Planning your trip to Egypt? Exploring some ideas for what to do in Egypt?
Your prayers are answered. I have traveled to Egypt extensively and here are the 31 absolutely best things to do in Egypt!
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- 31 DEFINITELY BEST THINGS TO DO IN EGYPT
- 1. VISIT ANCIENT PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
- 2. SEE THE GREAT SPINX OF GIZA
- 3. ADMIRE ABU SIMBEL TEMPLE
- 4. SAIL THE NILE ON A FELUCCA
- 5. FLY IN A HOT AIR BALLOON OVER THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS IN SUNRISE
- 6. EXPLORE VALLEY OF THE KINGS
- 7. BE AMAZED BY KARNAK TEMPLE
- 8. VISIT ELEGANT MORTUARY TEMPLE OF HATSHEPSUT
- 9. HIKE MT SINAI
- 10. SEE MOSES’ BURNING BUSH IN ST CATHERINE MONASTERY
- 11. LEARN ABOUT NUBIAN CULTURE
- 12. GET TRADITIONAL NUBIAN HENNA TATTOO IN A NUBIAN VILLAGE
- 13. HAVE A COCKTAIL IN ICONIC OLD CATARACT HOTEL
- 14. EXPLORE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM IN CAIRO
- 15. TOUR COPTIC CAIRO
- 16. VISIT ISLAMIC CAIRO
- 17. EXPLORE MESEMERIZING ALEXANDRIA
- 18. ADMIRE BIBLOTHECA ALEXANDRINA
- 19. SEE CATACOMBS OF THE KOM AL-SHOQAFA IN ALEXANDRIA
- 20. SEE THE STEP PYRAMID OF DJOSER
- 21. GET INSIDE THE RED PYRAMID FOR FREE
- 22. SEE ICONIC TEMPLE OF PHILAE
- 23. TAKE A BOAT RIDE TO THE TEMPLE OF KALABSHA
- 24. VISIT MYSTICAL EDFU TEMPLE
- 25. SEE ATYPICAL KOM-OMBO TEMPLE
- 26. ADMIRE SPECTACULAR CARVINGS OF MEDINET HABU
- 27. DIVE IN DAHAB
- 28. EXPLORE UNDERWATER WORLD OF THE RED SEA IN HURGHADA
- 29. FREE DIVE AND KITESURF IN MARSA ALAM
- 30. TRY KUSHERI
- 31. CRUISE THE NILE
31 DEFINITELY BEST THINGS TO DO IN EGYPT
1. VISIT ANCIENT PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
The Giza pyramids complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and holds the most famous pyramids in Egypt.
The Giza pyramid complex includes three major pyramids: the Great Pyramid of Cheops/Khufu, the Pyramid of Khaphre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest pyramid, the largest pyramid in Giza, and the only remaining wonder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
READ MORE about the pyramids in my story about FAMOUS LANDMARKS IN EGYPT
2. SEE THE GREAT SPINX OF GIZA
The Great Sphinx of Giza represents a spiritual guardian of the Pharaon’s Kaphre tomb (the Khaphre pyramid). The Spinx is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human’s head, and most likely Pharaoh Khaphre’s face.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the oldest statues in the World dating back to 2.500 BC.
The Sphinx in Giza is also one of the largest statues in the World. It is 238 ft (73 m) long and 68 ft (20 m) tall.
3. ADMIRE ABU SIMBEL TEMPLE
The Abu Simbel temple from the 13th century BC is one of the most amazing ancient Egyptian temples.
The Abu Simbel complex includes two temples: the Great Temple dedicated to Ramesses II, and the Small Temple dedicated to Ramesses’ wife Queen Nefertari.
Abu Simbel temple is located in Abu Simbel village on Lake Nasser in southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan.
4. SAIL THE NILE ON A FELUCCA
Nile is the longest river in the world and one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, overall.
Felucca is a wind-powered traditional Egyptian wooden sailboat. Typical Egyptian felucca takes up to 12 people.
The most popular sailing routes are from Aswan to Luxor and Luxor from Aswan. But felucca rides on the Nile River are popular in Cairo as well.
Unquestionably, one of the best things to do in Egypt is to sail the Nile on a traditional Egyptian felucca boat.
5. FLY IN A HOT AIR BALLOON OVER THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS IN SUNRISE
Dreaming of a hot air ballon ride with breathtaking views?
