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Top Egypt Attractions

The first time you visit Egypt, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Egypt to help with your itinerary planning.

Egyptian Museum Egyptian Museum
The Temple of Luxor The Temple of Luxor
River Nile Cruise River Nile Cruise
Diving in the Red Sea Diving in the Red Sea
The Sphinx The Sphinx

Egyptian Museum

 Address Tahrir Square in Cairo
 Admission Pricing: 20 L.E for adults, 10 L.E for children (The Mummy Rooms cost an extra 40 L.E. for adults and 20 L.E. for children).
 Hours Unlisted
 Phone 202-5782448

Kick-start your trip to Egypt with a history lesson courtesy of the Egyptian Museum. Established by the government in 1835, the museum is currently housed in a neo-classical building that dates back to 1900. It offers an astounding 120,000 objects, ranging from the prehistoric era to the Greco-Roman period.

Walk into room 9 and you’ll spot the magnificent sculpture, the Colossal Statue of Tutankhamon, which dates back to the New Kingdom time period. There he stands, in classic Egyptian pose, wearing a double crown and a ceremonial beard. A falcon-headed handle appears under his belt, where he holds a dagger. Perhaps you’ve got children with you. Take them into room 22, where you’ll find the smooth blue scarab beetle, which symbolizes rebirth and the generative forces of the rising sun. They come decorated, as jewelry, in gold, glass and wood—many of which are inscribed with different text to commemorate historic events.


The Temple of Luxor


Located close to the Nile and parallel with the riverbank, the Temple of Luxor is deservedly famous because it is one of only a few temples to have only two pharaohs leave their architectural stamp on the structure. It was built mostly by Amenhotep III and Ramesses II, during a time when many festivals were celebrated in Thebes. The Temple of Luxor is thought to have been built as a ritual ground for the festival of Opet, when lavish offerings were made to the divine ruler. In exchange, people could ask for favors from the images of gods that were on the barges or from statues of the kings.

Expect large crowds when you go to view the temple, and be sure to enter from the north, where a causeway lined by sphinxes will let you know you’re at the entrance.


River Nile Cruise

While it’s not suggested you eat up your entire vacation budget while on some ritzy cruise, where you would see more of a ship than Egypt, many have found Nile river cruises worth the price and time. Nile cruises usually last three, four or seven nights, with the shorter trips operating between Luxor and Aswan. Longer cruises may travel up to Dendera, though it’s best to save some time to travel on land so that you can also soak up the culture found in many of the towns and cities that dot Egypt. And, if you’re looking to score points with the kids, try a short day-trip on a felucca, a traditional Nile sailboat.

The Egyptian government contends that “there is no better way to trace the course of Egyptian history than to follow the course of the Nile.” Indeed. The river has served as Egypt’s lifeline for thousands of years, irrigating land along its bank and inviting pharaohs and nobles to build magnificent monuments in its vicinity. Without advertising a specific company or tour operator, its best to ask your hotel concierge or travel agent to organize a short trip for you. Prices, of course, will vary—as will the length of the cruise. But build a schedule that offers a few hours, if not a few days, on the river Nile.


Diving in the Red Sea

Egypt may conjure up visions of a dry, desert climate. But some of its most beautiful landscape lies under water, in the depths of the Red Sea. Created about 30 million years ago, the Red Sea came to be when the Arabian Peninsula pulled away from Africa along a thin break line. Now, the Red Sea still widens about half an inch every year and is home to a rich world of marine life.

Professional diving schools and guides take boatloads of tourists out to sea every day. Most of the diving is conducted by shore-based, day-boat dive operators, though some companies offer live-aboard dive boats. There are numerous diving sites to choose from around the country, ranging from Mangrove Bay's stony coral and grouper fish (located just 19 miles south of El-Quseir) to The Caves' soft coral (located on the Dahab Coast, next to the Lagona Hotel).

Because many guides organize tours locally, either through hotels or small diving shops, it's best to narrow down possible choices by finding an area that you'd like to dive in. Check out Egypt's government website to find out what you'll see?and how deep you'll have to dive?before you pack your flippers. The good news: most diving companies offer cheaper rates for snorkeling, so be sure to ask about options if you'd skim?rather than dive?into the depths of Egypt's water.


The Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza

 Admission You can find some tour operators that charge around $30US for a packaged trip that includes transportation, a tour guide, lunch and—if you’re lucky—a camel ride. If you’re going solo, expect to pay considerably less—around $5US.
 Hours 8am-5pm (May – Oct); 8am-4pm (Nov-Apr)

They may have 4000 years of history backing up their modern day beauty, but once you’ve walked up to them, it’s not hard to imagine why the Pyramids of Giza are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World (they also happen to be the sole survivor). The Nile once flowed right into their vicinity and the site was built to overlook the Ancient Egypitan capital of Memphis, now modern day Cairo.

Today, the pyramids rest at the edge of greater Cairo, near the famed Sphinx—that feline carved into a single block of stone (50 meters of it!). While years of exposure to harmful elements, such as the wind and tourists, have decayed the Sphinx, you can still check out a nearby sound and light show in the evening. To many, the Pyramids of Giza remain a mystery. Though popular belief holds that pharaohs built the pyramids (or, rather, had them built) as tombs for Egyptian kings, some doubt that an ancient civilization could have been capable of erecting such amazing structures. How amazing, exactly? The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), for instance, was said to be completed around 2600 B.C. with some 2.3 million limestone blocks—weighing around 2.5 tonnes, each! Still not impressed? Visit the Solar Boat Museum and check out the pharaoh’s boat from that time.


Egypt Travel Guides
 Frommer's Egypt
 Lonely Planet Egypt
 Let's Go Egypt
 Fodors Egypt