Egypt conjures us images of mystique, ancient pyramids, the magnificent Nile River, and a country at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. Even while Egypt is known as the ‘gift of the Nile,’ it is actually the gift that goes on giving. Egypt is intricately layered, has a variety of nuances, and is a cornucopia of culinary delights, from its 7000-year-old history to its unique culture.
Colorful markets, gorgeous mosques, mesmerizing Pharaonic sites, natural and artificial architectural wonders, everything is in excess here, a uniquely Egyptian trait that you will immediately recognize in everything you see.
People also come here to engage in meditative and mind-calming activities such as stargazing, and whether you’re at the Giza Pyramids or the breathtaking White Desert, you’ll be able to appreciate and understand the beauty of the universe as a macrocosm.
Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, dating back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE throughout the Nile Delta. Ancient Egypt is considered the cradle of civilization, having witnessed the rise of writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion, and central government. The remains of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, as well as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, reflect this legacy and remain a key focus of scholarly and public attention.
Egypt’s lengthy and rich cultural past is an important aspect of its national identity, reflecting the country’s unique transcontinental location as the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North Africa all at the same time. Egypt was an early and prominent Christian center, but it was substantially Islamized in the seventh century and is still primarily Muslim, albeit with a considerable Christian minority.
Egypt became a monarchy in 1922 when it declared independence from the British Empire. Egypt declared itself a republic after the 1952 revolution, and in 1958 it combined with Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.
Egypt experienced social and religious unrest as well as political instability in the second half of the twentieth century, fighting multiple violent confrontations with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, and occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967. Egypt signed the Camp David Accords in 1978, formally withdrawing from Gaza and acknowledging Israel.
Political upheaval, particularly the recent 2011 revolution and its aftermath, as well as terrorism and economic underdevelopment, continue to plague the country. Several human rights watchdogs have labeled Egypt’s current administration, a semi-presidential republic led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as authoritarian or leading an authoritarian regime responsible for the country’s poor human rights record.
Egypt’s official religion is Islam, and its official language is Arabic. Egypt is the most populated country in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arab world, as well as the third-most populous in Africa (after Nigeria and Ethiopia) and the fourteenth-most populous in the world, with over 100 million people.
The vast majority of its people reside along the Nile River’s banks, which cover an area of around 40,000 square kilometers and contain the only arable land in the country. The Sahara desert, which encompasses the majority of Egypt’s landmass, is sparsely populated. About half of Egypt’s population lives in cities, with the majority of them concentrated in Greater Cairo, Alexandria, and other important cities in the Nile Delta.
Egypt is considered a regional force in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Muslim world, as well as a global middle power. It is a developing country, with a Human Development Index ranking of 116th. It has a diverse economy that is Africa’s second-largest, the 33rd-largest by nominal GDP, and the 20th-largest internationally by PPP.
Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the World Youth Forum, among other organizations.
Rock sculptures have been discovered along the Nile terraces and in a desert oasis. A grain-grinding society supplanted a hunter-gatherer and fisher culture in the 10th millennium BCE. Around 8000 BCE, climate change or overgrazing began to desiccate Egypt’s pastoral areas, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples moved to the Nile River, where they established a more stable agricultural economy and more structured society.
A Neolithic society anchored in the Nile Valley by around 6000 BCE. Several predynastic cultures emerged independently in Upper and Lower Egypt during the Neolithic era. The Badarian culture and its successors, the Naqada series, are often considered to be the forerunners of dynasty Egypt. Merimda, the earliest known Lower Egyptian site, precedes the Badarian by roughly 700 years.
For more than two thousand years, contemporaneous Lower Egyptian towns coexisted with their southern counterparts, remaining culturally distinct but maintaining frequent touch through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions was found on Naqada III ceramic pieces around 3200 BCE, during the predynastic period.
The mighty Achaemenid Persians, headed by Cambyses II, began conquering Egypt in 525 BCE, eventually capturing Pharaoh Psamtik III at the Battle of Pelusium. Cambyses II was given the title of pharaoh, but he administered Egypt from his home in Persia (modern-day Iran), leaving Egypt in the hands of a satrapy.
