You must have grown up learning about the pyramids, pharaohs and sphinxes, but you may not know much about the best cities to visit in modern-day Egypt. This incredibly diverse and complex country has a lot to offer beyond its famous historical attractions. As you plan your next Egypt trip (or if you never even planned, start planning!), consider making a stop in one (or more!) of these special cities.
Egypt is famed for sites like the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that houses the death mask of Tutankhamun. Its historic towns and city scapes are often overlooked, with their mosques, madrassahs and souks. Here’s our guide to ten of the most impressive towns, including desert oases that have remained unspoiled for centuries, Red Sea resorts, and ancient Christian sites that have stood since the 4th century.
Cairo is a challenging and tough city to travel to but still the most beautiful, the most popular and one of the largest cities in Egypt. This city is home to 22-million people that call Cairo home pack its busy streets daily.The world-famous Egyptian Museum features an incredible collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts and lots of attractions.
What was once a city in its own right has been sucked up into the sprawling urban landscape of Egypt’s capital. Giza’s iconic Great Pyramids, which were the tallest structures in the world before the arrival of skyscrapers, sit on the desert plateau against a backdrop of the ever-encroaching hazy city skyline. The pyramids are one of the world’s most iconic ancient wonders, representing Egypt and its links to historic civilization. Giza has counted in one of the most important cities in Egypt.
Civil war and after the civil war, the threats of attacks resulted in fewer and fewer visitors to the city. The pharaoh’s tombs with their chambers and corridors are open to the public makes this city so tourist-friendly,
Alexandria was once one of the greatest cities in the world. This city with a huge lighthouse and an incredible collection of books in its library. Alexandria was established by Alexander the Great. It is a city of epic historical proportions, cultural importance has faded and much of its integral beauty, but now it is still possible to glimpse its past glory. This one of the dusty coastal top cities to visit in Egypt is thronged with people
The Citadel of Qaitbay and Library of Alexander are a couple of noteworthy sites in the area. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, a 100-meter-tall structure that looms over the city, is also worth a visit. Alexandria is also known for having some of the best seafood in the world, so don’t forget to grab a delicious meal while you’re in town!
The modern city of Luxor is sitting on the East Bank and known as the ancient capital of Thebes on the West Bank. The once resplendent city of the ancient world is like a modern-day, open-air museum for tourists. The land of this famous city in Egypt strewn with history, relics and ancient treasures. With its hotels, restaurants, and museums, the Temple of Karnak and the numerous tombs that dot the West Bank of the river are easily accessible from the city center and make it a comfortable place to stay.
Luxor was once the capital of Ancient Egypt. Like most central cities it has countless attractions. One of the most iconic spots is the Valley of the Kings, an archaeological site that contains more than 60 tombs and burial chambers. Karnak, a massive complex of temple ruins, is also in the Luxor region.
Round off your visit to Luxor by seeing the Luxor Temple, the Medinet Habu temple and the Valley of the Queens, which complements the Valley of the Kings with 90 burial sites dedicated to female rulers.
Located on the banks of the Nile River, Aswan has been Egypt’s strategic base for centuries. Like other Egyptian cities it’s a stone’s throw away from several notable archaeological and historical sites, including one of the most famous of all, Abu Simbel. Located three hours outside of Aswan, the iconic statues and towers of Abu Simbel are a common day trip for travelers visiting this part of Egypt.
The Nubian Village is also located near Aswan on Elephantine Island. Filled with resorts, hotels and other facilities for visitors, it’s easy to spend a night or more at the Nubian Village. There are colorful markets, interesting historical sites and many things to see, do and eat.
Lastly, Aswan is a great jumping off point for a Nile River Cruise. These relaxing cruises often last 3-4 days and are an excellent way to see the ruins and remains of ancient life along the banks of the Nile.
6. Sharm el Sheikh
The resort city of Sharm el Sheikh was once a top tourist destination, labelled ‘the jewel of the Red Sea’; Europeans used to flock to its beautiful beaches looking to catch a tan, have a good time and get value for money. In recent years, the city has seen a huge decline in tourism – a 70 percent decline in fact. Political developments have seen the UK place a flight ban to Sharm el Sheikh, and as a result, the once buzzing city is akin to a ghost town. Hotel rooms are now easy to come by and you won’t have to scramble for space on the sand anymore. Hotel rooms, food and drink prices are cheap. If you are able to catch a flight, you can have a low-cost beach break at Sharm el Sheikh.
If you’re craving blue seas, warm breezes and cool water, head to Hurghada, one of Egypt’s premiere beach towns. Colorful coral reefs and picturesque sandy beaches make Hurghada the ideal city for a summer break. An urban area where old meets new, Hurghada is Egypt’s premier holiday resort destination, with tourists drawn there to linger on the soft sands, enjoy the many delicious restaurants and explore a slice of history. The old town of El Daha reveals real Egyptian life, with its mosques, markets and network of narrow lanes.
8. Siwa Oasis
Most people would picture an oasis as a patch of lush heaven in the middle of the desert, and that’s exactly what Siwa Oasis is. Overflowing with palms, olive trees and shady lanes, the city is scattered with sparkling fresh-water springs. This ancient town is a real-life time capsule; donkeys amble along the old roads and mud houses sit on the edge of the desert. It’s not easy to reach this cut-off settlement, but your efforts will be greatly paid off.
9. Port Said
Idle and sleepy, Dahab is a slow city whose main attraction is its palm-lined beaches. The resort city has risen from the shadow of its former self – from a dusty outpost to a chic tourist town. With the influx of tourism, money and development, Dahab may have lost a little of its simple charm, but if you want to spend some time kicking back in a family-friendly city and try some world class windsurfing, go scuba diving or trek in the desert with the Bedouin then this is the place for you.