Egypt is among the top destinations everybody should visit at least once in their life. If you are down for an adventure amongst ancient history, then Egypt is the place for you. But going for a short trip to the Land of Pyramids just won’t do, as there are so many places to visit and plenty of things to enjoy. The best option is to plan a 10 days trip and not stay in the same place all the time. For example, spend a few days in Cairo and visit the surroundings, then take a short flight to Luxor and, to end your trip in the best possible way, a Nile river cruise. But the possibilities are plenty, depending on what you want to cross off the list.
To help you get started, here is a list of things you need to keep in mind when planning your trip to Egypt:
Places to Visit
If you want to dive into history, this is the place for you. Temples, tombs and the famous Valley of the Kings are attractions you should not miss:
- Temple of Karnak: a temple complex and probably the most breathtaking monument in Luxor. It includes the Great Temple of Amun, the Temple of Khons and the Festival Temple of Tuthmosis III. All monuments are enormous and may make you feel like an ant while visiting. The complex was built over time, during the succession of many rulers, making it even more spectacular.
- Valley of the Kings: being the final resting place for kings of the 18th to 20th dynasties, what amazes the most about the tombs here are the wall paintings. Aligning to the beliefs that dead men would sail away through the underworld, together with Ra, the God of the Sun, the walls are painted with scenes of the journeys. These paintings and texts were supposed to serve as instructions for the dead.
- Temple of Luxor: it was built to worship Amun Ra, considered at that time the God of the Kings and the King of the Gods. It was constructed during the reigns of Amenhotep III and Ramses II and holds amazing statues of deities and kings, as it underwent a lot of changes by many pharaohs and even a Mosque built during the Islamic period.
If you are planning a cruise on the Nile, make sure you visit Aswan, a relaxed town stretched out the riverside. It was once the place from where Egyptians sailed to Africa and that is why the best way to get a view of the city is from a traditional sailboat named felucca:
- Elephantine Island: the picture-perfect colorful houses make this the major tourist attraction in Aswan. Here you can find the Aswan Museum, the Ruins of Abu (oldest settlement in Aswan) and Kitchener’s Island, which holds an abundance of exotic plants and gardens.
- Nubian Museum: preserves the cultural richness of Nubia, with artifacts from the Kingdom of Kush, the statue of Ramses II and a collection of crafts form the ancient Nubians
- Philae Tempe: also known as the temple of Isis, it was moved entirely from the Philae Island to the Agilika Island by UNESCO, to save it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser.
Last but not least, Cairo is an eclectic beauty if the world. Here, modern meets history and hectic meets peace, so it’s no wonder the Arabs are calling it The Mother of the World:
- Pyramids of Giza: including, among others, the Pyramid of Cheops and the Pyramid of Chephren, guarded by the iconic Sphinx, the plateau also holds the Solar Boat Museum, displaying a restored ceremonial solar barque.
- Al-Azhar Mosque: one o Egypt’s oldest mosques and also the oldest universities in the world, gaining its status in 988 AD. Today’ the University is still considered the center of theology in the Islamic world.
- Bab Zuweila: climb to the top of one of Islamic Cairo’s gates for a breathtaking view over the district. This is the last standing gate of the old town and is close to the Street of the Tentmakers, where the bright fabric used for special ceremonies is sold.
Before You Leave
Before packing your bags and leaving for the airport, there are a few things to check that will ensure you make the most out of your trip:
Get Travel Insurance
You should typically do that for any trip outside your country. It’s usually not a big investment, but can help a lot in case you lose your luggage or with medical issues. Look online for insurance policies and you will find a great variety to choose from. Yes, nobody typically thinks about breaking a leg while on vacation, but it can happen to anyone and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Check the weather
Egypt has quite a variate climate, despite other beliefs. In summer, temperatures can get up to 50 degrees Celsius, which in the crowded cities may seem like walking through lava. The best period to visit is autumn and winter, as temperatures are not that high and the contrast from day to night is not that big. Keep in mind that the temperatures can change drastically from day to night, so make sure you pack some layers to add when nights get chilly.
Respect the Dress Code
Do your research before you leave, and don’t keep dressing like you were at home. You will attract more attention than needed and sometimes even unwanted proposals. Plus, it’s a form of respect. Show the locals you respect their culture and beliefs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Shorts on the streets are ok, but when going to events or visiting someone’s house, you should wear long pants
- Don’t wear tank tops and sleeveless shirts
- Keep knees and shoulders covered at any time
- Cover your hair with a scarf before entering any religious temple
- Swimwear is usually acceptable at the Red Sea resorts