Egypt, the land of Pharaohs, is one of the most amazing destinations you should visit at least once in your lifetime. With all its breathtaking landmarks and the outstanding monuments that speak to the greatness of ancient Egyptian civilization, Egypt has always been on the top of the bucket list of every traveler who seeks adventure and amusement.
It is well known not only for its deeply rooted history that impacted the whole world, but also for its hospitality and culture.
So if you are planning to visit Egypt for the first time, or looking forward to returning after a previous unforgettable adventure in Egypt, here are the best options and recommendations tailored specially for you to enjoy your Egypt tour from Alexandria to Aswan and get the most out of your visit in two weeks or less.
Best spots to visit during your stay in Egypt!
Luxor's Temples & Tombs
Famed for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a treasure trove of tourist attractions.
This is ancient Thebes, power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.
Luxor's east bank is home the modern city, with its vibrant souq; the two temples of Karnak and Luxor; and the museum. The west bank's lush farmland and barren cliffs are where the vast majority of Luxor's tourist attractions sit, with so many tomb and temple sights that it has been called the biggest open-air museum in the world.
Spend a few days here exploring the colorful wall art of the tombs and gazing in awe at the colossal columns in the temples, and you'll see why Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.
Cruising the Nile
Egypt is defined by the Nile. For many visitors, a multi-day cruise upon this famed waterway that saw the rise of the Pharaonic era is a highlight of their Egypt trip.
Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to see the temples that stud the banks of the river on the route between Luxor and Aswan, plus sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by sand dunes, is one of Egypt's most tranquil vistas.
If you'd prefer a less crowded and slower experience, though, and don't mind "roughing it" a bit, you can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt's traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats), which also allows you to create your own itinerary.
The vast amount of cruise boat itineraries depart from either Luxor and Aswan, but feluccas can only be chartered for multi-day trips from Aswan.
Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Then ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on Aswan's east bank. Afterwards, relax in one of the riverboat restaurants while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past.
Make sure to jump aboard a felucca at sunset to sail around Aswan's islands. This is by far, Aswan's most popular activity and the most relaxing way to take in the local sights.
There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, including Philae Temple on its island, but one of Aswan's most popular things to do is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.
Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II's great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings.
Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible engineering feat carried out by UNESCO in the 1960s, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting to save it from disappearing under the rising water of the Aswan dam.
Today, exploring Abu Simbel is just as much about admiring the triumph of this international effort to save the temple complex as it is about gaping in wonder at Ramses II's awe-inspiring building works, itself.
Diving the Red Sea
Below the Red Sea's surface is another world as fascinating as the temples and tombs on land.
The coral reefs of the Red Sea are renowned among scuba divers for both the soft corals on display and the vast amount of sea life, ranging from colorful reef fish and nudibranchs, to sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays, and even dugongs.
For divers, the most famous town to base yourself in is Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, closest to the reefs of Ras Mohammed National Park, as well as the reefs of the Straits of Tiran.
To dive the sites of the Straits of Gubal head to Hurghada or El Gouna on the Red Sea coast, while advanced divers should check out the resort of Marsa Alam, the nearest base for diving Egypt's "deep south" dive sites.
Hurghada is a resort town on the edge of the Red Sea, easily reached via a bumpy six-hour bus ride from Cairo. It offers a more popular alternative to Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab and is now one of Egypt’s most-visited tourist destinations. But that’s understandable, as there’s plenty to love about Hurghada with its many beaches and warm waters.
Once a simple fishing village, this famous resort town has hundreds of high-end hotels along the seafront, yet the focus is still mainly on relaxation. This section of the Red Sea is renowned for its excellent scuba diving opportunities, with gorgeous colorful coral reefs to discover just offshore. Other watersports, like snorkeling, windsurfing, and jet-skiing, are just as popular.
For those who prefer to admire the magical marine life from above the water, there are many places offering glass-bottom boat trips, so you can usually shop around to find the best offer.
Hurghada is extremely popular with Eastern Europeans and especially Russians, hundreds of thousands of whom visit each year. Many tourists choose to combine their holiday here with visits to other prominent locations along the Nile Valley, including the relatively nearby city of Luxor.
One thousand years after the construction of the Great Pyramids, the New Kingdom arose in Egypt, and power shifted from the ancient capital of Memphis to Thebes in the south, the site of modern-day Luxor. Enriched by gold mined in the deserts of Nubia and transported to the city on the river Nile, Thebes became the country’s cultural and political hub.
Today, the mid-sized city Luxor is known as the “world’s largest open air museum” and is one of Egypt’s most popular travel destinations. There’s so much to see and do in Luxor – from temples to tombs and everything in between. You’ll need to allow a couple of days to do it all justice.
Most of the Luxor attractions are located either on the East Bank or the West Bank of the Nile. Famous highlights on the East Bank include Karnak Temple – also known as Ipet-isu (‘Most Select of Places’) – an extraordinary temple city that took over 2,000 years to build. Although the entire Karnak complex consists of four main parts, the main structure known as the Temple of Amun is the only one that is open to the general public.
The largest religious building ever built, the temple’s pillared hall is a breathtaking stone forest of 134 columns that stand as high as 21 meters (69 feet). Stroll.
The beautifully illuminated Luxor Temple is a particularly stunning temple to explore at night. On the other side of the Nile, the West Bank boasts the white-washed scenery of the Valley of the Kings, home to many elaborate and colorfully-muraled tombs, pits, and burial chambers. Some of the tombs are included in your ticket gateway, but prepare to pay more to visit King Tut’s tomb – the highlight – the final resting place of King Tutankhamun’s mummy.