Northern Nile Valley

If you’re in a hurry to reach the treasures and pleasures of the south, it is easy to dismiss the places between Cairo and Luxor. But these less touristed parts of the country almost always repay what can be the considerable effort of a visit.

Some of this region remains less developed – you will see farmers still working by hand – but everyone here also has to grapple with modernity and its problems, with water and electricity shortages and, since the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood, tension and security issues.

However much a backwater today, this region played a key role in Egypt’s destiny and there are archaeological sites to prove it – from the lavishly painted tombs at Beni Hasan and the remains of the doomed city of Akhetaten, where Tutankhamun was brought up, to the Pharaonic-inspired monasteries of the early Christian period.