Egypt Travel Guide
Many people have a long list of exotic places they would like to visit. There are so many beautiful places in the world, it can be difficult to choose just one. Consider Egypt. If you’re looking to visit somewhere that is rich in history, has a wide variety of activities, and unbelievable scenery, this is definitely the destination that should be at the top of your list. We’ve done some research to tell you everything you need to know about visiting this desert oasis. Let’s dive in!
The Pyramids of Giza
Obviously, the first place people think of when they hear “Egypt” is the city of Cairo. Cairo is, of course, home to the pyramids of Giza and the famed Sphinx. No visit to Cairo is complete without a visit to these incredible wonders of the world.
You can choose to admire the sights from the outside or you can pay an extra fee and enter the pyramids, the choice is all yours. Most people are familiar with the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, but many don’t realize that each of the three standing pyramids actually have names: Khufu (often referred to as the Great Pyramid), Khafre, and Menkaure. Each of these pyramids was built as a tomb for the pharaoh. Each pyramid has a chamber deep within where the sarcophagus would be placed for the body of the pharaoh. It was believed that pharaohs would become gods in the afterlife. Each pyramid was built and housed with everything the pharaoh would need once he ascended.
The Great Sphinx of Giza acts as a guard to the pyramids. While it has remained unclear who actually ordered the Sphinx to be built, most scholars credit ownership to Khafre. Some, however, believe that the Sphinx was built by Khafre’s older brother, Redjedef, in honor of their father, Khufu. Being that these relics are well over 4,000 years old, it is unlikely we will ever know the full truth about how it was built and by whom. Regardless, it’s a great spot to take a memorable photo during your visit to Egypt.
If you’d prefer not to enter the pyramids and would simply like to take a selfie with the Sphinx or get a great shot of the entire pyramid complex, there is a fantastic panoramic spot for visitors to fill up their camera rolls. While you’re there, don’t pass up the opportunity to ride a camel. This may be cliché, but it is a fantastic way to get some of the best views of the unique landmarks. A simple Google search will yield plenty of options for purchasing your tickets in advance.
Where to Stay
You have a few options when looking for accommodations in Cairo. You can find a nice AirBnB, walk on the adventurous side and stay in a hostel, or opt for a traditional hotel.
A great place to start looking for a hostel is by searching through the listings on hostelworld.com. The site features hostels located all over Egypt. Each comes with its own special features, so you’re sure to find something that suits your style.
As far as hotels go, you’ll find options that range from modest to luxurious. Whether you’re traveling as a family or taking a romantic vacation for two, having the right hotel is imperative. Your hotel will act as your home base for however long you’re there and you’ll definitely want it to be comfortable and have everything you’ll need. Selecting a place to stay will also be largely dependent on the things you want to see and do in Cairo.
If you’d like to stay somewhere nice, but don’t want to break the bank, The Comfort Giza Inn is right in the center of the action in the city. The Giza Pyramids are just an eighteen minute walk from the hotel. With comfortable, clean accommodations, the Comfort Giza has a hot tub for guests to enjoy and guests can also enjoy some fun singing karaoke in the lounge. There is a currency exchange on site for your convenience and the hotel also offers a continental or an à la carte breakfast to get you fueled up for your day of exploring.
For another affordable option, the Valencia Hotel in downtown Cairo is a great choice. Each private room features all the conveniences of home such as a flat screen television and air conditioning. You can enjoy a full continental breakfast before heading out into the city each morning. The hotel is just a thirteen minute walk from the Egyptian Museum. Your room will come with a private terrace and free wi-fi.
If price is of no concern, anyone will feel like a celebrity staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. This beautiful hotel exudes luxury. Overlooking the Nile River, you’ll be treated to an amazing view each morning. You’ll have a choice of several different room layouts ranging from standard rooms to suites. You’ll be minutes away from sights such as the Cairo Opera House, Egyptian Museum, and, of course, the pyramids of Giza.
The hotel features on-site amenities such as a full fitness center, pool facilities, and a spa offering facials and a sauna. Dine at one of the eight acclaimed restaurants serving up a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience. If you prefer to stay in and enjoy a private meal, have your meal brought up to you. Room service is available 24/7.
Things to Do
As we’ve mentioned, there is no shortage of things to do while you’re in Cairo. Besides the pyramids, you can immerse yourself into Egyptian history by visiting the Egyptian Museum. Covering more than 10,000 square meters of area and housing over 170,000 artifacts, the museum is home to a host of different exhibits as the oldest archaeological museum in the Middle East. You’ll discover some of the most unique Egyptian art pieces. Plan to spend at least half the day here, appreciating the largest collection of pharaonic antiquities in the world. Be sure to stop in at the gift shop on your way out—you’ll want to grab a souvenir to remember your time here.
If museums aren’t your thing, don't worry. For an experience a little less run-of-the-mill, book a 2-hour Nile River dinner cruise. You’ll be picked up at your hotel and whisked away for a night floating down one of the most famous rivers in the world. While it is beautiful in the day, the Nile River is truly spectacular at night. During your cruise, you’ll feast on a buffet-style dinner and be treated to live music, belly dancing, and a traditional Tanura show. Watch as you slowly float past Egypt’s most famous landmarks, all glittering in the moonlight.
If you’re interested in escaping to somewhere nice and quiet, book a day tour to the Red Sea from Cairo. You’ll be able to take a dip in the beautiful, calm waters or choose to relax in the sand, sip a cocktail and enjoy the view. You’ll get a full day private tour and day access to the beachfront Dome Marina Hotel. Snacks and lunch are provided and transportation to and from Cairo are included.
