Egypt, a timeless land of pharaohs and pyramids, is a destination that has fascinated travellers for centuries. This ancient country, a bridge between Africa and the Middle East, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty.
From the awe-inspiring monuments of the Nile Valley to the vibrant bazaars of Cairo and from the stark beauty of the Sahara Desert to the stunning coral reefs of the Red Sea, Egypt offers many experiences that cater to all types of travellers.
As we look forward to 2023, we have curated a list of the top 10 places to visit in Egypt, each offering a unique glimpse into the country’s rich heritage and diverse landscapes. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture lover, or an adventure seeker, these destinations promise unforgettable experiences and captivating insights into one of the world’s most ancient civilizations.
The Best Places to Visit in Egypt 2023
1. Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, are a must-visit. The complex includes the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, and Menkaure. Nearby, the enigmatic Sphinx stands guard, its origins and purpose shrouded in mystery. The pyramids are a testament to the architectural prowess of the ancient Egyptians and offer a glimpse into the country’s rich history.
2. Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings Located on the west bank of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings is a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th to the 20th Dynasties. The tombs, filled with intricate hieroglyphics and exquisite frescoes, offer a fascinating insight into the funerary practices of the ancient Egyptians.
3. Islamic Cairo
Islamic Cairo, also known as Historic Cairo, is a vibrant area filled with mosques, madrasas (Islamic schools of learning), and monuments dating from the Fatimid to the Mameluke eras. The bustling Khan El Khalili Bazaar is a highlight, where you can shop for traditional crafts, aromatic spices, and intricate jewelry.
4. Citadel of Saladin
The Citadel of Saladin, also known as the Cairo Citadel, is a medieval Islamic fortification in Cairo. It was built by Salah ad-Din (Saladin) and was the seat of government in Egypt for almost 700 years. The Citadel is home to several mosques, including the impressive Mosque of Muhammad Ali, and offers panoramic views of Cairo.
Aswan, Egypt’s southernmost city, has a distinct African atmosphere. Its ancient quarries, famous for the red granite in many of Egypt’s monuments, and the Temple of Philae are among the city’s key attractions. Aswan is also the gateway to the Temple of Abu Simbel.
6. Rock Temples of Abu Simbel
The Rock Temples of Abu Simbel are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel, a village in Nubia, near the border with Sudan. The twin temples were carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC. The complex was relocated in a massive UNESCO project in the 1960s to save it from the rising waters of the Nile due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
7. Egyptian Museum
Egyptian Located in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the Egyptian Museum is a treasure trove of antiquities showcasing Egypt’s ancient history. The Museum houses the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities, including the golden treasures of Tutankhamun.
8. White Desert
The White Desert, located about 45 km north of Farafra, is known for its dramatic and surreal landscapes. The desert is characterized by its chalk-white and cream-coloured rock formations that the wind has sculpted into surreal shapes that resemble mushrooms, animals, and icebergs.
Abydos, one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, is home to many ancient temples, including the Temple of Seti I and the Osireion. These structures are adorned with detailed carvings and hieroglyphics. Abydos was an important cult center for worshiping Osiris and was considered a gateway to the afterlife.
Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, is a city of contrasts, with its ancient history and modern Mediterranean vibe. Key attractions include the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, a Roman burial site, the Alexandria National Museum, and the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a homage to the ancient Library of Alexandria. The city’s vibrant seafront and bustling markets are also worth exploring.
Egypt is a country that combines history, culture, and adventure in a unique blend that is sure to captivate any traveller. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture vulture, or an adventure seeker, Egypt has something for everyone. So pack your bags and prepare for an unforgettable journey into the land of the Pharaohs in 2023!
Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Egypt in 2023
Is it safe to travel to Egypt in 2023?
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Egypt is generally safe for tourists. However, checking the latest travel advisories from your country’s foreign affairs department or equivalent is essential before planning your trip.
What is the best time to visit Egypt?
The best time to visit Egypt is during the cooler months, from October to April. The summer months (May to September) can be scorching, especially in the desert and other arid areas.
Do I need a visa to visit Egypt?
Many visitors to Egypt will need a visa, but the requirements vary depending on your nationality. It’s best to check with your country’s Egyptian embassy or consulate for the most accurate information.
What is the official currency in Egypt?
The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP). Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and many shops, but carrying some cash for smaller establishments and local markets is a good idea.
What languages are spoken in Egypt?
The official language of Egypt is Arabic. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, hotels, and shops.
What should I wear in Egypt?
Egypt is predominantly Muslim, and visitors should dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Lightweight, breathable clothing is recommended due to the hot climate.
What are the must-try foods in Egypt?
Egyptian cuisine is diverse and delicious. Some must-try dishes include ful medames (mashed fava beans), kosher (a dish made with rice, lentils, and pasta), and molokhia (a soup made with jute leaves and meat).
Can I drink tap water in Egypt?
It’s generally recommended that visitors to Egypt avoid drinking tap water. Bottled water is widely available and inexpensive.
Is it customary to tip in Egypt?
Yes, Tipping “baksheesh” is customary in Egypt for good service. This applies to restaurants, hotels, taxis, and other service industries.
What are the COVID-19 travel restrictions for Egypt?
To my knowledge, the cutoff is in September 2021; travellers to Egypt must provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight. However, COVID-19 travel restrictions can change rapidly, so checking the latest updates from official sources or your airline before your trip is essential.