Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt
Egypt tourist attractions are like nothing you will find anywhere else in the world. Ancient Egypt, before its ultimate collapse some 1,700 years ago, was the Land of the Pharaohs, and monuments like the legendary Great Pyramids and Sphinx, and the many royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings stand as a commemoration to all of the Egyptian pharaohs who once ruled this ancient land.
While most tourists are undeniably drawn to the country by its ancient monuments, there is a great deal more to see and do in Egypt. Experience world class scuba diving along the Red Sea coast; amazing natural attractions of the Sahara desert; treks to monasteries frozen in time, or enjoy an unforgettable Nile River cruise.
#10 – Hurghada, Red Sea
Hurghada is a Red Sea resort town and has become an incredibly popular tourist destination, particularly among diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. It also very popular as a family holiday destination, thanks to its many family-friendly resorts and hotels, and an abundance of fun activities, such as scuba diving, wind surfing, sailing, horse riding and deep sea fishing.
Not only is Hurghada the ideal place to relax, but it is also well known for its very vibrant nightlife and its extensive shopping opportunities. In short, Hurghada is a great place to relax and unwind for a few days following days of sightseeing tours, and for this reason, it is often included in the itineraries of Nile cruise package tours.
#9 – Western Sahara Desert
The Western Desert is home to many of Egypt’s popular tourist attractions, most of which are located in or near to the various oases. The best way to view these attractions is by booking an oases package tour or a Sahara desert adventure tour. Most good oases tours will include a visit to all the different oases, and you will often be taken to see the best sites found at each of them.
In addition to the oases and their historical monuments, the Western Desert is also home to several natural attractions, including the White Desert; the Black Desert, and the Valley of the Whales, to name just a few.
#8 – Karnak Temple Complex
Nearly all Egypt sightseeing tours that focus on Egypt tourist attractions will include a visit to Karnak Temple which is essentially the ruins of an ancient temple city. It is the largest place of worship ever discovered, and was constructed over the course of hundreds of years. According to records, construction first began during the time of the Middle Kingdom, and continued until the reign of the pharaohs ended. The most popular and most impressive structure at the site is the massive Hypostyle Hall which covers an area of 5000 square meters.
Be sure to visit the nearby Luxor Temple while you are in the area, which you can reach by way of the newly discovered Avenue of Sphinxes. There is also a daily sound and light show at Karnak Temple in the evenings, and considering the temple is only 2.5 km away from Luxor, it an outing worth considering.
#7 – The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum, located right in the heart of Cairo is considered to be one of the top Egypt tourist attractions, and for this reason it is featured not only in most Cairo tour packages, but also in most Egypt tour packages. The museum currently houses around 120,000 Egyptian artifacts, although not all of these are on display. While the ground floor part of the museum is certainly fascinating, many visitors find the first floor to be the highlight of their visit.
As you ascend to the first floor, expect to be greeted by a vast display of artifacts documenting the history of the final two dynasties, along with countless artifacts recovered from the Valley of Kings in Luxor. The first floor is also home to the extremely popular Mummies Room which houses 27 mummies, although again, not all of these are on display.
#6 – Temple of Philae
Constructed in 690 AD, Philae Temple is widely considered to be the last ancient temple built in true ancient Egyptian style. It is a truly remarkable structure that features prominently in virtually all Egypt package tours that include spending some time in and around Aswan. It is also one of the attractions included in the itineraries of nearly all Nile cruise vacations.
Philae Temple which today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site was relocated in its entirety from its original location on Philae Island, to its present location on Agilkia Island. Had the temple not been moved, it would have been lost forever to the rising waters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
According to legend, the temple, along with the island on which it stood, was so sacred that not even fish or birds would approach the island’s shores. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, Philae Temple remains one of the very best Egypt tourist attractions, and visitors are encouraged to visit this ancient marvel both during the day and in the evening to witness the spectacular Philae Temple Sound and Light Show.
