A few days making like Cleopatra and cruising the Nile is the quintessential Egypt holiday experience. Chill out and watch the world drift gently by as you meander gently down the palm-lined river, stopping to rummage in the markets of Aswan, see the Unfinished Obelisk and the Aswan High Dam and marvel at the Temple of Kom Ombo.
Situated on the banks of Lake Nasser near the Sudanese border, these awe-inspiring twin temples were carved directly out of the rock in the 13th century BC by Pharaoh Ramesses II. After spending centuries buried under sand, they were rediscovered by a Swiss traveller in 1813 then moved in their entirety to make way for the construction of the Aswan dam. We’re tired just thinking about it.
Valley of The Kings
Located on the banks of the river Nile near Luxor, the Valley of the Kings is an ancient burial ground where elaborate tombs were constructed for Pharaohs and prominent nobles. Here you'll find 63 magnificent tombs dating from as far back as the 16th century BC, including the most famous of the lot, the tomb of Tutankhamun. Essential.
Egypt is home to some of the world's most iconic sights, and they don't get much more iconic than these puppies. Located on the Giza plateau on the outskirts of Cairo, the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids of Giza are true Egypt travel essentials - you'll soon see why they've been leaving generations of travellers tongue-tied in sheer awe.
The Red Sea is a Mecca for dive enthusiasts around the world, and sheltered serenely beneath its surface you'll find many of the world's best dive sites. These include Elphinstone Reef, the wreck of SS Thistlegorm and magnificent Abu Dabbab, famed for its profusion of sea turtles and dugongs.
Things to do in Egypt
It would take forever to tick off all the adventures and experiences on offer in Egypt, so here’s our top 5 to help narrow down your choices:
Cairo International Film Festival
This 10-day celebration of cinema brings together filmmakers, producers, directors, actors, writers, critics and movie lovers from around the world. Various venues showcase screenings of the latest flicks from the Arab world and beyond.
For more information on Cairo International Film Festival, click here.
Cairo International Book Fair
One for the bibliophiles among you, CIBF is one of the largest book fairs in the world and, with over 2 million visitors per year attending, you'll need to work quickly to secure those used book bargains. Expect book signings, readings from up and coming authors and plenty of heated debate.
For more information on Cairo International Book Fair, clickhere.
South Sinai Camel Festival
Several days of camel racing await the intrepid visitor who makes the trek to the South Sinai Camel Festival, held in the desert near Sharm El Sheik. Bedouin tribes gather from all over Egypt to pit their best beasts against one another to find the fastest camel. Whether you make like TE Lawrence and join in yourself is another matter.
Sham El Nessim
Sham El Nessim marks the beginning of spring, and the Egyptians have been celebrating it for over four millennia. Any public space is fair game, as people gather throughout the country to feast on traditional foods such as lupin seeds, colourful boiled eggs and fesikh, a highly pungent preserved grey mullet.
For more information on Sham El Nessim, click here.
Cairo Jazz Festival
This 3-day festival takes place at Cairo Opera House, and features performances by popular Egyptian and international acts. There's also a series of workshops and master classes for budding young jazz musicians.
For more information on Cairo Jazz Festival, click here.
Top 5 Festivals in Egpyt
There are so many Egyptian festivals on the calendar you’ll need some help deciding where to start. As luck would have it, our guide to the best festivals in Egypt is just the job.
Also known as Cairo museum, here you'll find one of the finest collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts in existence. Highlights include several mummies dating to Pharaonic times as well as The Gold Mask of Tutankhamun.
For more information on the Egyptian Museum, click here.
Mummification Museum, Luxor
Luxor's Mummification Museum is a one-stop shop with more info than you’ll ever need about the ancient Egyptian art of mummification. See the tools and learn the secrets, then check out various mummified animal and human examples. Just don’t try this at home.
For more information on the Mummification Museum, click here.
Coptic Museum, Cairo
This beautiful building houses the biggest collection of Coptic (Egyptian Christian) artifacts in existence, dating from the early days of Christianity in Egypt through to the present day. It includes frescoes, monuments, textiles and manuscripts as well as important Coptic works of art.
For more information on the Coptic Museum, click here.
It may be small, but Luxor Museum's collection of Egyptian antiquities packs a heavy punch. Highlights include various items from the tomb of Tutankhamun and a number of incredibly well preserved statues, but it's the two royal mummies that provide the real Instagram opportunities.
For more information on the Luxor Museum, click here.
Located in Aswan in the Nubian area of southern Egypt, this striking purpose-built museum showcases Nubian history from ancient times up to the present day. It's set amidst beautiful gardens packed with fascinating Egyptian flora – bonus.
For more information on the Nubian Museum, click here.
Top 5 Museums & Galleries in Egypt
With such rich history to delve into, Egypt is cultural goldmine. Read on for our top 5 picks.
Egypt's most popular street food is a veritable carb-fest consisting of rice, macaroni, lentils and chickpeas with tomato-vinegar sauce, and trying it is one of the most essential things to do in Cairo. Garnish with a little hot sauce and optional crispy onion.
Best eaten at Koshary El Sabah, 51 Qasr El-Aini Street, Cairo
Question: What do you get if you take some minced beef and onions, stuff them inside a pita then bake until done? Answer: Hawawshi, your new favourite street food.
Best eaten at Hawawshi Eid, Sharia Saray al-Ezbekiyya, Cairo
The Pharaohs were fond of a pigeon, and this roasted dish of pigeon stuffed with cracked wheat and herbs is still an Egyptian delicacy to this day.
Best eaten at Farahat, 126 Al Azhar Street, Cairo
This Egyptian breakfast staple consists of simmered fava beans with oil, lemon juice and garlic, often served with sliced hardboiled egg.
Best eaten at Felfela, Hoda Shaarawy, Bab Al Louq, Abdin, Cairo
This Ancient Egyptian dish is a slightly bitter green soup made from minced jute leaves, cooked with coriander and garlic then served over rice with chicken or rabbit. It's one of Egypt's national dishes, so it should feature on any good Egypt travel itinerary.
Best eaten at Abou El Sid, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate
Food in Egypt
Modern-day Egypt inherited its cuisine from the Ancient Egyptians. Wholesome, simple and flavoursome, it makes heavy use of beans, pulses and vegetables, as well as the ubiquitous Eish baladi, a pita-like flat bread. Spices are used relatively sparingly here, while common meats include rabbit, chicken and pigeon, the latter specially reared for consumption and considered a delicacy.