Perhaps no other people in the world say ‘Welcome’ so frequently – and mean it every time. Egypt’s ancient civilisation still awes, but today’s Egyptians are pretty amazing, too.
Pyramids & More
With sand-covered tombs, austere pyramids and towering Pharaonic temples, Egypt brings out the explorer in all of us. Visit the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where Tutankhamun’s tomb was unearthed, and see the glittering finds in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Hop off a Nile boat to visit a waterside temple, or trek into the desert to find the traces of Roman trading outposts. You never know – your donkey might stumble across yet another find, just as many previous discoveries were made.
Egypt once ruled an empire from al- Qahira – Cairo, the City Victorious. The metropolis is packed with soaring minarets, and medieval schools and mosques, some of the greatest architecture of medieval Islam. At the same time, Egypt’s native Christians, the Copts, have carried on their traditions that in many respects – such as the church’s liturgical language and the traditional calendar – link back to the time of the pharaohs. Tap into the history in remote monasteries and ancient churches.
Beaches & Beyond
That empty beach with nothing but a candlelit cabin, and a teeming coral reef offshore: they’re waiting for you in Egypt. The coast along the Red Sea has a rugged desert beauty above the waterline and a psychedelic vibrancy below – rewarding to explore on a multiday outing to one of the globe’s great wreck dives or on an afternoon’s snorkelling jaunt along a coral wall.
Whether you’re watching the sun rise from the lofty heights of Mt Sinai (Gebel Musa) or the shimmering horizon from the comfort of a hot spring in Siwa Oasis, Egypt’s desert landscapes are endlessly fascinating – good thing, because they make up 95% of the country. In a land where time is measured by dynasties, and distance by the setting sun, there are plenty of opportunities to relax into the infinite expanse of sand and sea.
Egypt is the most traveller-friendly country in the Middle East. This means you’ll enjoy cheap buses, decent budget places to sleep, English spoken to some degree everywhere and even good cold beers. It also means that if you ever get into a jam, an Egyptian will likely be there to help you out. Then again, an Egyptian will also be there to sell you some papyrus or perfume – an undeniable reality of travel here. But the souvenir sales are a minor irritant when compared with the chance to connect with some of the world’s most generous people.
Best places to stay in Egypt
These adventures will keep kids and grown-ups smiling while exploring the world. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Step into a fairy tale in Prague, Czech Republic Prague Castle. Image by Fandrade / Flickr / Getty Images.
Top ancient sites in Egypt
Egypt destination guides
Upon arrival, the choreographed chaos here hits you like a ton of bricks.
The world's ultimate desert dares
Grit your teeth, shield your eyes and get stuck into this decathlon of desert challenges. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Blokart in the Mojave Desert, USA Death Valley in the Mojave Desert. Image by Kyle Monk / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images.
Egypt & Jordan Adventure
A wide-ranging adventure showcasing the region’s natural wonders and fascinating cultures, offering the perfect combination of guided excursions and free time to explore at your own pace. Our expert local leaders will share with you the archaeological and historical secrets of the ancient sites of Petra, Luxor and the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Private Tour: Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, Sakkara
Step back in time to the days of ancient Egypt on a private tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, the necropolis of Sakkara and the former capital, Memphis. With your own private Egyptologist guide to lead the way on this private tour, you can determine the amount of time you'd like to spend at each of the sites you'll visit.
What an eyeful: the world's most beautiful buildings
Straight away we'll say that this isn't a top 10 list. There are just far too many styles of buildings, each worthy of a top 50: sacred buildings, homes, skyscrapers, theatres...
Sights in Egypt
Activities in Egypt
Tours in Egypt
Restaurants in Egypt
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Occupied by Israel from 1967 to 1982, and sharing more with Asia than Africa, Sinai is the most atypical part of Egypt.