Egypt has enthralled travelers and tourists for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The modern fascination with Ancient Egyptian pyramids and historic archaeological sites never seems to diminish, meaning there are plenty of things to do in Egypt during a visit.
From marveling at the Pyramids of Giza to cruising along the waters of the River Nile. This is a place for history lovers, but there’s much more to see than just tombs and temples too.
Modern Egypt is vibrant but chaotic, a mix of religions and cultures and you can be mesmerized or frustrated by huge cities such as Cairo or Alexandria.
But you can also retreat to the beauty and peace of a hidden oasis or a secluded beach on the Red Sea.
We’ve spent more than 7 weeks uncovering the best of Egypt from north to south and east to west.
To inspire your next adventure, here are the best things to do in Egypt.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Egypt (Travel Guide)
21 Epic Things to Do in Egypt
Table of Contents
1. Explore Cairo
Travelers will always have a love-hate relationship with Cairo. It’s a huge, sprawling metropolis, the largest city in Egypt and the nation’s capital.
But with an enormous population of 20 million and rising, it can be a difficult city to visit.
But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve pride of place as one of the best things to do in Egypt.
Yes, it’s busy and crowded, but give Cairo some time and the rewards are immense.
You can immerse yourself in the local culture at the huge bazaars, you can visit wonderful museums, and you’re never too far from the epic sight of the Pyramids.
Experience Cairo’s very best with a private full-day tour that takes in ancient sites, artifacts and a bustling bazaar.
Ride a camel through the sand beside the soaring pyramids at Giza, then descend to the funerary complex at the Valley Temple.
Read more 21 Amazing Things to Do in Cairo, Egypt
2. Wander the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is located in Cairo, but it’s such a fascinating museum that it’s earned its entry as one of the best things to do in Egypt. In fact, the capital is worth visiting just for this museum, because it truly is epic.
There are hundreds of thousands of exhibits on display, including famed artifacts that were buried alongside Tutankhamun thousands of years ago.
The museum is set to close in its present location but will reopen in an even larger and more impressive location closer to Giza, where the pyramids are found.
Discover the Egyptian Museum, one of the most incredible museums for Egyptian antiquities in the world, during this half-day trip to Cairo.
Step back in time as you explore the museum’s collection of more than 160,000 jaw-dropping ancient objects, including the gold and jewelry buried with King Tutankhamen plus a wealth of other Pharaonic antiquities. Best of all, you’ll make your visit with a certified Egyptologist guide.
3. Explore the Giza Necropolis
No trip to Egypt is complete without seeing the Giza Necropolis. This is one of the best things to do in Egypt because this is where you’ll be able to marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza in all their ancient glory.
The Giza Necropolis complex is located just outside Cairo, and first-time visitors are always surprised at just how close this archaeological site actually is to the capital.
You can see the most photographed pyramids in Egypt, as well as the iconic Great Sphinx of Giza too.
Yes, it’s always busy and it’s always touristy, but this truly is a bucket-list-worthy place to visit when you are in Egypt, and it will always be worth braving the crowds to see.
Looking for a great guided way to explore the pyramids? Check out this full-day tour that takes in Cairo’s remarkable antiquities and modern life.
See Egypt’s most iconic monuments on the Giza Plateau and visit the Valley Temple; pause for lunch at a local restaurant then get a glimpse of more recent history at the square that saw the ‘Arab Spring’.
4. Expand Your Pyramid Knowledge at Djoser
But, if you are looking for a quieter insight into the Ancient Egyptian world, then the country is brimming with wonderful archaeological sites that few tourists ever visit.
One of the quieter pyramids to visit can be found just a short drive away from the iconic Pyramids of Giza.
The Pyramid of Djoser is in the Cairo outskirts too, but it’s not quite as well known.
Dating back to around 2700 BC, this monumental structure was built as the burial chamber and tribute to an Egyptian Pharaoh and predates the pyramids which were later built at Giza.
5. Take a Trip to Alexandria
Alexandria is a name that has been passed down through the ages by generations of travelers and historians because it’s a city that has long played an integral role in the Mediterranean.
Alexandria is named for the man who founded the city, Alexander the Great, and it can trace origins back to at least 331 BC, although there were smaller settlements here even before then.
Alexandria is huge. It’s home to over 5 million people, and it’s chaotic and an intriguing center for Egyptian culture.
See the best of Alexandria on a full-day, private tour with an experienced guide.
You will get the perfect overview and orientation of the city as you trace an all-star route from the stunning modern library to ancient wonders and Roman landmarks.
6. Uncover the Wonders of Luxor
Travel to the south of Egypt, to see one of the country’s most fascinating destinations. Visiting Luxor is one of the best things to do in Egypt because the area is literally teeming with Ancient Egyptian history.
