Egypt is known as the oldest tourist destination on the planet – and for good reason. As the home of one of the most advanced ancient societies in human history, as well as numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Egypt is the type of place that fascinates and awes anyone who visits.
From the crowded city of Cairo that is both ancient and modern, to the unique culture of the Siwa Oasis, to the luxurious life of Sharm El Sheikh, to the famous Pyramids of Giza, Egypt is an incredibly diverse country that has incredible cultural and historical wealth.
Due to the 2011 protests and the resulting turmoil that still continues today, tourism in Egypt has dropped significantly as citizens of other countries are advised to stay away. This has not stopped everyone from deciding to visit, however – far from it. Plenty of tourists are taking advantage of the current lull in order to get a completely unique experience of Egypt. Viewing places like Giza without being overwhelmed by crowds is a once in a lifetime opportunity, after all.
Whether you visit Egypt now or twenty years from now, chances are good that the main places of interest will remain there for centuries. History has proven that Egypt will always be an incredible place to visit
The top place to visit in Egypt, Giza is the site of some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples. The pyramids of Giza form what is surely one of the oldest and most well-known tourist spots in the world and the suburban city of Giza itself sits surprisingly near to the plateau of Giza where the three pyramids stand, forming a hazy backdrop to the bustling city.
No matter what kind of traveler you are, Cairo is one of those cities that has something for everyone. This hot tourist destination is often considered one of the most popular tourist destinations on Earth and, if you don’t mind the crowds, is the perfect place to explore Egyptian history and culture.
03. Sharm El Sheikh
This Sinai Peninsula city, occasionally referred to as the “City of Peace,” sits as far south as it can get without actually dipping into the Red Sea. Only 35,000 people live there, making it tiny in comparison to Cairo’s 10 million. It has turned into a popular tourist destination as well as a resort city and because of its location, Sharm El Sheikh (or “Sharm,” as the locals say) is a hotspot for scuba diving and other water sports.
Luxor’s name means “the palaces/’ and it is a dream destination for history lovers, as a stroll around the city will already give you a first person view of a huge number of ruins from the Ancient Egyptian city, Thebes. The ancient city of Thebes is thought to be one of the greatest open-air museums in the world and is the number one reason why thousands of tourists flock to the majestic city of Luxor each year.
Founded by and named after Alexander the Great, Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city – but at just 5 million residents it seems tiny in comparison. Previously a thriving cosmopolitan capital city, the main tourist draw is now mainly its cultural and historical attractions. Visitors can find glimpses of the past through the city’s modern-day disguise. Each conquest led to new architectures, so Greek, French, and Roman elements can all be found if you look closely enough.
Once a tiny fishing village, Hurghada has come a long way thanks to the tourism industry. It is now one of the most popular beach resorts in all of Egypt, famous for its many hotels along the shore and scuba diving opportunities. It is fairly close to Luxor, so thousands of tourists combine visits to these two locations each year, leading to the prosperity of this beautiful resort town. Its location on the coast of the Red Sea attracts beach-goers and adventurers alike.
Like Hurghada (and many other Egyptian tourist attractions), Dahab used to be a small fishing village and has now turned into a booming tourist hotspot that has thrived since the early 1980s. Located 80 kilometers northeast of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab is another place made popular for its Red Sea diving opportunities.
08. The Nile
Well known as the longest river in the world, the Nile stands at an amazing 6,853 kilometers long. It runs through eleven African countries, and it notably runs northwards. It has been significant in the history of Sudan and Egypt, as it was largely their main source of fresh water. It branches in two after passing through Cairo, thus forming the Nile Delta. Both branches flow straight into the Mediterranean Sea, one of which occurs at the city of Alexandria.
09. Siwa Oasis
Siwa Oasis is a vast oasis in the middle of the Western Desert, just east of Egypt’s border with Libya. It is 1600 square kilometers, making it the perfect place for an isolated settlement in the middle of the desert. With approximately 25,000 people living there, it has ancient buildings made from mud-brick such as those in the old town of Shali, the ruins of an oracle of Amon, temples, mosques, and the Siwa Salt Lake. For anthropology and archaeology buffs, Siwa Oasis is an absolutely fascinating place to visit.
10. Saint Catherine & Mount Sinai
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai is one of the oldest functioning Christian monasteries in the world. It was founded in 565 and also houses the oldest operational library on Earth. The Monastery is often called Santa Katarina, but its official name is the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai. It’’ s located on the Sinai Peninsula and is actually at the foot of Mount Sinai, not the peak.