When people think about which places to visit in Egypt, they often find themselves becoming somewhat confused and uncertain, and for good reason. Egypt is not only a land of antiquity; it is also a land of beauty and splendor that has so much to offer tourists visiting the country.
Egypt consists of various distinctive regions, with each of those regions being wonderfully unique in their own special way. Knowing what each region has to offer can make planning your Egypt vacation so much easier. Scroll down to find your favourite destination.
127 Best Places to Visit in Egypt
Choose your topic of interest and start your journey of exploration.
The Best Places to Visit Along the Nile River in Egypt
The River Nile has been the lifeline of Egypt for thousands of years. It is the longest river in the world and it stretches from Burundi, just south of the equator in East Africa all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. This unique river has a north-bound route. Its fertile banks are what allowed the ancient Egyptian civilizations to thrive and grow. Sailing along the Nile in a boat is a time-honored way for travelers and tourists to follow in the footsteps of the ancient pharaohs.
Nile cruise holidays allow visitors to really see and experience a number of towns and cities located on its banks. Explore ancient temples and tombs dating back thousands of years; experience the local culture of the inhabitants that live alongside it, and watch as timeless scenery slips quietly by.
Visitors can experience the Nile River in several different ways, ranging from 5-Star luxury cruise ships to authentic river paddle steamers; from traditional Dahabiyas to time tested Feluccas that have been used on the Nile in one form or another since antiquity.
Today, all Nile River cruises operate between Luxor and Aswan, stopping along the way to visit some truly amazing sites, including the amazing Temple of Horus in Edfu which is only accessible via Nile cruises.
Top 7 Places to Explore Along the Nile
- Great Pyramids of Giza
- Valley of the Kings
- Luxor Temple
- Karnak Temple Complex
- Temple of Horus, Edfu
- Temple of Philae
- Abu Simbel Temples
Best Places to Visit in Cairo, Egypt
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and geographically located in Lower Egypt. The city is home to more than 16 million people. Over the course of its history Cairo has been ruled by Romans, Greeks, Ottomans, Arabs, the French and the British. When you visit the city today, you can’t help but notice how many buildings reflect the influence of the various civilizations who have ruled this ancient land.
Just as Egypt has different regions, Cairo is also divided into several parts, each with its own unique things to see and places to go. Old Cairo, also referred to Coptic Cairo has been inhabited for more than 2000 years and features the famous Hanging Church and the Ben Ezra Synagogue. You can also find many more of Cairo’s churches in this part of town.
In Islamic Cairo which is also known as Medieval Cairo, you will find a number of bazaars, including the famous Khan Al-Khalili bazaar and some of the oldest and most beautiful mosques in the country, including the Mosque of Muhammad Ali; the Al-Azhar mosque, and the Ibn Tulun mosque. This is also where you will find the imposing Cairo Citadel.
The city of Cairo also offers some amazing insight into ancient Egypt. The legendary Egyptian Museum is located within the city limits and houses the world’s largest collection of Egyptian artifacts. Located on the outskirts of the city are the world’s most famous ancient attractions, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Both these attractions are incredibly popular, and you’ll find them featuring in almost all Cairo tour packages.
Other things to see and do in the city of Cairo include a visit to the City of the Dead, renting a Falucca sailboat and sailing on Nile River, enjoying Sufi dancers at the Citadel, bartering for souvenirs at the local bazaar and enjoying a camel ride.
Over and above all the attractions and activities on offer, Cairo also has plenty of great hotels to stay at, including many luxurious ones. First and foremost however, Cairo is all about sightseeing and holds some of most important places to visit in Egypt.
Top Places to Visit in Cairo and Lower Egypt
- Giza Plateau: Giza Pyramids and Great Sphinx
- Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo
- Djoser’s Step Pyramid in the Saqqara Complex
Best Places to Visit in Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is where ancient Egypt flourished. As such it is the place to go to see the ancient Egyptian treasures that makes Egypt such a phenomenal tourist hot-spot. Here tourists will find the famous Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Tutankhamen. The two major tourist-related cities found in Upper Egypt are Luxor and Aswan. Another interesting and culturally different area to visit in Upper Egypt is Nubia.
