If you’re planning a trip to this ancient country, then you need to make a list of the best places to visit in Egypt.
Egypt has been a place I’ve dreamed of visiting ever since I was a little girl. I honestly wanted to be an Egyptologist when I grew up!
Needless to say, when it came to planning a trip to Egypt, I had spent a lot of time researching and planning every last detail.
Egypt’s ancient civilizations and ruins offer a glimpse into the past and continue to draw visitors from around the world.
Dating back over 7,000 years with artifacts from eras when pharaohs, Greeks, and Romans held influence, Egypt harbors a deep, complex history.
Yet amidst millennia-old temples and pyramids, the Nile River flows as steadily as it did for those who crafted and contemplated these monuments ages ago.
Sites in Alexandria and places like Luxor with its grand temples, the Giza pyramids, and other areas provide tourists snapshots of Egypt across kingdoms and eras, supporting tourism integral to the area
While Egypt usually attracts history buffs (like me) thanks to its never-ending supply of historic tombs, temples, and pyramids, beach lovers, scuba divers, and city lovers will also find plenty of places to visit and enjoy in Egypt! Egypt has a little something to offer for everyone!
This list of places to visit in Egypt ranges from the obvious, like the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Nile River…to some spots a little off the beaten path.
This list ends with my personal favorite spot to visit in Egypt, which may surprise you. (Spoiler: it’s not the Pyramids.) I hope you enjoy this list, and please feel free to reach out with any questions in the comments section at the end of the post.
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25 Best Places to Visit in Egypt
25. The Nubian Village in Aswan
Now, technically, there are 2 Nubian Villages located on Elephantine Island in the city of Aswan – and you can visit them! They are connected by a path, which you can walk or there are camel rides aplenty.
You’ll see traditional houses that have been painted in some beautiful colors, and there are tons of souvenirs for sale. My experience here wasn’t the greatest, but many of my fellow travelers have said that taking a tour of the Nubian Village of the highlights of their trip to Egypt!
So, it deserves to be on this list (and my experience was likely a one-off thing).
The Nubians are a group of African indigenous who are one of the oldest civilizations on earth. They live in present-day Sudan and also southern Egypt.
They have their own language – which is completely oral. (If you’re curious to learn more about this ancient civilization, I would check out this book.)
24. The White Desert in Farafra
This vast desert starts at the western banks of the Nile and continues into Libya. There are magnificent rock formations that form from wind erosions, and the colors can change from the sun. It’s really beautiful to see!
White Desert is an otherworldly place in Egypt and Africa that looks too beautiful to be true. This region is known for its magnificent chalk rock formations that have been sculpted into dramatic white and cream-colored pinnacles and boulders by the wind over thousands of years.
What’s even more stunning is that the colors change with the sun. It’s really beautiful to see! Set against the golden Saharan sand, these surreal landforms create a stunning contrast of colors and textures which is definitely something you want to visit on a tour.
The national park surrounding White Desert also protects endangered species like the graceful Rhim gazelle and the Dorcas gazelle, which still roam the desert landscape here.
With its mix of wildlife, dramatic geology, and endless splendor, White Desert is truly one of the most stunningly gorgeous sites in Egypt that travelers should not miss.
23. Siwa Oasis
Siwa is located within the White Desert and is just 50 km from the Libyan border. This thriving oasis is brimming with olive trees and palms – it’s the stuff dreams are made!
This stunning little oasis – with all its date palms and hot springs – has to be one of the prettiest spots in the entire Western Desert region. Scattered throughout the oasis are also crystal-clear springs which was the highlight of the tour to Siwa Oasis.
Siwa town’s main landmark is the remains of the giant Shali Fortress, made out of mud bricks. It dominates the view.
There are also ruins like the Temple of the Oracle, where it’s said Alexander the Great showed up to receive advice. Remnants like that are scattered all over the oasis zone.
22. Islamic Cairo
Islamic Cairo is a must for architecture fans and anyone with an interest in Islamic art and it happens to be one of the top tourist attractions in Egypt.
A journey into Islamic Cairo is a journey into the city’s past, from Fustat, Egypt’s first Muslim capital, to the 1,000-year-old walled city, the Cairo Citadel, founded by 12th-century leader Saladin and beyond.
