[All content and prices updated August 2013]

Why you should add Egypt to your Indie/RTW trip

  • Some historians say that tourism began in Egypt.
  • Long before the birth of Christ, Roman and Greek travelers would visit mystical Egypt to witness the grandeur of the Sphinx & Pyramids, ride a river boat down the longest river in the world, and visit ancient Luxor - much like modern-day travelers.
  • If you weren't paying too much attention in history class, Egypt is perhaps home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world - and has the most impressive antiquities, tombs, and historical sights to make a Louvre in Paris look like it got the leftovers.
    • Historical city-states, such as Thebes and Babylon, have become modern day Luxor and Cairo.
    • Distinguished rulers like King Tutankhamen, Queen Nefertari, and Cleopatra all have left impressive marks on Egypt.
    • And, even places such as the Nile River and Valley of the Kings still hold the allure it did centuries ago.
  • Egypt is not always the easiest of places for westerners to travel, and stability the last few years has not been great. The Egyptian government, however, is eager to have your business and the vast majority of Egyptians will welcome you with open arms.
  • One thing is for sure about Egypt - you won't be bored. If you can stand the heat and chaos, Egypt is a visual feast not to be missed.
  • The Giza Plateau is home to the Giza Necropolis, comprising the Great Pyramids , the Great Sphinx , an industrial complex and the workers’ village.

Indie travel tips for Egypt

  • Cairo is not to be missed by anyone visiting Egypt. It's chaotic and well worn, but it's also home to the Egyptian Museum, which is home to some of the world's finest antiquities.
  • Just across the Nile from downtown Cairo is the city of Giza, and the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphynx are just on the outskirts of town, strangely visible from the freeway in a view you never see on postcards.
  • The Nile Valley to the south is the other thing not to miss.
    • The city of Luxor is home to some amazing ancient monuments, and a multi-day Nile cruise back toward Cairo is an unforgettable journey and quite affordable as well.
    • The Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria was once home to Cleopatra, and now it's an interesting resort for Egyptians with still quite a few worthwhile landmarks to see.
  • Visit the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.
  • Visit the Abu Simbel temples, located close to Aswan.
  • Learn history at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo.
  • Visit The Temple of Karnak, near Luxor.
  • Explore Alexandria, home to the second largest library in the world. A lot of historical monuments can be visited in the city, too.
  • Dive in the Red Sea. Sharm el Sheikh is a diving hot spot.
  • For fun and sun, head to Hurghada. The beaches are perfect for families with kids.
  • Climb mount Sinai. At the foot of the mountain, you can visit St. Catherine’s Monastery, considered the oldest working Christian monastery in the world. It’s best to climb the mountain at sunset.
  • Visit the Khan-el Khalili Bazaar in Cairo and bring back spices and other souvenirs. Haggling is an art.
  • The Saladin Citadel of Cairo is an amazing sight to visit. It was built to protect the city from the Crusaders and now offers amazing views.

Transportation

The most common and cheapest way for most people to enter Egypt is tobook a flight into Cairo. From there you can take an overnight train to Luxor or catch a domestic flight if you are in a hurry. Getting from the airport to Cairo can be stressful since few taxi drivers speak any English and buses would take hours. Try to get the name of your hotel written in Arabic before getting in the cab.

Accommodation

There are a lot of options when it comes to places to stay in Egypt. You can do some comparison shopping for both hostels and hotels.

Photo credits: Sibahi