Egypt remains on the bucket list of every traveler, and it unfailingly prompts images of glorious monuments to the ancient world nestled alongside the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the capital. Cairo is the entry point for most visits to Egypt and visitors are immediately struck by the apparent chaos on the streets of the capital. This is, after all, one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
The city’s Egyptian Museum is an unmissable sight for all visitors, not just history buffs. It is one of the world’s great museums, boasting the finest collection of Egyptian antiquities to be found anywhere in the world. The dozen or so mummies of ancient kings and queens that are on display are impressive, but it is the funeral mask of Tutankhamen as well as the spectacular treasures that were discovered in his tomb a century ago that is the main draw here.
There are plenty of other sights visitors can enjoy throughout Cairo from the Al-Azhar Mosque, one of the most influential in the world, to the Citadel and Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha, which offers fantastic views across the city to Pyramids of Giza. However, some of your most memorable moments during your Egypt tours will simply be wandering the maze of alleyways in the city’s most famous souk, Khan el-Khalili, where you can barter for a huge variety of goods and souvenirs including Persian rugs, spices, and pottery. This market is a paradise for shopaholics and the electric atmosphere that ripples throughout the hidden boutiques, where traders and locals showcase their bartering skills, provides a fascinating backdrop.
Explore these ancient wonders of a forgotten empire
The Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for a staggering 3,800 years. This is the largest of the three remaining pyramids at Giza and one of the most instantly recognizable landmarks on the planet. This awe-inspiring feat of engineering is no less impressive than when it was initially constructed in approximately 2560BC.
Aside from the pyramids, the Great Sphinx of Giza is the most instantly recognizable Egyptian landmark. Little is known about this immense statue depicting the mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human but is most likely a monument to the pharaoh, Khafre.
Luxor stands on the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes which is arguably most famous for being where the coronation of the country’s ancient kings and queens took place. The city is also home to Karnak Temple, a huge complex of temples and other buildings. This complex is the largest religious building ever built and was painstakingly constructed over 2,000 years, so there are a huge variety of styles showcased in the architecture.
The Valley of the Kings will be familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in history. This atmospheric desert location was the burial site of Egyptian royalty for nearly 500 years and was the final resting place of Tutankhamen as well as several royals of the Ramesses dynasty. Not only can you explore some of these imposing tombs, but you will also marvel at the jaw-dropping mountainous landscape.
Discover Egypt’s heartbeat on a Nile Cruise
The Nile defines Egypt and makes life possible. Without the huge volumes of water that flow through the world’s longest river nothing you see here would be possible. There is no better way to get a sense of the importance the river plays in everyday life than to enjoy a Nile cruise as part of your Egypt tour.
The Nile winds through Egypt transforming the landscape and bringing life to everything along its banks. It is also a fantastic option for touring the country; a Nile cruise will sail the same route that the ancient pharaohs would have embarked on. Whether you opt for a luxury yacht, cruise liner or a felucca, traditional wooden dhows that have been operating along the river for thousands of years, this is an unmissable activity.
A Nile cruise promises a more elegant, luxurious and memorable mode of travel between the country’s other major sites than simply hiring a driver to whisk your around. For any visitor to the country, it is a highlight of their entire trip.
An Egypt tour is a once in a lifetime opportunity to discover this ancient kingdom and how it influenced the world as we know it today. Few destinations offer the intoxicating mix of history and culture that you can find throughout Egypt; this is why the country is a must-visit for all travelers.