13 of the Best Things to Do in Egypt for the Perfect Trip

Explore the best things to do in Egypt and unlock the wonders of this ancient land. Start planning your unforgettable trip now!

road to Giza pyramids

After living there for seven months, I know a thing or two about the best things to do in Egypt. 

But where do you even start when exploring this fascinating country? The more research you do, the longer your list gets. 

Everyone knows about the Pyramids of Giza. There’s no denying they are phenomenal, but there is so much more to this North African country than most visitors think. 

Did you know that Egypt is home to some of the best diving in the world? Or can you climb to 2,285 meters to witness where Moses received The Ten Commandments? One day, you can be lost in the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities you’ve ever experienced, and the next, you’re floating in a turquoise pool in an oasis. It’s pretty mind-blowing!

I want to make sure your time there is unforgettable, so I’ve curated a list of the best things to do in Egypt.

Explore tombs at the Valley of the Kings 

inside the tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Most lists of the best things to do in Egypt include the Pyramids of Giza as number one. Of course, they’re on this list, but the Valley of Kings deserves a bit more of the spotlight. 

After landing in Cairo, travel to Luxor to see this magnificent site. Constructed during Egypt’s New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC), the valley is where pharaohs, queens, high priests, and other esteemed individuals were buried. During your visit, you’ll explore tombs adorned with hieroglyphics so well-preserved they still boast vibrant blues, reds, and yellows.

Pro tip: Pay the extra fee to visit the tomb of Ramses V & VI. The colors inside are magnificent. 

Step back in time at Luxor Temple 

 Luxor Temple Egypt

Luxor Temple is impressive, but set in the middle of Luxor City, the juxtaposition between the ancient and modern worlds makes it even more spectacular. 

Built around 1400 BC, the temple was dedicated to the god Amun-Ra, his consort Mut, and their con Khonsu. You’ll find carvings of them all over the temple, as well as scenes from ancient Egyptian mythology and history. 

The jaw-dropping experience begins almost immediately upon entrance as you’re greeted by the 22-meter (72 ft) obelisk made from a single piece of granite. 

Inside, the grandeur continues with humongous columns covered in yet more intricate carvings. 

Pro tip: The McDonalds across the road offers an impressive view of Luxor Temple.

Explore the Pyramids of Giza

camel sitting next to the Pyramids of Giza Egypt

You can’t really come to Egypt and not visit the Pyramids of Giza. You can tick off a Wonder of the World and visit one of humankind’s most magnificent creations. 

The site consists of three main pyramids and the Great Sphinx. Set aside a few hours to wander around the historical site, imagining the awe-inspiring civilization that created these wonders. 

Pro tip: Pay a little extra to go inside the pyramids. 

Don’t skip Dahshur Pyramids

visitors at the Bent Pyramid in Egypt one of the best things to do there

Often overshadowed by the Pyramids of Giza, the Dahshur Necropolis, just south of Cairo city, is almost as impressive, and you won’t be overwhelmed by tourists. 

It’s home to two main pyramids: the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. Both are incredibly unique due to their construction. 

The Bent Pyramid got its name from its crooked appearance. 48 meters (157 ft) into construction, the architect realized he’d made a mistake, and the angle had to be changed, giving it a bent appearance. 

The Red Pyramid was the first perfect pyramid with straight sides, which inspired and led to the construction of the Pyramids of Giza. 

Eat Koshari at Abu Tarek

Koshari Egypt's national dish

The food in Egypt is as unique as the hieroglyphics on the tombs.

Koshari is Egypt’s national dish and a must-try. The best way to describe it is a random but brilliant collection of everything in the back of your cupboard. 

In a hearty bowl, you’ll find a base layer of rice, lentils, and macaroni served with a generous helping of spiced tomato sauce, crispy fried onions and chickpeas.

Arguably, the best place to try it is Abu Tarek in Cairo. Covering multiple floors, this restaurant is one of the most popular in the capital. 

Eating koshari here is like watching a performance, but we won’t spoil the surprise.

Overnight in the White Desert

White Desert in Egypt

The White Desert is like nothing else on this list of best things to do in Egypt. It’s no ordinary desert!

