Ever since commercial travel became a viable possibility after the Second World War, Egypt has been one of the major destinations for travellers from across the globe.
The sheer grandness of the country’s ancient history can still be seen at sites across Egypt, and it would be fair to say that no other place in the world can boast of such important and ancient landmarks as Egypt.
Holidaymakers Guide to Egypt
Luxor is the modern name of the ancient city of Thebes, which was the seat of power in Egypt for thousands of years. Its importance is marked by the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, home to the tombs of former kings, queens, and nobility of Egypt.
These major historic sites attract millions of tourists every year, lying just west of Luxor, and can be reached by the many tourist buses that operate daily from the city.
Valley of the Kings
While the Valley of the Kings holds 63 tombs, only 18 can be opened, and at any one time there will only be a handful open for visitors. This restricted access is to help preserve the tombs and their contents.
Further north lies the modern capital, Cairo.
As well as being the centre of contemporary Egyptian life, Cairo is also the place from which to visit Egypt’s other great treasure, the historic site home to The Great Pyramid of Giza.
The pyramids, as well as other structures like the famous Sphinx, are a thousand years older still than the structures in the Valley of the Kings.
Also in Cairo, is The Egyptian Museum, home to the greatest pieces of art and history from ancient Egypt, including the most famous collection in the world, the contents of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
It offers a different experience to the history-based holidays around Cairo and Luxor.
On the northern shores of the Red Sea, Sharm-el-Sheikh can offer a beach holiday extraordinaire for those who prefer to spend their time lying on the sand as opposed to learning about those who have lain under it for thousands of years.
Unfortunately, Egypt has had problems with terrorism in recent years, particularly those targeting foreign travellers. The Foreign Office has regular updates on the situation and gives travel advice.
That said, the authorities in Egypt have worked hard to protect visitors and has largely succeeded in doing so. Millions of foreigners travel there each year without experiencing any trouble whatsoever.
What are your thoughts about Egypt? Is it a place you would like to visit?
Popular Places To Visit In Egypt
Everyone knows about the pyramids in Egypt – you’d be hard pressed to find Egypt tours that don’t include a visit to Giza. While Giza heads up our list for the five must see places for historical travellers to visit, there are four other places that also fit the bill.
Pyramids of Giza, Cairo
It would be impossible to travel to Egypt and not stop by Cairo to visit the pyramids serving as tombs to the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure.
These three pyramids are accompanied by the Sphinx and Temple of the Sphinx, in addition to a variety of Queens’ Pyramids and Nobles’ Tombs – built by a peak workforce of 40,000 people some 4,500 years ago, the pyramids are the first stop on an historical tour of Egypt.
St Anthony’s Monastery, Red Sea Mountains
Take a trip to the heart of the Red Sea mountains and discover St Antony’s Monastery in a desert oasis. Found in 356 AD, St Antony’s Monastery was used as a monastic community by St Antony the Great and Julian the Apostate in the 4th century.
As the oldest active monastery in the world, it is beautifully preserved, looking like a small scale Egyptian village.
Tour the four churches onsite and marvel at the intricate frescos before retiring to the library to examine the largest collection of Coptic manuscripts in Egypt.
Perfect for a day trip if you’re staying in Cairo, Tell Basta is only 80 kilometres away in the Eastern Nile Delta.
This ancient city is a current excavation site where archaeologists are still discovering ceramics and other assorted wares.
Built during the 4th dynasty, Tell Basta was religious centre for the cult of Bastet and you can still see monuments there depicting the lion goddess.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Cairo
Opened in 1902, The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities is home to the most astonishing ancient treasures discovered in Egypt.
From Tutankhamen’s death mask to the Royal Mummies room, there is something to interest every historical traveller.
There are over 100,000 pieces on display at the museum so be sure to plan your visit in advance to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
There is so much to see and do for history-focussed travellers in Egypt. Hire a car or make use of Egypt’s extensive public transport system and take in every historical site this country has to offer.
Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, Alexandria
For the historical traveller with a sense of adventure, the Catacombs of Komash-Shaqqafa is a site not to be missed.
Built in the 2nd century AD, the Catacombs are not for the faint of heart, as they house some 300 bodies distributed across three levels. Allocate a couple of hours to explore the maze of passageways linking rooms, a banqueting hall and the main tomb.
The ornate decorations will catch your eye as you move through the site, showcasing a harmonious blend of Egyptian, Greek and Roman art.
Cruising the Nile
You are a homebody, so travelling has never really been your cup of tea. In fact, you are like one of those hobbits from the Lord of the Rings who does not like going on adventures.
Sure, you might get over to Liverpool once in a while to catch a football game, or take a weekend jaunt in the country for some hiking.
However, when it comes to big, elaborate and extravagant trips, you are not a fan. They say that opposites attract, and this certainly seems to be the case when it comes to you and your wife.
As luck would have it, she has a vagabond spirit. Her favourite phrase is “wanderlust keeps you young.” She lives, breathes and marks her time by holidays. Every year, she has to slowly and carefully coax you to take a trip with her.
When she mentioned taking a tour of Egypt this summer, you cringed. However, what choice did you have?
Cruising the Nile
When your wife first mentioned Egypt, you thought of sand, wind and blinding dust storms. You imagined yourself on a camel in an arid desert. Dehydration was imminent. The one thing you did not imagine was first-class luxury. You could not have been more misguided.
Cruising the Nile Day One
You are standing on the top deck of the Royal Lily, a modern cruise ship with 56 luxurious cabins. You should be tired – the itinerary throughout the day was jam-packed, but there is something about the boat and the Nile that gives you an idyllic feeling.
From the Tombs of the Pharaohs and the Valley of the Kings to the Colossi of Memnon, you have seen more historical sights today than in your forty years on the planet.
Cruising the Nile Day Two
You decide to buy postcards. In fact, you buy a monstrous stack of postcards and begin writing to everyone you know. In twenty years of marriage, your wife has never seen you behave like this.
You write long, flowing description of the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza. There are not enough words to describe the Amon-Ra at Karnak. Egypt is agreeing with you. Wanderlust has taken over.
Cruising the Nile Day Three
It is no longer your wife who is telling you about the daily itinerary and excursions, but you who is explaining it to you.
Over breakfast, you give her a detailed lecture about the Temple of Edfu. You mention Sobek, the Egyptian crocodile god, as if he was one of your favourite footballers.
Your wife has a theory. She says that it was not travel you disliked so much over the years, but the endless hassles and complicated logistics – the Royal Lily made Egypt easy.
How To Explore Egypt
How To Explore Egypt: Egypt is one of those destinations which will always surprise you – many visitors come here simply looking for sun, sea and sand, and hole up for a week or two in a lush all inclusive resort with five-star service and everything they could ever need available on tap.
While this perfectly suits those who are looking for nothing more than to chill out and top up their tan, the danger is that you can miss out on an incredible world of mystery and intrigue.
To really get the most out of your, don’t get too settled. Either book onto some excursions and enjoy the chance to get out and about, or check out the public transport system and find your own way around.
The range of excursions on offer are hugely varied – they can be fun-filled adventures such as jeep safaris or camel treks, short trips to a local landmark or beauty spot, or perhaps a full day excursion to see some of the most important historical sites of Egypt. Whatever you fancy, there are trips aplenty to help you make the most of your visit.
After all, no trip to Egypt would be complete without seeing some of its incredible ancient monuments. From the Pyramids of Giza and the towering Great Sphinx, to wandering around the magnificent temples and soaring pillars, these awe-inspiring relics of ancient civilisations have to be seen to be believed.
If you’re worried about your holiday budget, fear not. Travelling to Egypt is now as easy as ever before thanks to the myriad of low-cost holidays available, which range from picking your own low-cost scheduled flights to booking package breaks with the likes of Thomas Cook holiday deals.
However you get here, be sure to plan your trip carefully to make sure you get out and about and make the most out of your experience. You won’t be disappointed.