With a fascinating history that reaches back to the dawn of civilization, Egypt is considered the oldest travel destination on earth. The African nation’s awe-inspiring temples and pyramids have captured the imagination of travelers for thousands of years. Although most people come to Egypt to view its ancient monuments, natural attractionsbeckon travelers too. The Red Sea coast is known for its coral reefs and beach resorts while a trek through the Sahara can lead visitors to a refreshing oasis. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Egypt.
Hurghada was once a fairly small and unimposing fishing village, located next to the Red Sea and boasting a number of sandy beaches. Today, the resort town is almost unrecognizable from its past life and has grown to be come one of the most visited tourist destination in Egypt, with more than 100 different hotels, many of which line the shoreline. Hurghada is especially popular for its diving opportunities.
Located on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, Alexandria is Egypt’s leading port and transportation hub. Founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, the city was once considered the crossroads of the world. Many of Alexandria’s most famous historic sites, including a library that housed more than 500,000 books, were destroyed by devastating earthquakes. Today the city is a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and glimpses of its past.
Located in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai is said to be the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. While there is very little archaeological evidence to support this assertion, the mountain is still a popular pilgrimage site and home to the Monastery of Saint Catherine. Founded in the 6th century, the Greek Orthodox monastery is one of the longest-running monasteries in the world.
Located near Egypt’s western border, Siwa Oasis remained culturally isolated from the rest of the country until late in the 19th century. Today, Siwa Oasis is an increasingly popular travel destination. Vacationers come to the city to enjoy the town’s many freshwater springs, to stroll through acres of palm groves and to explore ancient mud-built fortresses and remnants of Siwa’s Greco-Roman past.
Sharm el-Sheikh is a well-known beach resort at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, popular with package holiday makers and divers. It is one of the finest diving spots in the world. Hotels and travel agencies in Sharm el-Sheikh can also arrange tours by jeep, camel or quadbike. Some of the most popular day excursions include snorkeling visits to Nabeq, jeep trips to the Colou red Canyon and overnight trips to Saint Catherine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai.
Dahshur is a necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile River approximately25 miles south of Cairo. Compared to Giza, it is a more tranquil and isolated location to see some very large pyramids. Visitor numbers are much smaller, queues are way shorter and there is far less hassle. Pyramids at Dahshur include the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid, constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Sne feru.
Egypt’s southernmost city, Aswan is a mid-sized city located north of Lake Nasser. Although its own monuments are minor compared to Luxor’s, Aswan is the base for excursions to the temples of Philae and Kabasha and to the Sun Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, to the south. It is also the best starting point for excursions to the temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu, between Aswan and Luxor.
Located near the mouth of Nile River delta, Egypt’s modern capital is a busy, bustlingmetropol is with a long and turbulent history. Built near the ancient capital city of Memphis, modern Cairo is a popular starting point for cruises up the Nile and for explorations of the Pyramids at Giza just outside the city’slimits. At the world-renowned Egyptian Museum of Tahrir Square, visitors can get a close-up view of the treasure of Tutankhamun as well as mummies and other artifacts from Egypt’s ancientpast.
Luxor’s lush landscape is the setting for incredible ancient monuments. The Nile slowly snakes its way through the area, with the modern day city of Luxor sit tingon the East Bank and the ancient capital of Thebes on the West Bank. The once resplendent city of the ancient world is like a modern-day, open-air museum for visitors. You can find the famous temples of Karnak and Luxor on the East Bank while the Valleys of the Kings and Queens are situated on the West Bank.
The Giza necropolis, situated in the immediate vicinity of the southwestern suburbs of Cairo is probably the most famous ancient site in the world. The pyramids, together with the Sphinx at the base of the Giza plateau, are the iconicimage of Egypt.They were built over the span of three generations – by Khufu, his second reigning son Khafre,and his grandson Menkaure. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite structures, known a squeen pyramids, causeways and temples.