Luxor has founded thousands of years ago as the city of Thebes, a legendary place in the ancient world.
Located on the banks of the Nile, this is where the Ancient Egyptians went through their golden age.
Explore beautiful temples, discover incredible archaeological sites and cruise along the River Nile.
See the highlights of Luxor on a full-day tour of the East and West Banks of the Nile.
Explore the city’s magnificent temples, tombs, and monuments in the company of an Egyptologist guide. Includes visits to the Valley of the Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and Karnak Temple.
7. See the Karnak Temple
One of the best things to do in Egypt is to visit the Temple of Karnak, which is found just outside the modern city of Luxor.
This is one of the largest religious complexes that has ever been built, and you’ll be mesmerized by the size and the scale of the project.
The Karnak Temple was dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian Gods, but additions were made for thousands of years, long after the last Pharaohs had disappeared.
There are Great Halls, huge statues and countless rooms and crypts waiting to be discovered in this enormous open-air museum.
Enjoy the undivided attention of a private Egyptologist guide during your full-day tour of Luxor’s West and East Banks.
Visit the UNESCO-listed temples of Karnak and Luxor and see attractions including the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, and the Colossi of Memnon.
8. Explore the Valley of the Kings
While you’re staying in Luxor, then you can not only visit the Karnak Temple, but you can also take a trip to the Valley of the Kings.
This epic archaeological site is easily one of the best things to do in Egypt because for centuries this is where the Egyptian Pharaohs were laid to rest in their lavish tombs.
It’s here that the infamous Tomb of Tutankhamun was opened, an event which sparked mass interest in the practice of Egyptology and opened up the modern world, to the world of the ancients.
In search of a guided tour with air-conditioned vehicle transport? Look no further! This full-day (8 hrs.) guided trip is the answer. You will be transported to the Necropolis of Thebes and the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank of Luxor.
There you visit four royal tombs, including the Tomb of Ramses IV, the Tomb of Ramses III, and the Tomb of Merenptah with extra time for optional entrances into other tombs.
9. Take a Nile River Cruise
The River Nile is the longest river in the world, stretching for over 4000 miles from the center of Africa to the Egyptian coast.
Ancient Egyptian culture flourished because of its location along the fertile deltas of the River Nile.
Today, you can take a cruise from Luxor to Aswan to see just how important, and just how beautiful, this part of the Nile is to human life and history in the region.
Follow in the wake of prophets and pharaohs on this all-inclusive, 4-night deluxe Nile cruise, the perfect way to experience the majesty of one of the world’s great rivers.
10. Visit Aswan
Travel south from Luxor, and you’ll soon reach the city of Aswan. Located on the glorious banks of the River Nile, Aswan was traditionally the last frontier of the Egyptian Kingdoms.
Beyond Aswan, the culture and the people changed, and they do today as well.
This makes Aswan a wonderful melting point of both contemporary culture and ancient history, and you’ll find that it’s an intriguing place to explore.
There are bazaars, mosques, churches and the excellent Nubia Museum to visit.
11. Stare in Wonder at Abu Simbel
Travel even further south, and on the border of Sudan, you can find one of the best things to do in Egypt.
Abu Simbel is a staggering archaeological find, where you can see Ancient Egyptian temples dedicated to gods, and built by the Pharaoh Ramesses II.
It’s remote, it’s isolated, and it’s a marvelously historic place to visit.
See the ancient marvel of Abu Simbel on a private day trip from Aswan. Journey southward by private, air-conditioned vehicle as your personal guide shares tales of the 3,400-year-old complex, a masterwork of ancient Egyptian engineering beside Lake Nasser.
While you explore, hear the incredible story of the temples’ 1960s relocation to protect them from flooding after the building of the Aswan High Dam.
12. Hit Up the Siwa Oasis
Far from Sudan, you can find another iconic place to visit, this time on the Libyan border. Venture out into the deserts for a look at a unique side of life in western Egypt, and make a beeline for the Siwa Oasis.
This green and verdant paradise are starkly juxtaposed against the bleak desert sands that surround it. This is the most remote town in Egypt, and it’s home to the most unique population in the country.
The locals here are the descendants of nomadic Berbers, who tamed the sands and learned how to live in the deserts.
13. Relax at a Red Sea Resort
Egypt is more than just its ancient history and archaeology though, and along the Red Sea coastline, you can find a great selection of resorts and hotels that are great for a sunny getaway.
From Hurghada to Sharm el-Sheikh, you can relax on white-sand beaches, enjoy the clear waters of the Red Sea, and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand of Egypt’s premier holiday zone.
Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine, which gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.
14. Go Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
If you’re into more active pursuits and aren’t content just sitting on the beach and lounging in the sun, then don’t fear, because the Red Sea is also the perfect place for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling.
In fact, diving or snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Egypt, because few other places in the world can match both the biodiversity of the Red Sea and the ease at which it can be accessed by travelers.
Strap on your mask and snorkel, and enjoy Egypt’s underwater world!
Looking for a guided snorkeling experience? Check out this full-day Red Sea snorkeling trip that will drop anchor at three prime snorkeling locations.
Bring your own snorkeling gear or use the provided onboard equipment, and enjoy ample time to waft through the crystal waters past dazzling corals, exotic fish and perhaps even turtles and rays.
This experience includes round-trip Hurghada hotel transfers and a delicious lunch served aboard your boat.
15. Climb Mount Sinai
Located on the Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai is one of the most natural features in Egypt. This biblical mountain is important in all the major Abrahamic religions, and it’s long been a site of pilgrimage.
At approximately 7200 ft (2200 meters) in height, Mountain Sinai is one of the tallest peaks in Egypt.
Surprisingly, it’s relatively easy to hike to the summit, and you can complete the journey in just under 3 hours if you’re fit and healthy.
Book this great hiking trip to watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Sinai, one of Egypt’s highest mountains.
You’ll climb the peak in the predawn darkness, see first light illuminate the mountaintop chapel and mosque, then descend to the 6th-century Monastery of St. Catherine, built where Moses is believed to have seen the Burning Bush.
16. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Luxor
This is hands down one of our favorite things to do in Egypt. There is nothing quite as magical as being lifted above the Valley of the Kings in a hot air balloon while the sun rises over the Nile.
The perspective that comes from this adventure will humble you, as you marvel at the sheer vastness of the royal burial grounds of Ancient Egypt.
You’ll soar over farm lands before getting clear, unobstructed views of the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Workers. You’ll also see the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Aside from the above, you’ll get a fantastic aerial view of local life along the Nile River, soaring over farm fields, horse farms and villages before landing.
17. Ride a Camel at the Great Pyramids
I know, I know, this is the ultimate tourist activity in Egypt. But, that doesn’t mean you should pass on it during your trip to Egypt.
Seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza from the back of a camel is one of the most special experiences you can take away from your trip.
You’ll get to interact with local Egyptians, cross the desert sand and have your photo taken with the iconic pyramids as your backdrop. It is absolutely worth doing, so do not hesitate!
18. Visit the Crocodile Temple of Kom Ombo
This is one of the most interesting temples that you can visit across Egypt. As the name suggests, you can certainly expect to find mummified Nile crocodiles when you visit!
While the temple itself has been subject to flooding of the Nile River, earthquakes and vandalism over the centuries, it still has plenty of beautiful reliefs to enjoy.
The most interesting part, however, is the museum that displays a few of the 300 mummified crocodiles and other animals that were found during excavation at the temple.
19. Visit a Nubian Village
We’ve been to Aswan twice, and both times have opted to visit a Nubian village on the West Bank of the Nile River. Not only is this a great way to see the Nile River, but also a fantastic way to experience a different culture.
The Nubian people that reside in Egypt are immigrants from Sudan and are more closely related to desert Africans in Sudan than the Arabs that inhabit much of Egypt.
With these major differences a unique culture that makes up the diversity of Egypt. In visiting one of the Nubian villages near Aswan, you can shop the markets and partake in traditional hibiscus tea ceremonies inside a locals house.
20. Chill Out in Dahab
If you’re looking to relax on the Red Sea after exploring temples and get away from it all, then Dahab is the perfect little oasis for you. It’s both small and quiet.
Located on the east side of the Sinai Peninsula, this charming little backpacker type town is the perfect escape. It offers excellent shopping, a small town vibe and the most amazing scuba diving in Egypt.
The crowds will be smaller and the prices cheaper than you’ll find in the more commercial tourist centers of Sharm el Sheik and Hurghada. Truth be told, it’s one of our favorite places in Egypt.
21. Eat Koshari
A trip to Egypt is not complete until you’ve indulged in some of the local delicacies. Eating your way across the country is one of the best things to do in Egypt.
You’ll want to make sure that you try the national dish, Koshari as a start. This dish starts with a base of rice, macaroni and lentils that are mixed together. It is then covered with a spiced tomato sauce, garlic and vinegar.
It is then topped with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. Often served with a variety of sides that include garlic, spicy hot and vinegar sauces.
This dish is an affordable staple throughout the country and can be enjoyed at many street stalls, as well as in restaurants.
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Cairo to Cairo
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