Just mention Egypt and pyramids will naturally pop into almost everyone’s mind. While it is a fact that Egypt boasts of being the only country to have these incredible and iconic structures, they are not all that Egypt is about.
The pyramids are just a small representation of what Egypt has to offer when it comes to tourism.
Egypt is a fascinating country. Other than the pyramids, Egypt is full of spectacular historical sites, stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, amazing cuisine, ancient treasures, beautiful golden sand, and so much more.
If looking for the perfect vacation, Egypt should definitely be on top of your list. Here are six reasons why an Egypt vacation should be on your bucket list.
1. A Vacation in Egypt is Affordable
Vacations and travel are not always cheap. On the contrary, an Egypt vacation is quite affordable. Whether you have all the money to spend or you’re on a budget, you can make an Egypt vacation happen.
Egypt has a lot of accommodation options that are cheaper than what you would be accustomed to in other parts of the world. So you can choose a higher standard, or save money on the level of accommodation you normally book.
You can purchase an Egypt tour package, which covers everything including accommodation, meals, transport, tour guides and entry to historical sites. Tour packages can offer a great value and savings over booking everything yourself.
To further save money when visiting Egypt, book early and travel during the off-season period. Accommodation, guided tours and even airfare is usually cheaper.
»» We recommend this tour package, which includes a private 7-night Cairo, Luxor, and Nile Cruise, with flights to/from Cairo to Aswan/Luxor.
2. Egypt is Rich in History
Egypt has fascinating ancient history that has held the world’s interest for centuries. Most of Egypt’s history revolves around Pharaohs, the conquering by Alexander the Great, King Tutankhamun, and Queen Cleopatra. However, this is not all the history Egypt has to offer.
Ancient Egyptians inspired a lot of modern civilization. Some of the aspects of modern life can be traced back to Egypt, from architecture, art deco, medicine, and astrology to name but a few. It is incredible to see for yourself how this country grew to what it is now from the archaeological finds that remains to this day.
The main historical sights in Egypt that should be on your itinerary are listed below. These are found both in Cairo, and throughout the country:
- The Great Pyramids of Giza (read our story about climbing inside one of the pyramids)
- The Great Sphinx of Giza
- The Valley of the Kings and Tutankhamun’s tomb
3. Egypt is the Ultimate Scuba Diving and Beach Destination
Yes, there is a lot of history in Egypt, but don’t tempted to think that Egypt is all about pyramids and mummies. It also happens to have some of the best beaches in the world. The beautiful beaches are perfect for relaxing and exploring the magnificent Red Sea. The main beaches are Dahab, Hurghada, and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Scuba diving in Egypt – particularly in the Red Sea – is incredible. Divers can enjoy shallow patch reefs, drift dives, wall dives and exploration of wrecks on the ocean floor. The algae bloom in the Red Sea, which happen in spring and fall make it one of the best places in the world to dive. The top dive sites in Egypt, according to Deeper Blue, are:
- SS Thistlegorm, Sharm El Sheikh
- Big Brother, Hurghada
- Shark and Yolanda Reef, Sharm El Sheikh
- Elphinstone Reef, Marsa Alam
- Jackson Reef, Straits of Tiran, Sharm El Sheikh
Other than that, you can have some time swimming with dolphins in the Red Sea. Wild dolphins are found along the sea, and swimming or free diving with these amazing animals is something you can never forget.
4. The Nile Cruise is Breath Taking
An Egypt trip is never complete without a Nile cruise. Who wouldn’t love sailing down the famous Nile? The setting is almost mystical complete with a great ship, a setting sun, and amazing views of Egypt’s cities and temples.
The best part about it is that it is not expensive like other cruises you know. Nile cruises are intended for sight-seeing and as such are smaller riverboats. The boats stop at intervals along the Nile to allow people to get off and explore. Onboard, buffets and nightlife are available.
If intending to explore Luxor, Aswan and every temple between them, there is no better way to do this than through a Nile cruise. The sightseeing through a cruise adds flavor to the entire experience.
Start here when planning your trip to be sure you can fit the Nile cruise into your itinerary.
»» We recommend this Nile cruise package that includes a 4-day (3nt) cruise from Aswan to Luxor with a trip to Abu Simbel and a hot air balloon ride in Luxor.
5. Egyptian Food is Amazing
When planning for a trip anywhere in the world, food is an important consideration. Fortunately, you can never go wrong with Egyptian food. It is simply unique and delicious.
Also note that Egyptian food is a bit of history, religion and geography and as such, a lot of vegetables and meats such as chicken, rabbit, duck and pigeon, and fish are mostly in the mix. Other than these, some of the most popular dishes include kebabs and Kofta, Kushari, Om Ali, and Ta’meya and Ful Medames. These dishes have been part of Egypt for ages, and it is not a complete visit to Egypt without trying these tasty dishes.
Where to get food is always a common concern among travelers. You can get food anywhere from local vendors. Your tour guide can also suggest the best places to eat. As for water, always remember that tap water in Egypt is not consumable. You should always carry or buy bottled water.
6. Egypt’s Temples and Tombs
Egypt’s temples are the best bit of ancient Egypt. The experience of standing where pharaohs once stood is truly mind-blowing. However, there are so many temples that you can never visit all of them. Nevertheless, be sure to visit some of the most popular ones, including Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Abu Simbel Temple, Edfu Temple, and Medinet Habu Temple.
Egypt’s tombs are another sight to behold. The work that went into designing these tombs will leave you in admiration. Be sure to visit the Valley of the Kings, which is has some of the best tombs known.
Tours to Book:
How to Start Planning
To get started with planning, read this Egypt travel guide for all the specifics you need to know, like when to go, health and visa specifics, and packing list.
There are a lot of moving pieces to planning the perfect Egypt vacation, so you need to get started well in advance. Make yourself a checklist and work through each piece. The visa situation should be handled first.
How to Get an Egypt Visa
Most travelers require a visa to visit Egypt. While it is possible to get a visa on arrival at Cairo airport for citizens from some countries, including Americans, the easiest way to get one is through an online application. Ensure that you understand Egypt visa requirements before applying to make things easier for yourself.
Where to Stay in Egypt
Most visitors will want to spend at least a few days in Cairo during their Egypt vacation, as well as go on a Nile Cruise, and then head to the beach for some relaxation. Below are our recommendations for where to stay in each of these places. All are affordable luxury level accommodations.
In Cairo:Marriott Mena House – the views of the pyramids and surrounding area are amazing. You really can’t get much better than this hotel. The food, the views, the service is all impeccable.
In Sharm el Sheikh:Movenpick Resort – this resort has panoramic views of Naama Bay, 5 private beaches, 4 restaurants and 4 bars… it’s pretty perfect.
As you can see, there are many reasons to visit Egypt. It is one of the most memorable and experiential vacations you’ll ever take. Are you ready to plan a trip to Egypt now?
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.