Explore Egypt: 10 Tourist Attractions That Will Blow Your Mind

  • Gold Coast XP
  • August 4, 2023
  • Travel

As an avid traveler who lives for adventure, I’m constantly seeking out destinations that will stimulate my senses and ignite my imagination. And let me tell you – Egypt tops the list of places that have completely blown my mind.

Did you know that Egypt is home to the oldest dress in the world, dating back to 3482 BC? Or that it boasts over 100 pyramids, with new discoveries still being made today? The country absolutely oozes history, culture, and natural beauty around every corner.

Planning a trip to Egypt can feel overwhelming at first. With so many incredible options spanning thousands of years of civilization, how do you even begin to choose? Well, I’m here to make things easy for you.

In this article, I’ll draw from my own adventures to share my top 10 recommended tourist attractions in Egypt for first-time visitors. I’ll give you the scoop on each destination along with insider tips to help you plan the perfect trip.

From awe-inspiring ancient monuments to stunning natural wonders, these are the places that will truly blow your mind and make you fall in love with Egypt. Let’s dive in!

1. The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

No trip to Egypt is complete without a visit to the iconic Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Situated right on the outskirts of Cairo, these mammoth structures have captured imaginations for thousands of years.

 The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

The largest and oldest of the three main pyramids is the Great Pyramid of Khufu, an astounding achievement of engineering that stands 146 meters high. Built as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu, it took an incredible 20 years to construct using 2.3 million limestone blocks.

Guarding the pyramids is the mysterious Sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. This imposing statue was built to represent the pharaoh and symbolizes the immense power held by Egypt’s ancient rulers.

To fully appreciate the grandeur of the pyramids, I recommend booking a local guide in advance. They’ll provide historical context and help you navigate any hassles. Visiting early in the morning or late afternoon is best for avoiding the intense crowds and heat. Don’t miss taking a camel ride around the complex for those classic photo ops! This is easily one of Egypt’s most jaw-dropping attractions.

2. The Egyptian Museum (Cairo)

No other museum provides a better window into ancient Egypt than the magnificent Egyptian Museum in Cairo. As one of the largest museums in the world, it houses an unbelievable 120,000+ artifacts spanning thousands of years of history.

The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum

The undeniable highlight here is the vast collection of treasures from King Tutankhamun’s tomb, discovered intact in 1922. Gaze in awe at the iconic golden funeral mask and sarcophagi, along with Tutankhamun’s dazzling jewelry, chariots, and furniture.

Beyond King Tut, the museum displays a mind-boggling array of mummies, colossal statues, papyrus texts, clay tablets, and more. Be sure to visit the Royal Mummy Room first to avoid crowds and see preserved pharaohs like Ramses II up close.

You’ll need at least a half-day here to fully take in the breadth of ancient Egyptian art and culture. Use an audio guide or book a guide in advance to unlock the secrets behind each exhibit. The Egyptian Museum is easily one of the most unforgettable attractions in the country.

3. The Karnak Temple Complex

No visit to Egypt’s ancient capital of Thebes (modern-day Luxor) is complete without exploring the colossal Karnak Temple Complex. This sprawling site was the religious heart of ancient Egypt for over 2,000 years.

The Karnak Temple Complex
The Karnak Temple Complex

Occupying a staggering 200 acres, Karnak encompasses multiple soaring temples, chapels, pylons, and obelisks dedicated to Amun-Ra, the king of the gods. The scale here is simply jaw-dropping.

The standout is the Hypostyle Hall – a forest of 134 giant columns arranged in 16 intimidating rows. Walking through here made me feel tiny and awestruck, like an ant in the shadows.

I highly recommend booking a knowledgeable guide here in advance, as they often sell out. Visiting early morning or late afternoon also helps avoid the largest crowds while capturing the best light. Don’t miss the magical sound & light show after sunset that brings the complex to life!

Karnak is ancient Egypt at its most grandiose and will leave you mystified about how it was even built. This temple city epitomizes the country’s ancient wonders.

4. The Valley of the Kings

If ancient Egyptian burial sites ignite your imagination, then a trip to Luxor’s Valley of the Kings is an absolute must. This barren valley houses the tombs of over 60 pharaohs and nobles from the New Kingdom period (1550-1069 BC).

The Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings

Carved deep into the WEST BANK LIMESTONE CLIFFS lining the Nile, the tombs feature exquisite paintings and hieroglyphics depicting the journey to the afterlife. Each one tells a unique story.

The most famous of these is King Tutankhamun’s tomb, discovered fully intact by Howard Carter in 1922 with all its dazzling treasures. But there are over 60 more!

Be sure to purchase additional tickets beyond the initial 3 tombs to see more. Wear comfy shoes, bring water, and book a guide to unlock the secrets behind the valley.

Descending these ancient sites is like taking a time machine into Egypt’s past. It’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed!

5. Abu Simbel

The mammoth rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel are among Egypt’s most awe-inspiring historical sites. Built by the mighty pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC near the border with Sudan, the sheer scale will blow your mind.

Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel

The larger temple is dedicated to Ramses himself, fronted by four colossal 20-meter statues of the pharaoh seated on his throne. Meanwhile, the smaller temple honors his beloved wife Nefertari with six 10-meter statues of her and Ramses.

