Unmissable things to see on your first trip to Egypt

Pyramids of Giza
Pyramids of Giza

Dating back to before the time of the pharaohs, Egypt is an intriguing holiday destination packed with ancient wonders to explore and a rich cultural heritage to embrace. This is a land of temples, monuments and tombs that tell stories of kingdoms and rulers through the ages. Egypt is a beautiful country, with the Nile River snaking through fertile plains, vibrant coral reefs lining the shores of the Red Sea, and dozens of archaeological sites to keep even the most avid Indiana Jones wannabe happy.

Many visitors Book Flights to Cairo to begin their journey in Egypt’s sprawling capital, which stands proudly on the banks of the River Nile. After exploring the buzzing metropolis, and of course seeing the pyramids, it’s time for a Nile cruise before heading to Luxor and the incredible tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Finally Hurghada makes for a relaxing break on the Red Sea, with water sports and diving excursions to suit all abilities.

If you’re thinking of heading to Egypt for the first time then these are just a few of the things we think you shouldn’t miss on your trip.

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is one of the most-visited sights in all of Egypt, and located just outside of Luxor it is easily reached on a day trip from many places in the country, even from some of the Red Sea resorts like Hurghada. The valley is the final resting place of many of Egypt’s great pharaohs, including the boy-king Tutankhamun whose tomb was famously discovered by British Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922. This tomb is known for the riches it contained, including a dagger made from a meteorite, as well as the mummy of the king himself, all of which can now be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. 

The tombs here are renowned for their colourful hieroglyphs, such as the burial chamber belonging to King Ramesses IV which is beautifully preserved and a sight to behold.

The tomb of Ramesses IV

Pyramids of Giza, Cairo

Of course a holiday to Egypt isn’t complete without a visit to the famous Pyramids of Giza, just outside Cairo. These three pyramids were constructed during the 4th Century when Egypt was one of the most influential civilisations in the world, with the colossal stature of the monuments reflecting the status and power of the pharaohs.

The pyramids were built as tombs for the kings. These royals were interred with riches that were believed to be helpful in the afterlife, such as gold, plates, jewellery and even food. The largest of the pyramids here at Giza is one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, and was a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu. He was obviously an important and distinguished leader as 2.3 million stone blocks were used in the construction of this epic memorial.

Today, millions of visitors come to see the pyramids each year, travelling from all over the world to see these magnificent tombs. A number of companies such as saudi airlines operate flights to Cairo, making this city a great place to begin your Egyptian adventure.

Pyramids of Giza

Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor

One of the most striking ancient structures in Egypt is the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, built into the cliffs of Deir el Bahri on the banks of the Nile, not far from the Valley of the Kings. Hatshepsut was one of the first female pharaohs in Egypt and did everything she could to be remembered after her death, including building tombs and statues that were more splendid than those that had gone before.

At this funerary temple you’ll see an abundance of towering pillars, raised platforms and intricate carvings that tell the story of Hatshepsut’s life and reign. There’s also a sun court and even a chapel to explore, just make sure you take the sun block and drink plenty of water as it does get rather hot out here.

Temple of Hatshepsut

Nile Cruise

No visit to Egypt is complete without a cruise on the River Nile, whether you want a multi-day trip between Luxor and Aswan that stops off at several archaeological sights along the way, or a couple of hours to just get a taste of what life on the water is all about.

One of the most popular Nile experiences is to spend a few hours on board a felucca boat, a traditional wooden vessel with a large billowing sail to power it along. Felucca cruises are relaxing as you lounge around on deck watching the world go by on the fertile riverbanks. It’s also possible to spend several days on a felucca, sleeping out on deck under the starry sky at night in the cooling breeze. Simple yet delicious local cuisine is on offer at meal times, prepared for you by the boat’s crew, and swapping stories as the sun sets is the perfect way to end a holiday in Egypt.

Sailing a felucca on the Nile

Have you visited Egypt? Share you tips with us in the comments.

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