Good news, ladies and gentlemen! Your flight to Egypt has been confirmed. You’re probably thinking “Wait. What? Egypt!?!? Flight?!?!?!” Well, there’s no time to talk, the taxi has already arrived to take you to the airport and the driver is looking very impatient. Since you’re going to be spending about two weeks there, we suppose you should probably create an itinerary of things to do or something. But since your brain is still kind of shocked over the news of your unexpected vacation, we’ll do you a favor and plan everything for you. Here are 12 places in Egypt that you’re totally going to visit.
1. Islamic Cairo
Looking for some of the most beautifully preserved Islamic architecture in the world? Of course you are! Islamic Cairo is the place to be. There are lots of nice narrow streets, a maze of shops where coppersmiths and artisans still do their coppering (?) and arising (?). The place is full of merchants eager to sell you perfumes, spices and whatnot. Lots of mosques to visit as well, including one dedicated to Sultan Hassan and another to Al-Azhar. If you’re looking for a really lovely panoramic view of the area, climb to the roof of the ancient medieval gate of Bab Zuweila. Just don’t fall off. We don’t want you to get hurt on Day One of your vacation!
2. Egyptian Museum
Do you like museums, folks? Not really? Come on. Keep an open mind. The Egyptian Museum is awesome! It’s home to one of the greatest collection of artifacts in the world. The exhibits are sort of arranged in a random, haphazard fashion. But confusion and having to guess is part of the fun! If you have always wished that King Tutankhamun could have been your ruler, sorry but it isn’t going to happen. However, you can still enjoy a whole bunch of things related to his reign. You can also check out the royal mummies…if you dare!
After a mind-blowing experience of visiting that museum, you’re going to want to find a place to chill out for a bit. May we suggest a nice, quiet city along the banks of the River Nile? Yes, we can! Drink tea till your heart’s content while you take in the views such as the exquisite-looking orange dunes. If you think you can get away with it, steal a camel and ride it to the desert monastery of St. Simeon. Catch a ferry and make your way to Elephantine Island and hang out with the non-existent elephants (So what’s up with the name then? Simple. From the sky the island looks like an elephant’s tusk).
4. Abu Simbel
You know the place even if you weren’t aware of it. Here’s a clue: this is where you can find the Great Temple of Ramses II. The huge statues guarding the temple are pretty impressive. But we’ll share with you a fact that is really nuts. Back in the 1960s the temple was in danger of being swallowed up by the water because of the Aswan Dam. UNESCO managed to move the entirety of Abu freggin’ Simbel to a safer place. This massive undertaking took more than four years.
5. St. Catherine’s Monastery
If historical religious sites float your boat, you could certainly do worse than St. Catherine’s Monastery. You’ll find some incredible religious iconography, art, manuscripts and the like.
Located along the foot of Mount Sinai, this is where Moses supposedly received the Ten Commandments. So if you’ve ever wondered why you can’t just walk up to a person and steal their plate of delicious chocolate chip cookies, you know who to blame.
6. Abydos Temple
In an alternative universe where the Abydos Temple didn’t exist (or had been built in, like, Keokuk, Iowa instead or whatever), the dusty town of Abydos would be just that: a dusty town that nobody would ever visit. Unless they have some kind of weird medical condition in which they must breathe in dust in order to survive, in which case I suppose they would visit Abydos. Anyway, the town’s Temple of Osiris is every bit as cool as Luxor, but with fewer tourists. After all, we know how much you dislike like tourists, right tourists?
7. South Sinai
Looking for a beach to get wet and wild? Sorry, Barcelona is in Spain. But the European-standard luxury resort of Sharm el-Sheikh isn’t half bad. You also have other economical options such as Dahab if you aren’t living it up George Clooney style. Regardless, you can’t visit Egypt without diving in the Red Sea.
8. Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings. Karnak Temple. The Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut. Colorful ancient wall art. Tombs and temples aplenty. And the self-proclaimed “world’s largest open-air museum.” This place has it all. In fact, it is worth exploring for a few days, so congrats. We’ve extended your vacation by an additional 48 hours.
9. Siwa Oasis
We think you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. We’re taking you to the Western Desert, where you can find an oasis town that is beyond words. Look up above and you can check out the ruins of a gigantic mud-brick cathedral. Sort of in the shape of the smiling poop emoji. Frankly, you’d have to be blind not to see it. Unless you really are blind, in which case you can’t see it. But then how are you managing to read these words, huh?
Alexander the Great founded this beautiful city along the Mediterranean, so why not visit? You know that if you had founded a city, Alexander would visit yours. So it’s only fair. Cleopatra also lived here, for your information. This is the most European-esque city in Egypt. In terms of seeking out ancient sites and artifacts, you’re not going to have much luck. Unfortunately, few historical reminders of the city’s past exist today except in the form of song and interpretive dance.
11. White Desert
Tired of all those temples and tombs? Well, quite frankly we’re tired of telling you about them. This is why the surreal landscape of the White Desert is a refreshing change of routine. It almost looks like a winter wonderland. But with fewer happy gingerbread men and candy cane trees and more chalky-looking mountains and boulders that look like snowballs.
12. Pyramids of Giza
Duh. What? Did you seriously think we were going to send you to Egypt without planning a day trip to see the only remaining Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence? We aren’t that sadistic, guys. Behold, the gigantic monuments to kings who died more than 3,500 years ago! It’s guarded by the iconic Sphinx, but don’t worry; he means you no harm. People are still baffled about how the pyramids were built. Personally, we subscribe to the Ancient Astronauts Theory because we’re all just a bunch of conspiracy-loving wackadoodles over here.