Top things to do in Egypt

Must-see Egypt sights

Egypt is the Nile, and the Nile is Egypt, or so the saying goes. But there is much more to this ancient land than that...

  1. Enjoy Cairo’s fantastic attractions
  2. Marvel at the breath-taking Pyramids of Giza
  3. Explore a magnificent temple complex
  4. Relax in Hurghada
  5. Go diving in the Red Sea
  6. Take a memorable cruise on the Nile

The country is home to fascinating history and attracts visitors all over. Discover famous temples and pyramids one day, while the next you can enjoy the delights of the Red Sea - you’ll never be stuck on what to do in Egypt.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Enjoy Cairo’s fantastic attractions

Modern Cairo spins on Tahrir Square (Midan al-Tahrir), a huge square on the east bank from which all distances in Egypt are measured. On the north side of Midan at-Tahrir stands the Egyptian Museum. There’s still much to see at the Egyptian Museum, including wonderful objects from the lesser-known Royal Tombs, discovered unplundered at Tanis in the northern Delta in 1939. The golden objects are simply beautiful. Crammed with Pharaonic treasures, statues, mummies and tomb goods, it’s highly recommended if you want to learn more about ancient Egypt.

Best for: The perfect introduction to Egypt

While you’re there: It may well be cost effective to purchase a “Cairo Pass” which covers various admission fees for five consecutive days.

2. Marvel at the breath-taking Pyramids of Giza

One of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, on the edge of the desert plain, you’ll find the Pyramids of Giza. The most striking aspect of the pyramids is their size. But even with all the facts and figures, it is still hard to believe that these ancient structures remain in such a good state of preservation. The vision and workmanship of people 4,500 years ago in creating structures that would be the world’s tallest until the 14th century is staggering. Quite simply one of the best things to do in Egypt for sure. Looking for Egypt holiday packages? We’ve got your covered!

Best for: History

While you’re there: After all that exploring, try Giza’s well-loved fetir meshaltet, layered pastry filled with sweet or savoury fillings.

3. Explore a magnificent temple complex

The temple complex of Amun-Ra at Karnak and its neighbouring buildings, 3km (1.75 miles) north of the centre of Luxor, constitute the most awe-inspiring of all the Egyptian monuments. Apart from the immense conglomeration of elements that makes up the temple itself, it also has a particularly complicated plan. Put aside two half days to see the most important monuments, one starting early in the morning to be seduced by the temple’s mystery, and one in the afternoon when the stones and carvings glow in the sun.

Best for: A temple complex

While you’re there: Wear light and loose cotton clothes, comfy shoes, sunglasses, sunhat and sun lotion and take plenty of water with you.

4. Relax in Hurghada

The beauty of the landscape and an excellent climate are obvious reasons for this region’s ever-increasing popularity, especially as a winter-sun destination. In recent years, what was a small sleepy fishing village, Hurghada (Al-Ghardaqah), has grown into a booming resort town - the largest on the Red Sea coast. The town has a large range of accommodation, from basic hotels catering for backpackers to up-market resorts. A long strip of holiday villages continues to spread further south and has now reached a long way past the airport. Many of these villages, which rival each other for splendour, the size of their pools and the number of rooms, are operated by international four- and five-star chains.

Best for: History

While you’re there: One of the most impressive things to do in Egypt is to visit the Hurghada Grand Aquarium.

5. Go diving in the Red Sea

Egypt’s Red Sea coast has some of the best coral reefs in the world, offering spectacular diving for novices and experts alike. Egypt’s Red Sea coasts are a diver’s paradise, as their climate and geographical position make them ideal for the formation of coral, which grows on reefs called shaab or erg. The most common inhabitants are thousands of little orange cardinalfish, which move in great sparkling clouds. Butterfly and banner fish form a large, easily distinguishable family because of their oval shape, snub noses and deep lemon colour; they swim in pairs and stick to the same territory. Be ready for encounters with moray eel, whose size and snake-like appearance give them a vicious reputation. Simply remember an important rule: watch but don’t touch. Just admire its graceful movements and leave it gasping for oxygen-rich water.

Best for: Water adventure

While you’re there: For land-based diving, choose Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh or El Gouna.

6. Take a memorable cruise on the Nile

A cruise on the Nile is still a good way both to visit the temples and ancient sites and to sample the peaceful life along the river. You’ll see local farmers, fishermen, small villages and beautiful views of the deserts and hills lining the Nile, and if you’re lucky, have clear skies for spectacular sunsets. Hundreds of ships now cruise along the Nile following more or less the same itinerary but offering a wide choice of accommodation, suitable for every budget.

Best for: An unforgettable cruise

While you’re there: It is advisable to book cruises before you leave for Egypt as it is usually cheaper to buy them as part of a package.

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