Want to know the best cities to visit in Egypt? Well, I got you fam. There are so many places to visit in Egypt. After all, it’s the fourth largest country on the African continent so there is LOTS to see. The best cities to visit in Egypt offer a deeply rich blend of history, culture, and astonishment. Egypt is such an ancient wonder and a timeless gem. For so many people, Egypt is a bucket list destination they’ve been dreaming about for years. Let me take you on a journey through the best cities to visit in Egypt offering a multi-faceted experience of what this awe-inspiring country has to offer.
The Top 3 Best Cities to Visit in Egypt
If you’re short on time and have only 7 days or less in Egypt, these are the top 3 of the best cities to visit in Egypt:
Cairo is very likely where your journey to Egypt will start as this is where the major International Airport is located. To say the capital city is “bustling” is an understatement. With over 30 million people, there’s a lot of traffic, noise, and also a lot to do. The legendary Pyramids of Giza are located in a suburb of Cairo roughly 45 mins from the airport (depending on traffic, of course). In Giza, you’ll see the pyramids as well as the Sphinx! Whether you’re a history buff or a traveler who loves the monuments, or you want to do it for the ‘gram, you’ll be pleased (and a bit surprised) when visiting these historical landmarks.
While in Cairo, you can also visit The Egyptian Museum which holds an expansive collection of artifacts that span hundreds of years and showcase the rich culture and inventions you’ve only read about. You may also choose to explore Old Cairo and become immersed in the aroma of street food, energized by the vibrant markets, and entranced by the calls to prayer from historic mosques.
You’ll get the chance to step back in time in Luxor. It’s a city that most many people view as basically an open-air museum. The East Bank of the city is adorned with magnificent temples, including the awe-inspiring Karnak and Luxor Temples. Then you cross the Nile to the West Bank, and land at the Valley of the Kings, a vast and awe-inspiring plain site hiding place that houses the final resting places of pharaohs. As you stand before the colossal statues and intricately carved hieroglyphs, you’ll feel the weight of history with every step and in every stone.
Aswan offers a different side of Egypt than Cairo or Luxor. An escape from the hustle and bustle, its far more laid-back, there’s more greenery, and it’s a slow luxurious city. While there, you’ll definitely want to sail on a felucca across the Nile and take in views of the Elephantine Island and the Aswan Botanical Garden. You’ll be amazed at the Aswan High Dam which is a marvel of modern engineering, designed to tame the mighty river. Exploring the Philae Temple is an absolute must. It’s gracefully nestled on Agilkia Island and, lastly, be sure to immerse yourself in the vivid colors of Nubian villages and markets.
More of the Best Cities to Visit in Egypt
If you have more time in the country, these are some other cities you should check out:
The city of Alexandria is a coastal gem and fixture in history that has witnessed the rise and fall of empires. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina pays homage to the famed Library of Alexandria, which once was the largest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. At the Qaitbay Citadel you’ll get the chance to experience panoramic views of the Mediterranean. The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa will take you deep into Alexandria’s history. Take a nice stroll along the Corniche for a serene escape by the sea.
Sharm El Sheikh
For those seeking sun, sea, and underwater exploration, Sharm El Sheikh is a paradise. Its clear waters and vibrant coral reefs make it a haven for divers and snorkelers. The Ras Mohammed National Park boasts an astonishing variety of marine life, making each dive an unforgettable adventure. Beyond the underwater world, Sharm offers luxurious resorts, bustling bazaars, and a lively nightlife.
Hurghada, another Red Sea jewel, offers a more relaxed atmosphere. Its golden beaches and crystal-clear waters invite you to unwind. Snorkeling, diving, and water sports abound, allowing you to discover the stunning marine ecosystems up close. With a backdrop of desert mountains, Hurghada provides the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.
Dahab, nestled between the Sinai Desert and the Red Sea, exudes a laid-back charm. Its bohemian atmosphere and Bedouin hospitality create a unique experience. The Blue Hole, a world-renowned dive site, offers a window into the deep blue abyss. As you sip traditional tea in beachfront cafes and watch the sunset over the mountains, you’ll understand why Dahab is a favorite among backpackers and adventurers.
Hidden away in the Egyptian desert, Siwa Oasis is a world apart. Known for its natural beauty and unique culture, it offers a tranquil escape. The Temple of the Oracle and Cleopatra’s Bath are testaments to the oasis’s rich history. Interact with the local Berber community, explore salt lakes, and witness stunning desert landscapes that stretch to the horizon.
Suez may be best known for the Suez Canal, a testament to human ingenuity connecting two seas. The city’s strategic importance has shaped its history and development. Visit the Suez Canal Authority Building and witness massive vessels navigating the canal’s narrow passage. It’s a modern marvel that stands as a symbol of global trade and connectivity.
Nestled on the Mediterranean coast, Marsa Matrouh offers a different kind of coastal charm. Its pristine beaches and azure waters are a refreshing escape. Cleopatra’s Rock, a natural rock arch, adds a touch of mystique to the coastline. Away from the crowds, you can bask in the serenity of this coastal haven.