This national park’s unique and otherworldly landscape is dotted with surreal white chalk rock formations. Formed by wind erosion, these lumps of rock appear almost alien, taking on the shape of mushrooms, pillars or anything else you can imagine. 

Most people opt to spend a night in the desert to witness the rocks changing colors during sunrise and sunset. 

The best way to visit the White Desert is on a tour from Cairo. The drive there takes around 4-5 hours. 

Sail on the River Nile

Sail on the River Nile in Egypt

Sailing on the River Nile is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Egypt. 

If you’re looking to travel from Aswan to Luxor or vice versa, this is a memorable way to make the journey!

Choose from a luxurious cruise ship or a felucca — a traditional sailing boat.

Which one should you choose? Well, that depends on your budget and preferred level of comfort. The cruise ship is more expensive but adds a splash of opulence to your Egyptian adventures. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly and traditional, the felucca is the way to go. 

Along the way, you’ll be treated to lush green landscapes, traditional villages and a cow or two. It’s a great chance to see another side of Egypt. 

Some boats also stop at lesser-visited temples like Edfu and Kom Ombo Temples.

Kitesurf and dive in Dahab

Blue Hole dive site in Dahab Egypt

The magical beach town of Dahab has somehow managed to fly under the radar for most visitors. 

Maybe it’s because it’s a 6-8 hour journey from Cairo. But trust me, it’s one of the best places in Egypt. 

Pro tip: If you’re not a fan of long bus journeys, you can fly to Sharm el-Sheikh and take a 1-2 hour bus from there.

It’s the kind of place where people plan to stay for a few days but end up staying for months. So make sure you have a return ticket booked if you don’t want to get “stuck.” 

This unsuspecting town is full of adventures, whether it’s kitesurfing, windsurfing, rock climbing, snorkeling or scuba diving. 

Only meters from the shore, you’ll find some of the most thriving coral you have ever seen. Diving is also very affordable here. 

Feel like relaxing instead? Escape to the turquoise lagoon only a few minutes out of town.

Sleep at a camp in Nuweiba 

camp in Nuweiba at night in Egypt

Less than an hour from Dahab, Nuweiba offers an extraordinary experience in Egypt. Its golden beaches are lined with rustic camps. 

We’re talking wooden huts, palm-tree roofs, hammocks and campfires under the stars. It’s back to basics but the perfect place to disconnect and relax. 

Spend your days swimming in the Red Sea, snorkeling and devouring as much seafood as possible. 

Climb Mount Sinai

Climb Mount Sinai in Egypt

Mount Sinai is a fantastic place to visit if you’re staying in Sharm el Sheikh or Dahab. However, some people journey to this significant religious site from anywhere in Egypt. 

Believed to be the spot where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, it’s an important site for Jews, Christians and Muslims. You can even get a glimpse of the burning bush, now housed in Saint Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of the mountain. 

Even if you’re not religious, the hike to 2,285 meters (7,497 ft) above sea level is memorable. Most people hike during the night, making the summit just in time for a spectacular sunrise over the surrounding mountains. 

Pro tip: It’s compulsory to have a guide to climb Mount Sinai. 

Scuba dive in the Red Sea

Scuba dive in the Red Sea

Egypt is home to world-class diving. It’s also some of the cheapest diving you’ll find. It’s a win-win!

Some of the best places to go scuba diving include Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Marsa Alam, and Hurghada. Or opt for a liveaboard and explore underwater worlds largely unexplored. 

Not only is the coral remarkable and alive, but the Red Sea is ideal for spotting an array of marine life. If you’re heading to Marsa Alam, keep an eye out for turtles, sharks, lionfish, rays, and manatees. 

Be amazed by Abu Simbel 

statues a the Abu Simbel in Egypt

Many people will argue that Abu Simbel, near Aswan, is their favorite temple site and one of the best things to do in Egypt. 

Constructed in the 13th century BC by King Ramses II to honor himself and his wife, Queen Nefertari, Abu Simbel is sure to take your breath away. 

The amazement begins the moment you catch a glimpse of the temples. At the entrances, majestic statues measuring 20 meters (66 feet) in height depict both Ramses and his wife. 