Except for Petubastis III, the whole Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt, from 525 to 402 BCE, was controlled by the Persians, with the Achaemenid Emperors all receiving the title of pharaoh. The fifth century BCE saw a few temporarily successful revolts against the Persians, but Egypt was never able to completely oust the Persians.
During the Pharaonic antiquity, the Thirtieth Dynasty was the final native reigning dynasty. After the last native Pharaoh, King Nectanebo II was defeated in battle, it fell to the Persians again in 343 BCE. The Thirty-First Dynasty of Egypt, on the other hand, did not reign long, as Alexander the Great overthrew the Persians some decades later.
Ptolemy, I Soter, Alexander’s Macedonian Greek general, established the Ptolemaic dynasty. Egypt is mostly located between 22° and 32° north latitude and 25° and 35° east longitude. It is the world’s 30th largest country, covering 1,001,450 square kilometers.
Due to Egypt’s high aridity, population centers are concentrated around the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, with 99 percent of the population occupying only 5.5 percent of the overall geographical area. 98 percent of Egyptians live on only 3% of the country’s land.
Egypt is bordered on the west by Libya, on the south by Sudan, and on the east by the Gaza Strip and Israel. Egypt’s strategic importance in geopolitics stems from its geographical location: as a transcontinental country, it has a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) connecting Africa and Asia, as well as a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea.
Apart from the Nile Valley, Egypt’s geography is mostly desert, with a few oases thrown in for good measure. Winds churn up dunes that reach heights of more than 30 meters. Parts of the Sahara Desert and the Libyan Desert are located in Egypt. The Pharaohs’ Kingdom was defended from western assaults by these deserts, which were known as the “red country” in ancient Egypt.
Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city; Aswan; Asyut; Cairo, Egypt’s modern capital and largest city; El Mahalla El Kubra; Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu; Hurghada; Luxor; Kom Ombo; Port Safaga; Port Said; Sharm El Sheikh; Suez, the Suez Canal’s southern end; Zagazig; and Minya are among the towns and cities. Bahariya, Dakhla, Farafra, Kharga, and Siwa are among the oases.
Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate, and Siwa are all protected areas. The majority of Egypt’s rainfall occurs during the winter months. Rainfall in the south of Cairo is rare, averaging about 2 to 5 millimeters per year and occurring at long intervals. Rainfall on a fairly narrow section of the northern coast can reach 410 mm (16.1 in), typically between October and March.
Snowfall is common in Sinai’s mountains and several of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim, and Sidi Barrani, although it is uncommon in Alexandria. For the first time in decades, a small amount of snow fell on Cairo on December 13, 2013. In mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt, Frost is also known. Egypt is the world’s driest and sunniest country, with desert covering the majority of its land surface.
Egypt’s climate is unusually hot, sunny, and dry. During the summer, average high temperatures are high in the north, but extremely high throughout the remainder of the country. The cooler Mediterranean winds blow consistently over the northern sea coast, resulting in more moderated temperatures, particularly during the summer.
The Khamaseen is a hot, dry wind that blows in the spring and early summer and originates in the vast deserts of the south. It delivers searing sand and dust particles, as well as midday temperatures in the interior of above 40 °C (104 °F) and occasionally over 50 °C (122 °F), with relative humidity dropping to 5% or even less.
When the Khamaseen blows, Egypt’s temperatures reach their highest point. In Egypt, the weather is always sunny and clear, particularly in cities like Aswan, Luxor, and Asyut. It is one of the least cloudy and wet places on the planet.
Before the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Nile flooded once a year, restoring Egypt’s soil (known as “The Gift of the Nile”). Egypt was able to maintain a regular crop over the years as a result of this. Rising sea levels as a result of global warming might endanger Egypt’s heavily populated coastal strip, wreaking havoc on the country’s economy, agriculture, and industry.
According to some climate experts, a large rise in sea levels, along with mounting demographic pressures, might transform millions of Egyptians into environmental refugees by the end of the twenty-first century.
On June 9, 1992, Egypt signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, and on June 2, 1994, it became a party to the convention. Following that, it developed a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was submitted to the convention on July 31, 1998. Whereas many CBD National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans focus solely on animals and plants, Egypt’s plan was unique in that it included balanced information on all kinds of life.
According to the plan, Egypt possessed the following numbers of species: algae (1483 species), animals (about 15,000 species, of which more than 10,000 were insects), fungi (more than 627 species), monera (319 species), plants (2426 species), and protozoans (around 10,000). (371 species).
