This post was most recently updated on September 5th, 2018
Egypt is among the leading tourist destinations in the world and for good reason. With places to go like the famous Egypt Pyramids, historical sites such as temples for Egyptian gods as well as biblical history and a beach holiday destination in Alexandria. Herein is a comprehensive guide on the top tourist attractions in Egypt.
THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA AND THE SPHINX
The Pyramids of Giza are one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the lone surviving member in that respect. They have always been the object of intense religious and mystical speculation for the last 4500 years. In fact, most people who visit Egypt as tourists do so in order to see the magnificent.
What is relatively unknown is the term Great Pyramid of Giza refers to three distinct pyramids. These are The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Kafhre and the Pyramid of Menkaura. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions on Earth and has been studied by explorers and scientists ever since. Each of the pyramids represents a tomb for different Pharaohs.
The Sphinx is situated in front of the pyramids and is carved from one huge block of limestone. It closely resembles a cat with a human head. It is theorized that the face on the sphinx is that of Khafre’s older brother rather than Khafre himself.
Cairo is home to over 16 million people. Medieval (Islamic) Cairo is full of tourist destinations and attractions. It consists of several streets that are rich in culture and life.
The major attractions include the Citadel of Cairo, Khan El-Khalili market, Step Pyramid of Djoser, Baron Empaln Palace, Coptic Museum and the Khan Al-Maghraby. These attractions range from museums, art galleries to fortresses.
It also houses several magnificent mosques that are worth visiting. They include Al-Hakim mosque, Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, Al-Azhar mosque and Mosque of Sultan Hassan. Also, you can make purchases for all sorts of products including perfumes, trinkets, automotive parts and clothes.
Abu Simbel refers to a temple complex in Southern Egypt that is located on the Nile’s second cataract. This complex is one of the most recognized structures of ancient Egypt. The site comprises of two temples; The Great and The Small Temples.
They were constructed during Pharaoh Ramesses II’s tenure somewhere between 1264-1244 BCE. Abu Simbel has been an attraction since the Victorian ages. It was restored in the 1960s where after the temples were dismantled, they had to be moved up a 60 meter cliff and be reassembled accurately in relation to each other.
Today a daily light and sound show is exhibited at the site. Additionally, the Abu Simbel Festival is held each year in Egypt in February and October. Architectural brilliance and sunlight work to light up the inner section of the temples and many tourists remark about this breathtaking sight.
The site is accessible by plane from Cairo or Aswan. You can also get there by tour bus or boat. Several cruises that range from 3 to 5 days operate in Aswan.
TEMPLE OF KARNAK
The temples of Karnak are magnificent and a must see for all tourists who travel to Egypt. In Ancient Egypt, these temples were the most important places of worship. It was known as Ipet-isu or “most select of places.”
This site was constructed over a period of over 2000 years and is dedicated to the Theban triad which consists of Amun, Khonsu and Mut. Today it is derelict but spectacular and still the largest religious structure and covers nearly 200 acres. The most notable attraction on the huge site which you should not miss is the Hypostile Hall located in The Great Temple of Amun.
A felucca is a traditional sail boat used on the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and along the Nile. Despite being relatively obsolete today, they are very popular among tourists. If you are a tourist in Egypt, riding down the Nile in a felucca must be on your bucket list.
Feluccas have a capacity of about ten passengers with a crew of two or three members. Both short sails and long cruises are available in Cairo, Alexandria and Aswan. Although Feluccas do not have the luxury and comfort of cruise ships, they offer a superior outdoor experience.
You can sail close to the Nile banks, make fire camps and meet local along the way. They do provide authentic sailing experiences like the old days. It is important to choose a captain and crew that you are confident in and like.
VALLEY OF THE KINGS
The Valley of the Kings is also known as The Valley of The Gates of the Kings or Biban El Muluk. It is situated at Luxor, which is the ancient site of Thebes. From 16th to 11th century BC, this was the Pharaoh and Nobles’ burial site in Egypt. There are actually two valleys at the site; the East Valley and the West Valley.
Most of the royal tombs are located in the East Valley. Valley of the Kings is probably famous as the site of King Tutankhamen’s tomb which you can explore. The treasures he was buried with are housed at the Egyptian Museum. However, there are larger and much more magnificent tombs you can explore at this site.
The Siwa Oasis is an isolated Oasis located in the Western Desert region in Egypt. It is home to Siwa town, one of the most remote oasis towns and is about 50 km from the Libyan border. The town houses about 25,000 Siwians who are ethnically Berber. The Siwans have a Unique Culture with a common Siwi language, beautiful jewelry and exquisite crafts.
Siwa Oasis is served by a small airport and a decent road and tourist can enjoy the geographical beauty. This site is a vast land of date palms, hot springs and olive trees with a central lake and several villages. Alexander the Great once visited this area to consult the Oracle of Amun.
Hurghada is one of top destinations for tourist in Egypt. It is a beach resort town and spans more than 40 km along the Red Sea. Turquoise waters, stunning coral reefs and warm breezes make Hurghada a heaven for divers all over the world.
The resort town is often quite busy and has numerous amenities such as hotels, restaurants, shops and nightclubs. There are also numerous diving centers and snorkeling schools in the vicinity. Hurghada is always bustling with marine life along the shore and on surrounding Islands. These include lionfish, blue-spotted sting rays and the Hurghada star, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and dolphins.
The Luxor temples date back to around 1392 BC. Modern Luxor is the ancient City of a Hundred Gates (City of Thebes). The Luxor Temple is centrally located in the city. It serves as the Capital of Egypt from the 12th dynasty.
Construction of the temple is attributed to Amenhotep III and Ramesses II and was used to celebrate the Festival of Opet. Luxor Temple is among the remaining stone temples and has serves Christians and Muslims. One of its highlights is a mosque that was built over the site. You can experience the best of the temple at around sunset and it operates from 9am-6pm.
THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM IN CAIRO
This museum in the Egyptian capital is among the first stops for tourists. It houses over 120,000 artifacts that represent all the decades of Ancient Egypt’s reign. They include pottery, mummies, jewelry, sarcophagi and Tutankhamen’s treasure. You can enjoy all these and more from 9am to 5 pm.
There are numerous other tourist attractions in Egypt you can visit and this list is not conclusive.