Best Things to Do in Egypt

Best Things to Do in Egypt

Egypt's Top Activities: Must-See & Do Experiences

Bryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONJanuary 18, 2024

Planning a trip to Egypt? Get set to marvel at the land of pharaohs, a fascinating mix of old and new, brimming with magical experiences for you to discover.

From ancient monuments and museum tours to river cruises, historical site exploration, unique geographic attractions, water activities, cultural and natural oases, cultural immersion experiences, historic urban walks, and more - here's our guide to help you uncover the best things to do in Egypt.

However, before considering road trips, do note the importance of an International Driving Permit (IDP). By the end, we're sure you'll be as passionate about Egypt as we are. So pack your bags, and let's take this unforgettable journey together.

Ancient Monuments

Stepping foot in Egypt offers you a chance to marvel at some of the world's most famous ancient monuments. Unearth centuries of history as you uncover the well-kept secrets of these testaments to human ingenuity. Here's a short list of must-visit ancient monuments:

  • The Great Pyramids of Giza: One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, these structures continue to mystify scholars with their sheer size and architectural prowess. Take a camel or horse ride and soak in the grandeur of these iconic pyramids.
  • The Sphinx: Known for its cryptic air of mystery, the Sphinx, with the body of a lion and the head of a human, is a testament to Egypt's rich past and a sight that should top every traveler's list.
  • Temples of Karnak: Sprawling over a colossal area, the temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings dedicated to the Theban gods and the greater glory of Egypt's pharaohs is an experience like no other.
  • Luxor Temple: Illuminated in the enchanting nighttime glow, the Luxor Temple tells stories of Egypt's rich cultural past. Admiring its intricacies is a profound experience to remember.
  • Abu Simbel: Carved into a mountainside, the formidable statues guarding the entrance are worth the visit alone. Inside, the ornate designs add to the impressive history that can be seen and felt.

Each ancient monument tells a unique story of its own, inviting you to immerse yourself in Egypt's storied past. Remember, these are just the highlights—there's a wealth of ancient wonders waiting for you to discover.

Museum Tours

When you're craving a deep dive into Egypt's majestic history, museum tours offer a one-of-a-kind experience. These aren't your typical museums; they're rich repositories of a civilization that predates the advent of written history.

  • Egyptian Museum: Located in Cairo, this iconic museum houses the world's largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. Among its treasures are the mesmerizing artifacts from King Tutankhamun's tomb.
  • Luxor Museum: Overlooking the Nile, this museum showcases an exclusive collection that includes statues, stelae, pottery, and jewelry dating from the end of the Old Kingdom to the Mamluk period.
  • Nubian Museum: Explore the rich Nubian heritage in Aswan, featuring artifacts that trace the history of Nubian culture and civilization from prehistoric times to the present.
  • Abdeen Palace Museum: Land a peek into the lives of Egypt's last monarchs. Every room in this palace-turned-museum tells a different story about the grandeur of royal life.

Do remember to check the opening times and consider hiring a local guide to make the most of your visit. You're not just visiting a museum; you're stepping into a time machine, whisking you back thousands of years. Buckle up for a truly immersive experience!

River Cruises

If you're seeking a serene yet engaging way to absorb the majesty of Egypt, look no further than a river cruise along the Nile. Not only is it mesmerizing for the vistas it presents, but it also spots significant sites that dot the banks, bestowing a truly overwhelming narrative experience:

  • Plenty of cruises offer onboard amenities like swimming pools, lounges, gift shops, and more, thus ensuring an upscale, comfortable journey.
  • The breathtaking sunrise and sunset views, as witnessed from the moving deck, are experiences unlike any other.
  • River cruises usually stop at various key sites like the Temple of Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, the Colossi of Memnon, and more, providing plenty of chances for explorations.
  • Watch as the living tableau of village life passes you by – kids playing along the banks, farmers working in their fields, and the omnipresent, imposing, silent sand dunes.
  • The Nile, being the world's longest river, has an intriguing collection of wildlife – amidst its calm waters, you may spot various birds and maybe even a Nile crocodile!

So, get your camera ready, lean back, and allow the Nile's gentle currents to transport you through millennia of history!

