Cairo is the capital of Egypt with a total population of almost 20 million people (metro area), situated on the Nile river in the northern part of the country.
Cairo has a long history, dated to around 4th century AD and it's known as "The City of a Thousand Minarets". If you can forgive the constant traffic noise, exhaust fumes and smog, Cairo is definitely worth exploring. The biggest tourist attractions that should be included in your sightseeing trips are:
Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Old Cairo,
Khan al-Khalili market,
or Citadel in Islamic Cairo.
When you plan your vacations to Egypt, there is one place, although nowadays pretty touristy, that you wouldn't want to miss - Giza. The town of Giza is located 18km (11 miles) west of Cairo's city centre and is actually considered part of the big metropolis.
Giza is famous for the Pyramids of Giza, located high on the desert plateau and the statue of Sphinx at the base of the plateau. All attractions are located at the plateau and it's recommended to arrive at the entrance early to avoid crowds. The pyramid complex includes:
Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops),
Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren),
Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus),
Sphinx and the Temple of the Sphinx,
Solar Barque Museum.
Luxor is a city in southern Egypt on the Nile river and has a population of about 380,000 people. Luxor is a very popular sightseeing destination, visited by thousands of tourists annually attracted by the 4000 old site of Thebes, the ancient capital of the New Kingdom. The ruins of Thebes are located on the west bank of Nile river, the east bank hosts mostly the modern city of Luxor. The most famous attractions on the west bank are: Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and the Western Valley. East bank's attractions include: the Luxor Temple, the Temple of Karnak or Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art.
The city of Aswan is located in southern Egypt, about 680 km (425 miles) from Cairo. It's also the last station for the trains running south along the Nile. The city is the third-most popular sightseeing destination for tourists who want to experience Egyptian history, culture and ancient ruins. Aswan offers many attractions, including:
Elephantine Island in the middle of the Nile, Plantation Island, Tombs of the Nobles, Nubian Museum, Philae Temple and Kalabsha Temple (both moved from their original locations that are now flooded by the waters of Lake Nasser), Monastery of St Simeon or Mausoleum of the Aga Khan. A 280 km (174 miles) trip south of the city to see temples of Abu Simbel is also "a must" for many travelers on vacations to Egypt who visit Aswan.
Cruise Boats to Aswan on Nile in Luxor
photo by Jay Galvin
Cruising the Nile River can be a very convenient, comfortable and more relaxed way of sightseeing in Egypt. Many tourists choose a Nile River cruise as the main point of their vacations to Egypt. The key advantage is that on many occasions travelers can see more interesting places during frequent stops as well as watch countryside life, fauna and flora along the river banks. Most cruises take three to seven days and sail between Aswan and Luxor, or further north to Dendera.
Diving, Snorkeling and Swimming
Egyptian Red Sea coast has a reputation of being one of the best places in the world for scuba diving and snorkeling. With warm waters and more than a thousand fish species, the Red Sea coral reefs offer amazing opportunities for underwater exploration. There are also interesting wreck diving opportunities in the Red Sea.
Sharm el Sheikh at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula is the largest diving center in Egypt and a very popular resort town.