There is such a high concentration of ancient temples and burial grounds in Upper Egypt, that this part of the country is often described as being the world’s biggest open air museum. This area along with Cairo should be at the top of your list of must-see places to visit in Egypt.
Important Sights to See in Upper Egypt
- Valley of the Kings
- Karnak Temple
- Luxor Temple
- The Temple of Horus and Sobek
- Temple of Horus, Edfu
- Temple of Philae
- Abu Simbel Temples
Places to Visit in the Sahara Desert
When people are thinking about places to see in Egypt, they quite often overlook the great Sahara Desert, which coincidentally is the largest desert on the African continent, and also the world’s hottest desert. It covers an amazing 9,400,000 square kilometers and stretches from the Red Sea to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. Its driest region is known as the Libyan Desert. The Sahara Desert is also called Al Sahara Al Kubra, meaning “The Great Desert”.
As many people have discovered, the Sahara Desert is both beautiful and deadly at the same time. It has one of the harshest climates in the world, where temperature extremes can reach up to 138 degrees F and vast sandstorms and dust devils can be created by strong winds. Most of Egypt’s Sahara Desert is completely arid, with little to no vegetation. While it may not rain in the Sahara very often, when it does rain there is a very real risk of flash floods.
The desert is also the home of many potentially dangerous animals, including the Deathstalker scorpion, monitor lizards and Hyrax sand vipers. Visitors to Egypt can take camel rides and 4×4 jeep adventures into the desert with guides to experience the grand vastness and tranquility of the world’s largest desert.
There is much to see in the Sahara including desert oases such as the Siwa Oasis, the Farafra Oasis, the Kharga Oasis, the Dakhla Oasis, and the Bahariya Oasis, which is the home of the Cleopatra II Bath. Other exciting attractions that can be found in the Sahara Desert include the White Desert, which features beautiful wind carved white rock formations, Al Alamein, the place where the Allied forces gained a decisive victory over the Axis powers in WWII, Valley of Whales which is home of many sea fossils including whole skeletons whales and sharks, and the Gilf El-Kebir, a beautiful sandstone plateau.
You can hike the dunes, sleep out under the stars, ride a camel or take a safari ride in the Sahara Desert. Because the desert is a naturally dangerous place it is highly recommended that all tourists travel with an experienced guide.
Destinations to Experience at the Red Sea
The Red Sea sits just off the Egyptian coast and it is known to be one of the most popular scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. The Red Sea’s underwater paradise is one of the most beautiful in the world as well. The clear water offers spectacular visibility and there are plenty of exotic underwater creatures to view and seascapes to visit. The sea walls, gardens and reefs are excellent places to view shallow water marine life. The area’s underwater wrecks are also great places to see open-water sea creatures such as sharks and sea turtles.
Even if you are not a SCUBA diving or snorkeling enthusiast, the Red Sea also offers plenty of beach-front resorts to enjoy. Areas like Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh are also very well known for the vibrant nightlife and world class shopping
The most popular places to see on the shores of the Red Sea coast are Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab and El Gouna, If you are still undecided about where to go in Egypt, spend a few days relaxing by the Red Sea coast will always prove to be a good bet.
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
Since the fighting stopped in this region in the late 1980’s the Sinai Peninsula has become an exciting tourist destination with sandy beaches; spectacular desert scenery, and world class water adventures. In fact, about 80% of the housing in the Sinai Peninsula is found in the form of hotels. Major tourist destinations located in the Sinai Peninsula includes the city of Sharm El Sheikh and what is commonly referred to as its neo-hippy counterpart, Dahab.
Also located here is Mount Sinai, where most people believe Moses received the 10 Commandments. If you intend visiting the Sinai Peninsula, please note that the northern parts of Sinai are not safe for foreigners to travel to.