One of the absolutely best things to do in Egypt is to have a hot air balloon ride over Luxor and the Valley of the Kings at a sunrise.
A hot air ballon over Luxor and the Valley of the Kings is once-in-a-lifetime experience!
6. EXPLORE VALLEY OF THE KINGS
The Valley of the Kings near Luxor in Egypt is the the largest cemetery of the Ancient World.
It holds 60 pharaonic tombs built between 1.500 and 1.000 BC, and some of the most famous pharaonic tombs. Tutankhamen, Seti I, and Ramesses II, to name a few, are buried in the Valley of the Kings.
7. BE AMAZED BY KARNAK TEMPLE
Karnak temple near Luxor is the largest religious site of the Ancient World. It covers over 247 acres (100 hectares).
The Karnak temple was dedicated to Amun-Ra. Amun-Ra was the supreme ancient Egyptian god of the Sun and Air, and King of the Gods.
The temple was built between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD.
8. VISIT ELEGANT MORTUARY TEMPLE OF HATSHEPSUT
Hatshepsut was a female Egyptian pharaoh, one of the most famous Egyptian pharaohs, one of the most successful Egyptian rulers overall, and one of the greatest women in history ever.
She successfully ruled Egypt for 21 years and was worshiped as a wife of god Amun.
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut near Luxor is arguably the most elegant ancient Egyptian temple.
9. HIKE MT SINAI
Mount Sinai is one of the oldest mountains in the World. Some parts of the Sinai mountain are about 600 million years old.
Furthermore, Mount Sinai is a place of supreme beauty and a part of an Egyptian National Park – the St. Catherine Natural Protectorate.
But Mount Sinai is probably best known as Moses Mountain where Biblical Moses received the Ten Commandments.
However, Mount Sinai is a popular hiking site in Egypt. The most popular Mount Sinai hikes go for sunsets and sunrises. A hike from the St Catherine monastery which stands at the foot of Mt Sinai to the top of Moses’ Mountain takes 2-3 hours on average.
READ my story about HIKING MOUNT SINAI IN EGYPT
10. SEE MOSES’ BURNING BUSH IN ST CATHERINE MONASTERY
St Catherine monastery in Sinai was built on the site where it was found, what’s believed to be, Moses’ Burning Bush.
The monastery was built in the 6th century AD and it is the oldest continuously active Christian monastery in the World and one of the oldest monasteries in the world overall.
Library of the Sinai monastery holds an extraordinarily rare and large collection of holy books and manuscripts. In fact, only the Vatican library in Rome has a larger collection of holy books than the Sinai library.
The Codex Sinaiticus or Sinai Bible – the earliest manuscript of the Bible, written in Greek in the 4th century, was found in the Sinai monastery.
St Catherine monastery in Sinai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
11. LEARN ABOUT NUBIAN CULTURE
Take a short felucca ride in Aswan, cross the Nile, and you will get to an amazingly colorful and interesting Nubian village.
Stroll the streets, visit the Nubian market, see the Crocodile House, head to Nubian History Museum, and learn about Nubian culture.
Nubians are one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Nowadays Nubians live in southern Egypt and northern Sudan.
12. GET TRADITIONAL NUBIAN HENNA TATTOO IN A NUBIAN VILLAGE
Nubians use spoken language with no alphabet, but descriptive pictures instead. Therefore, they are famous for their painting art.
Getting an authentic Nubian henna tattoo in a Nubian village near Aswan is one of the most unique things to do in Egypt.
13. HAVE A COCKTAIL IN ICONIC OLD CATARACT HOTEL
Opposite to the Nubian village and across the Nile River you will find one of the most iconic hotels in the world, the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan.
If you would like to sip a cocktail like Agatha Christie, after visiting the Nubian village head to legendary Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan!
14. EXPLORE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM IN CAIRO
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo holds about 120.000 ancient Egyptian artifacts.
It is home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian items (mummies, treasuries, jewelry, and pottery ) in the World.
Among other treasures, the world-famous gold death mask and sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen are in the museum.
15. TOUR COPTIC CAIRO
The Copts are indigenous people of Egypt.
They speak the Coptic language and are Christians by faith. Coptic Christianity is one of the oldest denominations in Christianity. Today the Copts make about 5-20% of the Egyptian population.