The number of several key groups, such as lichen-forming fungi and nematode worms, was unknown. Aside from minor, well-studied categories such as amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles, many of those numbers are anticipated to rise as more species are recorded in Egypt.
Following investigation has revealed that around 2200 species of fungi, including lichen-forming species, have been recorded from Egypt, with the final total of all fungi occurring in the country projected to be substantially higher. In Egypt, 284 native and naturalized species of grasses have been recognized and recorded.
Agriculture, media, petroleum imports, natural gas, and tourism are the mainstays of Egypt’s economy; more than three million Egyptians working abroad, primarily in Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and Europe.
The building of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, and the resulting Lake Nasser, changed the Nile River’s traditional role in Egypt’s agriculture and ecosystem. Rapid population growth, limited arable land, and reliance on the Nile continue to strain resources and the economy.
The government has made investments in both physical and telecommunication infrastructure. Egypt has received US foreign aid US since 1979 (an average of $2.2 billion per year) and is the third-largest beneficiary of such monies following the Iraq war. Tourism, remittances from Egyptians working abroad, and earnings from the Suez Canal are the main sources of income for Egypt’s economy.
Egypt has a well-developed energy market that includes coal, oil, natural gas, and hydropower. In northeast Sinai, large coal resources are mined at a rate of roughly 600,000 tonnes (590,000 long tons; 660,000 short tons) each year. The western desert regions, the Gulf of Suez, and the Nile Delta all generate oil and gas.
Egypt has large gas reserves, estimated at 2,180 cubic kilometers, and LNG was sold to numerous nations until 2012. According to Reuters, Egypt’s General Petroleum Company (EGPC) announced in 2013 that the country would curtail natural gas exports and instruct big enterprises to reduce output this summer to prevent an energy catastrophe and political upheaval.
Egypt is relying on top LNG producer Qatar for higher gas quantities this summer, while urging manufacturers to schedule annual maintenance during peak demand months, according to EGPC Chairman Tarek El Barkatawy. Egypt generates its energy but has been a net oil importer since 2008 and is gradually becoming a major natural gas importer.
After a period of stagnation, economic conditions have begun to improve significantly, owing to the government’s adoption of more liberal economic policies, as well as rising tourism revenues and a flourishing stock market. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recognized Egypt as one of the top countries in the world undergoing economic reforms in its annual report.
A huge reduction in customs and taxes has been one of the government’s major economic measures since 2003. A new taxation law passed in 2005 reduced corporation taxes from 40% to 20%, resulting in a claimed 100% increase in tax income by 2006.
Many Egyptians criticize their government for raising prices of basic goods while their standards of living or purchasing power remain relatively stagnant, even though one of the main obstacles still facing the Egyptian economy is the limited trickle-down of wealth to the average population.
Egyptians frequently view corruption as the primary hindrance to continued economic development. The government committed to rebuilding the country’s infrastructure with funds raised from Etisalat’s recently acquired third mobile license ($3 billion) in 2006. Egypt was ranked 114th out of 177 countries in the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Through remittances (US$7.8 billion in 2009), as well as the movement of human and social capital and investment, an estimated 2.7 million Egyptians living abroad actively contribute to the development of their country. According to the World Bank, remittances, or money earned and sent home by Egyptians working abroad, hit a new high of US$21 billion in 2012.
In terms of the income distribution, Egypt’s society is moderately uneven, with an estimated 35–40 percent of the population earning less than the equivalent of $2 per day, and only 2–3 percent considered wealthy.
Egypt’s tourism economy is one of the most vital in the country. In 2008, more than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt, bringing in over $11 billion in income. About 12% of Egypt’s workforce is employed in the tourism industry. Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou told industry insiders and media that the industry generated $9.4 billion in 2012, up slightly from $9 billion in 2011.
The Giza Necropolis is one of Egypt’s most well-known tourist attractions, and it is the only one of the Ancient World’s Seven Wonders that is still standing. The Gulf of Aqaba beaches, Safaga, Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Dahab, Ras Sidr, and Marsa Alam are popular tourist attractions on Egypt’s Mediterranean and the Red Sea beaches, which span over 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles).
