Egypt Travel Guide: What to See and Do in Egypt
General Information of Egypt
Egypt is a country in North Africa with a population of around 100 million people. The official language is Arabic and the currency is the Egyptian pound. The country is known for its rich history and ancient civilization, including the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx.
The Nile is the most important river in Egypt and has been essential to the country's agriculture and economy since ancient times. Its government is a parliamentary republic and the president is the head of state and government. Tourism is a major industry in Egypt.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and one of the largest cities in Africa and the Arab world. It is located on the bank of the Nile River, in northern Egypt.
The city is known for its rich history and architecture, including Cairo's historic quarter, also known as The Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the city's oldest and most iconic buildings, such as the Al-Azhar Mosque and the Coptic Cathedral of Saint Sergius.
Cairo is also home to several important museums, such as the Egyptian Museum, which houses one of the most important collections of Egyptian antiquities in the world. In addition, the city is known for its lively nightlife, its bazaars, and its gastronomy.
Location of Egypt
Map of Egypt on Google Maps
What to See and Do in Egypt?
Egypt has a location as privileged as its history, it is in North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Western Asia (the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula).
A country that had 2 of the 7 wonders of the world (the Great Pyramid of Giza and Alexandria Lighthouse), is undoubtedly a fascinating destination to discover and enjoy.
A trip to Egypt offers much more than seeing the emblematic pyramids and historical monuments. There are also amazing activities such as diving in the Red Sea, the exciting nightlife of Cairo, and luxury hotels, and restaurants with unique cuisine.
Even the possibility of romantic cruises on the Nile River, up to an unforgettable opera night. Egypt is a land of cultural diversity, ancient history, natural beauty, and tradition. The recommended visits in Egypt are described below:
Visit the Pyramids of Giza
Without a doubt, they are a symbol of culture and history for Egypt, they have also represented a tourist destination par excellence worldwide. The most emblematic is the one that was built by King Cheops (between 2580 BC and 2560 BC).
It was the tallest structure in the world at 147 meters until the construction of Lincoln Cathedral in 1311. It has more than 2.3 million limestone blocks, each block weighing 2.5 tons. In addition, it represents a marvel of ancient architecture.
The approximate travel time from the city of Cairo to the pyramids is 48 minutes by car and 2 hours by bus.
Take a Cruise on the Nile River
It is one of the longest rivers in the world and according to history, it prompted the origin of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
A large part of the historical sites of Egypt are on the banks of the Nile, therefore, taking a cruise on its waters represents an excellent option. Many visitors agree that it is the best way to see the famous pharaonic temples and tombs (for example the temples of Philae, Edfu and Kom Ombo known as Upper Egypt).
The cruise allows you to carry out various activities, have traditional food and drinks, listen to their music and relax with extraordinary views. They last between 4 days (3 nights) and 7 days (6 nights), with the possibility of full board on 5-star cruises.
An emblematic city for the history of the country, founded by the Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great in 331 BC. c., today it has the main port of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea. It also had one of the 7 wonders of the world until the fourteenth century, the imposing Lighthouse of Alexandria.
As well as one of the most important libraries since the 3rd century (it was the largest collection of manuscripts in the world). The current Library of Alexandria is a modern architectural work, completed in 2002 and offers a collection of 700,000 ancient scrolls.
It is the most cosmopolitan region of Egypt, with more than 20 million inhabitants and an interesting historical center (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979). It is also an important area for the Islamic religion with the famous Alabaster Mosque, as well as the imposing pyramids of Giza.
To choose what to do in Cairo, it is important to take into account the famous medieval market (Khan el Khalili), where you can get a wide variety of items and souvenirs. Cairo also offers nightlife, with options such as the Cairo Opera House (has 2 main halls and 1 open-air theater), also near the complex is the Egyptian Museum of Modern Art.
Visit Karnak and Luxor Temples
The city of Luxor is known as the largest open-air museum in the world, it has an area of 417 square km that includes ancient temples near the Nile River.
The Temple of Luxor is the most important in the city, it was built by Amenhotep III and Ramses II in honor of the god Amun.
While the Karnak Temple is the largest in Egypt, it is over 5,000 square meters and has 130 columns. Access to the city is through the Luxor International Airport (approximately 1-hour flight).
Visit Abu Simbel
It is one of the quintessential historical sites in Egypt. Abu Simbel has the most impressive archaeological site in the region. It is south-west of Aswan, access is by bus, Nile cruise or plane.
If you visit the temple between October 21 and February 21, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the solar phenomenon where the faces of the sculptures of Ramses, Ra and Amun are illuminated by the sun's rays. During the night there are also shows in the temple.
The city represents Egyptian culture in all its splendor, it is in the south of the country and 238 kilometers from Luxor.