Places to See on the Egyptian North Coast
Lower Egypt’s Mediterranean coast is the home of the exciting yet laid back historical city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great. This region is now a growing resort-style destination for wealthy Egyptians living in Cairo, and its biggest draw are its long strips of sandy white beaches. Finding a spot to sit on one of these densely crowded beaches can be difficult however, especially on weekends and on public holidays.
Most western tourists visit the North Coast of Egypt to experience its amazing SCUBA diving sites. This undersea world is full of exciting things to see and probably one of the most interesting places to visit in Egypt. The most important sight is what some believe to be the ruins of Cleopatra’s palace and a number of WWII related wrecks and submerged planes. Like other old cities in Egypt, Alexandria is also home to many wonderful attractions, both ancient and modern, one of which is the New Alexandria Library. The best way to experience Alexandria is to visit the area as part of an Egypt tour package.
With so many places to see and things to do in Egypt, perhaps it would be better to ask where not to go in Egypt, rather than asking which places to visit in Egypt. The Land of the Pharaohs really does have plenty for everyone.
MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT IN EGYPT
What sets Egypt apart from the rest of the world is the fact that each great civilization has left its mark in the form ancient relics; artifacts and monuments. Collectively, these provide us with an incredibly accurate record of the country’s history. When you visit Egypt, you come face to face with more than 5,000 years of history, which to this day has been extremely well preserved. No other country in the world can offer visitors a comparable experience.
The Ancient Pyramids and the Sphinx
The Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx are undeniably Egypt’s most famous attractions. They are also the most visited attractions in the country, drawing thousands of tourists to the Giza necropolis each day. If you are planning to visit the country and you’re making a list of what to see in Egypt, then you will definitely want to put this site at the very top of your “Must See” list. The fact that the site is located just a short drive away from central Cairo only gives you more reason to explore these ancient wonders.
The Giza pyramids were built over the span of 3 generations. The first one was constructed for Pharaoh Khufu. This is the tallest of the three great pyramids, reaching an impressive 138 meters into the sky, making it the largest pyramid ever discovered. The second pyramid was constructed for Pharaoh Khafre, and the third for Pharaoh Menkaure.
When you visit the site, you might find that the Pyramid of Khufu is closed to the public for the sake of preservation. Also, when it is open, there are restrictions on the number of people allowed in. Currently, the authorities only allow 150 visitors inside in the mornings and another 150 visitors in the afternoons. You also have to purchase a special ticket on-site, and in person because tour operators are no longer allowed to book for group tours. If you want to get a ticket to enter this pyramid, you need to be at the ticket office early. Lastly, remember that the pharaohs never built their pyramids for entertaining guests, so don’t expect the interior design to be very visitor friendly.
Located just in front of the three pyramids is the Great Sphinx, a lion-like sculpture with a human head that was carved out of a single block of sandstone. The world-famous Sphinx is known as Abu al-Hol in Arabic, which basically means “Father of Terror”. When visiting the site, you will also be able to explore the Valley Temple which stands just a short distance away, facing the pyramids and the Sphinx.
The Great Pyramids of Giza were constructed in the 4th dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, about 5000 years ago. How exactly the ancient architects and laborers were able to construct these massive pyramids is still somewhat of a mystery, and contrary to popular belief, slave labor was never used during their construction. The Giza Pyramids are of course the signature site of Egypt.
Djoser’s Step Pyramid – Saqqara, South of Cairo
Once the largest building of its time, and also Egypt’s very oldest pyramid, Djoser’s Step Pyramid was constructed for to hold Pharaoh Djoser’s mummified body. It was built in the Saqqara necropolis just 30 km south of Cairo, near Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt.
At the time of its completion in 2611 BC, the pyramid stood 62 meters high and had six stepped layers. It was designed by the famous ancient architect Imhotep, and may have been one of the first stone buildings of its time. Tourists and pilgrims have been visiting Djoser’s Step Pyramid for more than 3000 years now.