Historical Site Exploration

Egypt is a treasure trove of history and a paradise for those with a keen interest in historical sites. When it comes to historical site exploration, here's a list of must-visit places:

  • Pyramids of Giza: It almost goes without saying, but no trip to Egypt is complete without visiting the awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza. The last of the seven wonders of the ancient world, these pyramid structures stand as a testament to Egypt's remarkable history.
  • The Sphinx: Located at the Giza Plateau, the Sphinx, a colossal statue with the body of a lion and the face of a human, has puzzled and fascinated travelers for centuries. Don't miss the opportunity to stand before it and ponder its mysteries.
  • Luxor's Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings: Often described as the world's largest open-air museum, Luxor offers a multitude of temples and tombs that showcase the craftsmanship of the ancient Egyptians. Exploring the Karnak temple complex and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings is an experience like no other.
  • Abu Simbel: A bit off the beaten path, these two massive rock temples offer grandiose depictions of Pharaoh Ramses II and his queen Nefertari. It's an impressive site that's worth the journey.
  • The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa in Alexandria: Immerse yourself in the unique blend of Pharaonic and Roman art in this extensive underground necropolis that contains tombs, statues, and archaeological artifacts.

Remember, always respect the rules at historical sites, don't touch the monuments, and consider hiring a local guide for deeper insight into these astonishing sites of human achievement.

Unique Geographic Attractions

When you're traversing through Egypt, you will come across some genuinely unique geographic attractions that should sit at the very top of your must-visit list. These attractions are not simply beautiful vistas, but they speak volumes about the country's geological history. Let's look at a few of these remarkable sites:

  • The White Desert: This surreal natural wonder is known for its dramatic white limestone formations that contrast brilliantly with the clear, blue sky. It was once an ancient sea bed, and the formations are all that remain of the past aquatic life.
  • The Sinai Peninsula: Tucked between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, the peninsula harbors a myriad of landscapes. From sandy dunes to rugged mountains, it's a geographer's dream.
  • The Great Sand Sea: A sea of sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see, it's an ethereal sight often drawing comparisons to Mars' barren landscapes.
  • The Valley of the Whales: Located in the Western Desert, it's a UNESCO World Heritage site home to millennia-old fossil remains, providing a glimpse into life during the Eocene Epoch.

These unique and imposing landscapes provide a fascinating journey into the heart and history of Egypt's geography. Each destination is a testament to the vast natural beauty Egypt possesses beyond its historic monuments and vibrant cities.

Water Activities

If you're a fan of all things H2O, you will fall in love with the wide array of options available for water activities in Egypt. From the aqua-blue shores of the Red Sea to the historic Nile River, there's an adventure waiting for you.

  • Snorkeling and Diving: Make a splash into the Red Sea's enchanting coral reefs. With an abundance of vibrant marine life, these underwater sanctuaries provide some of the world's best snorkeling and diving experiences.
  • Nile Cruise: Navigate the world's longest river and take in the breathtaking landscape on a dreamy Nile cruise. It's a peaceful and leisurely way to explore the beauty of Egypt.
  • Kite and Wind Surfing: Adrenaline enthusiasts should be aware of Egypt's reputation for excellent wind conditions, notably in locations like Hurghada and Dahab. It makes for an ideal place to get on board and ride the wind and waves!
  • Fishing Trips: Anglers can embark on fruitful fishing trips in Lake Nasser. The serene waters are home to abundant fish species, including the mighty Nile perch.

Ensure to comply with environmental and safety guidelines whenever indulging in water activities. Proper use of life jackets, respect for marine life, and adherence to no-littering policies contribute to the protection of these natural assets. Have fun, but remember to stay safe!

Cultural and Natural Oases

When you're exploring Egypt, it's essential that you don't miss out on the natural and cultural oases that abound in this historic land. These serene spots perfectly merge nature with culture, giving you an experience like no other. Here are some highlighted oases for you to consider:

  • Siwa Oasis: Best known for its ancient ruins and traditional Berber culture. The Oracle Temple, where Alexander the Great was named the king of Egypt, is a must-visit.
  • Dakhla Oasis: Enclosed by pink limestone cliffs, this oasis boasts charming mud-brick villages, hot springs, and lush palm groves.
  • Kharga Oasis: Home to the Hibis Temple, one of the finest examples of Persian-period architecture in Egypt, the oasis is the epitome of ancient culture.
  • Bahariya Oasis: Brimming with palm trees and natural hot springs, it also features the Golden Mummies Cave, an ancient marvel for history buffs.
  • Fayoum Oasis: Offering a cornucopia of nature reserves, fishing lakes, and bird-watching spots, it's the oldest city in Egypt and a treasure trove of art, archaeology, and agriculture.

