Egypt - “the gift of the Nile”, most likely referring to the river that flows through its heart, not only giving life to its inhabitants but also a source of food through the rich silt that it deposits on the shores.
The River Nile in Egypt is one of the world’s lifelines, and it’s no surprise that Egyptians have long worshipped it as a god. Known simply as ‘the Nile’, this mighty waterway has sustained life in Egypt for thousands of years.
Egypt is home to some of the world’s most fascinating ancient civilizations, beautiful beaches and endless desert wilderness. The country has an impressive range of top attractions, from the Pyramids of Giza to a bustling city like Cairo. A trip to Egypt will leave you covered in sand and breathless with astonishment!
If you are interested in seeing the treasures of this ancient civilization, then we’ve got everything you need to know here for planning your perfect vacation. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Official Language: Arabic
The official language of Egypt is Arabic. People are primarily Arab, with a mixture of African, Middle Eastern and European ethnicities.
Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Currency exchange rates between EGP and other currencies can be found on the Bank of Egypt website. However, currency exchange offices in Egypt will generally accept other currencies as payment – so if you only have American dollars or pounds sterling on you they will be happy to take them in exchange for EGP. If you do not have change then you may be able to obtain the necessary amount by exchanging more small denomination notes.
Top Tourist Attractions in Egypt
When it comes to the top tourist attractions in Egypt, there is no shortage of options! However, there are some key destinations you will not want to miss.
Pyramids of Giza
Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are an iconic sight and one that is considered the key attraction of Egypt. These three pyramids stand on the plateau known as the Giza Plateau and make for a stunning sight. They were built over 4,000 years ago as tombs for three pharaohs: Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Today they attract millions of tourists every year and remain a symbol of ancient Egyptian culture.
There are three main pyramids; the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Great Pyramid or the Pyramid of Cheops) which is the largest of the three, is also considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It stands at 147 metres high and was once covered in gleaming white casing stones. However, these have now mostly been removed, but it is still an impressive structure. You can climb up some steps to reach a central passageway into its heart and view from above its grand interior.
The Pyramid of Khafre (known as ‘The Father’) stands at 111 metres high. It has a similar design to the Great Pyramid, but its exterior is made of different stone and it is not as well preserved.
The Step Pyramid of Menkaure (known as ‘The Son’) rises at 66 metres high. This pyramid rests on a rock formation and has three descending corridors which lead to the main chambers. It also features two small ‘queens’ tombs on either side of the pyramid.
This is one of the best museums in all of Egypt. It features exhibits that date back to 7000 BC and provides a great insight into the nation’s history. It has some of the top ancient Egyptian relics on display, including gold and silver treasures. There are life-size statues on display depicting pharaohs, as well as unique artefacts from other ancient civilizations.
Nile Boat Cruise
Nile Boat Cruise
If you plan on traveling down the Nile River then you will undoubtedly want to take one of these incredible boat trips when you visit Egypt. A cruise is the best way to explore the Nile and see all that majestic scenery.
Karnak Temple (Luxor, Flight from Cairo required)
The Karnak Temple is a famous tourist destination in Egypt. It was built by the ancient New Kingdom pharaoh Amenhotep III and it is believed to be one of the most sacred temples in existence. It remains a place where many pilgrims worship and pay homage to Amun-Ra, the Egyptian god of Thebes.
Thebes (Luxor, Flight from Cairo required)
The Thebes area, which can be found around the banks of the Nile, is also a great place to visit. The city itself was built on the site of ancient Thebes, which was an important religious and political center during ancient Egyptian history. There are many pyramids and tombs of pharaohs to visit in this area; some have been excavated and others are still covered with sand.
Colossi of Memnon (Luxor, Flight from Cairo required)
The site of these giant statues is located in the desert outside of Luxor and it was here that an inscription was found recording the story of Amenhotep III. The original statues were originally carved from stone, but today they stand as a unique and impressive sight. They have been moved up onto pedestals and currently stand some 8 metres high from their original location.
Luxor Temple and Great Hypostyle Hall (Luxor, Flight from Cairo required)
If you are interested in the history of Ancient Egypt then this temple and hypostyle hall should be high on your list of places to go. This temple was built by Amenhotep III and it remains an excellent historical monument to Egypt’s ancient history. It is one of the most important architectural monuments in the country and is sure to impress you with its grandeur and beauty. The Hypostyle Hall, which was also constructed by Amenhotep III, is a unique structure to visit as it features a huge collection of columns carved from solid limestone. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Egypt.
Tombs of the Nobles and Kings
If you are interested in learning more about ancient Egyptian history, then the tombs of the Nobles and Kings are an interesting place to visit. The tombs were constructed as impressive cemeteries for members of the elite in ancient Egypt. Here you will find mummified remains of some of these individuals, as well as gold and silver artifacts from a time when Egypt was a powerful country in the world.
Catacombs of Kom El-Shuqafa
This underground cemetery is one of the many remarkable archaelogical sites to visit in Egypt’s Nile Valley. It contains the tombs of many members of the ancient Egyptian nobility and it is estimated that some 7000 mummies are buried in its depths.
Tombs and Temples of Kom el-Hassan, Kom es-Sultan and Thebes
These are three ancient sites to visit in Egypt. They all feature a range of religious buildings, including temples, tombs and burial chambers from different periods and dynasties over a period stretching back thousands of years.
Take an afternoon to relax by the Nile and enjoy the sights and sounds of Thebes.
Delight in the history of Egypt by visiting the famous tombs in this area, which date back thousands of years.
Enjoy a delicious meal while watching stunning views over ancient landmarks from atop a high place in Luxor.
Catch a sunset on top of Thebes before an evening spent relaxing on a rooftop pool overlooking Cairo or on the deck at your hotel.
Staple Egyptian dishes to try for Foodies
If you’re a foodie then you will be interested to know that there is a lot of delectable Middle Eastern cuisine to try in Egypt. Some of the most popular dishes are:
Kushari: This dish consists of pasta and rice, as well as lentils, chickpeas, onions and garlic. It is typically served with a tomato sauce.
Falafel (Taameya): These tasty deep-fried pastry patties are made with chickpeas. They are then served in wraps or on top of pita bread with yoghurt, tahini, pickles and vegetables.
Tahini: Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It is commonly eaten with pita bread, falafel and hummus.
Hummus: Hummus is a spread that is made from chickpeas. It is served in most restaurants and cafes, as well as sold to buy in shops and supermarkets around Egypt.
Mulukhia: This soup consists of lentils, vegetables and rice, which are cooked together in a mixture of vegetable oil, tomato paste, garlic, cumin and coriander. It can also sometimes contain pieces of meat or chicken.
Baba Ganoush: These little eggplants are roasted in a frying pan and then mashed together with olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. The resulting mixture is then served with bread.