If you’re planning to travel to the land of the pharaohs and haven’t decided on what are things to do in Egypt yet, this article is what you need. First of all, don’t think that visiting Egypt is all about seeing the pyramids, hieroglyphics, and some mummies. Of course, the pyramids are the most famous attraction, the one you’ve seen in movies and books, but know that Egypt has much more to offer.
The country has so many attractions that it deserves special attention for you to live a complete experience. And in this list, I will give you a list of the top 10 popular tourist attractions in Egypt, those that you cannot leave out of your plans. Read on!
Obviously, whenever you think of the best tourist attractions in Egypt, the first thing that comes to mind is the pyramids of Giza. In total, there are three pyramids (Cheops, Chefren, and Menkaure) that rise behind the outskirts of the city of Cairo.
They are the only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and have continued to fascinate tourists from all over the world for more than 4000 years. Today they are gigantic tombs built at the behest of the pharaohs, but how they managed to build them still remains a mystery that still fascinates.
The same can be said for the enigmatic Sphinx, the statue with the body of a lion and the human head, which is located a few steps from the pyramids, on whose function archaeologists from all over the world still struggle to know.
Some legends speak of the existence of hidden passages inside and of a hypothetical “room of registers,” that is, a library that would contain all the knowledge of the ancient Egyptians fixed on papyrus rolls, but at the moment, there is no scientific evidence to regard. Sometimes I like to think that she is like a kind of guardian who, for centuries and centuries, has watched time pass by in silence, hiding and protecting the mysteries or secrets.
2. Luxor Karnak Temple
The city of Luxor is located where ancient Thebes once stood, the capital of the Ancient Kingdom of Egypt. And here is the largest concentration of monuments in the whole country: the temple of Luxor, the Great Temple of Amun in Karnak, and nearby, the archaeological sites of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens where the great pharaohs and their wives have been buried for centuries.
The Luxor Temple is located on the east bank of the Nile and is an elegant example of Pharaonic architecture enriched with bas-reliefs of rare beauty. Karnak is located on the other side of the river and is perhaps the largest monumental complex ever built.
In addition to the colossal temple of Amun, the archaeological site extends over 100 hectares and includes a myriad of buildings that testify to the importance of the ancient city of Thebes. Here each pharaoh wanted to leave a testimony in stone of his kingdom, which is why it is so rich and great.
3. The Step Pyramid of Djoser
The Step Pyramid of Djoser is Egypt’s first pyramid and one of the most visited attractions in Egypt. Commanding the building of this pyramid in the past was Pharaoh Djoser, one of the rulers of Egypt’s third dynasty during the period of the Old Kingdom.
Due to its unique stepping construction and notable age, the Pyramid of Djoser is popular with tourists though it’s not as gargantuan as the Pyramid of Khufu. Materials for building this 197-meter tall pyramid were 11.6 cubic feet of limestone. It took 100 000 workers to finish this pyramid.
This pyramid was the final resting place of King Djoser. However, aside from his tomb, archeologists found others as well. Together with King Djoser’s tomb, within this pyramid are the tombs of his eleven daughters.
Two entrances are available for you to see what’s inside: north and south. The north entrance is where archeologists found the most preserved statue of King Djoser that’s now in the custody of the Cairo Museum. And the south entrance will lead you to a large space that’s decorated with numerous columns.
4. Abu Simbel
The Abu Simbel archaeological complex was built by Ramses II on the kingdom’s ancient southern border. The site includes two magnificent rock temples of enormous dimensions that represent an engineering masterpiece and confirm the great knowledge of astronomy of the ancient Egyptians. The largest is dedicated to Ramses II, and the other smaller temple is dedicated to his great love Nefertari.
Abu Simbel temples would have been submerged with the construction of the Great Aswan Dam in 1960, but thanks to a massive joint operation by the Egyptian government and UNESCO, they were moved, block by block, 65 meters higher.
5. Nile River Cruise
There are different ways to visit Egypt, but the Nile cruise is undoubtedly the most beautiful and romantic way to do it. And according to many, it is also one of the most beautiful trips that can be done in life. I can confirm because I had dreamed of it for so long that when I was there, I still couldn’t believe it was true!