Coptic Cairo is a part of Old Cairo. The most notable sites of Coptic Cairo are the Hanging Church, the St George Church, the Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, the Coptic Museum, the Ben Ezra Synagogue (previously a Coptic church), and the Babylon Fortress.
Touring Coptic Cairo and learning about Copts, their history, beliefs, and traditions are some of the best things to do in Egypt.
16. VISIT ISLAMIC CAIRO
Islamic Cairo is a World Heritage Site in Egypt.
Islamic Cairo covers the historic core area of Old Cairo around the Cairo citadel and walled city of Cairo with some of the most impressive Islamic architecture in the World.
Some of the top amazing sites of Islamic Cairo are the Saladin castle, the Guli Palace, the Khalili market, Al-Azhar Mosque, and Hussein Mosque.
Visiting enormously interesting Islamic Medieval Cairo is undeniably one of the top things to do in Egypt!
17. EXPLORE MESEMERIZING ALEXANDRIA
Ancient Alexandria was the capital of the knowledge and learning of the Ancient World. It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.
Ancient Alexandria was home to the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Great Library of Alexandria.
Modern Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a wonderful Mediterranean seaport city.
Modern Alexandria is home to 15-th century Citadel of Qaitbay, famous Montaza Palace with gorgeous gardens, 2-nd century Catacombs of Kom Shoqafa, historic Serapeum and Pompey’s Pillar, stunning El-Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque, amazing Bibliotheca Alexandrina, lovely Corniche seawater promenade, old-world cafes, sandy beaches and some of the best colonial architecture in Egypt.
Unquestionably, Alexandria is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Egypt.
18. ADMIRE BIBLOTHECA ALEXANDRINA
The Great Library of Alexandria was the largest library in the World from the 4th century BC to the 3rd century AD. It held about 400.000 – 700.000 parchment scrolls.
The ancient library of Alexandria mysteriously disappeared. Some believe it was destroyed, some believed it faded over time.
But 2002 new Bibliotheca Alexandrina was open. Today it keeps about 8 million books and it is absolutely spectacular.
19. SEE CATACOMBS OF THE KOM AL-SHOQAFA IN ALEXANDRIA
Catacombs of the Kom al-Shoqafa in Alexandria in Egypt belong to Seven Wonders of the Medival World, along with Stonehenge in the UK, Colosseum in Rome, Great Wall of China, Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, and Taj Mahal in India.
The catacombs were built in the 2nd century AD and were a burial place for the next 200 years.
Catacombs of the Kom al-Shoqafa showcase a unique cultural and artistic mix of 3 ancient civilizations that left their mark in Alexandria – the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman.
Catacombs of the Kom al-Shoqafa in Alexandria are accredited as a World Heritage Site in Egypt.
20. SEE THE STEP PYRAMID OF DJOSER
The Step Pyramid of Djoser is a proto-pyramid, built in the 27th century BC.
It means that the Djoser proto-pyramid is older than the Giza pyramids that were built from the 26th century BC TO the 25th century BC.
Head to Saqqara necropolis 19 mi (30 km) south of Cairo and see the proto-pyramid!
21. GET INSIDE THE RED PYRAMID FOR FREE
Want to see how it looks like inside a pyramid?
You can go inside the Red Pyramid in Dahsuhur necropolis for free!
The Red Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Sneferu and it was the first ‘true’ ancient Egyptian pyramid with leveled sides.
Go to the Red Pyramid in Dahsuhur necropolis 25 mi (40 km) south of Cairo and see how it feels like to be inside of a pyramid FOR FREE!
22. SEE ICONIC TEMPLE OF PHILAE
The Philae Temple was originally called the Temple of Isis. It stood on the island of Philae in Lake Nasser, but because of the flooding it was relocated to nearby Agilkai island in 1970s.
The Philae Temple is one of the most impressive ancient Egyptian temple located on a tiny island in magical Lake Nasser with breathtaking scenery.
23. TAKE A BOAT RIDE TO THE TEMPLE OF KALABSHA
The Kalabsha Temple is another ancient Egyptian temple with a picturesque setting. It is located on an islet in Lake Nasser near Aswan Dam.
In fact, this temple was also relocated from the original site called Bab al-Kalabsha to today’s site because of Nile floodings.