Each of the above oases offers unique experiences reflecting both the inherent tranquility of nature and a powerful sense of history and culture. Exploring these oases is truly venturing into the soul of Egypt.

Cultural Immersion Experiences

When you visit Egypt, embracing local practices and customs can provide a deeply enriching experience. Cultural immersion allows you to live Egypt's history, present, and future through authentic interactions with its residents. Here are some experiences you should not miss:

  • Local Cuisine: Try local Egyptian dishes like Ful Medames (fava beans), Koshary (a unique mishmash of pasta, lentils, and tomato sauce), or Mahshi (stuffed vegetables). For the daring foodie, try the traditional dish, Molokhia, a soup made from Jute leaves.
  • Traditional Crafts: Participate in traditional craft workshops. Whether it's pottery in the Nile Delta villages, tent-making in Cairo, or papyrus-making - these activities provide a hands-on experience of Egyptian culture.
  • Language Exchange: Engage with locals in casual conversation or take an Arabic language course. Many Egyptians are more than happy to teach you a few phrases!
  • Folklore and Music: Attend a local music concert or traditional dance performance. Events like these often take place in local community centers or outdoor venues, providing a vibrant glimpse into the Egyptian way of life.
  • Egyptian Weddings: If you get an invite to an Egyptian wedding, don't miss it! It's a grand affair filled with music, food, and vibrant traditions.

The best way to experience Egypt is by fully immersing yourself in the culture. Let the country's rich history and warm, vibrant people inspire you as you journey through this stunning land.

Historic Urban Walks

For the traveler with a keen interest in history and culture, embracing Egypt's myriad of historic urban walks is an opportunity of a lifetime. You'll discover hidden corners of the city away from the usual tourist traps and gain invaluable insights into the country's vast and rich history. Here are some key walks to consider:

  • Coptic Cairo: Walk through time as you navigate alleys steeped in history where Christianity took root in Egypt. Marvel at the ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Hanging Church, and the Coptic Museum, which houses a rich collection of antiquities.
  • Khan El Khalili Bazaar: Stroll down the narrow labyrinthine walkways of this famous market filled with bustling shops selling traditional goods. Don't forget to stop at a traditional tea shop for a refreshing drink.
  • Islamic Cairo: Visit the historic district that hosts a collection of stunning mosques, madrasas, and monuments dating back to the Fatimid era. Make your way to the Saladin Citadel for breathtaking panoramic views of Cairo.
  • Alexandria Corniche: Saunter along this seafront promenade, soaking in the views of the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy the vibrancy of the city, visit the historic Qaitbay Citadel, and bask in the surrounding beauty.

Each historical walk in Egypt is a step back in time, revealing layers of human existence spanning centuries. Be prepared for a thrilling cultural immersion that will leave you appreciating Egypt's past and present even more.

Importance of an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Egypt

Traveling in Egypt can be a thrilling adventure, but maneuvering your way on the road can be even more exciting. To do this, you will require an International Driving Permit (IDP). Why is it crucial? Here are a few compelling reasons:

  • Obtaining an IDP is a fast and easy process with instant approval, saving you the hassles of extensive paperwork.
  • You're on the safe side of the law as it allows you to drive legally overseas.
  • IDPs are available for various durations, from 1 to 3 years, to cater to your specific travel plans
  • Your IDP is translated into 12 different languages - addressing potential language barriers and streamlining communication with local authorities.
  • An IDP is recognized globally in over 150 countries, ensuring you can take the driver's seat wherever your travels take you.
  • Worldwide express shipping options ensure your IDP arrives in a timely manner, well ahead of your travel dates.

An IDP is more than just a document – it's your passport to freely explore the vibrant landscapes and centuries-old culture of Egypt on your own terms. So, before you pack your bags, make sure you secure this key component for a smooth and memorable Egyptian journey!

Closing Thoughts

Egypt, with its rich history, diverse culture, breathtaking geography, and exhilarating water activities, truly offers a unique travel experience that perfectly marries the ancient and the modern. It's a land of countless adventures, waiting to be discovered at every corner. Embarking on this journey allows you to weave your own unique tapestry of unforgettable memories.

However, to fully immerse yourself in this captivating blend of inimitable experiences, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is essential. It will serve as your passport to explore Egypt in all its glory. Don't let anything hold you back from uncovering all the secrets this extraordinary land has to reveal. Apply for your IDP today and pave your way to an enchanting journey of wonder and discovery in Egypt.

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