#5 – Temple of Sobek and Horus
Also known as Kom Ombo Temple, this is one structure which has always fascinated historians because it was the only temple of its time that was built in honor of two Gods. This in itself presented the architects with a huge challenge. Because the structure was to be dedicated to two different Gods, Sobek and Horus, two identical temples had to be constructed within the framework of a single temple. This was necessary in order to avoid offending either Horus or Sobek.
To achieve this, one half of the temple complex was designed to be a mirror image of the other half. Each side has the same number of halls; rooms; sanctuaries, and even the same number of columns. The precision in terms of construction is something one needs to see in order to believe.
Unfortunately, several earthquakes have resulted in quite a lot of damage over the centuries, and the temple was further destroyed and defaced by the early Coptic Christians when they were attempting to stamp out all forms of paganism. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable site to visit, hence the reason why it’s featured in so many Egypt tour packages.
#4 – Abu Simbel
The Abu Simbel temples are considered to be the second most recognizable Egyptian icon after the Giza pyramids and the Sphinx. These are two massive rock-cut temples constructed during the reign of Ramesses the Great. They were constructed not only to serve as places of worship, but also to serve as lasting monuments of him and his wife, Queen Nefertari.
Like several other monuments in Egypt, the Abu Simbel temples where swallowed up by the desert and only rediscovered 2,000 years later, which explains why they are so well preserved. The entire structure also had to be relocated to save it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser following the completion of the Aswan High Dam. Today the temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one site you really don’t want to miss if you are in the area.
#3 – Tomb of King Tut (Valley of the Kings)
One seasoned historian once wrote that in life, King Tutankhamen was the least esteemed of all the pharaohs who ruled before him, but in death he became the most esteemed of them all. People the world over have been fascinated by Tutankhamen ever since his tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, and most travelers touring the sites of ancient Egypt long to visit his tomb.
Today, Tutankhamen once again rests in his original sarcophagus inside the tomb, which only makes the site even more appealing to tourists. However, if you are planning on visiting his tomb, keep in mind that the vast amount of treasures recovered from the site are now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Additionally, his tomb is not always open to the public, so to avoid any disappointment, it is best to discuss this with your travel agent before you book your tour.
The tomb of King Tutankhamen is located in the Valley of the Kings, home to 63 ancient royal tombs, so even if King Tutankhamen’s t isn’t open when you visit, there will still be plenty to see, bearing in mind that this site is one of the most visited sites in all of Egypt.
#2 – Nile River Cruises
The Nile River which is the longest river in the world has been Egypt’s lifeline since antiquity, and there is no better way to experience the treasures and delights of Upper Egypt than with a Nile River cruise. Nile cruise vacations have long since been one of the major tourist attractions in Egypt, and as a result, Nile cruise packages now come in all shapes and sizes.
The most popular and most affordable cruises tend to be those which are undertaken on the many luxury cruise ships that can be seen sailing between Luxor and Aswan. Other options include refurbished luxury paddle steamers and traditional Dahabiyas. These days some tourists are also making the journey on Feluccas, but trips from Luxor to Aswan on board one of these small sail boats is yet to catch on with mainstream tourists.
Practically all Nile cruise vacations include a tour of Aswan and Luxor, as well as tours of several other historical sites along the route. Most people who have been on a Nile River cruise will say that you haven’t experienced Egypt until you have experienced a cruise through the Nile Valley
#1 – The Giza Necropolis
Not only is the Giza Necropolis the most visited of all Egypt tourist attractions, but it is also one of the most visited attractions in the world, attracting thousands of tourists every single day. The Giza pyramids which are conveniently located on the outskirts of Cairo were built over a period of three generations, with the first one being the pyramid of Khufu. At 139 meters, it is the largest pyramid ever built. Alongside this impressive structure, visitors can see the pyramid of Khafre, Khufu’s second reigning son, and also the pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure. In addition to the pyramids, the site is also home to the Great Sphinx and the Valley Temple.