Egypt’s transportation is centered on Cairo and mostly follows the Nile’s settlement pattern. Egyptian National Railways operates the primary line of the country’s 40,800-kilometer railway network, which extends from Alexandria to Aswan.
The Nile Valley and Nile Delta, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea coasts, the Sinai, and the Western oases now have a vehicle road network of over 34,000 kilometers, with 28 lines, 796 stations, and 1800 trains covering the Nile Valley and Nile Delta, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea coasts, the Sinai, and the Western oases.
Egyptians are by far the most populous ethnic group in the country, accounting for 99.7% of the overall population. The Abazas, Turks, Greeks, Bedouin Arab tribes dwelling in the eastern deserts and the Sinai Peninsula, Berber-speaking Siwis (Amazigh) of the Siwa Oasis, and Nubian populations grouped along the Nile are ethnic minorities.
There are additional tribal Beja populations in the country’s southeastern corner, as well as several Dom clans, especially in the Nile Delta and Faiyum, who are assimilating as the country’s population grows.
Egypt has a population of 5 million immigrants, the majority of whom are Sudanese, “some of whom have lived in Egypt for generations.” Iraq, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Eritrea all have smaller numbers of immigrants. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees assessed that there were roughly 250,000 “people of concern” in total. The number of Syrian refugees registered in Egypt in 2015 was 117,000, a decrease from the previous year.
The Egyptian government’s assertion of 500,000 Syrian refugees living in Egypt is widely believed to be inflated. In Egypt, there are 28,000 Sudanese refugees registered. Only a small number of Egypt’s once-vibrant and historic Greek and Jewish communities survive, but many Egyptian Jews visit the country for religious or other reasons, as well as tourism. In Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities, there are several major Jewish archaeological and historical sites.
Egypt is widely regarded as a cultural trailblazer in the Arabic-speaking world. Egyptian literature, music, film, and television have had a significant impact on contemporary Arabic and Middle Eastern culture. During the 1950s and 1960s, Egypt rose to prominence as a regional leader, giving Egyptian culture’s position in the Arabic-speaking world.
Throughout a long time of occupation, Egyptian identity changed to accommodate Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, as well as a new language, Arabic, and its spoken descendent, Egyptian Arabic, which is based on many Ancient Egyptian words.
Rifa’a al-efforts Tahtawi’s in the early nineteenth century reignited interest in Egyptian antiquity while also exposing Egyptian society to Enlightenment concepts. Tahtawi co-founded a native Egyptology school with education reformer Ali Mubarak, drawing inspiration from medieval Egyptian scholars such as Suyuti and Maqrizi, who studied Egypt’s history, language, and antiquities.
How To Reach Egypt
1. By Air
Flying to Egypt is the best method to get there, especially if you’re coming from India. Daily flights to Egypt are available from several Indian cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata, to name a few. Cairo and Luxor each have their international airport. The principal airport is Cairo International Airport, which is located near Heliopolis, about 15 kilometers from the city center.
It is Africa’s second busiest airport, with about 16 million passengers each year. The airport is served by several foreign carriers, including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Etihad, and Egyptair. There are three terminals at the airport, and a free shuttle bus runs between Terminals 2 and 3. To get to the city, take a cab, Uber, or a bus from the airport.
Luxor is Egypt’s other international airport, albeit it is primarily utilized for domestic and airport flights. Because this is a considerably smaller airport, it lacks several amenities. You may, however, reach taxis into the city after you arrive.
2. By Bus
Buses go between Israel and Egypt. If you’re coming from Jerusalem, a bus excursion to Egypt is a possibility. Although buses are known for being unreliable and breaking down frequently, it is a good idea to book your ticket a day in advance.
If you can’t stand the heat, taking the bus isn’t a good idea because it may get rather hot. Make sure you have lots of water and some snacks on hand.
3. By Road
It is feasible to travel to Egypt by vehicle from other surrounding countries, although it is not recommended. To begin with, the traffic situation can be unreliable, and drivers in areas like Cairo are notoriously rowdy. It’s also a little perplexing because automobiles in Egypt travel on the right side of the road.
4. By Rail
Although it is not possible to reach Egypt by train, Cairo’s railway station, Ramses Station, is connected to all of the major cities. It’s vital to remember that trains in Egypt are notoriously late and rarely run on time. Remember to book your ticket in advance and request a first-class seat to ensure that you obtain a seat.
