Egypt-a country linking northeast Africa with the Middle East, dates to the time of the pharaohs. Millennia-old monuments sit along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza's colossal Pyramids and Great Sphinx as well as Luxor's hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings tombs. The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the Egyptian consulate website: https://www.mfa.gov.eg
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options.
Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things to see & do:
Cairo-Egypt’s sprawling capital, is set on the Nile River. At its heart is Tahrir Square and the vast Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities including royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts. Nearby, Giza is the site of the iconic pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating to the 26th century BC. In Gezira Island’s leafy Zamalek district, 187m Cairo Tower affords panoramic city views.
Alexandria-is a Mediterranean port city in Egypt. During the Hellenistic period, it was home to a lighthouse ranking among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as well as a storied library. Today the library is reincarnated in the disc-shaped, ultramodern Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The city also has Greco-Roman landmarks, old-world cafes and sandy beaches. Its 15th-century seafront Qaitbay Citadel is now a museum.
Aswan-a city on the Nile River, has been southern Egypt’s strategic and commercial gateway since antiquity. It contains significant archaeological sites like the Philae temple complex, on Agilkia Island near the landmark Aswan Dam. Philae’s ruins include the columned Temple of Isis, dating to the 4th century B.C. Downriver, Elephantine Island holds the Temple of Khnum, from the Third Dynasty.
Luxor-is a city on the east bank of the Nile River in southern Egypt. It's on the site of ancient Thebes, the pharaohs’ capital at the height of their power, during the 16th–11th centuries B.C. Today's city surrounds 2 huge, surviving ancient monuments: graceful Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple, a mile north. The royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are on the river’s west bank.
Giza-is an Egyptian city on the west bank of the Nile, near Cairo. The Giza Plateau is home to iconic Egyptian monuments, including 3 tall pyramids built as royal mausoleums around the 26th century B.C. The largest, the Great Pyramid, is King Khufu’s tomb. The Great Sphinx is a vast sculpture of a man’s head on a lion’s body. The Solar Boat Museum displays a restored cedar barge found buried near the Great Pyramid.
Hurghada-is a beach resort town stretching some 40km along Egypt’s Red Sea coast. It’s renowned for scuba diving, and has numerous dive shops and schools in its modern Sekalla district. There are many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, while the old town, El Dahar, is home to traditional Egyptian coffee shops and souks. Hurghada’s long stretch of sandy beach is lined with resort hotels.
Sharm el-Sheikh-is an Egyptian resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It's known for its sheltered sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. Naama Bay, with a palm tree-lined promenade, is filled with bars and restaurants. Ras Muhammad National Park is a major diving destination, with marine life around the Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck.
Sinai Peninsula-has been a place of refuge for thousands of years. Prophets, nomads, exiles, conquerors, pilgrims and beachcombers alike have all left their footprints in the shifting desert sands.
Karnak Temples-The sheer scale of the Temples of Karnak complex will send shivers down your spine. More than a temple, Karnak is an extraordinary complex of sanctuaries, kiosks, pylons and obelisks dedicated to the Theban gods and the greater glory of pharaohs. Everything is on a gigantic scale: the site covers more than 2 sq km, large enough to contain about 10 cathedrals, while its main structure, the Temple of Amun, is the largest religious building ever built.
Luxor Temple-Largely built by the New Kingdom pharaohs Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) and Ramses II (1279–1213 BC), Luxor Temple is a strikingly graceful monument in the heart of the modern town. Visit early when the temple opens, before the crowds arrive or later at sunset when the stones glow. Whenever you go, be sure to return at night when the temple is lit up, creating an eerie spectacle as shadow and light play off the reliefs and colonnades.
Mummification Museum-Housed in the former visitors centre on Luxor’s Corniche, the small Mummification Museum has well presented exhibits explaining the art of mummification. On display are the well-preserved mummy of a 21st-dynasty high priest of Amun, Maserharti, and a host of mummified animals. Vitrines show the tools and materials used in the mummification process – check out the small spoon and metal spatula used for scraping the brain out of the skull.
