure that takes you away from the more populated parts of Egypt, consider Dahab. A diver’s paradise, it boasts many diving spots, including the Blue Hole and the Three Pools, which are both coveted snorkeling locales. Book lovers will rejoice in reverence at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, which is home to the world’s oldest operational library. Many ancient literary works are held here, including some from the 4th century. An impressive Christian art collection is also housed at the Monastery.
A complex of numerous temples, chapels, and other buildings, Karnak offers one of the best opportunities to experience the historical architecture of the country. Located next to the Nile, it is a well-preserved glimpse into a group of structures that took centuries to build. But if the waters of the river Nile and ancient Egyptian architecture aren’t enough to lure you to Karnak, consider Sacred Lake. The largest one of its kind, it was created in the 1400s and used in rituals by priests.
Egypt has a plethora of sites to take in, some natural and some man-made, but all breathtaking. The places on this list offer unique opportunities to experience local customs, historical landmarks, and thrilling adventures. However you decide to spend your time in this beautiful country, you’ll be sure to have an envy-inducing vacation.