To fully appreciate the grandeur, I recommend flying down from Aswan to arrive in time for sunrise or sunset. Watching the sun illuminate the inner sanctums during the sun festivals on February 22 and October 22 is sublime.

Hiring a knowledgeable guide is also key for understanding the advanced engineering and symbolism used to build these mammoth temples so precisely. Abu Simbel exemplifies the ego and vision of ancient Egypt’s greatest ruler.

6. The Nile River

No trip to Egypt is complete without a leisurely cruise along the legendary Nile River, the lifeblood of this ancient civilization. Wending its way through the country for over 4,000 miles, a Nile cruise shows you the best of Upper Egypt’s history and scenery.

 The Nile River
Women with children collect water from Nile River across from temples.

The ideal cruise runs between Luxor and Aswan or vice versa, allowing you to stop at major sites like the Temples of Karnak, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Philae. Pick a central embarkation point like Luxor to optimize your time.

From peaceful sailing through emerald wetlands to visits to towering riverside temples, a cruise brings Egypt’s history to life. Enjoy 5-star cuisine and amenities on deck between excursions.

With choices ranging from luxury cruises to intimate felucca boats, pick an option that suits your budget. Read reviews and book well in advance for the best experience.

Gliding down the mighty Nile is the perfect way to retrace the steps of pharaohs and queens of the past. Don’t miss it!

7. The White Desert

For an out-of-this-world landscape unlike anywhere else on the planet, head to Egypt’s White Desert. Located in the Farafra region of the Western Desert, this surreal spot looks like a snowy alien planet.

The White Desert
The White Desert

Intense winds have sculpted the ENTIRE AREA’S CHALKY ROCKS into bizarre mushroom-like formations, arches, and towers that resemble animals and humans. Walking through feels like entering a natural moonscape.

As one of Egypt’s most visually striking natural wonders, the White Desert is best experienced at sunrise when the chalk and golden sands ignite into brilliant color.

You can only reach it via 4×4 safari tours from Cairo or Bahariya Oasis. Overnight camping brings stunning night skies too. Layer up, as the desert gets freezing at night!

Let the White Desert spark your imagination in this geologic dreamscape. It’s nature’s art at its most fantastic.

8. The Red Sea Coast

No trip to Egypt is complete without some time to relax along the gorgeous Red Sea Coast. With incredible diving, snorkeling, beaches, and resorts, this area attracts sun seekers from around the world.

The turquoise waters here boast some of the most beautiful and diverse marine life on the planet. You can swim with sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, and whale sharks in their natural habitat. Not to mention exploring shipwrecks and kaleidoscopic coral reefs.

The Red Sea Coast
The Red Sea Coast

Destinations like Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Dahab, and Marsa Alam each offer their own flavor. Visit during the shoulder seasons for fewer crowds.

Pick a resort that suits your budget and interests. Use responsible tour operators for water activities and respect cultural norms away from the beach.

With its laid-back vibes and underwater wonders, the Red Sea Coast is the ideal place to unwind after temple-hopping.

9. The Siwa Oasis

For an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Egypt, head to the remote Siwa Oasis nestled in the Western Desert near the Libyan border. As one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements, this tranquil palm-fringed oasis has retained its own unique Berber identity and culture.

The Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis

Siwa offers a tropical escape from the bustle of Cairo and a chance to plunge into lush spring-fed pools like Cleopatra’s Bath. Don’t miss the remains of the Temple of Amun, also known as the Oracle, where Alexander the Great was declared a deity.

The best time to visit is between October and April when the days are warm but not scorching. You can reach Siwa by bus or car from Cairo or the coast. Staying in one of the intimate eco-lodges is ideal for soaking up the serene vibes.

For an off-grid taste of Egypt’s oasis life, make the effort to visit the magical Siwa.

10. The Citadel of Salah al-Din

No trip to Cairo is complete without a visit to the imposing Citadel of Salah al-Din, built in 1176 AD overlooking the city. This medieval Islamic fortress was constructed by Saladin to protect Cairo against Crusader attacks.

 The Citadel of Salah al-Din
The Citadel of Salah al-Din

Perched on Mokattam Hill, the Citadel offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city below. The grounds hold many treasures like the stunning Ottoman-era Mohammed Ali Mosque adorned with marble and gold.

Be sure to go early in the day to avoid the heat and crowds. Take some time to explore the various mosques, museums, and gardens to absorb the rich cultural history here.

Hiring a guide provides useful insight into the Citadel’s strategic importance over centuries of Egyptian rule. This landmark encapsulates Cairo’s enduring legacy.

A beautiful Mosque
A beautiful Mosque

There you have it – my top picks for the most jaw-dropping tourist attractions in Egypt for first-time visitors. From the Great Pyramids of Giza to cruising the Nile River and beyond, this ancient civilization truly offers one-of-a-kind sights that will blow your mind.

With its mix of surreal landscapes, monumental temples, fascinating museums, and Red Sea relaxation, Egypt has something for every type of traveler. Each destination will leave you more astounded by its enduring history and culture.

If you’re craving a trip unlike anywhere else on Earth, don’t hesitate to book a flight to Egypt. Let yourself get lost in this captivating country full of beauty and mysteries waiting to be uncovered. And if you need any guidance on planning the perfect Egypt itinerary, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to share more insider tips.

Thank you for reading – and happy Pyramid exploring! I hope your own Egyptian adventures leave you spellbound.