The Saqqara necropolis is a vast ancient burial ground, and home to several other pyramids and temples which you can visit and explore while you are in the area. Saqqara sits on the edge of the desert, overlooking the Nile River valley, but it is surrounded by lush greenery that gives it a unique sort of charm.
Visitors will feel as though they have traveled back in time to see how the region appeared many millennia ago. These days, there is also a small modern museum which is definitely worth visiting. Simply put, this fascinating site should also feature on your “places to see in Egypt” list.
Visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
If you are fascinated by the ancient pyramids, temples and tombs of Egypt, then the Egyptian Museum in Cairo needs to be added to your “Must Visit” list as a matter of urgency. The museum houses more than 120,000 artifacts but for obvious reasons, not all of these are on display.
The Museum is also home to the “Treasures Room” which holds the treasures and artifacts that were recovered from the tomb of the boy king, Tutankhamen. This, along with the “Mummies Room” is for many people, the highlight of a visit to the museum.
There are many mummies in storage at the museum but not all of them are on display. Nonetheless, visitors can still see 11 mummies on display if they purchase a ” Mummies Room” ticket at the museum when they visit.
The Valley of the Kings – Luxor
This historically significant valley is located near Luxor and another of the very important places to visit in Egypt. The famous Valley of the Kings is host to 63 royal tombs and chambers for the kings and privileged nobles of the New Kingdom. These tombs and chambers were constructed during a 500 year period, beginning in the 16th century BC and continuing to the 11th century BC. The chambers and tombs range dramatically in size, from tiny pit chambers to full sized chambers that contain more than 120 different rooms.
Here visitors can see some of the most famous tombs every discovered, including the tomb of Tutankhamen. In life, Tutankhamen was one of the least esteemed pharaohs, but in death he became the most famous of them all. Today, Tutankhamen’s mummy once again rests in his timeless tomb inside a specially designed glass box. This alone should be reason enough for anyone to add this site to their “what to see in Egypt” list.
His tomb is one of the best preserved tombs, and visitors may once again enter his tomb by purchasing a separate ticket on site.
Sadly, many of these tombs were opened and robbed in antiquity, but the Valley of the Kings is still the ideal place to see actual tombs and monuments of the great Egyptian pharaohs and noblemen, and to view the Egyptian mythology decorations found on the walls of the tombs.
Also located nearby is the Valley of the Queens, where the queens of the New Kingdom and their children were often interred. Here visitors can see four of the queen’s tombs, including the famous tomb of Queen Nefertari.
Karnak Temple Complex – Luxor
The Temple of Karnak is not only one of Egypt’s most impressive ancient religious sites, but it is also the biggest such site ever discovered. Although the site has been badly ruined, it is still the largest ancient religious site, designed and constructed by generations of ancient Egyptian builders.
The Karnak temple complex is located 2.5 km north of Luxor, and it consists of 3 main temples and several smaller, outer temples along with many sanctuaries, kiosks, pylons and obelisks which collectively cover an amazing 240 acres.
The Hypostyle Hall is probably the most famous part of this ancient site, and it includes a hall that is 5000 square meters in size. Within this hall are 134 massive columns that are arranged in 16 rows. The Temple of Karnak is a very impressive feat of ancient Egyptian construction, and was supposed to be the home of the King of all Gods, Amun-Ra. In ancient times this temple was known as “Ipet-isut”, which meant the “Most Select of all Places”.
The Temple of Luxor – Luxor
The Temple of Luxor is located in the center of Luxor Town and was built more than 4000 years ago by the New Kingdom Pharaoh Amenophis III. It was then finished by Ramses II. This spectacular temple has been an important place for celebrating rituals for thousands of years, including the festival of Opet, one of ancient Egypt’s most important festivals.
Today the Temple of Luxor is a tourist hot-spot, especially at night when the entire temple is beautifully illuminated with artificial lighting.