Some trains are quite comfortable, with air conditioning and business-style seats per row. However, while these trains are pleasant, they are also night trains, and you won’t be able to get much sleep because the lights will remain on and you may be woken up multiple times for ticket inspections. Overall, it was a very exhausting part of the tour!
Best Time To Visit Egypt
Tourists are welcome to travel to Egypt at any time of the year. Winter, from October to April, is the greatest time to visit Egypt because the temperatures are cooler. The months of December and January are the busiest for tourists. Egypt’s tourism is flourishing at this time of year, so make your plans ahead of time.
If you want to avoid the crowds, March, April, and September are all wonderful months to travel to Egypt. The weather throughout the day may be rather good, making it ideal for water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.
Even though Egypt’s temperatures are often high. Summer months can be extremely hot, especially when winter temperatures fluctuate between 33 and 21 degrees. Summer in Egypt lasts from May to August, with a maximum temperature of 36 degrees and a minimum temperature of 23 degrees. As a result, make sure you have enough sunscreen, sunglasses, and water bottles with you.
Winters in the Nile Delta Region and Cairo (October-February) can be extremely cold, especially at night, so bring a light jacket. Even in the winter, southern Egypt is warm. The temperature, however, may dip in the evening.
The greatest time to visit Egypt is in the winter. Egypt’s tourism is flourishing at this time of year, so make sure you plan, otherwise you’ll have trouble finding excellent lodging and may have to pay more for airfare.
Egypt is also enjoyable to travel throughout March, April, and September. The weather during the day may be pretty beautiful, and this is the greatest time to enjoy sunbathing and other water sports such as snorkeling and swimming at the Red Sea. Scuba diving is possible all year in Egypt.
1. Summer (May-August)
Even though Egypt’s temperatures are always hot, summer is the worst season in comparison to the others. Summer months can be extremely hot, especially when temperatures in the winter range from 33 to 21 degrees. Summer in Egypt lasts from May to August, with a maximum temperature of 36 degrees and a minimum temperature of 23 degrees.
As a result, make sure you have enough sunscreen, sunglasses, and water bottles with you. During this time, there is little to no rain. As a result, the weather can be very harsh and dry.
The minimum temperature is 17 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature is 36 degrees Celsius. Even though Egypt’s temperatures are always hot, summer is the worst season in comparison to the others. Summer months can be extremely hot, especially when temperatures in the winter range from 33 to 21 degrees.
Ramadan May 27th-June 25th and August 31st is Eid El Adha. Due to the low tourist season, airfares and tour packages that include lodging are cheaper. Ramadan occurs between May 27th and June 25th, and it is recommended to visit Egypt during this period. Sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottles, hats, summer attire, and country attire are all recommended.
2. Winter (October-February)
Winters in the Nile Delta Region and Cairo can be chilly, especially at night, so bring a light jacket with you. Even in the winter, southern Egypt is warm.
The temperature, however, may dip in the evening. The greatest time to visit Egypt is in the winter. Egypt’s tourism is flourishing at this time of year, so make sure you plan, otherwise you’ll have trouble finding excellent lodging and may have to pay more for airfare.
The minimum temperature is 18 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature is 26 degrees Celsius. The weather is good during the day, but the temperature drops dramatically at night. In January, there was a lot of rain. On October 21st (Abu Simbel’s birthday) and February 21st (King Ramses II’s crowing day), the Aby Simbel Sun Festival takes place.
Because of the low temperatures and pleasant weather, this is a popular time to visit Egypt. If you travel in January, keep in mind that there may be regular showers. Country and Weather Sunscreen, shades, water bottles, and hats are all recommended.
3. Shoulder Month (March, April, and September)
Egypt is also enjoyable to travel throughout March, April, and September. The weather during the day may be pretty beautiful, and this is the greatest time to enjoy sunbathing and other water sports such as snorkeling and swimming at the Red Sea.
Scuba diving is possible all year in Egypt. The minimum temperature is 11 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature is 24 degrees Celsius. The weather can be pleasant during the day, but temperatures plummet at night.
During this time, there are no national holidays or festivities. The Red Sea offers sunbathing as well as various water sports such as snorkeling and swimming. Scuba diving is possible all year in Egypt.