Mosques are a centerpiece of any visit to Islamic Cairo, from Ibn Tulun Mosque, built more than 1,000 years ago, to Alabaster Mosque, atop the Citadel, and the famous Al-Azhar Mosque.
You can also enjoy fountains, monuments, ancient Islamic schools, ornate city gates, bustling markets, and more, and taking a tour of Islamic Cairo is something I highly recommend.
You’ll find workshops with artisan families that have worked there for a millennium, which makes this one of the best places to visit in Egypt.
Note: Women should wear loose clothing that covers shoulders, arms, and legs. Read my guide for what to pack as a woman traveling to Egypt.
21. The Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan
The unfinished obelisk is the largest known ancient obelisk! Its creation was ordered by Queen Hatshepsut. She’s a badass lady Pharoah and you can learn more about it all in my post on visiting the Valley of the Kings.
The obelisk was carved directly out of bedrock, but the granite cracked. So, they left the obelisk where it was, and now you can see how the Egyptians made their obelisks. It’s really cool to see!
Read more: 5 Cool Things to Do in Aswan, Egypt
20. Aswan High Dam
The Aswan High Dam is 364 feet high and is fed by the Nile River. Its reservoir has formed Lake Nasser.
Keep this one in mind, because we’ll talk about it some more when we discuss another stunning place to visit in Egypt.
19. The Colossi of Memnon in Luxor
The Colossi of Memnon are massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III. They have stood here for the past 3,400 years!
There are also hot air balloon tours that will take you above Luxor and offer a birds-eye view of them!
Read more: How to Spend 2 Days in Luxor, Egypt
18. Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It’s known for its sheltered sandy beaches, clear waters, coral reefs, and stunning beach resorts.
Naama Bay has a palm tree-lined promenade and is filled with bars and restaurants. Ras Muhammad National Park is a major diving destination, with marine life around the Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck.
Nicknamed City of Peace for all the international peace summits here, Sharm el Sheikh is one of the world’s best scuba diving spots. The reefs around Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park are stunning and ideal for snorkeling – so colorful and full of marine life.
This place seems tailor-made for relaxing beach vacations, but adventure-seekers aren’t left out. Plus, Sharm El Sheikh’s location at the southern tip of Sinai puts the desert right at your doorstep.
You can easily go and check out Bedouin camps, climb Mount Sinai for stunning sunrise views, and visit St. Catherine’s Monastery, where Moses received the Ten Commandments.
Alexandria is a Mediterranean port city and is currently the second-largest city in Egypt. During the Hellenistic period, it was home to a lighthouse that ranked among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as well as a storied library.
Today the library is reincarnated in the disc-shaped, ultramodern Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The city also has Greco-Roman landmarks, old-world cafes, and sandy beaches. Its 15th-century seafront Qaitbay Citadel is also a museum.
The Pompey Pillar Square is a great place to hang out while there, and the streets are lined with trendy cafes that offer a nice change of pace and flavor from the rest of Egypt. Here are some of the best places to stay in Alexandria.
Hurghada is another beach resort town that stretches along Egypt’s Red Sea coast. It’s most known for scuba diving and has numerous dive shops and schools.
Other water sports like snorkeling, windsurfing, and jet skiing are also popular here. Plus, you’ll find many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
For anyone who would rather just admire the magical marine life without getting wet, there are many places offering glass-bottom boat trips.
The old town, El Dahar, is home to traditional Egyptian coffee shops and souks. Hurghada’s long stretch of sandy beach is lined with beautiful resort hotels. Before heading there, check out the best places to stay in Hurghada and some incredible tours to take in Hurghada.
15. The Temple of Kom Ombo
Taking a tour of Kom Ombo has got to be on your list of things to do in Egypt. The Temple of Kom Ombo is unique because it is dedicated to two gods – Horus the Elder and Sobek (he’s a crocodile god).
This temple was constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty between 180–47 BC. There is also a mummified Crocodile Museum in Kom Ombu! There are tons of crocodiles inside that have been mummified for thousands and thousands of years!
