Top things to do in Egypt
Egypt is a cultural hub, a country known primarily for its rich history and vibrant present. Visitors flock all year round to see the well-preserved remains of one of the world’s most advanced ancient civilisations, to smell the spices, take in the sparkling sea and ride camels across golden dunes. But this is also North Africa’s most populous nation, a vast space of overwhelming size. To make planning your visit a little easier, we have selected our top recommendations.
The Giza Necropolis
Even if you aren’t familiar with the name of this Egyptian city, you’ll recognise its iconic architecture from the movies. Home of the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, it’s a must-see location for both avid historians and casual tourists alike. The structure is the oldest and largest in a complex of three pyramids and was built for the Fourth Dynasty Pharoah Khofus, dating back to 2560 BC. Equally impressive is the Great Sphinx, a huge limestone statue in the shape of a mythical creature – if you’ve seen any of The Mummy franchise you’ll probably be able to identify this distinctive beast, with the head of a human and the body of a lion.
The Grand Egyptian Museum is also well worth a visit, housing the nation’s most interesting finds from centuries of excavation, as well as providing guests with a condensed history of the region.
A Nile Cruise Experience
You can’t go to Egypt without witnessing the longest river in Africa, and disputably in the world. What better way to experience this epic natural wonder than by boat? It’s time-efficient, and given that the majority of the country’s top tourist destinations are along the river, it also makes logistical sense. Check out the best Nile cruises 2020 to see how you can make the most of your stay.
Right next to Giza is Egypt’s bustling capital, the legendary Cairo. In fact, the sprawl of this metropolis is so large that the two cities are virtually one. Check out the modern Cairo tower, or visit a different part of the city’s history with a religious tour around Coptic Cairo, which houses the city’s oldest churches – such as the the Hanging Church and the Greek Church of St George – as well as its first mosques, built during the Muslim conquest in the 7th century; and the Babylon Fortress, which fell during this cultural revolution.
Tombs and Temples
Indeed, if you travel south down the Nile, you will reach another spellbinding stop at the Valley of the Kings, an archaeological site containing 63 tombs and burial chambers. For nearly 500 years, between the 16th and 11th century BC, this site was used as a resting place for Pharaohs and important nobles, and the decorations within the royal tombs have given us many clues as to the beliefs and rituals of the period. Nearby, and just as jaw-dropping, is the Valley of the Queens, where there are 90 queens’ tombs, including the stunningly elaborate tomb of Queen Nefertari. Across the river, you can also visit the Temple of Karnak, or travel south a bit further and you will reach the incredible ruins of the Abu Simbel temple complex.
For those looking for a relaxing stay, Egypt has its fair share of beaches. You’ve probably heard of the busy resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, but if you want something a bit less crowded, away from the palm-tree-lined promenade, Sharm El Luli is a great option. This bay boasts golden sand and pristine waters, and on top of this, the coral reefs which flank the lagoon make it a perfect spot for diving and snorkelling.
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