It is the third most important in Egypt and counts among its tourist attractions some emblematic temples, such as: the Philae temple, the unfinished obelisk of Aswan and the Aga Khan Mausoleum.
It also has interesting places such as the Nile Museum and the Nubia Museum. In addition, the city is part of the route taken by the cruises on the Nile River.
Diving in Egypt
Diving is one of the most popular activities in Egypt, among the main centers of this underwater sport are in Dahab and Nuweiba. They are in the Gulf of Aqaba, where you can see beautiful caves and coral gardens.
Near the coast there are traditional Bedouin tents, they offer tea service and a space to rest after diving. The famous Red Sea also offers interesting diving sites and the Gubal Strait is one of the most visited. It also has coral reefs and ships sunk during World Wars I and II.
Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian spa town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. It is known for its protected sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. Naama Bay, with its palm-fringed coastal walks, is lined with bars and restaurants.
Ras Muhammad National Park is a major diving destination, with marine wildlife around Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck.
What Can You Eat in Egypt?
Egyptian gastronomy has a thousand-year-old influence from Greek and Roman cuisine, as well as in recent history, great influence from the countries of the Middle East (Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Saudi Arabia). Egypt is not only known for its ancient monuments, culture and history, it is also famous for its extraordinary food.
On the streets of Alexandria and Cairo, it is easy to find cafes and street vendors serving traditional dishes. They generally offer light food, you will have the opportunity to try the Falafel (broad bean or chickpea croquettes), Hawawshi (Egyptian meat pie) or the traditional Shawerma (bread stuffed with pork, beef, roast lamb and vegetables). You can also get more elaborate traditional dishes like Kushari, it includes lentils, rice and noodles with chickpeas and spicy sauce.
For lovers of fresh fish and shellfish, the cities of Alexandria and Aswan have places that offer typical dishes. Nile Perch, squid, shrimp, and Sea Bass are present in the regional food, Fesikh is offered at the Sham el-Nessim festival (it is a traditional dish that includes Mullet, a fish that inhabits the Red Sea).
Best Restaurants in Cairo and Alexandria
Cairo is a modern city full of history and cultural diversity, the Zitouni restaurant is one of the most popular, offering specialties of traditional Egyptian cuisine. Plus, you'll find sites like The Cairo Tower, a modern revolving restaurant serving French food while taking in 360° views.
In Alexandria there are popular places like Foul Mohamed Ahmed, they serve light food like falafel, fried cheese, and traditional salads. They also offer the traditional breakfast (foul medammas), which includes stewed broad beans with sesame paste.
In addition, in the Kadoura restaurant, you can taste varied dishes with fresh seafood. You can choose from a menu of fresh fish, rice and pasta dishes, as well as some salads that include traditional ingredients and sauces.
Best Time to Travel to Egypt
Egypt is one of the privileged tourist destinations due to the good weather during the year. However, it is important to choose the best time of the year to travel to the “Land of the Pharaohs”. The average temperature can reach 37°C (maximum) and a minimum of 14°C.
Winter (between December 21 and March 21) is the high tourist season, you will have the opportunity to enjoy Egypt at Christmas. It is a time when Christians go to church and celebrate. However, lodging and transfer prices are the highest due to the influx of tourists.
Best Season to Visit the Beaches of Egypt
Between the months of June to September is the best time to visit the beaches of the Red Sea. The average temperature on the popular Hurghada beach is 30°C, while the sea temperature is around 27°C, ideal for diving and snorkeling. You can also visit the famous beach of Sharm El-Sheikh.
Is It Dangerous to Travel to Egypt?
Egypt is one of the Arab countries with a high level of risk for travelers, despite the fact that there is an alert from international organizations, the experience of many travelers is totally different. However, it is important to know some recommendations for destinations like Egypt.
It is necessary to collaborate with security agencies upon arrival, as well as in the busiest places where there is a high level of protection. As in any metropolis in the world, walking through the streets of Cairo has a level of risk, but with common sense and caution, you can enjoy the city.
Despite the fact that there are cautionary notices on public transport systems, many tourists use the train to make long journeys. There are even good references from travelers who comment on their experience.
Requirements to Travel to Egypt
To enter the country, it is necessary to process a 30-day Visa. In the case of Argentine citizens, the requirements are as follows: have a valid passport (minimum 6 months of validity) and pay USD 25 in cash (December 2019 rate). Tourist visas can be processed at the Egyptian Embassy in Buenos Aires or at Cairo International Airport.
Also, if you travel with your pet it is important that you manage a veterinary certificate (vaccinations) in advance. The Egyptian government does not require a vaccination certificate for people, however, in the hottest areas (south of the country) it is just a precaution.
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