Holidays to Egypt are full of variation, with fantastic landscape views and glittering nightlife. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenes at the Giza Pyramids, as you watch the sun set.
A visit up to Luxor’s Karnak Temple will astound you; this amazing sight comprises a mix of Temple remains and historic chapels. The Karnak Temple is particularly special on an evening, illuminated and transferring traditional Egyptian imagery onto these architectural buildings.
The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock-cut temples at Abu Simbel, a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser
Built by the greatest of the pharaohs, Ramesses II, and were meant to convey the power of Egypt’s rulers to all who saw them.
Although they appear to be monuments to Ramesses II and his wife, both temples are actually temples dedicated to the gods. The larger temple with four huge statues of Ramesses II seated in front of it, is dedicated to Amun, Ptah, and Re-Harakhti. The second temple, which is smaller, was built to honour Ramesses favourite wife, Nefertari, and is dedicated to the goddess Hathor.
The temples were almost lost to the rising waters of Lake Nasser in the 1960s. Fortunately, UNESCO stepped in and saved them, preserving the intricate carvings inside both structures.
Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Ancient Egypt, the sacred city of Abydos was the site of many ancient temples and the burial place of kings and high court dignitaries.
Although there were several temples constructed here, the largest and most significant is known as the Temple of Seti I. Seti I was the father of the great Ramesses II, who actually completed the construction of most of the temple after his father’s death.
Much of the temple complex is no longer present, including the pylon and the first two courtyards so visitors enter through a doorway into the hypostyle hall. Many of the wall reliefs inside are well preserved and the reliefs toward the back of the temple, completed during Seti’s reign, are considered to be among the finest in any temple throughout Egypt.
Aswan contains many noteworthy archaeological sites such as the Philae temple complex, situated on Agilkia Island near the landmark Aswan Dam and the Philae’s ruins include the columned Temple of Isis, dating back to the 4th century B.C. On the West Bank around the Cataract Islands sits Elephantine Island which was known as Yebu (meaning ‘ivory’ and ‘elephant’) and houses the Temple of Khnum, from the Third Dynasty. The fortress of Yebu, protected by the turbulent waters of the Nile, was a perfect base for Egyptian expeditions into Nubia.
Today Aswan is a relaxed and easy town to explore and the local Nubian people are known for their warmth and friendliness. Its attractive Corniche is lined with pleasant waterfront café-terraces. It is a colourful society that has its own traditions, language, and culture making the visitor feel at home.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities is located in the Tahrir Square in Cairo and is considered to be the largest museum in the whole world containing the most extensive collection of antiquities relating to the Pharos; no visit to Egypt is complete without a trip through its galleries.
The museum consists of two floors; the ground floor that hosts the heavier displays like coffins, huge statues, and stone carvings. They are displayed to take visitors on a chronological tour through the collections according to the historical periods.
Objects on the upper floor are grouped according to tomb or category; exhibits here include smaller statuettes of divinities, gadgets and tools, funerary objects, papyrus papers, jewellery wooden models of daily life, a group of Fayum portraits and most importantly, the treasures of Tutankhamun.
The museum is open daily and there is a café, gift shop, library and a children’s museum on site.
Islamic Cairo is a living reminder of the city’s past. Most of the old city’s walls have crumbled, but there are still hundreds of monuments and beautiful mosques. Despite its crumbling architecture and old infrastructure, Islamic Cairo remains one of the most populous areas of Cairo.
There is so much to do and see here that it is probably best if you have a guide to take you around while you discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of Islamic Cairo. Visit the Ibn Tulun, the oldest intact, functioning mosque in Egypt, Al-Mu’ayyad Shaykh, Al-Azhar, Al-Hakim, and Al-Aqmar mosques, please note women will need to cover shoulders, legs, and hair, while men should cover shoulders and thighs.
Discover an authentic tent shop, a textile museum, an Ottoman-era mansion, and the Khan el-Khalili bazaar; see the city walls and medieval gates as well as madrasas, and mausoleums.
The Giza Pyramids site includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers’ village and an industrial complex. It is situated on a rocky plateau on the west bank of the Nile in northern Egypt. In ancient times they were included amongst the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids and is open to members of the public every day, all year round.
Very recently, archaeologists have uncovered an enclosure hidden deep inside the Pyramid of Khufu which stretches for at least 30 metres and lies above the grand gallery, an extraordinary corridor that connects the Queen’s chamber to the King’s. It is the first major structure found in the pyramid since the 19th century.
The Siwa Oasis is located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Western Desert, nearly 50km east of the Libyan border. This hidden away, oasis offers its visitors a unique experience. The people who live here have managed to retain their Siwi language, in addition to much of the Amazigh culture. It is also known for the magnificence of its landscape.
In Siwa, the most popular mode of transport is the bicycle, a great way to travel and mingle with the oasis’s people.
Cleopatra’s bath is a must-visit during your trip to the oasis. You can find this wonderfully relaxing warm spring along the path leading to Temple of the Oracle. Another great place to visit is the spectacular sand dune field. Whether you’re into sandboarding, quad biking or simply camping out in the desert, this place is a must.
The Sphinx of Giza (also known as the Sphinx of Giza) is situated on the west bank of the Nile River on the Giza Plateau. It is the largest monolith statue in the world and is over 60 feet high, 241 feet long and 63 feet wide and is the most instantly recognizable statue associated with ancient Egypt.
The sculpture, of a reclining lion with the head of an Egyptian king, was carved out of limestone and is thousands of years old, but there is some controversy over exactly how old it is. The nose of the Sphinx was removed in 1378 by a Sufi Muslim, and further damage occurred to the face around 1800 when the French used the Sphinx for cannon practice.
You cannot come to Egypt without visiting this wonderful Sphinx, especially at night when there is an amazing light show.
The ancient Egyptians created many hidden underground mausoleums the most famous of which is The Valley of the Kings which lies on the Nile’s west bank near Luxor. The valley became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other privileged people of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
Once called the Great Necropolis of Millions of Years of Pharaoh, or the Place of Truth, the Valley of the Kings has 63 magnificent royal tombs and is one of Egypt’s most visited attractions.
The air-conditioned Valley of the Kings Visitors Centre has a model of the valley, a movie about Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun and toilets. A small electrical train ferries sightseers between the visitors’ centre and the tombs if you don’t want to walk up. Photography is forbidden in all tombs.
The White Desert is situated in a hollow about 100km long by 40km wide and completely surrounded by high black escarpments. It has been formed by centuries of erosion and sandstorms, creating unique calcium rock formations that appear across the landscape like great abstract statues. Some are said to resemble food and have been given names such as ice-cream cone and mushroom. The ground here is scattered with thousands of oxidised iron pyrites (also known as fool’s gold) masses.
The outer parts nearest the road are known as the Old Desert and can be reached in a normal vehicle. Tourists are very attracted to this fascinating area and often choose an overnight camping safari, sitting around a small fire and enjoying a simple meal of chicken, rice, and vegetables and watching the sky turning pink then deepest fiery orange.