Egypt’s cities paint a diverse and captivating portrait of a country steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. From the iconic pyramids of Cairo to the tranquil oases of Siwa, each city offers a unique experience that leaves a lasting impression. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or a beach lover, Egypt’s best cities have something to offer.
Travel Tips for Exploring Egypt’s Best Cities
- Cultural Sensitivity: Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
- Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to savor authentic Egyptian cuisine. From delicious kebabs and falafel to indulgent desserts like baklava, the local flavors are a treat for your taste buds. But take some oregano oil with you to keep stomach issues at bay.
- Language: While Arabic is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas. Learning a few basic Arabic phrases can enhance your interactions with locals.
- Currency: The official currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP). It’s advisable to have some local currency on hand for small purchases, although credit cards are widely accepted.
- Safety: Egypt is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s wise to stay updated on travel advisories and respect any safety recommendations.
- Guided Tours: Consider joining guided tours, especially for historical sites. Knowledgeable guides can provide valuable insights and enhance your understanding of the cultural significance of each location.
- Transportation: Public transportation options vary by city, but taxis and ride-sharing services are readily available. In cities like Cairo, traffic can be congested, so plan your itinerary accordingly.
- Entry Requirements: Check the latest visa requirements and entry regulations before you travel to Egypt. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from your intended departure date.
- Photography: Egypt’s cities offer countless photo opportunities. However, it’s respectful to ask for permission before photographing people, especially in local markets and villages.
- Local Markets: Exploring local markets, or “souks,” is an integral part of the Egyptian experience. In cities like Cairo, Khan El Khalili is a historic market where you can find intricate crafts, textiles, spices, and traditional jewelry. Bargaining is a common practice, so be prepared to engage in friendly negotiations. Check out my Guide to the Best Souvenirs to buy in Egypt.
- Sun Protection: Egypt’s climate can be quite hot, especially during the summer months. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing lightweight, breathable clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Here’s my absolute favorite sunscreen, recommended by my dermatologist AND my esthetician.
- Cruising the Nile: Consider taking a cruise along the Nile River for a unique perspective of Egypt’s cities and landscapes. These cruises often stop at key cities and historical sites, offering a blend of relaxation and exploration.
- Cultural Etiquette: When visiting religious sites, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering mosques and temples. Also, refrain from pointing the soles of your feet towards people or sacred objects, as this is considered disrespectful.
- Time Management: Egypt’s cities are teeming with attractions, so planning your itinerary in advance can help you make the most of your time. Prioritize the sites that interest you the most and allocate sufficient time for each visit.
- Health Precautions: It’s advisable to drink bottled or purified water to avoid any potential health issues. Consult your healthcare provider before traveling to Egypt to ensure you’re up-to-date on vaccinations and prepared for the local conditions.
- Coptic Cairo: While exploring Cairo, don’t miss Coptic Cairo, a historic area known for its churches and ancient Christian heritage. The Hanging Church and the Coptic Museum offer fascinating insights into Egypt’s religious diversity.
- Evening Entertainment: Many cities offer vibrant evening entertainment options. In Cairo, indulge in traditional Egyptian dance and music at venues like El Tanoura Hall. Check local event listings to catch live performances and cultural shows.
- Off-the-Beaten-Path: While the best cities in Egypt are popular for a reason, consider adding a few off-the-beaten-path destinations to your itinerary. These hidden gems can provide a more intimate and authentic travel experience.
- Practice Responsible Tourism: As you explore Egypt’s best cities, it’s important to remember that these destinations hold immense historical and cultural significance. Practicing responsible tourism ensures that these treasures are preserved for future generations to enjoy. Respect the rules and regulations at historical sites, refrain from touching ancient artifacts.
Exploring the best cities in Egypt is like flipping through the pages of a history book while simultaneously experiencing the vibrant culture and natural wonders of the present. From the iconic landmarks to the hidden corners of each city, Egypt offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re wandering through ancient ruins, diving into the Red Sea’s depths, or sipping tea in a traditional café, each moment is a step into the captivating tapestry that is Egypt.
Each city you visit in Egypt unfolds a new chapter of its rich narrative. From the grandeur of ancient wonders to the simplicity of daily life along the Nile, you’ll be immersed in a tapestry of experiences that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Whether you’re tracing the footsteps of pharaohs, snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs, or strolling through bustling markets, Egypt’s best cities offer a symphony of sensations that will resonate with you long after you’ve returned home.
So, gather your curiosity, your sense of wonder, and your eagerness for adventure. Embark on a journey that will transport you through time, culture, and the sheer beauty of Egypt’s cities. Uncover the secrets they hold, forge connections with the people you meet, and let each moment be a step towards understanding the extraordinary mosaic that is Egypt. Your adventure awaits!
Be sure to check out my other blog posts on Egypt
- Best Places to Stay In Egypt
- A Hidden Gem AirBnB In Egypt
- Best Places to get a view of the Pyramids in Egypt
- 10-Day Itinerary Egypt
- Top Things to Do In Egypt
- A Guide to the Best Souvenirs in Egypt
- My Top Random Egypt Travel Tips
- Adapter for Egypt
Don’t forget to pin this to your Egypt board so you can come back to it!