Captivating hieroglyphics and more impeccably preserved statues adorn the interior. 

Equally noteworthy is the extraordinary feat accomplished in 1968 following the construction of the Aswan High Dam. To prevent submersion, the temples had to be meticulously relocated, piece by piece, to higher ground.

Float in the pools in Siwa

Aqua colored salt pools in Siwa Egypt

The desert oasis known as Siwa has blown up on social media over the past year or so. You’ll recognize it by the vibrant turquoise pools people float in due to their salinity. 

Like nothing you’ve seen before, people are willing to make the 10-hour journey from Cairo to Siwa just to get a glimpse of them and have a float themselves. While the pools are undeniably beautiful, there’s more to Siwa. 

Spend 3-4 days relaxing in a desert camp, soaking in hot springs, visiting historical sites or driving about in the desert. 

Weather in Egypt 

camels by the beach in Egypt

Egypt is a year-round destination. Rain isn’t really something you need to consider when planning your trip. 

You need to keep the temperature in mind. Pick the wrong time, and you’ll be sweating so much that you’ll look like you took a shower. 

The best time to visit Egypt is between October and February when temps typically range from 15-23°C (60-73°F). Or in March and April when they increase to 30°C (86°F).

You can visit during the summer months (June to August), especially if you’re heading to a beach destination. However, be prepared that temperatures may rise to way above 40°C (104°F). 

Packing list essentials for Egypt

detail of carving on columns in Egypt

Your packing essentials for Egypt depend on the timing of your visit. In the cooler months, consider adding a lightweight jacket to your suitcase, especially for chilly evenings.

For those venturing out in the summer, opt for the lightest and breeziest attire while adhering to a more conservative dress code. Women, in particular, should keep their shoulders and legs covered. Definitely no short skirts, dresses, or shorts. 

In popular beach towns like Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam, it’s okay to show a bit more skin — bikinis, swimsuits, and shorts will not offend. 

Here are some more things to consider bringing with you: 

  • Suncream 
  • Sunhat 
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Your student ID if you have one – you can get a 50% discount on most historical sites in Egypt.

Map of Egypt

Covering the best things to do in Egypt will take you all over the country. You’ll have to follow the River Nile as far south as Aswan to visit Abu Simbel and then north to Cairo.  

If you want to visit Dahab and Nuweiba and climb Mount Sinai, don’t miss the Sinai Peninsula. 

How to get to and around Egypt

hieroglyphics in Egypt

Luckily, Cairo’s International Airport receives flights from all over the world, making it a relatively well-connected city. In winter, you can find great deals with budget airlines from Europe and the U.S.

If you’re already in Egypt, one of the best and most affordable ways to travel around the country is by bus. Just keep in mind that you should always add an hour or two to the journey time advertised! 

Taxis, particularly Uber or InDrive, can also be comfortable and not too expensive ways to cover shorter distances. 

What top things will you do in Egypt? 

people riding camels in the Egyptian hills

Egypt is a surprisingly large country with journey times that can make your back ache just thinking about them. Trying to fit all the best things to do in Egypt into one visit won’t be an easy task. 

My biggest advice is not to rush exploring everything this diverse country offers. It just means you’ll have to come back again…and again! 

If you need a little help planning your trip, check out our 2-week itinerary in Egypt, which ticks off many activities on this list. 

FAQ

Which is the best part of Egypt to go to? 

This depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to explore temples, following the River Nile is your best route. For avid divers, stick to coastal towns along the Red Sea, like Marsa Alam, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh and Dahab. 

Is Egypt cheap or expensive? 

Egypt is a very affordable country to travel — there is something for all budgets. 

How many days in Egypt is enough? 

There aren’t enough days to truly uncover the best things in Egypt. But two weeks gives you enough time to visit some of the best spots. 

Posted January 30, 2024
Kate Woodley
After a 2-year career break travelling the world, Kate quit her job as a Management Consultant and went all in on digital nomad life. She continues to travel, working as a freelance writer and inspiring others to travel through her Instagram, Maskedtravelsx. Kate also shares her love of travel by running group trips to unique destinations — Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan etc. Where life will take her next? She has no idea!