The Nile crosses the country from south to north, and only by crossing its waters can you fully appreciate its beauty and importance. Along the way, the cruise will stop at the main tourist attractions in Egypt, those that certainly make the list of things to do in Egypt, such as the temples of Luxor and Karnak, the Valley of the kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut, and the Colossi of Memnon, Kom Ombo and Sobek Temple, Aswan, Philae Temple, and Elephantine Island.
6. The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens
The Valley of the Kings is located in a canyon created by ancient rivers and contains over 60 tombs of pharaohs, including those of the famous Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Seti I, and Ramses III.
The tombs are decorated with beautiful representations of the afterlife and were filled with immense treasures that, unfortunately, were looted centuries ago (except those of Thuyu and Yuya, and the very famous tomb of Tutankhamun).
The royal consorts and the princes of the ruling houses are instead found in an area not far from there, called the Valley of the Queens.
Here is one of the best-preserved tombs in all of Egypt, and certainly the most beautiful thanks to the splendid frescoes inside, or the tomb of Nefertari, the Great Royal Bride of Ramses II, who, to show her his eternal love, he had a tomb of inestimable beauty built.
7. Cleo Park
Egypt is hot regardless of the month or season. During the day, the sun gloriously shines upon major cities like Aswan, Luxor, and Cairo. And at night, the air can be quite dry, devoid of the moisture that evening brings.
Cleo Park is a famous aqua park in Egypt featuring the sights of ancient Egypt. The environment is unique. There are slides decorated with large figures of scorpions, scarabs, and other Egyptian animals. Kids will love this for a quick splash on the shallow pool. As for adults, they’ll enjoy the wave pool and the drinks at the nearby cafeteria which serve ice cream, soda, cocktail, and burgers. This is definitely one of the places you have to include in your list of things to do in Egypt.
8. Cairo Museum
The Cairo Museum is the oldest and one of the top attractions in Egypt. It has been taking care of Egyptian artifacts since 1902. Accompanying them are the vast miscellany of 120,000 artifacts consisting of statues, masks, portraits, vases, and other objects found at the pyramids, the tombs, the ruins, and other excavation sites.
Upon visiting, you should immediately check out the halls of kings and queens. In here, you’ll find the mummified remains of King Ramses II, King Tuthmosis, Queen Hatshepsut, Queen Ahmose Nefertari, and more. All of these are housed using a glass cage so take time viewing each until you grow tired. Additionally, the coffins of the mummies are also available for you to view.
9. Mummification Museum
Egyptians are crazy about mummification, just like how people today are crazy about science and technology. Ancient Egyptians didn’t stop at mummifying humans. They also went as far as mummifying animals.
To see mummies of all kinds, go to the Mummification Museum in Luxor. This one serves well for quick viewing since you can see all of the displays in 30 minutes. The diversity of mummies is very astounding. So I recommend carrying a camera with you. What you’ll see are mummified dogs, cats, crocodiles, and other animals.
The mummification museum also holds quick lessons on how mummification is done. With that being said, consider coming to learn more about mummification and mummies.
10. The Red Sea
I close this review on the top 10 tourist attractions in Egypt with the natural beauty of the Red Sea.
The Egyptian coast of Sinai overlooks this sea which reserves an amazingly beautiful seabed, flora, and fauna. And I remind you that its coral reef is among the most beautiful in the world. Therefore, here you are, in the right place to be able to practice snorkeling and diving.
The best-known resorts on the coast are Sharm El Sheik (the most touristically developed), Marsa Alam (with the most pristine sea), Dahab (for independent tourists), El Gouna (the most eco-friendly), and Hurgada (the first resort seaside resort of Egypt).
I hope that this little mini-guide has given you an overview of the top tourist attractions in Egypt. This is a country that has a lot to offer. I experienced not only a culturally interesting country, but I also met nice people who helped me without wanting anything in return. I felt safe and welcomed all the time. Finally, I remind you to also read all the other articles about this country on the blog.