It’s really interesting to see, in my opinion. There are quite a few different curiosities to see at this temple (read more about that temple here), and I highly recommend booking a guide before touring it.
14. Temple of Horus at Edfu
Now, the main reason you would visit Edfu is to see the Temple of Horus. This is a Ptolemaic temple that was built between 237 and 57 BC. It is one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in all of Egypt and is dedicated to the god Horus.
The temple is said to have been built to represent how a falcon flies. There are two staircases inside; one is a spiral staircase, and the other is straight. This is because a falcon flies up in a spiral but flies down to the ground in a direct path. Pretty interesting, eh?
13. Philae Temple (Temple of Isis) in Aswan
The Temple of Isis is actually located on an island and is one of the best places to visit on a tour. It was built to honor the goddess Isis back in 690 BC. It’s incredibly beautiful and well-preserved. Interestingly enough, this is not the island where the temple was originally built either.
Before the Aswan High Dam was built back in the 1960s, a massive UNESCO project moved the temple to higher ground. It would have been completely underwater otherwise once the dam was completed!
Read more: 5 Cool Things to Do in Aswan, Egypt
12. Khan El-Khalili Bazaar in Cairo
Khan el-Khalili is a famous bazaar and souq in the historic center of Cairo, Egypt. There are many historic cafes and things to buy here.
It’s easy enough to get a taxi here and many tours to the Egyptian Museum will also take you there after visiting the museum.
It’s also a great place to shop for some Egypt souvenirs. This place also happens to be the most famous bazaar or soup in the historic center of Cairo. You’ll find traditional crafts such as carpets, crystals, papyrus, and even gold and silver jewelry here.
11. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo (a.k.a. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities), is home to more than 120,000 artifacts from Ancient Egypt (seriously)! They have so many, they’re honestly running out of room.
Visiting this incredible museum is a must for any trip to Egypt. It’s located in the city of Cairo with many tours operating daily. (Or you can buy your tickets yourself when you get there.)
Note: There is a new museum that has been built and is set to launch. The brand-new Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled for a late 2023 or early 2024 opening as of November 2023.
Take a tour of Dahshur, which is an ancient pyramid site that is less than an hour away from Cairo. It’s home to some of Egypt’s best-preserved pyramids.
The royal necropolis at Dahshur comprises a two-mile field of pyramids that date back between the fourth and 12th dynasties.
Although 11 structures once dotted the landscape, only two remain – the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. Nearly identical in size, these two pyramids are the third-largest in the country after the two biggest at Giza.
9. Ancient City of Memphis (near Cairo)
Memphis was one of the oldest and most important cities in ancient Egypt. It is located at the entrance to the Nile River Valley near the Giza plateau.
It served as the capital of ancient Egypt and is about a 15-mile drive from Cairo. One of the coolest things to see in Memphis is the massive statue of Ramesses II that was uncovered here, measuring over 30 feet tall! (As you can see in the picture above.)
8. Saqqara (near Cairo)
Saqqara is a big, ancient burial ground in Egypt. This burial site, situated on the west side of the Nile River, is incredible – it’s even been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over 10 other pyramids here, and is about a 45-minute drive from Giza and is quite close to Memphis and Dahshur.
Djoser’s Step Pyramid is the most famous of these pyramids because it is actually the world’s first successfully built pyramid! Djoser’s pyramid was the first to use multiple mastabas (rectangular tomb structures) stacked on top of one another to form a step pyramid. It was built around 2630–2610 BC during the Third Dynasty.
So many fascinating myths and true historical tales are connected to this necropolis that thousands of curious travelers make their way here each year.
7. The Valley of the Queens in Luxor
The Valley of the Queens is a site in Egypt, where the wives of pharaohs were buried in ancient times. It was known then as Ta-Set-Neferu, meaning “the place of beauty”.
It was most famous for being the burial site of many wives of Pharaohs. (Pharaohs themselves were buried in the Valley of the Kings.) The most famous tomb here is Queen Nefetari’s.
The tomb of Nefertari has been completely restored but is, unfortunately, closed to visitors more often than not. But I would still recommend taking a tour of the Valley of the Queens.