Shop Til You Drop
You can’t visit Egypt without picking up some keepsakes to take home commemorating your trip. The First Mall is home to over 300 international brands, giving you plenty of options. With high-end brands such as Rolex, Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari, you’ll truly find yourself in the lap of luxury.
For a more traditional Egyptian shopping experience, you’ll want to try the Bazaar Kapouah El Sultan (Sekket Elkabouah). Here you can pick up items such as lamps, incense, candles, candle holders, and unique perfumes. Shop for yourself or find great gifts for your friends and family back home.
If you’d like to make a fashion statement, stop in at one of the local clothing shops. You can usually find styles worn by the natives in smaller shops scattered around the city. You can choose some traditional Egyptian wear to showcase when you return from your trip. You’ll definitely be the talk of the town.
If you want to play it safe, you can find plenty of small gift shops around town as well. Here you’ll find a mix of clothing, jewelry, art pieces and traditionally made gold and silver items.
There are a variety of hotel types in Hurghada. If you’re looking for a luxurious, family-friendly hotel, the Steigenberger ALDAU Beach Hotel is a solid option. Featuring its own golf course and gigantic lagoon-style pool, this is the perfect place for every family member to play. This award-winning luxury resort by the sea offers spectacular rooms with an incredible view. Here you can enjoy a variety of watersports or hire a boat to sail the waters. There are several dining areas on site as well as a fitness center and a spa. A stay at this hotel will leave any traveler satisfied.
For a more modest hotel at an affordable price, the Three Corners Sunny Beach Resort is an excellent choice. Another great place for families, this resort boasts an incredible water play area, fitness classes, and shopping. The kid’s club allows the younger guests to enjoy themselves as well. Face painting, arts and crafts, and much more will occupy your child’s time while you relax poolside.
The Soleil Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re in the mood to change up what you’re eating, never fear. The restaurant offers a variety of theme nights, guaranteeing that you’ll get to try a wide range of food during your stay.
The rooms offer all the comforts of home. Each room is equipped with air conditioning, hair dryers, and a television. Each room also has its own terrace or balcony. Hotel staff are happy to help plan day trips and give you recommendations on things to do and see while you’re visiting.
If you’re looking for an adventure outside of the desert and pyramids, one of the best places for a family stay in Egypt is Hurghada. This city is located right along the Red Sea Coast and features a wonderful family-friendly beach. If you’d like to do some exploring, the city also has several water parks to choose from as well as Hurghada Grand Aquarium.
Hurghada Grand Aquarium is open seven days a week and is a great place for families to visit. Plan on spending most of the day here; there is a lot to see. Boasting twenty-four different galleries, you’ll get to see all types of animals and sea life. The price of admission includes the Aquarium, Zoo, and Museum.
For a truly special experience, get up close and personal with the dolphins. You can book a dolphin-watching excursion that will allow you to swim with the dolphins right in the open sea. You’ll cruise out to sea and have the opportunity to take advantage of the perfect snorkeling location. The beauty of the underwater world will take your breath away. You’ll see gorgeous coral reefs and more. Lunch is included and snacks and water are available all day aboard the boat.
Maybe you’d like to ride through the Sahara Desert? Book a day trip sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Featuring a jeep safari ride and an invigorating ride on an ATV quad, you’ll have a great time riding through the sand. Perhaps you’d like to take in the beautiful desert view from the vantage point of the back of a camel as you stroll along. Visit a Bedouin village and watch the glorious sunset. Rub elbows with the locals and sip on some of the local tea. Afterwards, you’ll be treated to a delicious barbeque dinner and an oriental fire show. Transportation to and from your hotel is included.
Perhaps you’d like something a little more laid back. If that’s the case, book a Guided City Tour. On this day trip you’ll be able to visit the different districts of Hurghada: the old town and the modern city. In the traditional town you’ll see all the original architecture and charm of the town before it was modernized. You’ll get to visit a shipyard and see how old fishing boats are restored using traditional methods. The largest mosque in Hurghada is also nearby. Learn about the traditional religion of Islam and view the mosque’s beautiful structure. You’ll even get the chance for some shopping when you visit the large fresh fruit and vegetable market before returning to your hotel. There are also a variety of shops in the area in case you’d like to pick up a souvenir to take home.
If you’re someone who likes to collect trinkets from different areas around the world, you’ll find no shortage of opportunity in Hurghada. The Hurghada City Center is a modern shopping mall with many of the chain stores you know and love from home.
Hurghada Marina Boulevard is the place to go if you’re looking for upscale designer labels like Gucci and Armani. In addition to Nike and Timberland, you’ll also find traditional Egyptian wares such as lamps, pipes, gold, and silver.
Egypt has long been known as a sacred land. For many Jews and Christians, a visit to Egypt is an incredible opportunity to explore sites described in the Bible. You can book tours through Living Passages to visit religious sites such as Solomon’s Column and tombs of the nobles. This guided tour will allow you to walk in Moses’s footsteps, taking you on a walk along the same paths that Moses took when leading his people out of Egypt. You’ll even get up close with the pharaoh he addressed during the time of Exodus. The available Egypt and Nile River tours explore the account in Exodus and you’ll travel back in time as you view the authentic historical Biblical sites. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jews, Christians, and history buffs alike.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of places to visit in Egypt and these are just a few. Do some research and decide what things are a must-see and must-do for you while you’re there. From shopping to dining, water adventures to desert exploration, there’s no shortage of things to do and see while you’re in Egypt. This destination is great for families and couples alike. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.