Exploring Egypt is like reading an incredibly thick novel where the story takes you to both dark and enlightening places. Regardless of where you’re arriving, you’ll always feel the need to turn the next page to see how the story unfolds. The history of Egypt is complicated, to say the least, and the recent turmoil has left its mark on its people. Nevertheless, this fascinating North African nation continues to be welcoming and accessible. A trip to Egypt is like nothing you’ve experienced and has its share of thrills and WOWs along the way.
First-time travelers will probably head to its most majestic and intriguing sights – the extraordinary pyramids built by the great pharaohs of Egypt, but they’ll soon discover there is so much more to Egypt than its superstar structures that continue to be wrapped in legends and keep the world on its toes.
The Egypt of Cairo and the pyramids
This Egypt lures tourists in with a multitude of ancient sights, bustling medieval bazaars, imposing Sphinxes and river cruises on the Nile. This is the Egypt from the books of Agatha Christie. This is the Egypt you’ll want to see if you’re a history buff and you want to get a taste of the authentic lifestyle of the Egyptians.
Your trip will probably start in Cairo, the gateway to the pyramids. Cairo is chaotic and dizzying but it’s also incredibly magnetic and attractive. The Giza Necropolis can be reached just outside Cairo. It is home to the Great Pyramid, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and a gargantuan structure of 139 meters that dates back to around 2500 BC. There are 138 pyramids in Egypt, so take your time and admire the views. The Sphinx of Giza completes this out-of-this-world painting, a giant limestone statue that manages to still look quite dashing despite its nose “injury”. Do visit the complex by foot and leave the camels to rest. You’ll enjoy great views and feel the magnitude of the complex even if you’re just walking.
Your next stop should be the city of Luxor, a fabulous open-air museum ready to dazzle you. Once the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor abounds in temples and tombs but lacks the hustle and bustle of Cairo. Instead, it invites you to take things slower and wander through the Valley of the Kings. The city is situated along the banks of the Niles, both adorned with an abundance of ancient sites. The Temple of Karnak mesmerizes with majestic statues, obelisks, and halls dominated by the surreal presence of lotus columns. Don’t miss a visit to the Luxor Temple, especially at night, when the temple comes to life in the gentle embrace of lights. Stop at the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut too and, of course, don’t miss a visit at the super-famous tomb of Tutankhamun.
The Egypt of the Red Sea and summer resorts
And then there’s the Egypt of all-inclusive resorts, amazing diving sites, desert adventures, and ultimate pampering! The Egypt of the Red Sea welcomes sun-worshipers and scuba divers with high-end hotels in summer resorts like the famous Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. The beaches of Egypt are dressed in soft sand and caressed by blue waters creating an exotic setting for a summer holiday. One of the most popular beaches in Sharm el Sheikh is Ras Um Sid, an attractive destination for both sunbathers and divers.
Sharm el Sheikh is a world-class beach resort famous for its privileged position at the top of the Red Sea. It has some of the best beaches in Egypt, as well as amazing diving sites. Many of the most beautiful beaches in Egypt await at Na’ama Bay, a rather crowded part of the resort. If you’re searching for some peace and quiet and shallow waters, the Nabq Bay delights sunbathers with sandy beaches and ideal waters for paddling. Snorkelers will be busy during their holiday in Sharm el Sheikh due to its magnificent underwater world, as will divers, especially since the resort is one of the best diving destinations in the world.
While Sharm el Sheikh boasts the usual high-class hotels and gargantuan all-inclusive resorts, El Gouna takes a more sustainable approach and is considered to be one of the most eco-friendly holiday destinations in the country. The resort is fringed by natural beaches and lively marinas and offers access to a plethora of water activities, including kite-surfing and snorkeling.
Divers also love to plan a trip to Hurghada, known for its long ribbons of sand, but also as a superb snorkeling and diving destination. For excellent kite-surfing conditions, you could also visit Soma Bay, an exclusive peninsula dominated by white sandy beaches and lovely sea views. The bay has more than 300 days of wind per year and perfectly flat water, being one of the best kitesurfing destinations on the planet.
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