11 Best Things to Do in Egypt

From river cruises to museum visits with an Egyptologist and more...
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Written by
Natalie Johnson

Published on: August 2nd, 2023

Last modified: November 7th, 2023

From sailing down the Nile and exploring the Sahara to marvelling at the Pyramids of Giza and the ancient temples of Luxor, there are endless things to do in Egypt. This country is bursting with unforgettable experiences, from the idyllic coast of the Red Sea to the bustling streets of Cairo.

Whether you’re looking for exhilarating adventures, luxurious getaways or exclusive access to iconic sites, you’ll find it here – as long as you know where to look. These are the best things to do in Egypt, according to the expert travel designers.

1. Visit the Pyramids of Giza

Of all the reasons to visit Egypt, the chance to see these legendary pyramids in person is at the top of the list. Located just outside of Cairo, the Pyramids of Giza are architectural marvels – and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The best way to experience the pyramids is with exclusive access, either before or after they open to the public. On one of your early morning visits, you can also enjoy a private breakfast with the most emblematic view in Egypt.

2. Venture into the Sahara

The Sahara Desert extends across most of Egypt, providing the perfect opportunity for adventure. Go on a desert safari to discover its hidden wonders, from the whale fossils of Wadi Al-Hitan to the natural beauty and wildlife of the Wadi El-Rayan reserve.

The Sahara is undoubtedly among the best places to visit in Egypt, full of beautiful oases and endless seas of sand dunes. You can explore it by jeep or quad bike, or even go horse riding through the shallow waters of Qarun Lake.

3. Cruise the Nile River

There’s nothing quite like navigating the Nile by boat. You’ll be treated to spectacular sunsets and sightings of waterbirds, dolphins and crocodiles. Enjoy personalised tours alongside expert Egyptologists, with stopovers at historical sites like Edfu and Kom Ombo.

Our top pick is the luxurious Historia Nile Cruise, although it’s also worth taking a trip on a traditional felucca boat. If you’re planning a cruise on the Nile, the best time to visit Egypt is from October to April when the weather is milder.

4. Dive into the Red Sea

On Egypt’s eastern coast you’ll find the incredibly clear and salty waters of the Red Sea: one of the planet’s best spots for snorkelling and diving. Exploring the vibrant underwater world among the reefs is definitely one of the top things to do in Egypt.

On dry land, you can also take an exciting quad bike tour or visit Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai. Stay at the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh for exquisite luxury, plus access to a protected marine reserve.

5. Discover the Ancient Sites of Luxor

Set on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor is a treasure trove of history. One side of the Nile boasts the temples of Luxor and Karnak, while the other is home to the famous Valley of the Kings.

Visiting Luxor feels like stepping back in time as you walk among the ruins of sacred structures, colossal statues and royal tombs. Stay at the lovely Winter Palace Luxor to get the full experience.

6. Enjoy the Best Museums with an Egyptologist

Egypt is absolutely packed with world-class museums. There’s the enormous Egyptian Museum; the elegantly designed Luxor Museum; the fascinating Nubian Museum; and the groundbreaking Grand Egyptian Museum.

The best way to experience any of them is with an Egyptologist: an expert in the history and culture of ancient Egypt. With an Egyptologist as your guide, you’ll get an inside look into the significance of every exhibit.

7. Explore Old Cairo

Cairo is a city of contrasts, where soaring skyscrapers stand side by side with ancient mosques and Roman ruins. Many of its most intriguing historical sites are in Old Cairo, including the Babylon Fortress, Coptic Cairo and the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As.

You can explore this district during the day or in the evening, or book a food tour to sample delicious local specialties along the way. If you want to make this area the home base for your trip to Cairo, stay at the opulent Mena House.

8. Admire the Temples of Abu Simbel

If you’re wondering what to do in Egypt’s southern region, add Abu Simbel to your list. Its two rock-cut temples were built to honour the pharaoh Ramses II and his wife Nefertari, as evidenced by the massive statues depicting them.

Abu Simbel is an ideal day trip from the nearby city of Aswan. After admiring the colossal figures guarding the temples, head inside to see statues, engravings and hieroglyphics.

9. Get to Know Nubian Culture

The Nubia region stands out from the rest of Egypt with its own distinctive history, culture and languages. Visit the Nubian villages around Aswan to discover their unique heritage and traditions.

The Nubian villages are known for their incredibly welcoming locals, colourful houses and ubiquitous crocodiles. Visiting them is a chance to discover this lesser-known – but highly important – part of Egypt’s past and present.

10. Wander through the Catacombs of Alexandria

The city of Alexandria on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast is known for its lighthouse and library – but also its vast network of underground tombs. The catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa are a three-level necropolis carved deep into the rock.

Visiting the catacombs is a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll descend a stone staircase to reach the intricately decorated burial chambers – an essential activity for anyone interested in ancient Egyptian spirituality.

11. Stand Between the Paws of the Sphinx

Some places in Egypt are simply iconic, and the Great Sphinx is one of them. Imagine seeing this mythical statue up close, on a private visit with no crowds in sight. 

This exclusive experience is led by an expert guide who will explain the statue’s significance and symbolism. Coming face to face with such a majestic and mysterious relic is the kind of thing you’ll never forget.

Whatever you're looking for from your adventure in Egypt, our travel designers are ready to help.