6. The Valley of the Kings in Luxor
The Valley of the Kings is where for nearly 500 years (from the 16th to 11th century BC) the tombs for the pharaohs and nobles were made. They are all located underground in this valley so they would be hidden from looters. And now, you can tour them!
There are 63 tombs here (that we know of) and only a handful of them are open to the public (and they rotate which are open). This is due to renovations happening to certain tombs, and also to prevent damage to the tombs.
This is also where you can see King Tut’s tomb and his mummy. All of his treasure, however, is located inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
5. The Nile River
You can’t come to Egypt and not visit the famous Nile River at some point! I highly recommend taking a cruise along the Nile River. Even if you’re not a fan of cruises, this is a completely different experience (read more about my Nile River cruise experience here).
Cairo and Aswan are great spots to experience the Nile River – whether you just want to admire it, or you can take motorboat rides and felucca rides along it!
4. Luxor Temple in Luxor
Luxor Temple is located within the modern city of Luxor. It was originally built by Amenhotep III, one of the great builders of ancient Egypt, from about 1390 to 1352 BC.
Interestingly enough, though, the Romans also added their own touches to it later (you’ll see a church inside and frescoes painted over the hieroglyphics), and there is a mosque built on top of it as you enter.
The mosque was built in the 13th century and was built when much of Luxor Temple was buried beneath the sand. You’ll see doors that lead to nowhere, now, and marks of where the sand used to be when you look up to the mosque. It’s very interesting to see!
3. Karnak Temple in Luxor
Karnak Temple is actually the 2nd most visited site in Egypt, second only to the pyramids in Giza! This temple complex is also where you’ll find another tourist spot called the Karnak Open Air Museum.
Karnak is the largest religious complex ever constructed and was developed over 1,500 years (starting around 2,000 BC). It houses not one but three famous temples that are dedicated to Amun, Mut, and Khonsu.
The area is huge and there is loads to see, so set out a couple of hours to fully explore the area.
2. Pyramids of Giza
I mean, you can make a list of the top places to visit in Egypt and NOT include the Pyramids of Giza – right? The Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving Wonder of the ancient world. Towering over the desert, these ancient tombs have been awed travelers for ages.
Built to house the mummified bodies of three Pharaohs – Khufu, Khafre, and Mycerinus (aka Menkaure) the pyramids are guarded by the Sphinx.
For most tourists visiting Egypt, the Giza pyramids are at the top of their must-see list – the first place they make a beeline for after the plane lands. They are the most famous landmark in all of Egypt, and arguably the most famous landmark in the entire world.
Many hotels in Giza will also have spectacular views of the pyramids. (This is the hotel I stayed at.)
1. Abu Simbel
Drum roll, please! The coolest place to visit in Egypt, in my opinion, is Abu Simbel. This was honestly cooler for me than seeing the pyramids, and I have been dreaming about visiting the pyramids since I was 8. (That’s how incredible Abu Simbel is!)
Abu Simbel is a village in Southern Egypt, near the border of Sudan. It is home to two massive rock-cut temples one for the great Egyptian ruler Ramses II and one for his chief wife, Queen Nefertari.
This place is truly an incredible sight, even for a place known for its spectacular temples. What makes Ramses II’s massive temple so astonishing is the mammoth statues standing guard outside and the lavishly decorated paintings covering the walls inside.
However, it’s equally well-known not just for its enormous size but for the remarkable engineering achievement by UNESCO in the 1960s to relocate the entire complex. They literally moved mountains to rescue this treasure from vanishing beneath the rising Nile River from the Aswan Dam.
And so, visiting Abu Simbel today is as much about admiring the extraordinary international effort that rescued the temples as gaping at Ramses II’s magnificent structures themselves.
How to Get Around Egypt
I highly recommend booking your transportation through a tour agency. Even for seasoned travelers, Egypt is best visited with a tour company. You can read about the company I personally used, here.
Visa Requirements for Egypt
Check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Egypt.
Travel Insurance to Visit Egypt
Squaremouth is the only site that currently lets you filter travel insurance policies for COVID-19 coverage. I, personally, use Squaremouth for finding the best insurance policies for my travels. They’re also recommended by Forbes! I highly recommend getting a free travel insurance quote.