These months fall between the start and finish of Egypt’s tourist season, allowing you to save money while still enjoying the country without melting in the heat. Country and Weather Sunscreen, shades, water bottles, and hats are all recommended.
Egypt’s Best Tourist Attractions
Egypt, the birthplace of the ancient Pharaohs, is a location brimming with spectacular temples and tombs that awe visitors. However, it is not all historic sites and tourist attractions. There are plenty of activities for all types of travelers, including 4WD experiences in wide stretches of desert, diving on world-class coral reefs and wrecks in the Red Sea, and cruising on the famous Nile River.
Beachgoers flock to the Sinai Peninsula or the Red Sea Coast to soak in the sun, while archaeological buffs flock to Luxor. For city slickers, Cairo is unbeatable, but the Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a taste of the slower pace of life in Egypt.
Egypt provides travelers the opportunity to build itineraries that mix culture, adventure, and relaxation all in one trip because there is so much to see and do. With our list of the top tourist sites in Egypt, you can plan your trip and locate the best spots to visit.
1. Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza, the last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, are one of the world’s most iconic sights.
These tombs of the Pharaohs Cheops (Khufu), Chephren (Khafre), and Mycerinus (Menkaure), guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, have awed travelers throughout the ages and are usually at the top of most visitors’ lists of tourist attractions to see in Egypt, and are often the first sight they see after landing.
These megalithic memorials to deceased pharaohs, which lay on the outskirts of Cairo’s sprawl, are still awe-inspiring sights and an unmistakeable highlight of any Egypt vacation.
2. Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings
Luxor, Egypt’s Nile-side town, is known for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and Hatshepsut’s Memorial Temple.
This is ancient Thebes, the capital of the New Kingdom pharaohs and the site of more attractions than most people can see in a single visit.
While the modern city of Luxor, with its bustling souq, the two temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the museum, is located on the East Bank, the West Bank’s lush farmland and barren cliffs are home to the vast majority of Luxor’s tourist attractions, with so many tombs and temple sights that it has been dubbed the world’s largest open-air museum.
Spend a few days examining the tombs’ colorful wall painting and marveling at the temples’ massive columns, and you’ll understand why Luxor continues to captivate historians and archaeologists.
3. Cruising the Nile
The Nile is Egypt’s defining feature. A multi-day cruise on this famous river, which witnessed the emergence of the Pharaonic era, is a highlight of many visitors’ Egypt trips.
Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to visit the temples that dot the river’s banks between Luxor and Aswan, and sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by dunes, is one of Egypt’s most serene sights.
The Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu’s Temple of Horus, where all the big cruise boats stop, are the two most famous landmarks on a Nile Cruise.
You can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt’s traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats) if you prefer a less crowded and slower experience and don’t mind “roughing it” a little.
The majority of cruise ship itineraries depart from Luxor or Aswan, although feluccas can only be leased from Aswan for multi-day cruises.
Aswan, located on the Nile’s sweeping curves, is Egypt’s most calm town. With its orange-hued dunes as a backdrop, this is the ideal spot to unwind for a few days and soak up the backed-back vibes.
Take the river ferry to Elephantine Island and wander through the Nubian communities’ colorful alleyways.
Ride a camel to the East Bank’s desert monastery of St. Simeon. Or simply sip endless cups of tea while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas float by from one of the riverside cafés.
Sailing around Aswan’s islands on a felucca at sunset is a must-do. By far the most popular activity in Aswan, and the most relaxing way to see the attractions.
There are various historic buildings and temples nearby, including the island-based Philae Temple, but one of Aswan’s most popular activities is simply relaxing and watching the river life go by.
5. Abu Simbel
Even in a land where temples abound, Abu Simbel stands out. This is Ramses II’s magnificent temple, with huge statues guarding the entrance and a lavishly decorated interior with murals.
Abu Simbel is well-known for its megalithic proportions, but it is also well-known for the astounding engineering accomplishment performed by UNESCO in the 1960s, which saw the entire temple shifted from its original location to prevent it from being flooded by the Aswan dam.
Exploring Abu Simbel now is about applauding the international effort to save the temple complex as much as it is about gazing in astonishment at Ramses II’s awe-inspiring construction achievements.