5 Best Egyptian Holiday Destinations for Sightseeing
Ever thought of traveling to the Egypt? Maybe not, because there is so much in the news about travel safety in this area. Maybe it’s worth reconsidering. Recently, I went to Egypt and never felt unsafe during my two weeks vacation. I want to share my 5 Best Egyptian Holiday Destinations for Sightseeing. I’m a frugal traveler, but in my opinion, these Egyptian sightseeing locations are the best Egypt Holiday destinations for all travelers.
The country’s incredible history is everywhere; it would be a shame not to see history. Recent digs reveal the mysteries of Egypt are just beginning to unfold. I feel extremely confident about Egypt’s future.
5 Best Egyptian Holiday Destinations for Sightseeing
My Egyptian vacation was planned because I wanted to see for myself why the Egypt is “not safe.” Egypt is safer than I expected. In my opinion, the people are kind and generous. I’m as safe as I make my holiday.
Egypt is a great value for travelers. In most cases, travel between cities by car works well, but for longer trips (such as Cairo-Luxor) use Egypt’s inexpensive regional airlines. The regional Egyptian airlines are also efficient. I hired a great Egyptian tour company, Ramasside. I still remember the friendly face of Moustaffa, as he greeted me arriving at Cairo International Airport. Moustaffa represented Ramasside. He always had a smile on his face. He was polite, genuine, and made sure I got to see all of the Egyptian sites.
Arriving at the Cairo airport my first impression was “wow.” Finally, I am here! I initially feared the trip and felt I was making a mistake, but my “unsafe” perception wasn’t accurate. A few American tourists, mostly Europeans and Chinese, were traveling in Cairo as best as I could tell. It’s hard to know where anyone is from nowadays.
Cairo is a massive city. The largest city in the Middle East, characterized by epic traffic jams, dust, heat, and pollution. But the magic of Cairo is its archeological history, including the Pyramids at Giza. The mighty Nile river flows strongly through downtown Cairo. Considered to be the longest river in the world, it flows through eleven countries and in a northerly direction. The Nile is the primary source of water for Egypt and Sudan, and its headwaters originate in Uganda.
My favorite excursion in Cairo was to the Gayer-Anderson Museum. A British officer, Major Gayer-Anderson, lived at the site with the permission of the Egyptian government and during his time there collected art and artifacts from all over Egypt. Much of what he collected is still on display. The famous James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, shot a scene here for the movie in 1977, starring Roger Moore, who is my favorite James Bond character. I stood on the patio where they shot the famous fight scene!
Don’t worry; you’ll also want to visit the Egyptian Museum, which has the items found in the “Boy King’s” tomb. Tutankhamun’s mummy or body is in the Valley of the Kings in his tomb. Over 120,000 artifacts located at the Museum are fantastic. It’s impressive. The walk around the museum’s two floors takes a whole day.
You’ll also visit the Pyramids at Giza, where you’ll see three impressive pyramids, the tallest being Khufu or Cheops, topping out at about 481 feet. I could see the three pyramids from my hotel balcony in Giza. It was an awe-inspiring sight, like the pyramids, bathed in light at night.
On my last day in Cairo, I visited a hookah shop and coincidently met a perfume dealer who chatted with me as we sipped Turkish coffee. Egyptian holidays and a glass of freshly squeezed sugar cane make the perfect afternoon drink.
About twelve miles south of Giza lies Memphis on the Nile River. Memphis was the capital of the Old Kingdom. Dashur, located close to Memphis, is where you’ll find the Bent Pyramid, one of about ninety pyramids in Egypt. The Bent Pyramid is unique because the angle of the pyramid’s walls was changed during construction, probably because the builders thought the pyramid would collapse. The outer limestone polished casing is almost entirely intact. Standing next to the pyramid is mind boggling. I was there, with no other tourists around.
South of Cairo, about an hour by air, is Luxor, gateway to the Valley of the Kings. Luxor is on the east side of the Nile River, signifying life. To the west of the Nile is the Valley of the Kings, the Pharaohs are buried in tombs inside the mountains, west of the Nile. To date, archeologists have discovered 63 graves/tombs. Ramasside provides a tour guide that is a certified Egyptologist. These guys know their stuff. I learned an incredible amount about Egypt’s ancient culture and lifestyle.
Wadi El Hitan
Also known as the “Valley of the Whales,” about 150 kilometers southwest of Cairo. It’s a UNESCO site. The location has hundreds of well-preserved fossils including the earliest whale. The location is very remote–only about 1,000 tourists visit the site each year, because of no paved road access and very remote location. The wind and water erosion have created spectacular cliffs and buttes in the desert landscape. I felt privileged to visit. The site includes an impressive newer museum which displays different fossils, including many of whales and ancient fish.
Lake Nasser, Aswan, and Abu Simbel
Lake Nasser is one of the largest man made lakes in the world. The lake is located in southern Egypt and extends into Sudan. The lake was created by the Aswan High Dam’s construction. Go to the dam and visit–it’s an exciting excursion.
Abu Simbel, located on the west bank of Lake Nasser, in southern Egypt, is close to the Sudan border. Here, you will find two rock temples carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, a monument to himself and his Queen, Nefertari. Abu Simbel was just one of many temples I visited in Egypt.
We drove several hours out of Cairo before arriving in Alexandria, on the Mediterranean. Today, Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city. Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria has a different vibe than Cairo. It is a port city. See the Roman ruins in the middle of the city. Egypt, of course, was once a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Walking along the Mediterranean is fun, especially in the evening.
Travel Tip: Frugal Travelers don’t forget to tip the tour driver and guide for a job well done.
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