At first, the temple was dedicated to a Nubian god called Mandulis. But later with the rise of Christianity, the temple was even converted to a Christian church.
Thus, there you can see an interesting mix of ancient Egyptian reliefs picturing Horus and falcons, ancient Roman reliefs depicting Emperor Augusts, Coptic graffiti, and even some Christain crosses from the Christian era.
24. VISIT MYSTICAL EDFU TEMPLE
The temple of Edfu was dedicated to Horus, the ancient Egyptian god of Sky. Horus was pictured with the head of a falcon with the right eight representing the Sun and the left eight representing the Moon.
It is one of the best preserved ancient Egyptian temples.
Horus Temple in Edfu was my favorite ancient Egyptian temple on my trip to Egypt because of the mystical atmosphere and the elegant architecture.
25. SEE ATYPICAL KOM-OMBO TEMPLE
Kom-Ombo Temple is an atypical ancient Egyptian temple because it was dedicated to two rivaling gods.
The east part of the temple was dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god, and the west part was dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god. Sobek and Horus were rivals. Sobek was the god of Nile and Horus was the god of Sky.
The Kom-Ombo Temple is architecturally perfectly symmetrical building.
26. ADMIRE SPECTACULAR CARVINGS OF MEDINET HABU
Medinet Habu holds some of the best-preserved ancient Egyptian reliefs. Therefore, you can see numerous colorful tourist photos taken in this temple. Medinet Habu is one of the most photographed ancient Egyptian temples.
The temple was built by Ramesses III in the 12th century BC.
27. DIVE IN DAHAB
Dahab is a small town on the Red Sea in the Sinai peninsula. Once a fishermen’s village, today Dahab is a popular tourist place and a small resort town.
Furthermore, Dahab is one of the most famous diving destinations in the world. In fact, Blue Hole in Dahab is one of the most prominent diving sites in the world.
If you are into diving, I don’t doubt you have already heard of Blue Hole and Dahab in Egypt!
28. EXPLORE UNDERWATER WORLD OF THE RED SEA IN HURGHADA
Hurghada is a beach city on the Red Sea.
To be honest, there is not much to do in Hurghada. But, Hurghada is all about the Red Sea. And that’s more than enough a good reason to go to Hurghada.
The Read Sea is one of the most amazing seas for scuba-diving, snorkeling…It is a sea with some of the most fabulous underwater world you can find in the world.
If you want to catch some sun on sandy Egyptian beaches and to explore amazing Read Sea underwater world, head to Hurghada.
- Hurghada: Swimming with Dolphins & Snorkeling Tour & Lunch
- 3-Hour Sinbad Submarine Red Sea Tour from Hurghada
- Hurghada: Full-Day Diving Tour with Lunch & Two Dive Sites
29. FREE DIVE AND KITESURF IN MARSA ALAM
Marsa Alam is another beach town on the Red Sea in Egypt. It is famous for wonderful sandy beaches, coral reefs, sea turtles, dugongs (sea cows), dolphins, world-renowned kitesurfing, and free diving.
Kite-surfers and free divers love Marsa Alam in Egypt!
If you are a kitesurfer or free diver, Mars Alam is your cup of tea!
- Marsa Alam: Snorkeling Trip to Satayh Dolphin Reef
- Marsa Alam: Boat Trip Snorkelling with Sea Turtles & Lunch
- From Marsa Alam: Snorkelling at Wadi El Gemal National Park
30. TRY KUSHERI
Carb overloaded Kusheri is the national dish of Egypt. It is made with rice, macaroni, lentils, and chickpeas, topped with onions, and aromatic Baharat spice mix sauce.
This simple dish is extremely delicious and ridiculously inexpensive.
If you enjoy exploring authentic cuisines while traveling, you should try Koshary in Egypt.
To learn more about traditional Egyptian cuisine, read my story about TRADITIONAL EGYPTIAN FOOD
31. CRUISE THE NILE
Nile is one of the most impressive rivers in the world.
The Nile cruises are the flagships of Egypt tourism.
If you would like to explore some of the most amazing temples and sites of ancient Egypt and at the same time to enjoy the magic of the Nile from the comfort of a cruise boat, cruising the Nile is one of the best things to do in Egypt.
I took a cruise from Aswan to Luxor and I would recommend it to everyone! Cruising the Nile in Egypt is a must-have once-in-a-lifetime experience!