The Temple of Isis – Philae
This breathtaking structure built to honor Isis, the Goddess of Magic, Motherhood and Fertility. When you visit this site, you will notice that there are also several other smaller temples, sanctuaries and shrines that were constructed to honor various other Gods and Goddesses, with the oldest temple dating back to the year 370 BC.
One of the most impressive things about the Philae Temple of Isis is the fact that it was moved in its entirety and then reconstructed. This was a monumental task that was carried out in order to save this ancient wonder from the rising waters of Lake Nasser when the Aswan High Dam was built. Today the temple is located on the island of Agilkia after being moved from Philae Island.
It is now a Unesco World Heritage site, and it is without question one of the best ancient attractions in Egypt. If you travel to Luxor while you are in Egypt, make sure you visit this temple, and ideally, you should try and visit it both during the day and at night so that you can experience the magnificent Philae Temple Sound and Light Show. It’s worth noting that if you intend booking a Nile River cruise, a visit to Philae Temple will almost always be included in the itinerary due to its popularity.
Temple of Horus and Sobek – Kom Ombo
The Temple of Sobek at Kom Ombo is another must-see Nile Valley attraction. Like Philae Temple, this site also features prominently in the itineraries of nearly all Nile cruise holidays. What amazes most people when they first arrive at the site is the fact that there are actually two twin temples: One built to honor Horus the falcon God of War and the sky, and the other built to honor Sobek, the God of fertility and creation.
The biggest challenge for the architect and for the builders was that both temples had to be identical so that neither of the two gods would feel offended. One had to be a mirror image of the other, and when you visit the site you soon notice that the job was completed to perfection.
This amazing achievement dating back to the early 2nd century BC is located on the banks of the River Nile, just a short distance from the tourist friendly city of Aswan. It is a well preserved temple with plenty to see. Add it to your list now so that you won’t be disappointed.
Temple of Horus – Between Aswan and Luxor
The amazing Temple of Horus in Edfu is considered to be the most well preserved ancient Egyptian temple. Constructed between 237 BC and 57 BC during the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the temple was built to honor Horus, a God that was often shown depicted as a man with the head of a falcon. In ancient Egyptian mythology, Horus eventually became the ‘supreme ruler’ and ‘god of the sky’.
The Temple of Horus is a massive structure and features a birth house, along with an impressive pylon and many fascinating reliefs and carvings. You can find this ancient wonder located at Edfu, about halfway between Aswan and Luxor along the Nile River. Like other previously mentioned attractions, it also features prominently in many Nile cruise holidays and other classic Egypt tours.
Abu Simbel Temple – Lake Nasser
The Temples of Abu Simbel shouldn’t only be on your “what to see in Egypt” list, but instead, it should be right up there near the top of your list. No amount of words or pictures could ever be able to do this remarkable temple justice. Abu Simbel is an extremely popular historical site located on the banks of Lake Nasser in southern Egypt.
It is probably the most recognized monument of ancient Egypt, second only to the Great Pyramids of Giza. If your tour of Egypt takes you anywhere near Aswan or Lake Nasser, make certain you visit impressive structure. Abu Simbel temple actually consists of two massive rock-cut temples which were originally carved from the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses the Great during the 13th century BC.
These monuments pay tribute to the pharaoh himself, as well as to his wife, Queen Nefetari. Although the site had to be removed from its original foundation in the 1960’s due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the complete and original twin temples can still be viewed in their entirety today. Well preserved; fascinating, and one attraction you really don’t want to miss. Many Egypt package tours that feature time in Aswan will include a trip to Abu Simbel, but not all of them do so always study a tour itinerary carefully before you make a booking.
Come Explore All the Best Places to Visit in Egypt
You can enjoy all of the best sights and attractions in one trip with a customized itinerary from us. We make all the arrangements and have the best connections that will make your travel to Egypt enjoyable and exciting. Our tours to Egypt are well-organized and flexible enough to allow you to make the selections of what kind of trip you want to take.