Valley of the Kings-Once called the Great Necropolis of Millions of Years of Pharaoh, or the Place of Truth, the Valley of the Kings has 63 magnificent royal tombs from the New Kingdom period (1550–1069 BC), all very different from each other. The West Bank had been the site of royal burials from the First Intermediate Period (2160–2025 BC) onward. Among others, tombs include the famous Tomb of Tutankhamun, but be warned that the story of the celebrated discovery of the famous tomb and all the fabulous treasures it contained far outshines its actual appearance, and it is one of the least impressive tombs in the valley.
Valley of the Queens-There are at least 75 tombs in the Valley of the Queens. They belonged to queens of the 19th and 20th dynasties and other members of the royal families, including princesses and the Ramesside princes. Only two were open at the time of writing, and the Tomb of Nefertari is closed for the foreseeable future, but a replica will be built soon.
Temple of Edfu-This huge temple in Edfu is dedicated to Horus, the Falcon God, and you’ll see the image of a man with a falcon’s head representing him throughout the temple. Falcons were worshipped because they don’t eat dead flesh, so they were considered noble. It’s one of the best preserved temples in Egypt, with antechambers and halls to explore, as well as the inner sanctuary, which still contains the polished-granite shrine that once housed the gold cult statue of Horus.
Kom Ombo-A Nile cruise just wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to the crocodiles. Do as the Ancient Egyptians did and pay your respects at Kom Ombo, a double temple that's devoted half to Horus and half to crocodile god Sobek. This stretch of the river used to be infested with vicious crocs, preventing locals from using the water to wash or cook – this temple was a way of placating them
Donkey, horse and camel rides-Riding a horse, a donkey or a camel through the fields and seeing the sunset behind the Theban hills is a wonderful thing to do. The boys at the local ferry dock on the west bank offer donkey and camel rides. West bank hotels also offer camel trips, which include visits to nearby villages for a cup of tea, and donkey treks around the west bank.
Felucca rides-As elsewhere in Egypt, the nicest place to be late afternoon is on the Nile. Take a felucca from either bank and sail for a few hours, catching the soft afternoon light and the sunset, cooling in the afternoon breeze and calming down after sightseeing.
Nile river-Taking a cruise on the Nile is a time-honoured way to explore Egypt. For centuries, travellers have sailed stretches of the world’s longest river, finding the unexpected sights of river life every bit as thrilling as the tombs and temples on the schedule.
Abu Simbel: the great temple of Egypt-In his day, Ramses II built entire cities in Egypt, but nothing would have been as awe-inspiring as the Great Temple which was stumbled across in the depths of the Egyptian desert near the border of Nubia, buried under centuries of sand. No temple has such ancient, in-built heart and soul, and none have matched its passionate, modern-day story of discovery and rescue. The Great Temple was first carved out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile between 1274 and 1244 BC, Ramses II’s imposing temple was as much dedicated to the deified pharaoh himself as to the primeval Egyptian gods Ra-Horakhty, Amun and Ptah.
Siwa: an Egyptian oasis-Set against a backdrop of jagged sandstone hills, backed by the rolling silica ocean of the Great Sand Sea and carpeted thick with palm groves, Siwa is the archetypal oasis.
Dahab, Red Sea-The diving: with stunning coral habitats literally steps from the beach, relaxed Dahab offers some terrific shore diving and, for advanced divers, there’s also a blue hole.
Sahara Desert-A fount of solitude and the desert of childhood imaginings, the Sahara Desert is like nowhere else on earth. It is the world’s largest desert, at once continental in its scale and exquisite in its detail, from a sand sea the size of a small European country to an orange sand dune sculpted to perfection by the wind. Covering a territory roughly equivalent to the United States, the Sahara crosses around 20 lines of longitude and encompasses at least ten countries Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Libya, Niger, Tunisia, Chad, Egypt and Sudan – and the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Egyptian pyramids-The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Did you know that it is estimated that a single pyramid took 10,000 workers more than 30 years to build.