Egypt is a spectacularly beautiful country filled with cultural gems. A country I’ve been lucky enough to experience and check off my bucket list. There’s TONS of reasons why you should visit, but here’s 11:
11 reasons why you should travel to Egypt:
Gaze At The Pyramids of Giza.
Let’s state the obvious first, right? The initial draw for many tourists to Egypt is to see the pyramids that we all learned about while in primary school. And, in my opinion, they don’t disappoint – they’re spectacular! The Great Pyramid of Giza (the largest of the three) is the oldest and is the only one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” which is still standing.
Play Kissy-Face With The Sphinx.
Also located in Giza near the pyramids is the Great Sphinx. The sphinx is the oldest known monumental sculpture and is generally believed to have been built sometime around 2520-2494 BC. You can pay a small price and have a talented local to pose you to appear to be kissing Mr. Sphinx.
Indulge in Delicious Egyptian Cuisine.
I found Egyptian food to be fantastic! I loved lamb kebab (minced meat skewers), baba ghannoug (a spread made with eggplant), kofta (meatballs), dolma (stuffed grape leaves), shawarma (shredded meat in a pita) and even mahshi hamam (roasted pigeon stuffed with rice and herbs)! (Hey, don’t knock the pigeon until you’ve tried it).
Search for Treasures in the Khan al-Khalili.
The Khan al-Khalili market in Cairo is one of the Middle East’s largest bazaars and is filled with copper, spices, alabaster, silver and perfumes. The “Khan,” as it is often called, may be my very favorite of all the markets and bazaars I’ve visited during my travels. If you have a discerning eye and are a good negotiator you can find great deals on quality products.
Hit the Beach and Splash in the Red Sea.
Need a break from the heat and sightseeing? If you’re seeking relaxation and respite head to Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera. The area is jam-packed with beach resorts and brimming with five star luxury, watersports, shopping and entertainment.
Admire Ancient Antiquities at the Egyptian Museum.
While in Cairo, browse the dazzling collection at the Egyptian Museum. Where else can you see King Tut’s golden mask and mummies? Read more about the top 5 “must-sees” in the Egyptian Museum here.
Kick Back, Relax and Cruise the Nile River.
I’m typically not a “cruise” person, but I thoroughly enjoyed my three night cruise on the Nile River traveling from Aswan to Luxor. Aside from forcing me to relax and slow down a bit, the scenery from the ship was fantastic and ever-changing. One moment the ship was drifting past lush jungle foliage, and the next the scenery was changing to a camel-filled arid desert. From the deck of the ship, you’ll see Egyptian men plowing their fields and women washing their dishes in the river – sights seemingly unchanged from hundreds of years ago.
Explore Temples, Temples and More Temples.
After the pyramids, the main reason most tourists visit Egypt is to travel back in time (or, pretend to be Indiana Jones) while exploring the country’s ancient temples. The temples are filled with interesting carvings, paintings and hieroglyphics. My favorite that I saw is the one pictured above of a woman giving birth!
Take a Sunset Felucca Ride in Aswan.
A felucca is a small, traditional Egyptian wooden sailboat. It’s possible to take a felucca tour lasting several days; however, I would recommend taking an hour or two cruise at sunset while in Aswan. The ride is a beautiful and a memorable experience.
Experience Alexandria’s European Flair.
Alexandria was the place for wealthy Europeans to vacation in the 1930’s. Although the city is well-past it’s golden era, Alexandria makes for an interesting visit since the city has an extremely different vibe from other Egyptian cites. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time as you stroll the through the streets lined with gorgeous, albeit run-down, European style buildings.
Mix and Mingle with Friendly Locals.
Unfortunately, it seems that sometimes Egyptian men get a bad rap in Western media. In my experience, all the Egyptians I met were kind and helpful. I was traveling with three other blonde American females, so did we attract attention and the occasional “cat-calling” (even when dressed extremely modestly)? Yes. Sure. But, I experienced much more of this type of “attention” while traveling through Spain, Italy and Greece than I did while in Egypt.
On one particular day, my friends and I found ourselves lost deep within the traditional Islamic district in Cairo. Once we were finally able to locate a main road and catch a cab, we weren’t able to communicate where our hotel was located to our cab driver since he didn’t speak English (and I don’t speak Arabic). Likewise, we couldn’t show him our hotel’s business card as he only read Arabic. Showing him the location on the map didn’t seem to help either – besides the language barrier, Cairo is a huge, sprawling city. After a few minutes of desperately trying to communicate with him, a crowd of 10+ strangers had accumulated around us – all of them trying to help instruct the driver where our hotel was! (As captured in the above “lovely” candid photo above taken by one of my travel companions). Through a game of charades and with the help of some resourceful (and friendly) local translators, we finally made it back to our hotel.
Where to stay in Egypt?
You can find great deals on your hotels in Egypt and book online here.
How to Get an Egypt Visa
Most travelers need a visa to visit Egypt, including American and British passport holders. It’s possible to get a visa on arrival at the Cairo International Airport for Americans and citizens from 40 other countries.
If you want to get your visa in advance, the simplest solution is an online agency, such as iVisa.com. They will do all work for you. The service fee is only $25 and you’ll receive your visa for Egypt within 4 days. You can get your Egypt eVisa by clicking here.
Have you been to Egypt? Is the country on your bucket list? Why or why not?
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